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How Should Humanity Steer the Future?
January 9, 2014 - August 31, 2014
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It From Bit or Bit From It
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nguyen dai: on 5/2/17 at 7:20am UTC, wrote ...

micheal le: on 2/2/17 at 9:34am UTC, wrote là điều có lợi lành như thế nào? với những con người có...

Judy Nabb: on 5/30/14 at 21:31pm UTC, wrote Sonali, A good essay. I certainly agree and myself discuss that we need to...

James Hoover: on 5/29/14 at 2:56am UTC, wrote Sonali, I also believe that quantum mechanics can be taught in upper...

Janko Kokosar: on 5/28/14 at 8:07am UTC, wrote Dear Mrs Sonali Mohapatra You write similar things and ideas as I if you...

Marc Séguin: on 5/18/14 at 3:42am UTC, wrote Sonali, Thank you for a very interesting essay. I agree with you that we...

Sonali Mohapatra: on 5/16/14 at 18:12pm UTC, wrote Dear Chidi, Thanks a lot for your encouraging comments. It is heartening...

Sonali Mohapatra: on 5/16/14 at 18:04pm UTC, wrote Dear Peter, Thanks a lot for your constructive comments. I am interested...


Joe Fisher: "Dear Steve Agnew, Naturally provided VISIBLE realty am not a silly humanly..." in Can Time Be Saved From...

James Putnam: "Light bends because it is accelerating. It accelerates toward an object..." in Black Hole Photographed...

Steve Agnew: "Stringy and loop quantum are the two big contenders, but neither has a..." in Can Time Be Saved From...

Robert McEachern: "Lorenzo, The nature of "information" is well understood outside of..." in Review of "Foundations of...

Georgina Woodward: "Steve, Lorraine is writing about a simpler "knowing " rather than the..." in The Nature of Time

Steve Agnew: "Knowing information necessarily means neural action potentials. Atom and..." in The Nature of Time

Douglas Hemmick: "begin{quote} For example, in his chapter on Bell's theorem, he concludes..." in Review of "Foundations of...

click titles to read articles

Can Time Be Saved From Physics?
Philosophers, physicists and neuroscientists discuss how our sense of time’s flow might arise through our interactions with external stimuli—despite suggestions from Einstein's relativity that our perception of the passage of time is an illusion.

A devilish new framework of thermodynamics that focuses on how we observe information could help illuminate our understanding of probability and rewrite quantum theory.

Gravity's Residue
An unusual approach to unifying the laws of physics could solve Hawking's black-hole information paradox—and its predicted gravitational "memory effect" could be picked up by LIGO.

Could Mind Forge the Universe?
Objective reality, and the laws of physics themselves, emerge from our observations, according to a new framework that turns what we think of as fundamental on its head.

Dissolving Quantum Paradoxes
The impossibility of building a perfect clock could help explain away microscale weirdness.

May 19, 2019

CATEGORY: How Should Humanity Steer the Future? Essay Contest (2014) [back]
TOPIC: The Quantum Confusion: What to teach? by Sonali Mohapatra [refresh]
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Author Sonali Mohapatra wrote on Apr. 24, 2014 @ 14:30 GMT
Essay Abstract

The basic stalwarts of humanity are health, education and economic growth. In this essay I focus upon the redundancy of our education system and propose a method to update the system to include the basic concepts of today’s research frontiers. By doing this, a larger population will be literate in the basic concepts of quantum mechanics and be introduced to the innate quantum nature of our world. Thus, humanity can be steered faster towards discovery and learning of nature’s mysteries. The basic motivation of this proposal is based on steering humanity on to a faster and more productive path with regards to scientific progress. The essay focuses on a particular approach towards how the scientific community can steer the future of humanity.

Author Bio

The author is a final year Integrated Bs-MS student of Physics at Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Kolkata. She will be joining the PSI program at Perimeter Institute as of August 2014. Sonali is a passionate physicist, debater, voracious reader, singer, composer and Personality Trainer. She is currently writing her first book on PR development titled "Splinter Hut,a journey to the self". Her basic research interests include Quantum gravity and foundational questions in quantum mechanics. She is also an active blogger and poet.

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Joe Fisher wrote on Apr. 30, 2014 @ 16:34 GMT
Dear Ms. Mohepatra,

I hope your excellently written essay does well in the competition. Please forgive me. Reality is unique. Quantum theory is not unique.


Based on my observation, I have concluded that all of the stars, all of the planets, all of the asteroids, all of the comets, all of the meteors, all of the specks of astral dust and all real things have...

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Author Sonali Mohapatra replied on May. 6, 2014 @ 18:15 GMT
Dear Joe,

Thank you for your comments. I like what you meant by "reality is unique and quantum theory is not unique" and agree with you. But quantum theory is one of the theories which essentially captures and explains our reality and I believe that we should teach kids this reality that we are privy to by any means possible. I am not so much convinced by your theory regarding light not travelling as I am unable to find the proof very compelling. Nonetheless, I find your theory really out of the box and interesting.

Thanks a lot for your comments again.

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Mohammed M. Khalil wrote on May. 4, 2014 @ 16:16 GMT
Hi Sonali,

Great essay! I totally agree with you; teaching quantum mechanics as early as possible is very important. I think school curricula should include QM at the level of popular science books, and universities should teach QM to first year students. This will motivate more people to study science. I got interested in physics after reading about relativity and quantum mechanics.

In my essay, I discuss how to improve the way we do science, which includes the necessity of improving education. I would like to take you opinion.

Best regards,


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Author Sonali Mohapatra replied on May. 6, 2014 @ 18:23 GMT
Dear Mohammed,

Thank you for your encouraging comments. I found your essay a very well written and comprehensive read. I agree with you regarding the publication of negative results. This is something that I have been pondering on too. Moreover, I like your deliberations on whether science can be predicted. I would also like to add something to your essay.. on similar lines, I believe that we should write more and more review essays which reach the recent discoveries and inventions to a larger audience. What do you think? I also believe that we should take the traditional practices of debates and elocutions and imagery speaking to science as well so that people become more into it. Debates and elocutions will also park off innovative ideas due to brain storming.


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Peter Jackson wrote on May. 13, 2014 @ 18:22 GMT

That was short but very very sweet, right in line with my own arguments that we should teach a far better way to use the on-board quantum computers in our heads, and that itself will make quantum mechanics comprehensible. I commend you top marks for;

"The creamy layer and the common mass has never been so distanced as it is now and the distance is nowhere so vast as it is in...

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Author Sonali Mohapatra replied on May. 16, 2014 @ 18:04 GMT
Dear Peter,

Thanks a lot for your constructive comments. I am interested in the arguments put forth by you in your essay. You have very rightly provided the example of your nephew's learning. We find similar examples everyday around us. Will rate your essay and comment there soon.



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Chidi Idika wrote on May. 14, 2014 @ 04:58 GMT
Dear Sonali,

I like that you ask the small questions. You say: "Small questions are ignored and we talk in Jargon making sure that the world feels even more alienated."

But I think the main problem is that as far as science itself has no clear answer it develops cold feet about teaching same to children. Just for instance quantum mechanics has more than five different interpretations. And what do we mean by interpretation? Its SIMPLE questions like, "what is a wave function"?

As a child what I disliked most about mathematics was that my teachers didn't border about explaining: why formulas? Why long division? My mathematics teachers favored rote learning, until I got one who didn't. He'll break down concepts like "pi" saying "its the picture in your mind that matters, you might as well call it "ordurwa". Ordurwa was a kind of local snack.

Am definitely going to rate this essay highly but please can you give me your critique of my own approach to these fundamental questions.



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Chidi Idika replied on May. 14, 2014 @ 05:12 GMT

Let me also add that you make great sense about teaching matrix to children.


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Author Sonali Mohapatra replied on May. 16, 2014 @ 18:12 GMT
Dear Chidi,

Thanks a lot for your encouraging comments. It is heartening to see that people feel the same way. Another movement which is rampant right now(I speak for India) is the cropping up of coaching institutes for "preparing" students for higher education by rote learning! I have gained personal satisfaction from self study. By doing loads of trial and error and foolishness, I actually managed to discover mathematical theorems and shortcuts myself (later I was told by my prof that they already existed) but the rediscovery is also important. I like the example you give of your maths teacher. I have seen a trend in many of the textbooks where it is written "the reason behind this statement is beyond the scope of this textbook" and many teachers discourage questions when the whole motivation of science is "why?".

I will definitely read and rate your essay. Please find my comments there.



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Member Marc Séguin wrote on May. 18, 2014 @ 03:42 GMT

Thank you for a very interesting essay. I agree with you that we should re-think the school syllabus to, as you say, "change the overall outlook of the general public motivating them to follow and participate in scientific discussions all around the world". You certainly make a bold proposal in saying that we should teach non commutative algebra and the basic ideas of quantum mechanics early on. I wonder if it has ever been tried?

In my essay, I propose that we should try to put forward a worldwide futurocentric education initiative, aimed at raising the knowledge and awareness of the citizens of the world about the issues that are the most important for the future of humanity. A side goal of the initiative would be to make what is taught in school more relevant to students, hence more motivating. I wonder if the prospect of learning "edgy" modern physics, as opposed to good old classical physics, would make the students more responsive, and encourage them to become scientists themselves...

I hope you do well in this contest, and I've given you a little boost to raise the visibility of your essay. If you have time to read my essay, rate it and comment on it, it would be quite appreciated. I am also interested in finding out the opinion of others concerning which are the most important topics that should be part of a futurocentric curriculum --- besides, of course, quantum mechanics!!! :)


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Janko Kokosar wrote on May. 28, 2014 @ 08:07 GMT
Dear Mrs Sonali Mohapatra

You write similar things and ideas as I if you look into my essay. I gave also Zeilinger's idea to make computer games, where the world is quantum. In truth, such games already exist. Here is one good paper, which better introduce quantum mechanics (QM). One good book for understanding of quantum physics is also Feynmann's one [1]. A good approach to QM is also...

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James Lee Hoover wrote on May. 29, 2014 @ 02:56 GMT

I also believe that quantum mechanics can be taught in upper elementary and high school, but the macro and subatomic can be united like so (my reference in my essay): "It took a high-energy collision of the LHC, for example, to disengage three quarks in a proton. On a comparative larger scale, imagine your body hovering less than one nanometer above your chair’s cushion, averaging out the quantum effects of 7 octillion atoms."

The unimaginable in the macro world of the body can speak to the great vacate areas of the atom.

I would like to see your reaction to my essay.


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Judy Nabb wrote on May. 30, 2014 @ 21:31 GMT

A good essay. I certainly agree and myself discuss that we need to teach how to use our brains in a very different way, and from an early age. You should also see Peter Jackson excellent essay rationalising QM to accord with relativity if you haven't yet.


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micheal le wrote on Feb. 2, 2017 @ 09:34 GMT
là điều có lợi lành như thế nào? với những con người có tương đối ít độ tuổi. gặp đi tinh hơn kịp thời bên trong chuỗi bệnh của hạ bộ không căng con cách thủ đâm cho nam

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nguyen van dai wrote on May. 2, 2017 @ 07:20 GMT


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