August 9, 2005 Even the most ignorant cannot know less than nothing. After all, negative knowledge makes no sense. But, although this may be true in the everyday world we are accustomed to, it has been discovered that negative knowledge does exist in the quantum world. Small objects such as atoms, molecules and electrons behave radically different than larger objects -- they obey the laws of quantum mechanics. What could negative knowledge possibly mean? In short, after I tell you negative information, you will know less. Such strange situations can occur because what it means to know something is very different in the quantum world. In the quantum world, we can know too much, and it is in these situations where one finds negative knowledge. Negative knowledge (or more precisely negative information) turns out to be precisely the right amount to cancel the fact that we know too much. While all this might appear to be very mysterious, negative information can be put on a rigorous footing as can be found by visiting the homepage of quantum physicist, Jonathan Oppenheim at Cambridge University.
See the stories that matter in your inbox every morning