This tag is for questions about the exact nature of wavefunction collapse.

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Experimental test of the non-statisticality theorem?

Context: The recent paper The quantum state cannot be interpreted statistically by Pusey, Barrett and Rudolph (now On the reality of the quantum state, Nature Physics 8, 475–478 (2012), ...
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9answers
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Is the uncertainty principle a property of elementary particles or a result of our measurement tools?

In many physics divulgation books I've read, this seems to be a commonly accepted point of view (I'm making this quote up, as I don't remember the exact words, but this should give you an idea): ...
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10answers
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What is the difference between a measurement and any other interaction in quantum mechanics?

We've learned that the wave function of a particle collapses when we measure a particle's location. If it is found, it becomes more probable to find it a again in the same area, and if not the ...
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5answers
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Isn't the uncertainty principle just non-fundamental limitations in our current technology that could be removed in a more advanced civilization?

From what I understand, the uncertainty principle states that there is a fundamental natural limit to how accurately we can measure velocity and momentum at the same time. It's not a limit on ...
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10answers
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Why can't the outcome of a QM measurement be calculated a-priori?

Quantum Mechanics is very successful in determining the overall statistical distribution of many measurements of the same process. On the other hand, it is completely clueless in determining the ...
19
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4answers
474 views

Is every quantum measurement reducible to measurements of position and time?

I am currently studying Path Integrals and was unable to resolve the following problem. In the famous book Quantum Mechanics and Path Integrals, written by Feynman and Hibbs, it says (at the beginning ...
18
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6answers
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Is there a difference between observing a particle and hitting it with another particle?

First, let me state that I'm a lot less experienced with physics than most people here. Quantum mechanics was as far as I got and that was about 9 years ago, with no use in the meantime. A lot of ...
13
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5answers
510 views
+50

Simple example showing why measurement & interaction are different

Does someone know of a clear (pedagogical) example where one can really see(with the math) where interaction and measurement are not synonymous in quantum mechanics? I know that every measurement ...
13
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4answers
555 views

How is it possible that quantum phenomenons (e.g. superposition) are possible when all quantum particles are being constantly observed?

I don't understand how quantum mechanics (and therefore also quantum computers) can work given that while we work with quantum states, particles that this quantum state consist of cannot be observed, ...
13
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2answers
564 views

Is the uncertainty principle just saying something about what an observer can know or is it a fundamental property of nature?

I ask this question because I have read two different quotes on the uncertainty principle that don't seem to match very well. There are similar questions around here but I would like an explanation ...
13
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1answer
234 views

Why is QM maximally predictive?

Let's suppose I'm in the lab and I claim that I can predict more than QM can, specifically, I can predict exactly at which moment in time a particle decays. You don't believe me (naturally) so I set ...
11
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3answers
235 views

POVMs that do not require enlargement of the Hilbert space

The usual justification for regarding POVMs as fundamental measurements is via Neumark's theorem, i.e., by showing that they can always be realized by a projective measurement in a larger Hilbert ...
11
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3answers
854 views

Bell's theorem and why nonlocality is problematic

I generally hear it assumed that Bell's inequality implies violation of counterfactual definiteness, because locality is considered sacrosanct. I understand of course that measurable violations of ...
11
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1answer
521 views

The measure problem in the anthropic principle

The anthropic principle is based upon Bayesian reasoning applied to the ensemble of universes, or parts thereof, conditioned upon the existence of conscious observers. That still leaves us with the ...
11
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1answer
312 views

Are Thomas Breuer's subjective decoherence and Scott Aaronson's freebits with knightian freedom the same things in essence?

In his remarkable works (1,2 and their recent development 3) Thomas Breuer proves by diagonalization the phenomenon that the observer cannot distinguish all phase space states of a system where he is ...
10
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6answers
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If I drop a leaf twice from the height of a tree in a completely controlled environment, will the trajectory in each case be the same?

Putting my question in other words, can earth form again if a similar initial universe condition is given? The uncertainty principle says that we cannot tell with certainty the position of a particle ...
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7answers
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What is an observer in quantum mechanics?

My question is not about (pseudo) philosophical debate; it concerns mathematical operations and experimental facts. What is an observer? What are the conditions required to be qualified of observer, ...
10
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6answers
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What constitutes an observation/measurement in QM?

Fundamental notions of QM have to do with observation, a major example being The Uncertainty Principle. What is the technical definition of an observation/measurement? If I look at a QM system, it ...
10
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5answers
582 views

Does an electron move from one excitation state to another, or jump?

I'm wondering, when an electron changes state, does it move from one state to another over some (very small) time period? Or does it change from one state to another in no time? If the former, what ...
10
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3answers
779 views

Can the path of a charged particle under the influence of a magnetic field be considered piecewise linear?

Ordinarily we consider the path of a charged particle under the influence of a magnetic field to be curved. However, in order for the trajectory of the particle to change, it must emit a photon. ...
10
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2answers
129 views

Quasiparticles in Bohmian mechanics

My questions are about de Broglie-Bohm "pilot wave" interpretation of quantum mechanics (a.k.a. Bohmian mechanics). Do quasiparticles have any meaning in Bohmian mechanics, or not? Specifically, is ...
10
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2answers
323 views

QM: why is reflection of a photon not a measurement?

Many experiments with entangled photons are sending them through different glass fiber cables (e.g. in opposite directions for spatial separation). The photons will inevitably be reflected many times ...
10
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1answer
251 views

Can observers be particles?

Generally Quantum mechanics divides a system what is to be observed and an observer. This is generally taken to be some human being. But why restrict it to such? Why not a particle? Is there a good ...
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2answers
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Is the collapse of the wave function inherently time asymmetric?

Schroedinger's equation, as we all know, is time symmetric. In quantum field theory, we have to come up with a more sophisticated CPT reversal, but the essential point remains unchanged. However, the ...
9
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1answer
66 views

Accurate quantum state estimation via “Keeping the experimentalist honest”

Bob has a black-box, with the label "V-Wade", which he has been promised prepares a qubit which he would like to know the state of. He asks Alice, who happens also to be an experimental physicist, to ...
8
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4answers
950 views

How can things be chaotic on a quantum level, yet tangible on a classical level?

This may seem basic, but I am wondering if anyone has any input on this topic. It doesn't make any sense to me (I mean I don't need to use the Schrödinger equation to find my cell phone...). I just do ...
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3answers
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Eigenstate of position+momentum?

I'm studying Quantum Mechanics on my own, so I'm bound to have alot of wrong ideas - please be forgiving! Recently, I was thinking about the quantum mechanical assertion (postulate?) that states with ...
8
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3answers
284 views

Is the Copenhagen interpretation merely an approximation to quantum mechanics?

So, I'm reading Max Tegmark's Our Mathematical Universe (Knopf edition, p. 229). He's discussing Everett/MWI for a bit and I'm not really paying attention and then I wake up to this: [I]t's time ...
8
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1answer
214 views

Any link between decoherence and renormalization?

I have been studying decoherence in quantum mechanics (not in qft, and don't know how it is described there) and renormalization in QFT and statistical field theory, I found at first a similarity ...
7
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4answers
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Measuring the spin of a single electron

Is it possible to measure the spin of a single electron? What papers have been published on answering this question? Would the measurement require a super sensitive SQUID, Superconductive Quantum ...
7
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5answers
574 views

How isolated must a system be for it's wave function to be considered not collapsed?

As an undergrad I was often confused over people's bafflement with Schodinger's cat thought experiment. It seemed obvious to me that the term "observation" referred to the Geiger counter, not the ...
7
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1answer
212 views

Does measurement, quantum in particular, always increase the total entropy?

Measurement of a quantum observable (in an appropriate, old-fashioned sense) necessarily involves coupling to a system with a macroscopically large number of degrees of freedom. Entanglement with this ...
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2answers
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Can I steal your electron?

The following paragraph has been extracted from the Wikipedia (Atomic orbitals): Simple pictures showing orbital shapes are intended to describe the angular forms of regions in space where the ...
6
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4answers
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Why is the Heisenberg uncertainty principle stated the way it is?

I spent a long time being confused by the Heisenberg uncertainty principle in my quantum chemistry class. It is frequently stated that the "position and momentum of a particle cannot be ...
6
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2answers
940 views

Is the expectation value always an eigenvalue?

Does the expectation value of an observable must be equal to an eigenvalue of the corresponding operator? I already know that 0 is not an eigenvalue, but is there any other examples?
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3answers
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Triple slit experiment

If the experiment is done with single photons and a "detector" at one of the slits the interference pattern breaks down. What happens if three slits are used with single photons and a "detector" at, ...
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3answers
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Electrons - What is Waving?

If an electron is a wave, what is waving? So many answers on the internet say "the probability that a particle will be at a particular location"... so... the electron is a physical manifestation of ...
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3answers
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Can randomness exist?

Considering every cause has an action, how can anything be random? For something to happen, it must have a cause and through that definition it can't be random. Considering this why are many quantum ...
6
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3answers
345 views

What is the physical meaning of weak expectation values?

In the two-state formalism of Yakir Aharanov, the weak expectation value of an operator $A$ is $\frac{\langle \chi | A | \psi \rangle}{\langle \chi | \psi \rangle}$. This can have bizarre properties. ...
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8answers
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What exactly is the 'observer' in physics and/or quantum mechanics? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: nature of an observer For instance, in the double slit experiment, what is exactly defined as an observer? I remember from somewhere, light is also an observer?
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Schrodinger's dead cat when the evidence is destroyed

In the classic (and morbid) Schrodinger's Cat thought experiment, we imagine putting a cat into a box with a vial of poison which will be triggered by a quantum detectors. We set up a radioactive ...
5
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3answers
317 views

Confusion about wavefunction separability

A wavefunction is inherently a multi-particle function. If you have a container that is perfectly isolated from the external universe (not possible, but just imagine it) and filled with $n$ ...
5
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4answers
961 views

What is the meaning of uncertainty in Heisenberg's uncertainty principle?

The Heisenberg's uncertainty principle states the following: $$\Delta p \cdot \Delta x \ge \frac{h}{4\pi}.$$ While studying for my high school physics exams, I fooled myself into believing that I ...
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4answers
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How does a state vector be projected onto an eigenspace after measurement

In http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Measurement_in_quantum_mechanics#Degenerate_spectra, it is said that If there are multiple eigenstates with the same eigenvalue (called degeneracies),..., The ...
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3answers
485 views

Information conservation during quantum measurement

Consider the following experiment. I take a spin-$\frac{1}{2}$ particle and make a $\sigma_x$ measurement (measure the spin in the $x$ direction), then make a $\sigma_y$ measurement, then another ...
5
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1answer
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Maximum probability of success for distinguishing between two pure states with one measurement

Suppose you have the states such that $\langle \psi_1| \psi_2 \rangle = \cos(\alpha)$ and you have one measurement to distinguish between the two. It is claimed that the probability of success at ...
5
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5answers
306 views

Can decoherence work when the environment itself is in a superposition without invoking collapse or splitting?

Decoherence is often presented as a program to solve the measurement problem using only the bare bones quantum mechanics framework of a Hilbert space and unitary Schrödinger time evolution. As ...
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4answers
369 views

Are photons deterministic?

I propose the following scenario: At $t=0$, a photon is emitted from a star. At $t=n$, said photon is received and interpreted by some detector. My question is whether or not it is accurate to say ...
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7answers
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Why is Heisenberg's uncertainty principle not an experimental error since it is the error created by photons striking on elementary particles?

Why is Heisenberg's uncertainty principle not an experimental error since it is the error created by photons striking on elementary particles?
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5answers
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If the size of universe doubled

My question is silly formulated, but I want to know if there is some sensible physical question buried in it: Suppose an exact copy of our universe is made, but where spatial distances and sizes are ...