Management Consultant and Physicist
Nuclear Physicist (Germany)
Dr. Holm Gero Hümmler studied physics at the Goethe-University Frankfurt, Germany. During his diploma thesis in nuclear physics, he spent several months at CERN in Geneva. He did his Ph.D. at the Munich Technical University, working at the Max Planck Institute for Physics in Munich – ironically at a time when one the institute’s directors was the famous proponent of quantum mysticism Hans-Peter Dürr. The actual experiment (STAR) was located at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Long Island, New York, where Holm Hümmler spent several months setting up the detector and developing analysis software. He left science in 2001, working first for The Boston Consulting Group, then for a smaller German consultancy before starting his own management consulting business, Uncertainty Managers Consulting, in 2007. He specializes in numerical models for future business planning across various industries, but with some focus on the pharmaceuticals and healthcare sector. He lives and works in Bad Homburg, on the outskirts of Frankfurt. Holm Hümmler has been active in the German skeptics’ movement and the GWUP organization since the late 1990s. Since the formation of a regional GWUP chapter in the Frankfurt area, he has taken on the role of regional spokesman and convenor. After some years in the board of editors of the Skeptiker magazine, he has shifted his attention to investigating some of the more unusual technical claims skeptics encounter in Germany, mostly from the areas of pseudo-physics, business esoterics, modern conspiracy theories and supernatural claims from the world of martial arts. Since then, he has been invited to talk at the German SkepKon conferences almost annually, regularly speaks at GWUP’s different local chapters and occasionally participates in science slams. Through GWUP, he is available as an expert for the media, mostly on conspiracy theories like chemtrails. In 2008, he investigated the abilities of Shaolin monks on the Galileo Mystery TV show. Holm Hümmler’s first skeptical book, Relativer Quantenquark, appeared in April 2017. It deals with pseudo-physical claims in esoterics and alternative medicine, explaining the basics of relativity and quantum mechanics along the way. In parallel, he started writing the blog quantenquark.com to address more current developments that did not find room in the book.
Relative Quantum Nonsense: Don't be Fooled by False Physics!
Quantum healing is considered a form of spiritual healing, but quantum healers claim to actually practice physics. Deepak Chopra explains quantum healing as a nonlocal physical effect on the “quantum mechanical body”. Alternative healers turned management consultants offer business advice based on information from a quantum physical zero-point field. In Germany’s well-reputed newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine, the national football team’s coach is seriously called upon to create a quantum physical entanglement between his players. Tachyons are hypothetical particles moving faster than the speed of light. According to experimental knowledge they don’t exist, but massages with tachyons are commonly offered, especially in Belgium and the Netherlands. From quantum homeopathy via quantum acupuncture to quantum astrology, there is hardly an esoterical business not offered in the form of pseudo-physics. Modern physics has become a common explanation for alternative practitioners, happily mixed with Huna teachings, chakras and TCM meridians.
Using Einstein, Heisenberg or Bohr to justify one’s claims deters potential critics, and well-founded criticism from actual physicists is rare. Often, quacks, conspiracy theorists and woo-peddlers can even quote famous scientists or press releases from renowned institutes, which sound stunningly similar to their own claims. As a result, many non-scientists are under the impression that modern physics can be used as a justification for a seemingly limitless array of supernatural claims. Others may have a strange feeling that something about Deepak Chopra’s claims just cannot be right, but they lack the physics background to actually know that or even refute such claims in a public discussion.
There are, however, some simple red flags to indicate quantum nonsense in an argument and ways to expose them. There are also simple questions to ask which can indicate whether the theory of relativity or quantum mechanics can have any kind of relevance for a situation – in other words, whether they actually yield different results than ordinary, classical physics.