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.
Jonathon's article on negative information can be found here and the Wheel of Fortune image came from Wikipedia.
Via Slashdot and this is the full text of the original article that appeared in Nature magazine.
About the Author
Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks.
All articles by Mike Hanlon