‘Quantum mechanics is not a door to vagueness, it’s the opposite.’

A century ago, Quaker Arthur Eddington made headlines with his work on relativity. Friends should still pay attention, says Keith Braithwaite

The large hadron collider at CERN. | Photo: Erwan Martin / Unsplash.

My boss and I were waiting in a client’s reception. On a TV showing rolling news came a piece reporting the shutdown of the CERN physics laboratory, for an upgrade. ‘All that money, and for what?’ my boss sighed. ‘Well,’ I said, ‘on the scale of things that governments do it isn’t that much. And, so far as we know, the human brain is the only part of the universe able to reflect on the rest of the universe, so maybe things like CERN are part of what we are here for.’

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