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Quantum Mechanics

(603 words)

Author(s): Wegter-McNelly, Kirk
[German Version] At the close of the 19th century, the majority of physicists believed that the classical paradigm inaugurated by I. Newton would soon resolve the few remaining puzzles of physics, including blackbody radiation, the photoelectric effect, and the discrete spectral emissions of atoms (Atomism). In 1900 M. Planck solved the blackbody puzzle but only by introducing the curious notion that energy comes in discrete units called “quanta,” rather than in ¶ continuously varying amounts, as physicists had commonly supposed. In 1905 A. Einstein explained the ph…

Quantum Theory

(445 words)

Author(s): Wegter-McNelly, Kirk
[German Version] Like Newtonian mechanics (I. Newton), quantum theory aims to describe the state and evolution of physical systems (Physics), however simple or complex. Unlike Newtonian mechanics though, the standard account of quantum theory – commonly referred to as the “Copenhagen interpretation” after Niels Bohr, its Danish originator – insists that physical objects, from subatomic particles such as electrons to macroscopic objects such as E. Schrödinger’s famous cat, can exist not only in classical states such as will-appear-at-A or will-appear-at-B, but also in curio…

Contingency and Necessity

(535 words)

Author(s): Wegter-McNelly, Kirk
[German Version] What is contingent could have been otherwise; what is necessary could not have been otherwise. These simple definitions are the starting point for discussions about the religious significance of chance, but their appropriate application is still a matter of vigorous debate. In fact both terms often have quite different meanings in different contexts. In logic, necessary propositions are propositions that cannot be false, while contingent propositions are possible (i.e. they are not self-contradictory) but not necessary…

Quantentheorie

(438 words)

Author(s): Wegter-McNelly, Kirk
[English Version] . Wie die Newtonsche Mechanik (I. Newton) zielt die Q. darauf, den Zustand und die zeitliche Entwicklung eines physikalischen Systems (Physik) unabhängig vom Grad seiner Komplexität zu beschreiben. Die Standardinterpretation der Q. – nach ihrem dänischen Urheber Niels Bohr wird sie als »Kopenhagener Deutung« bez. – geht jedoch über die Newtonsche Mechanik hinaus. Sie behauptet nämlich, daß physikalische Objekte, von subatomaren Teilchen wie Elektronen bis zu makroskopischen Objek…

Quantenphysik

(622 words)

Author(s): Wegter-McNelly, Kirk
[English Version] . Am Ende des 19.Jh. glaubte die Mehrheit der Physiker, mit dem klassischen, von I. Newton eingeführten Paradigma würden sich die wenigen verbleibenden Rätsel der Physik – darunter die Strahlung des schwarzen Körpers, der Photoeffekt und das diskrete Strahlungsspektrum der Atome – bald lösen lassen. I.J. 1900 löste M. Planck das Rätsel des schwarzen Körpers, jedoch nur um den Preis der merkwürdigen Annahme, daß die Strahlungsenergie in diskreten, »Quanten« genannten, Päckchen dah…

Zufall

(2,808 words)

Author(s): Hewlett, Martinez J. | Wegter-McNelly, Kirk | Stoellger, Philipp
[English Version] I. In der Biologie 1.Randomness In der vordarwinistischen Sicht auf die biologische Welt war kein Platz für Begriffe wie »randomness« (»Wahllosigkeit«) und »chance« (»Chance, Z.«). Die Lebewesen galten als durch den Schöpfer (Schöpfung) zweckvoll erschaffen. Selbst die physikalische Welt, in ihrer strengen Bestimmung durch I. Newton, war deterministisch und somit letztlich vorhersagbar (Determinismus/Indeterminismus). Randomness als solche ist dabei jedoch eher ein mathematisches denn ein physikalisches Konzept. Im Zeitalter der …

Chance

(1,102 words)

Author(s): Hewlett, Martinez J. | Wegter-McNelly, Kirk
[German Version] I. Biology – II. Physics I. Biology 1. Randomness The pre-Darwinian view of the biological world had no place for concepts such as randomness and chance. Living creatures were considered to have been purposefully created by the Creator (Creation). Even the physical world as strictly presented by I. Newton was deterministic and hence ultimately predictable (Determinism and indeterminism). Randomness as such, however, is more a mathematical concept than a physical one. In the age of cybernetics, a different approach to randomnes…