Playing Dice

Playing Dice

Neil Turok

Bohr had a background in philosophy as well as mathematics and an exceptionally agile and open mind. His writings are a bit mystical and also somewhat impenetrable. His main role at the Solvay Conference seems to have been to calm everyone down and reassure them that despite all the craziness, everything was going to work out fine. Somehow Bohr had a very deep insight that quantum theory was consistent. It’s clear he couldn’t prove it. Nor could he convince Einstein.

Einstein was very quiet at the Fifth Solvay meeting and there are few comments from him in the recorded proceedings. He was deeply bothered by the random probabilistic nature of quantum theory as well as the abstract nature of the mathematical formalism. He famously remarked (on a number of occasions), “God does not play dice!” to which Bohr finally replied, “Einstein, stop telling God how to run the world.”


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