TED Conversations

Manyika Sakambuki

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Mention one scientific theory you think needs adjustment. Why do you think that way?

Our assumptions fashion how we see and make decisions. in the past, astronomy was defined as the study of how heavenly bodies move around the earth because it was believed that the earth was the center of the solar system. that was until a Polish Astronomer- Nicolai Copernicus changed our thinking. same as when the atom was thought to be the smallest particle until electrons, neutrinos, etc. were discovered. bring forth your ideas!


Closing Statement from Manyika Sakambuki

Ok thanks! Turns out that all theories which have no direct application to the physical world wont hang around for long. Most likely, they'll stay as just ideas of the 'geniuses' which have no proof but only serve to quench our thirst for understanding certain things that seem hard to understand e.g. black holes, perpetuity of life, being able to control infinitesimally small stuff(nano techs), death... and we can go on and on. This has been a useful conversation.

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    Mar 14 2013: The assumption by nearly half of all quantum physicists that the universe is mechanical rather than organic needs to be more widely discussed. Why do I think this way? Because I was forced to change my opinion after studying the evidence.
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      Mar 14 2013: The internet article that reports on what various proportions of quantum physicists believe about such matters has been mentionned here before but no one has responded to requests for a link that allows anyone to read it for themselves. Is this the paper you are interpreting in this way and that seems to be the basis for a couple of recent internet news articles: http://arxiv.org/pdf/1301.1069v1.pdf? By the way, for anyone interested, this is readable by anyone. It is from an informal poll of 33 physicists, philosophers, and mathematicians who attended a conference in 2011 and were permitted to vote multiple times or to abstain. The authors say upfront that "our poll cannot claim to be representative of the community at large." It is very much not a representative sample- in fact the people's names are in the appendix. 9 of 33 are from a single institution specializing in optics in Austria. Further, the poll does not distinguish how the quantum scientists voted as opposed to the scientists who were not quantum scientists, the philosophers, or the mathematicians. Still, only 6%, or two of those assembled (or one voting twice) believe that the observer plays a physical role (for example in inducing physical results through consciousness). There is nothing in the survey that actually speaks to the issue of whether even this tiny and non-representative assembly believes the universe is mechanical or "organic."
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      Mar 15 2013: Physicists are not biologists. If you want to argue the semantics of "organic", you should have addressed biologists. Perhaps you should choose a different word, since physicists will openly admit that Carbon exists elsewhere in the universe. Most also believe that life exists elsewhere in the universe. Why would you assume otherwise?
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        Mar 15 2013: Indeed it is simple enough to find scientific report of complex organic matter in the universe. And I smiled to read your writing that physicists "openly admit" carbon exists in the universe. It is possible that some people (though not quantum physicists!) are confusing this finding with the idea that ALL material in the universe is organic.

        I think the idea of all matter being sentient may be part of Deepak Chopra's teachings along with the idea that the multiverse theory in quantum mechanics means people can choose their own reality.

        Those who make claims here about what all, most, or various percentages of quantum physicists believe seem reluctant to share their sources for these claims.
    • Mar 15 2013: Grace, could you give your definition of the word 'organic' in this context? You do not appear to be using it in a way I am familiar with.

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