In memory of Bernard d’Espagnat (1921-2015)

We am very sorry to hear of the passing of Bernard d’Espagnat, a distinguished member of our Editorial Board. Prof. d’Espagnat died on 1 August 2015, at age 93 in Paris. He has made important contributions to the foundations of quantum mechanics, and is especially famous for his concept of ‘veiled reality’. He won the 2009 Templeton Prize.

Prof. d’Espagnat had been supporting our journal and the online workshops hosted by the journal. In a letter dated 17 January 2014, he said to me, “I’m all in favor of an extensive study of the conceptual foundations of quantum mechanics and I consider therefore the launching of your journal a very good news.” As to the recent Quantum Foundations Workshop 2015, he wrote to me on 19 March 2015: “I’ll do my best for the workshop but I’m afraid this best will not be much, because of health problems.” Prof. d’Espagnat also made an important contribution to the forthcoming Bell 50 volume edited by Mary Bell and me (which may be his last paper on quantum foundations). When I asked him to contribute to the book, he replied on 4 December 2013: “This is an excellent idea ! And for me, to contribute to this anthology as you suggest will be a great pleasure indeed !”

I knew Bernard more than ten years ago. He was sympathy with my idea of random discontinuous motion and encouraged me to pursue my own research in quantum foundations. He also wrote a few nice words for my first book introducing the idea, “Its very existence is at any rate, an excellent illustration of the extent to which physical data force us to depart from commonsense ideas when we try to depict reality ‘as it really is’.”

Maybe Einstein was indeed right when he said: “The distinction between the past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”

Shan Gao,


9 August 2015

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