Max Born, the quantum physicist who warned the world of the 'cause of all evil'

Max Born, the quantum physicist who warned the world of the ’cause of all evil’




Max Born (1882-1970)

Photo: Getty Images / BBC News Brazil

Actress Olivia Newton-John once said, “One of the greatest sorrows of my life is that I have not met my grandfather.”

The Briton added: “When I was a teenager, my mother would say to me, ‘You have to go meet your grandfather because he’s growing up’, and I’d say, ‘I’m busy,’ and I’m sorry for that.” Australian actress who starred in the movie. Grease – in the era of gloss He passed away last Monday (08/08) at the age of 73.

The grandfather you did not meet was the physicist and mathematician Max Born, one of the most important scientists of the 20th century.

If you can’t enumerate what he did, it may be because, despite his many accomplishments, much of Born’s work was too complex.

But if his name sounds familiar, it is probably due to his heavy presence in physics, and also because he was a great friend of Albert Einstein.

The legacy of this friendship was an impressive collection of letters spanning four decades and two world wars.

“My mom (Irene) translated them (from German to English),” the actress and singer said.



Actress Olivia Newton-John (pictured with John Travolta) was one of Bourne's granddaughters, as well as musician and academic Georgina Bourne and actor Max Bourne (Satiric Fellini).

Actress Olivia Newton-John (pictured with John Travolta) was one of Bourne’s granddaughters, as well as musician and academic Georgina Bourne and actor Max Bourne (Satiric Fellini).

Photo: Getty Images / BBC News Brazil

In their extensive correspondence, they discussed everything from quantum theory and the role of scientists in a turbulent world to their families and the music they would play together when they met.

In fact, it was in one of these letters – dated December 4, 1926 – that Einstein wrote one of the most famous phrases in the history of science:

“Quantum mechanics is certainly impressive. But my inner voice tells me it’s still not satisfactory. The theory gives a lot, but it hardly brings us closer to the mystery of the ‘Creator’. Anyway, I’m convinced he doesn’t play dice.”

Einstein refused to accept the probabilistic view that favored this theory which describes how the matter that makes up the small universe of atomic and subatomic particles behaves.

He believed that the uncertainty assumed by this branch of physics actually revealed the inability to find the variables with which to construct a complete theory.

However, one of the main motivations for the probabilistic explanation was his friend Bourne.

For him, God plays dice.



The 29 participants in the famous conference on electrons and photons in 1927 in Brussels - 17 of them were current or future Nobel Prize winners, including Marie Curie, Albert Einstein and Max Born.

The 29 participants in the famous conference on electrons and photons in 1927 in Brussels – 17 of them were current or future Nobel Prize winners, including Marie Curie, Albert Einstein and Max Born.

Photo: Science Photo Library/BBC News Brazil

Convinced, he continued to explore the infinitely small world that this revolutionary and neonatal science had sought to understand.

Thus laid many of the foundations of modern nuclear physics.

Despite this, and unfairly, experts point out, it has been overshadowed by advocates such as Werner Heisenberg, Paul Dirac, Erwin Schrodinger, Wolfgang Pauli and Niels Bohr.

So much so that the Nobel Foundation awarded him the prize only in 1954 – 28 years after he completed the work for which it was awarded.

There are even those who claim that although the reason they finally recognized him was fair – a new way of describing atomic phenomena – it was not enough, because they believe that Born should share the title of father of quantum mechanics with Niels Bohr.

bridge

Bourne’s life made a bridge between three centuries.

He was born to a Jewish family in Breslau, then Prussia (now Wroclaw, Poland), in 1882. As a result, he was trained in the classical traditions of 19th century science.

Like many Jewish scientists, he had to flee the Nazis, which deprived him of a doctorate and even his citizenship. But in his adopted home, the United Kingdom, he contributed to the development of 20th century science.

But what occupied his mind was the consequences of modern science for the twenty-first century.



A boy talks to King Gustav Adolf VI of Sweden at the Nobel Prize Ceremony in 1954

A boy talks to King Gustav Adolf VI of Sweden at the Nobel Prize Ceremony in 1954

Photo: Getty Images / BBC News Brazil

He believed that no scientist could remain morally neutral in the face of the consequences of his work, no matter how tough his ivory tower, because he was terrified of the many military applications of the science he helped develop.

He wrote that “science in our time has social, economic and political functions, and no matter how far from technical application the work itself is, it is a link in the chain of actions and decisions that determine the fate of the human race . . .”

This fate, he said, is heading toward a nightmare because “reason distinguishes between the possible and the impossible; reason distinguishes between the reasonable and the foolish. Even the possible can be meaningless.”

It was not surprising that a scientist who assumed that one could only determine the probability of the position of an electron in an atom at any time – ignoring Newton’s laws and opening the door to atomic physics – would be interested in such questions.

Throughout his life, Ould followed the advice his father gave him when he was young: never major.

Therefore, he did not stop studying music, art, philosophy and literature.

All this fed his moral thinking.



He was born with his wife, Hedwig, who also corresponded with Einstein

He was born with his wife, Hedwig, who also corresponded with Einstein

Photo: Getty Images / BBC News Brazil

In one of his last articles, he wrote about what he saw as the only hope for humanity’s survival.

He said, “Our hope is based on the union of two spiritual forces: the moral awareness of the inadmissibility of war which turns into the mass murder of defenseless people, and the rational knowledge of the incompatibility of technological war with the survival of the human race.”

If a person wants to survive, he must renounce aggression.

Necessary uncertainty

In 1944, Einstein wrote in another letter to Bourne:

“We’ve become the antithesis of our scientific expectations. You believe in a dice-playing God, and I’m in absolute law and order in a world that exists objectively, and that’s in a foolishly speculative way, I’m trying to understand.” […].

“Even the great early success of quantum theory does not make me believe in the basic game of dice, although I realize that our young colleagues interpret this as a symptom of aging.”

“There is no doubt that the day will come when we shall see which instinct was appropriate.”

A few months before Einstein’s death, Bourne wrote:

“We understand each other on personal matters. Our difference of opinion about quantum mechanics is very small by comparison.”



In addition to making his mark in various fields of physics, from relativity to chemical physics, including optics and elasticity, Bourne was professor of nine Nobel Prize-winning physicists during

In addition to making his mark in various fields of physics, from relativity to chemical physics, including optics and elasticity, Bourne was professor of nine Nobel Prize-winning physicists during the “golden age of physics”.

Photo: BBC News Brazil

In the end, it seems that Einstein was wrong.

This dice game of constant uncertainty seems essential to understanding the infinitely small world.

And for Bourne, uncertainty was also central to life in a world infinitely larger than the one he explored.

He declared, “I believe that ideas such as absolute certainty, absolute accuracy, absolute truth, and so on are the product of imagination which should not be accepted in any field of science.”

“On the other hand, any probabilistic statement is true or false from the point of view of the theory on which it is based.”

“This relaxation of thought seems to me the greatest blessing that modern science has bestowed upon us.”

“Because the belief that there is only one truth, and that you have it for yourself, is the root of all evil in the world.”

– This text was originally published in https://www.bbc.com/portuguese/geral-62476283

#Max #Born #quantum #physicist #warned #world #evil

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.