Rosenørn – Niels Bohr and Einstein – Quantum Theory

(3.Jan.2020) Today is Friday and it’s a bit drizzly out there. But with 4 deg.C and just a light wind otherwise really quite nice for a midwinter day on 56. deg. northern latitude.

In the HeiligGeist Church community house, a ten min. walk from the café i’m writing this, there’s a new dutch booksale going on. Today the price is 30 DKR (abt. 4,50 dollars).

While browsing the tables on the first day of the sale, Saturday last, I happened to notice one of my favourite history books:

1. M.H. ROSENØRN: GREVE GERT AF HOLSTEN OG NIELS EBBESØN AF NØRRING RIS (Vol.2) (Copenhagen, GAD, 1901, 273p).

But as the (outside) condition of the paper-bound book was (and is) quite shabby, and as I already own a specimen, I thought I might take a chance and wait until prices had halved about a week later, i.e. today.

So here we are; it turns out the book is very nicely preserved inside, being certainly unread as no part of the book has yet been cut open.

The principal text of the book is only 112 pages, but followed by abt. 85 pag. with notes and abt 70 pag. of general register. The gen. register covers both vol. 1 (not present here) and this vol. 2.

Both volumes are rather uncommon, except I should say vol. 1 is really quite rare. There are two editions of vol. 1: A slight volume from 1873 (of which I’ve never seen another apart from the one I own) and the twice as voluminous edition from 1887 (of this I think I’ve perhaps only seen one specimen for sale in the last half dozen years).

Especially the 1887 edition is shock full of facts and discussions you are hardly likely to find anywhere else. But as the author was not a professional historian – being a ‘prefect’ in part of Jutland (Randers) – professional danish historians have studiously endeavoured to avoid mentioning his name or work for at least a century. University ‘doctors’ don’t accept laymen to better them! (a fact I’ve learnt myself, the hard way).

I don’t remember to have ever seen him or his work mentioned in any danish historical examination of the period in question – the years leading up to and around 1340, although almost certainly none would have known the period better than this author.

I’ve seen him mentioned in one swedish historical study and ofcourse he may be mentioned in one or more newer (or older) danish works not known by me.

Especially the notes are rich; here’s a – quite arbitrarily found – specimen quote from page 184-5 (skipping the references):

‘Randers enge følger Gudenå øst og vest for byen, men det af fjorden opstemmede vand oversvømmer dem ved højvande, således at jorden ikke kan dyrkes som mark. Der har da dannet sig en først meget senere bebygget grønning langs Guden(åen), ligesom ved Perth langs Tay.

‘Her norden ved Randers Strand afholdtes mødet (mellem Grev Gert og Niels Ebbesen), og er Niels Ebbesen for at komme dertil ventelig gået over Limfjorden mellem Hals og Storvorde, så at han over Refsnæs gennem Hr.Peter Vendelbos og munkenes besiddelser har kunnet nå til bispeborgen ved Østrup.

‘Ligesom Aarhus Capitel her havde et canonicat Aalbæk, saaledes haves udfærdigelser af Aarhus biskop daterede Østrup, f.ex. biskop Svens brev af 10de Juni 1333, hvorved prior Mathæus i Randers bemyndigedes til at skøde gods i Rougsø og Hald herreder til Aarhus capitel.

‘Ruinen af denne gamle bispeborg ligger paa generalstabens kortplan ‘Hadsund Essenbæk’ lige syd for Støvring præstegaard kort neden for Grønhøj (200 fod). Borgen laa saaledes 5 smaa fjerdingvej Øst for Nord for Randers, lige Nord for Albæk Lo ikke langt fra Albæk kirke og tæt ved et højdepunkt, hvorfra man ser Randers.

‘Voldstedet ligger paa Jens Skjødts – den vestligste Gaard i Østrup lige op til gaardens længer. Efter meddelelse af Kammerherre, amtmand Hoppe er enden af voldstedet skaaren igennem ligesom med en grusgrav, og manm saa da i 1894 enden af fundamenterne af en meget betydelig mur, der har gaaet fra Nord til Syd, og hvis grund er af store kampesten 3-4 alen tyk.

‘Forhv. skolelærer i Ramten, Nissen, der gentagnende har undersøgt forholdene, meddeler, at der kun er et urørt parti af borgpladsen tilbage i dennes nordvestlige hjørne 150 alen langt c. 80 alen bredt, bevoxet med store træer og mange buske, formentlig svarende til 1/6 af ruinens oprindelige størrelse.

‘Hele borgpladsen har en længde i nord og syd af omtrent 400 alen og en bredde i øst og vest af omtr. 280 alen. Graven har en skrænt mod borgpladsen af 9-14 fod. Afstanden mellem de to fundne mure er 25 fod, formodentlig husets bredde.

‘Den ældste bygning synes ødelagt ved brand, thi i grunden til det nyere hus, der siges nedbrudt 1551 af lensmand Hans Stygge, ses et betydeligt kulblandet lag med spor af stærk brand.

‘Fra Østrup førte vejen gennem de østre landsbyer og iøvrigt mest i skellet mellem ager og eng ind til Randers og det store Graabrødre Kloster, syd for hvilket mødet sandsynligvis fandt sted.’

Here’s the last paragraph of the principal text (p. 112):

‘Men af Niels Ebbesens Saga og Valdemar Atterdags Historie kunne vi tildels belæres om, at til at bevare sit land kræves et fast sammenhold mellem alle folkets classer, troskab mod kongehuset, et dygtigt diplomati, en til farvandene svarende søstyrke, en tapper og øvet hær samt vel valgte faste punkter, men først og fremmest en urokkelig beslutning ikke at opgive sig selv’.

At least the last sentence is still very true, obviously. Only you have to accept, I’m afraid, that the Danes have now finally ‘given up on themself’: They have accepted to be merely serfs and vassals of foreign nations, – haven’t they?

2. THE QUANTUM STORY – A History in 40 Moments. By Jim BAGGOTT. Oxfort University Press, 2011/13, Paperback, 469 p.

This large volume appears to be new and unread. Here’s what they say on the backcover:

‘A highly original and engaging account of the most important theory in science’.

‘A truly exceptional book’.

‘The history is as complex and involved as the theory itself, and Jim Baggott’s history-through-vignettes approach brings out a wealth of fascinating detail about the personalities, philosophies and rivalries that guided its course.’

‘Baggott navigates successfully between the Sculla of mathematical rigor and the Charybdis of polular nonsense.’

‘It is often utterly counter-intuitive; somethimes downright bizarre. Physicists ponder its meaning while delighting in its ability to account for the world at the smallest scales. It is quantum theory, and this book tells its story.

‘Presented here in 40 episodes spanning from 1900 to the present, it is a story of exhilaration and despair, of spectacular successes, and the profound challenges remaining today. It features a roll call of great physicists, including Planck, Schrödinger, Heisenberg, Bohr, Einstein, Feynmann, Gell-Mann, Weinberg, Bell, Leggett, and Higgs. But centre stage is the physics itself, and the unfolding of the most beautiful and astonishing concepts the scientific world has ever seen’.

As I’m writing this in downtown Copenhagen the following sample quote may perhaps be appropiate (p.109f) (note 1).

‘Although they were not particularly concerned to devote much time to the elaboration of their philosophy, the physicists of the Copenhagen school were nevertheless aware that their interpretation created considerable problems for the understanding of what constitutes knowledge at the quantum level and the methods of its acquisition. Heisenberg in particular made it his business to raise awareness of these issues in his many public addresses on the subject.

‘The Copenhagen interpretation essentially states that in quantum theory we have reached the limit of what we can know. To try to go beyond the limits is pointless: how can we ever hope to know something that is unknowable? The argument is that any attempt to introduce a new concept to describe an underlying independent reality inevitably involves a reworking of familiar classical concepts and a descent into metaphysics.

‘We always return to the idealized concepts that summarize the fullest extent of our knowledge – waves and particles.

‘This interpretation requires that we accept that we can never ‘know’ quantum concepts. They are simply beyond human experience and are therefore metaphysical. A quantum entity is neither a wave nor a particle. Instead we substitute the appropiate classical concept – wave or particle – as and when necessary.

‘Compare the statement cedited to Bohr:

‘There is no quantum world. There is only an abstract quantum physical description. It is wrong to think that the task of physics is to find out how nature is. Physics concerns what we can say about nature.’

The next chapter of the book ‘Quantum Debate’ has on page 121:

‘Bohr wasn’t sure what to make of Einstein’s remarks. ‘I feel myself in a very difficult position because I don’t understand what precisely is the point which Einstein wants to make’, he said. ‘No doubt it is my fault’.

Just a few remarks:

‘- we can never ‘know’ quantum concepts. They are simply beyond human experience and are therefore metaphysical.’

Remark: by ‘know’ the physicist and/or mathematicians understand ‘something you can express accurately in the language of mathematics’. But certainly humans (but not robots) can know many things not to be expressed in or with numbers.

For instance I once told a female friend where and with what kind of company she had been the night before and how the house looked and it’s neighbourhood. She was understandably shocked, and asked: ‘HOW can you know this?’

Yes, how can you? 1) You have knowledge in your genes (instinct and more?). 2)You may have a sixt sense (from your genes or from telepathy?). 3) You may have the gift of clairvoyance (often from telepathy)?

Incidentally it’s an interesting thought that humans may really more or less experience the world – i.e. have their consciousness INSIDE atoms (and other small particles). That is, we may sense the world from within the atoms, ‘observing’ from inside and out?

But the quantum theorists always talk about observing and measuring particles from or on their outside surface. Even if these humans are in a certain, convoluted way experiencing the world from inside ‘atoms’.

Obviously it’s natural for quantum theorists, like it is for example for photographers, to observe and record the surface of things and to learn about the world only from observing its surface.

However this is merely the modus operandi when left brain dominated humans (and robots) investigate their world. (Link 1)

But some esoteric masters (‘metaphysicists’?) have always insisted, I believe, that ‘atoms’ are living entities. Hence should have consciousness and be able to sense their surroundings.

Compare that the quantum theorists tell us, that quantum particles in fact react to just being observed.

Note 1.
One of my mothers fourtythree cousins was working as a post doctorate researcher (in chemistry?) at the Niels Bohr Institute here in Copenhagen. I never met him, and what makes him worthy of mention is mostly the fact that he appears to have been a voracious book consumer. His kid sister has told me he had his small appartment fitted out with book cases like in a public library; that is the book cases were placed at the walls as well as in the middle of the room. (Link 2)

Link 1.

Photography, Your Brain and Napoleon

Link 2.
https://blocnotesimma.wordpress.com/2013/07/25/en-minderune/

https://aanirfan.blogspot.com/2014/04/links.html

https://aanirfan.blogspot.dk/2017/07/gert-pederson.html

(3./4./10./11./12.Jan.2020)

May be crossposted on http://www.gamleboeger.dk

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