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By Jeremy Bernstein

This publication of essays in 4 components, written over a decade and whole of surprises for the breadth and diversity of its subject material. the 1st half is ready the principles of the quantum idea which displays the author's many conversations with the past due John Bell who persuaded him that there's nonetheless no passable interpretation of the speculation. the second one half offers with nuclear guns. one of many essays issues the construction of the trendy gasoline centrifuge which used to be performed by way of German prisoners of warfare within the Soviet Union. The proliferation of those centrifuges used to be one of many concerns within the unfold of nuclear guns. The 3rd part bargains with monetary engineering with a profile of Louis Bachelier, the French mathematician who created it initially of the 20 th century. the ultimate part bargains with the Higgs boson and the way it really is used for producing mass. It incorporates a designated article of ways this mechanism works.

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When I joined the Institute for Advanced Study as a temporary member in the fall of 1957, there was a French mathematician who had decided to live his life in a unit of 27 hour days. Why he did, I have no idea. That he did, since like many mathematicians he worked by night and slept by day, went largely unnoticed. Norbert Wiener was a distinguished mathematician who spent his career at MIT.

Projection operators are singular. They do not have inverses. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men cannot put the wave function back together again. It was von Neumann in the early 1930’s who first noted that in FAPP mechanics there were two kinds of processes. There were processes that could be described by a Schr¨odinger equation and there were measurements which could not. He did not, as far as I know, comment on what this implied for retrodiction. A case in point is an electron described by a spherically symmetric Schr¨odinger wave.

They do not have inverses. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men cannot put the wave function back together again. It was von Neumann in the early 1930’s who first noted that in FAPP mechanics there were two kinds of processes. There were processes that could be described by a Schr¨odinger equation and there were measurements which could not. He did not, as far as I know, comment on what this implied for retrodiction. A case in point is an electron described by a spherically symmetric Schr¨odinger wave.

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