|by Flemming Funch|
That's in New Scientists. I'm glad there are questions that keep physicists up at night. That means that there are people doing science, of course, rather than just sticking with what they think they know. This is one of the questions:
What is reality really?
The material world may, at some level, lie beyond comprehension, but Anton Zeilinger, professor of physics at the University of Vienna, is profoundly hopeful that physicists have merely scratched the surface of something much bigger. Zeilinger specialises in quantum experiments that demonstrate the apparent influence of observers in the shaping of reality. "Maybe the real breakthrough will come when we start to realise the connections between reality, knowledge and our actions," he says. The concept is mind-bending, but it is well established in practice. Zeilinger and others have shown that particles that are widely separated can somehow have quantum states that are linked, so that observing one affects the outcome of the other. No one has yet fathomed how the universe seems to know when it is being watched...