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Back to Zeno, again and again… September 7, 2008

Posted by Alexandre Borovik in Uncategorized.
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A very interesting survey of the old conundrum written by a physicist, Zurab Silagadze.  Abstract:

“No one has ever touched Zeno without refuting him”. We will not refute Zeno in this paper. Instead we review some unexpected encounters of Zeno with modern science. The paper begins with a brief biography of Zeno of Elea followed by his famous paradoxes of motion. Reflections on continuity of space and time lead us to Banach and Tarski and to their celebrated paradox, which is in fact not a paradox at all but a strict mathematical theorem, although very counterintuitive. Quantum mechanics brings another flavour in Zeno paradoxes. Quantum Zeno and anti-Zeno effects are really paradoxical but now experimental facts. Then we discuss supertasks and bifurcated supertasks. The concept of localization leads us to Newton and Wigner and to interesting phenomenon of quantum revivals. At last we note that the paradoxical idea of timeless universe, defended by Zeno and Parmenides at ancient times, is still alive in quantum gravity. The list of references that follows is necessarily incomplete but we hope it will assist interested reader to fill in details.”

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