Some of the most interesting conversations I’ve had in my life have been with Ted Jacobson, a theoretical physicist at the University of Maryland. A musician, an amateur baker, and co-creator of loop quantum gravity, he is deeply self-reflective—a man who always questions his own thinking, who used to criticize string theory but then came to admire it, and who finds teaching students not a burden but a source of scientific inspiration. In this interview, he explains quantum entanglement as a type of holism—collections of objects can have properties that do not derive from the individual objects. The filmmaker is Gary Smaby, who was an artist-in-residence at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara in 2012, at the same time I was the writer-in-residence there.

 

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