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Jack Woehr

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The Distribution of the Solar System is Quantized

January 15, 2011

There are, as they say, "two kinds of" quantum theorists: those who believe quantum mechanics is a phenomenon of the subatomic world, and those who see quantum systems everywhere and believe that the quantum rules of particle physics represent a class instance of a general phenomenology of quantum systems.

I'm of the latter affiliation. Recent research, noted in books like Susan Casey's The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks and Giants of the Ocean demonstrate that the operation of ocean waves conforms to Heisenberg's equations of motion.

But it's today that I noticed the forest we live in, as opposed to the trees. Look at this Wikipedia map showing the distribution of asteroids in our solar system. Quantized as all heck, ain't it? Not the quantization of an atom, not an onionskin model of the atom or anything like it, but demonstrating as large as it can be writ that the quantum approach we take to particle physics is a mathematical artifact of our own cognitive approach to perceiving reality, and not a magical property of the subatomic world.

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