Planck E PressCenter Articles

Bohr's Complementarity

Location: São Paulo, Brazil
Date published: 2023-03-20
Date modified: 2023-03-20
Reading time: 00:01:06

Author: Patrizia Tomasi-Bensik

Bohr's Complementarity

“How wonderful that we have met with a paradox.”

Niels Bohr


From the illustration, you can see that what unfolds from Niels Bohr's Principle of Complementarity is quantum entanglement.

It is from the perspective of complementarity that quantum mechanics begins to unfold, in terms of parameters.  Whereas classical physics is about deterministically ideal positions and velocities, quantum mechanics is about amplitudes and frequencies, in an actual probability cloud.  Classical, quantitative; quantum, qualitative.

In a brilliant but totally unexpected approach, Bohr proposes that particles have pairs of properties that cannot be measured simultaneously.  For example, when we measure the position of the electron, we exclude the possibility of measuring its momentum.

Taking into account Werner Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, Bohr goes further and pulls the rug out from under us by stating that in the quantum world, the behavior of particles cannot be separated from measuring instruments.

But how is it possible that the dual wave-matter behavior of the particle, which in its manifestation reflects its interrelationship with measuring instruments, crosses the bridge that connects the quantum world to our reality, to the comfortable world described by Isaac Newton?

Let us hope that the current position of physics will lead to hexagram 24 of the I Ching, the turning point when darkness is replaced by light.

Let's hope that the next generation of quantum mechanics will take up philosophical questions like this one and, instead of compartmentalizing something fascinating and using only the properties that are understandable to us, look the dragon straight in the eye in our technological evolution and say, decipher me or I'll devour you.

The Principle of Complementarity is the seed of Complexity, the non-dichotomous approach to a reality that shows us -with an overwhelming richness of detail- that we know nothing.

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