Re: chaos and uncertainty (was seti@home is SORTA WORKING)

Anders Sandberg (
16 Jul 1999 13:07:53 +0200

Rob Harris Cen-IT <> writes:

> I see, in the most part. I just don't get the most juicy bit. How was
> Planck's constant arrived at and declared the limit of all detection and
> computation, regardless of the system in question? Why is tracking the
> momentum AND the position so difficult?

Usually you hear heuristic explanations of the kind "you cannot see a proton without bouncing a photon from it, and that changes its momentum", but the real explanation is based on the math of quantum mechanics. I think it has to do with that certain operators do not commute with each other (AB isn't BA). Hopefully somebody more versed in QM can give the correct explanation.

This is a rather firm limit - somehow I don't think even SIs can edit the commutability of all operators...

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y