EP5 Lee Smolin – Quantum Foundations and Einstein’s Unfinished Revolution

Lee Smolin is a theoretical physicist who has been since 2001 a founding and senior faculty member at Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. His main contributions have been so far to the quantum theory of gravity, to which he has been a co-inventor and major contributor to two major directions, loop quantum gravity and deformed special relativity.

Lee also contributes to cosmology, through his proposal of cosmological natural selection — a falsifiable mechanism to explain the choice of the laws of physics. He has also contributed to quantum field theory, the foundations of quantum mechanics, theoretical biology, and the philosophy of science and economics. He is the author of more than 150 scientific papers and numerous essays and writings on science.

Lee also has written four books which explore philosophical issues raised by contemporary physics and cosmology. These are: Life of the Cosmos (1997), Three Roads to Quantum Gravity (2001), The Trouble with Physics (2006), and Time Reborn (2013). Most recently, he coauthored The Singular Universe and The Reality of Time with Roberto Mangabeira Unger.

  1. Introduction to Lee Smolin and The Perimeter Institute 4 minutes
  2. Einstein’s Unfinished Revolution 20 minutes
  3. The Pilot Wave Theory 8 minutes
  4. Quantum Physics after Bohm 10 minutes
  5. The Multiverse and the Many-Worlds of Murray Gell-Mann 12 minutes
  6. Quantum Foundations 6 minutes
  7. The Life of the Cosmos and the Fermi Paradox 10 minutes
  8. Entanglements, Noise and The Completion 10 minutes

Transcript of The Jim Rutt Show featuring Lee Smolin

5 thoughts on “EP5 Lee Smolin – Quantum Foundations and Einstein’s Unfinished Revolution

  1. This was an interesting interview. I am working on a general theory of science, called the Tree of Knowledge System, that I think might offer some insights to the realist v. anti-realist perspective. I am a psychologist, not a physicist, so clearly I am missing some key details, especially since I do not “speak” advanced math. However, it is clear that much of the problem is philosophical and the relationship between “human knowers” and the “independent reality” (whatever that means). That means that questions of metaphysics, ontic reality relative to scientific onto-epistemology and the nature of human belief and perception have a role to play in the conundrums that stem from quantum foundations (and general relativity).
    Jim, I would love to dialogue with you. And I am close, living in Stuarts Draft Va. I am a prof of psychology working on a unified paradigm for the field.

  2. Enjoyed the interview, Thank you!
    A few foundation questions if you please:
    1) The Niels Bohr Institute, Is it true that above the door of this institute there is a sign chiseled in granite that reads, “Ye Must Have Faith”?
    a) True or not, does science require faith?
    b) And if science does require faith or a belief in a theory like QM, does that not make it synonymous with religion, and the faith required to believe in God?
    2)More fundamentally, regarding the uncertainty physics finds itself stuck in: Is nature measurable?
    a)If yes, what is the measure of nature? How much of nature has been measured, and how certain is the measurement?
    B) If the answer is no, then why does science and physics measure anything? For that matter, why is measure a foundation of mankind?
    “Man is the measure of all things”
    3) Is measure the flaw in us all?
    Thanks again,

  3. So I’m not a professional physicist and have not looked at the details of many worlds in full mathematical rigor. Is it correct to assume that each of the many worlds is orthogonal to all others in some hilbert space? If so, it would seem fundementally impossible for any information to be passed between universes. That being the case, how would we ever know to what degree if any, many worlds is a desecription of reality, how could we devise any experiment to test it? Further, it would seem to be of no practical use either since when the universes split, there is from that point a new me me(n’) that rapidly diverges from the pre split me. If instead, one views the world as possibilistic and demonstrably contingent, historical and raidcally emergent by exaptation processes in living (evolutionary whole) systems, there seems to be great difficulty at best in unifying quantum reality with the evolution of the biosphere on earth for instance. I can not rule out of course that there is some framework in which this is possible, but such a framework must incorporate richer understanding of causality beyond interaction…formal causality in dissipative structures adhering to maximum entropy principle, and if Deacon is right immanently purposeful causality in classes of systems with mutually supportive self propogating constraints that most assuredly do not obey maximum entropy principle…nor is their behavior deducible (integratable) in terms of forceful interactions between parts ( viewed to have independent consistent identity).

  4. Hi Lee, Can you contextualize the relationship if any between bohm’s extension of the work debroglie and his later work on the implicate/explicate order he discussed in mostly laymens terms (excluding appendix) in his “wholeness and the implicate order” ?

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