The Experiment Which Inspired David Bohm

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

A few weeks ago I published my essay Reflections on Quantum Wholeness. At the time there was one thing lacking, and this was a video of the ink drop experiment which inspired David Bohm. The experiment is described in this diagram below.

Credit: Unknown

Credit: Unknown

I am now grateful to Matthew Curtis who kindly posted this experiment published by New Scientist on the David Bohm Facebook page. Bohm wrote about this experiment in Wholeness and the Implicate Order, explaining how it led him to his great moment of insight as to how particles could be enfolded and unfolded in his search for an ultimately ontological explanation of reality.

Unfortunately I do not have time to really go into detail as to why this is such an interesting template for thinking, but for those of you already familiar with David Bohm, enjoy.

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Reflections on Quantum Wholeness

3 responses to “The Experiment Which Inspired David Bohm

  1. Would be interested to know why it is an interesting template for thinking and what insights Bohm got from this (about enfolding and unfolding), when you have the time 🙂

    • If you do a “Look Inside” the book “The Implicate Order” around page 180 (or search for “cylinder”) you will see Bohm’s explanation.

  2. Thanks Simon.
    For anyone else interested, it’s from page 227 onwards in the link here:

    And my brief summary is that instead of thinking of an electron (say) as a ‘particle’ we might think of it as something that ’emerges’ from the “implicate order” of the underlying reality or the universe, in the same way that the ink drops emerge from the “implicate order” of the viscous fluid in the video above.
    So if we imagine putting one drop of ink into the fluid, turning it a few times, then adding another slightly further on, turning the liquid a few times again and then adding another drop a little further on, and so on… Then when we turned the fluid back again, quickly, the last drop we added would appear and then disappear, then the next would appear and disappear a little further on, and so on. And if we did it quickly then (like an old movie or a stop motion animation) a single ink drop would appear to move through the liquid.
    Perhaps, Bohm says, an electron is not a single ‘particle’ but an ink drop that emerges from the true reality of the underlying universe.

    Thanks again 🙂

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