Why Quantum Theory Is Misunderstood

When popular culture appropriates complex scientific theories, such as quantum mechanics, Joe Schmoe opines all over the Internet. Is it worth bringing science to the mainstream?

What's the Latest Development?


When Brian Cox, a particle physicist at Manchester University, recently gave a lecture on quantum mechanics to a popular audience, he uttered the phrase, 'everything is connected to everything else'. It means the subatomic constituents of your body are constantly changing in response to changes occurring at points at some arbitrary distance, say at the far end of the Universe. While Cox's statement is correct, it does not imply that we are part of a universal consciousness or any other loose metaphor to complex quantum mathematics.

What's the Big Idea?

Given the abuse which inevitably occurs when complex scientific theories are brought down to popular culture, think vaccines and climate change, is it worth it for scientists to explain ideas that most of us simply do not have the training to fully comprehend? Yes, it is, says Cox. "Recognizing the innate human desire to be dazzled is the key to understanding why some people are drawn to pseudo-scientific drivel; it delivers wonder, albeit chimeric. But herein lies a clue as to where the cure for irrationality lies, because reality is strange and beautiful enough to satisfy the most veracious imagination."

Photo credit: shutterstock.com

'Upstreamism': Your zip code affects your health as much as genetics

Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."

Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
  • Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
  • Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
Keep reading Show less

Supreme Court to hear 3 cases on LGBT workplace discrimination

In most states, LGBTQ Americans have no legal protections against discrimination in the workplace.

(Photo by Andres Pantoja/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The Supreme Court will decide whether the Civil Rights Act of 1964 also applies to gay and transgender people.
  • The court, which currently has a probable conservative majority, will likely decide on the cases in 2020.
  • Only 21 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws effectively extending the Civil Rights of 1964 to gay and transgender people.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists discover how to trap mysterious dark matter

A new method promises to capture an elusive dark world particle.

Surprising Science
  • Scientists working on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) devised a method for trapping dark matter particles.
  • Dark matter is estimated to take up 26.8% of all matter in the Universe.
  • The researchers will be able to try their approach in 2021, when the LHC goes back online.
Keep reading Show less

Afghanistan is the most depressed country on Earth

No, depression is not just a type of "affluenza" — poor people in conflict zones are more likely candidates

Image: Our World in Data / CC BY
Strange Maps
  • Often seen as typical of rich societies, depression is actually more prevalent in poor, conflict-ridden countries
  • More than one in five Afghans is clinically depressed – a sad world record
  • But are North Koreans really the world's 'fourth least depressed' people?
Keep reading Show less