Jeffrey Bub

Distinguished Professor in the Department of Philosophy, the Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer Science, and the Institute for Physical Science and Technology at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Quantum foundations and quantum information. The question of how to make sense of quantum mechanics continues to intrigue me. Roughly speaking, we can understand classical mechanics as an observer-independent description of a universe of objects with properties that change according to dynamical rules. If we attempt to understand quantum mechanics in this way, we generate conceptual puzzles and paradoxes. By and large, philosophers of physics have tended to side with Einstein against Bohr, opting for a variety of proposals that attempt to restore core features of the classical ideal. I have become rather disillusioned with this approach. As I see it, the current locus of interesting foundational work in quantum mechanics is in the new fields of quantum information, quantum computation, and quantum cryptography, where the focus is on understanding and exploiting quantum entanglement as a new resource — the “spooky action at a distance” that Einstein took as indicating the incompleteness of the theory in his discussions with Bohr, and Schrödinger regarded as “the characteristic trait of quantum mechanics, the one that enforces its entire departure from classical lines of thought.” I am interested in understanding quantum entanglement: what it is, what people have said about it, and what you can do with it. See the graphic work I co-authored with Tanya Bub, Totally Random: Why Nobody Understands Quantum Mechanics.