Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Stephen Speicher - 1939 - 2007

A few readers here who once frequented the old TEW list will remember Stephen Speicher. Like me, you will be saddened to know he died on March 31, 2007. Obituary is here.

RELATED: Science, Obituary, Objectivism

2 Comments:

Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

I too had frequented the TEW (Theory of Elementary Waves) discussion a few years back and I admired the guy for sticking to his Objectivist view in that the Copenhagen Interpretation (CI) of Physics is flawed, because of its subjective philosophy, ie, Reality exists only whenever there is a conscious observer.

As he was a strong proponent of the laws of causality, I am not surprised that he looked to TEW theory when it first emerged a decade ago as a savior of common sense, and that is causality defined by Ayn Rand's philosophy as opposed to non-causation of physical actions that is proposed by CI , where cause & effects occur simultaneously with no obvious time delay between them regardless of how far away any 2 correlated physical entities (particles) are separated across the universe.

Stephen defended TEW even when the overwhelming evidence of the Innsbruck experiment came out from Vienna University in late 1990s, confirming the view that founders fathers of Quantum Mechanic (Neil Bohr, Born, Heisenberg) had been saying all along about the non-locality of events. The Innsbruck experiment had thus shown that Bell's Theorem had been violated, meaning that the universe is after all a non-local place. His wife, Betsy is also a strong Objectivist and Ayn Rand proponent, where she has tried to argue against non-locality in order to refute it in philosophical terms, with her article here.

I think that it is sad for Objectivists to see one of their member is gone, because I recalled Stephen mentioning in the TEW discussion list that the current shortfall of the theory, is going to be ironed out in the coming years (him & TEW founder - Dr.Lewis Little) that it would account for the double delay experiment which was conducted at Innsbruck, where TEW cannot explain at the moment.

Stephen is a good mate of Prof. Kip Thorne, a leading theoretical physicist in cosmology at CalTech, the one who Stephen Hawking (his close friend) lost a bet to, in their long debate over the years about leaking radiation from a black-hole. I recalled that Stephen who tried to get Kip from the Physics Department and others at Caltech to agree inviting Dr. Little for a lecture on TEW, which was approved.

Stephen, won’t be around to see if TEW will overthrow the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics or some other emerging theory in the future, a bit similar to Einstein who didn’t live to see laser being materialized into something real, since he first proposed that such process (population inversion) would be possible to take place in nature.

4/04/2007 02:19:00 pm  
Blogger Brian S said...

FF,

You wrote:

"Stephen defended TEW even when the overwhelming evidence of the Innsbruck experiment came out from Vienna University in late 1990s, confirming the view that founders fathers of Quantum Mechanic (Neil Bohr, Born, Heisenberg) had been saying all along about the non-locality of events. The Innsbruck experiment had thus shown that Bell's Theorem had been violated, meaning that the universe is after all a non-local place."

No, the Innsbruck experiment does not confirm that the universe is non-local. The hidden assumption in this conclusion is that there is only one universe. In the Many Worlds Explanation the results of the Innsbruck experiment can be explained in terms of locally inaccessable information and subluminal information flow. So, before you can conclude non-locality, you have to rule out Many Worlds (and, indeed, any other explanations that are still standing).

I suspect you are going to tell me Many Worlds cannot be falsified. But you know from your correspondence with David Deutsch that it can be; it's just that the best experiment known requires a quantum AI. Technically difficult does not equate to unfalsifiable.

The Innsbruck experiment falsified various explanations such as TEW, but it did not confirm anything, least of all non-locality.

4/12/2007 08:30:00 pm  

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