My First Lecture on Albert Einstein

I hope to show that a careful reading of the works of Einstein from 1905 to 1955 may provide us a much deeper understanding of the mysteries of quantum mechanics than reading the “interpretations” of all other physicists and philosophers of science combined.

Is it possible that the most famous critic of quantum mechanics actually invented most of its fundamentally important concepts? Just because he did not like the indeterminism and chance he discovered in quantum events does not mean Einstein should not get credit for his amazing insights. In my book in progress, My God, He Plays Dice!, I hope to make Einstein as famous for quantum mechanics as for his relativity theories.

Besides quantizing light energy and seeing its interchangeability with matter, E = mc2, Einstein was first to see many of the most fundamental aspects of quantum physics – the quantal derivation of the blackbody radiation law, nonlocality and instantaneous action-at-a-distance (1905), the internal structure of atoms (1906), wave-particle duality and the “collapse” of the wave aspect (1909), transition probabilities for emission and absorption processes that introduce indeterminism whenever matter and radiation interact, making quantum mechanics a statistical theory (1916-17), the indistinguishability of elementary particles with their strange quantum statistics (1925), and the nonseparability and entanglement of interacting identical particles (1935).

It took the physics community eighteen years to accept Einstein’s light-quantum hypothesis. He saw wave-particle duality fifteen years before deBroglie, Schrödinger, Heisenberg, and Bohr. He saw indeterminism a decade before the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. He saw nonlocality as early as 1905, presenting it formally in 1927, but was ignored. In the 1935 Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paper, he added nonseparability, which was dubbed “entanglement” by Schrödinger. John Bell’s theorem has put Einstein’s original insights front and center in today’s concept of “quantum information” and quantum computing.

See you at 3.


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