The other day some guy said to me, “But dude, how do you explain why atoms act differently when observed? It’s like they *know* they are being observed.”
The guys was talking about the uncertainty principal. And possibly the double-slit experiments in the context of quantum mysicism, the idea ” that reality is just a mental construct that we can rearrange and improve, if we are enlightened or determined enough”
Here’s another example: a video from the (infamous) film What The Bleep Do We Know!? which “implicitly advances the theory that not only does human consciousness cause the mysterious collapse of the wave function in quantum mechanics but in fact can control or influence the outcome of the collapse, thus allowing human beings to influence or control events through the power of their mind and quantum mechanics. ”
“The electron decided to act differently as though it was aware it was being watched. It was here that physicists stepped forever into the strange neverworld of quantum events… what does an observer have to do with any of this… the observer collapsed the wave function simply by observing.”
Some instruments, by necessity, alter the state of what they measure.
A simple example is this: if you want to measure your tire pressure using a standard tire gauge, you will, in the course of pressing the gauge to the tire, release some air pressure, thus making your reading of the tire pressure different then the starting pressure before you measured it.
If you’re measuring thermal energy (the temperature of a thing) your thermometer must necessarily absorb or give away some thermal energy such that it comes into relative homeostasis with the thing it’s measuring, thus changing the temperature.
In a circuit, attaching a voltometer affects the current/voltage.
To measure an electron, you have to have a photon/magnetic field/gravity interact with it, and the path of the electron is changed by that interaction. It doesn’t really have much to do with “consciousness” and instead, has more to do with the instrument altering the state of an electron when that instrument interacts with it.
This seems much less mystical and mind-boggling than the stuff that quantum mysticism explores.
But hey, I’m a biomechanist/occupational therapist, not a physicist. Perhaps someone more physicist-y can enlighten me.