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I'm interested in the extent to which quantum physical effects are seen at a macroscopic level. I might get some of the physics wrong, but I think I'll get it close enough that I can ask the question:

Let's sat that we create a bonfire and let it burn until it burns out. As the smoke rises from the fire, turbulence takes over and the smoke particles and steam and hot air all mixed together. By the end of the night when the fire has burned out, the collection of molecules in the system are in some position/velocity X.

My question: Let's assume the multiverse interpretation of quantum physics. How many possible end state superpositions can there be in this situation? Ok, that's imprecise and incorrect because it would actually be an uncountable infinitude of possible end states. How about this: Given the end state that we observed, what percentage of the end state superposition would be "visually" indiscernable from the end state that we observed so that each molecule would be in nearly the same end state across that portion of the multiverse?

Or put another way: Do quantum effects sneak into everyday life fast enough that we can observe them? If we are effected by quantum physics at all, I imagine this is roughly a function of the timescale of the chaos effects.

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I am afraid I don't understand this question at all. Could you made the end of your third paragraph more clear? What is a "percentage of superposition"? And what portion of the multiverse are we talking about? As for the fourth paragraph, again not clear. Quantum effects are so fast that we can't observe them. If they were slow we could actually observe decoherence (which we can't). –  Marek Mar 18 '11 at 12:02
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What is your question: Bonfire and quantum mechanics or quantum mechanics in "everyday life" in general? Life and bonfires are chemistry, and "influence" in the sense of Your question does not exist. –  Georg Mar 18 '11 at 12:37
    
I'm not sure about bonfires but as far as quantum effects "sneaking" into everyday life I think the best indicator of that are recent discoveries showing the presence of quantum effects in avian (birds) navigation and photosynthesis among others. Google "avian compass" for starters! –  user346 Mar 18 '11 at 13:49
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2 Answers

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Deterministic chaos is a special branch of physics that allows estimating the collective behavior of complex systems which are governed by deterministic differential equations. Your example with the bonfire and the state of the molecules does not fall into chaotic theory, whether classical or quantum. It falls to the chapter of thermodynamics, an axiomatic system of physics that describes the collective behavior of matter generally without entering on the substrate of the underlying equations, whether classical or quantum.

I am less familiar with Quantum Chaos Quote: Quantum Chaos is a branch of physics which studies how chaotic classical dynamical systems can be described in terms of quantum theory. The primary question that quantum chaos seeks to answer is, "What is the relationship between quantum mechanics and classical chaos? Since your example is not classically chaotic, again it is not in the regime covered by quantum chaos.

Maybe you should rethink what you mean by chaos, since it is not the physics definition?

If one wades into the many probable outcomes quantum mechanical description, that does not mean that one is dealing with a system that is chaotic, in the definition of chaos in physics.

As for our second formulation: We are absolutely affected by quantum mechanics, see the answers to the question you raised on the subject.

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Your question is really about the relationship between chaos in classical mechanics and quantum physics. The many worlds interpretation (MWI) is probably not the best way to look at the problem. MWI is an interpretation of QM, which like all the others is not effective as a real theory. Interpretations are not testable or falsifiable in the way a real theory is. So if you are to use interpretations, and these do have some utility, I would recommend the Bohmian quantum mechanics. This is not to promote any hidden variable agenda, nonlocal or otherwise, but more because the interpretation involves putting quantum mechanics in this classical-like setting. In this way you can potentially begin to examine the quantization of chaotic Hamiltonian systems.

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