This tag is for questions relating to what, if anything, the quantum mechanical formalism and experimental results say about the way the world works.

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64
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6answers
27k views

Is the universe fundamentally deterministic?

I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask this question. I realise that this maybe a borderline philosophical question at this point in time, therefore feel free to close this question if you ...
13
votes
2answers
676 views

Should it be obvious that independent quantum states are composed by taking the tensor product?

My text introduces multi-quibt quantum states with the example of a state that can be "factored" into two (non-entangled) substates. It then goes on to suggest that it should be obvious1 that the ...
25
votes
7answers
7k views

Why do people still talk about bohmian mechanics/hidden variables [closed]

I was reading the Feynman lectures in physics and after thinking about it for a while it seems particularly unreasonable to talk about hidden variables. Let us say that the electron has some internal ...
12
votes
6answers
3k views

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 ...
8
votes
4answers
3k views

On the nature of the collapse of the wave function

The collapse of the wave function by measurements is one of the most mysterious properties of quantum mechanics. At what scale does the wave function collapse? What are the conditions for a ...
6
votes
2answers
661 views

What's wrong with this experiment showing that either FTL communication is possible or complementarity doesn't hold?

The assumptions are: Alice and Bob have perfectly synchronized clocks Alice and Bob have successfully exchanged a pair of entangled photons The idea is simply to have Alice and Bob perform the ...
13
votes
5answers
2k views

Consequences of the new theorem in QM?

It seems there is a new theorem that changes the rules of the game in the interpretational debate on QM: http://www.nature.com/news/quantum-theorem-shakes-foundations-1.9392 Does this only leave ...
23
votes
6answers
1k views

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 ...
18
votes
5answers
2k views

What combinations of realism, non-locality, and contextuality are ruled out in quantum theory?

Bell's inequality theorem, along with experimental evidence, shows that we cannot have both realism and locality. While I don't fully understand it, Leggett's inequality takes this a step further and ...
23
votes
5answers
6k views

Why do people rule out local hidden variables?

I bet the automatic response to my question would be "Bell's theorem" and of course I am not disputing Bell's proof. I am however uncertain of one of his assumptions. The so called "no conspiracy" ...
10
votes
6answers
2k views

Will Determinism be ever possible?

What are the main problems that we need to solve to prove Laplace's determinism correct and overcome the Uncertainty principle?
3
votes
2answers
1k views

EPR-type experiments and faster-than-light communication using interference effects as signaling mechanism

I understand that faster-than-light communication is impossible when making single measurements, because the outcome of each measurement is random. However, shouldn't measurement on one side collapse ...
2
votes
5answers
451 views

Wave/particle duality

Apologies if this has been asked before (I did check and I believe it wasn't). I have a question about the particle/wave duality of photons (or other particles). Depending on what and how we measure ...
8
votes
5answers
960 views

Quantum entanglement and spooky action at a distance

When quantum entanglement is explained in "layman's terms", it seems (to me) that the first premise, that we have to accept on faith, is that a particle doesn't have a certain property (the particle ...
7
votes
5answers
696 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

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 ...
15
votes
5answers
2k views

The transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics

John Cramer’s transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics (TIQM) is billed as resolving the fuzzy agnosticism of the Copenhagen interpretation while avoiding the alleged ontological excesses of ...
7
votes
2answers
695 views

Many-worlds: how often is the split how many are the universes? (And how do you model this mathematically.)

When I read descriptions of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, they say things like "every possible outcome of every event defines or exists in its own history or world", but is this ...
0
votes
2answers
279 views

Uncertainty and wave-trains

My textbook and the following extract from feynman's lectures present the same idea regarding wavetrains and uncertainty in their wavelengths. Why is it that a wavetrain confined to some space has an ...
94
votes
3answers
16k views

How come some people are claiming that the Big Bang never happened?

A news story is going viral on social media networks claiming that two physicists have found a way to eliminate the Big Bang singularity, or in layman's terms (as claimed by many sensationalist news ...
21
votes
2answers
733 views

What is the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum field theory?

I am most interested in interpretational differences due to the fact that quantum field theory is relativistic while quantum mechanics is not. By "Copenhagen interpretation" I mean a minimal ...
19
votes
3answers
868 views

Classical and quantum probabilities in density matrices

In textbooks, it is sometimes written that a mixed state can be represented as mixture of $N$ (I assume here $N<+\infty$) quantum pure states $|\psi_i\rangle$ with classical probabilities $p_i$: ...
15
votes
13answers
5k views

Arguments for and against Many Worlds?

I would like to hear the best arguments for and against the Many Worlds interpretation of QM.
5
votes
5answers
838 views

Is the wave function objective or subjective?

Here is a question I am curious about. Is the wave function objective or subjective, or is such a question meaningless? Conventionally, subjectivity is as follows: if a quantity is subjective then ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

How does Bell's theorem rule out the possibility of local hidden variables?

It seems to be common consensus that the world is non-deterministic and this is proved by Bell's theorem. But even though Bell's experiments proved that the theory of quantum mechanics work, How does ...
11
votes
4answers
617 views

What is an interpretation of quantum mechanics?

In the sense of "Copenhagen Interpretation", what exactly is an interpretation? What purpose does an interpretation serve? Can an interpretation be tested or even be correct or incorrect independent ...
2
votes
2answers
4k views

What is wrong with the De Broglie–Bohm theory a.k.a “Causal Interpretation” of quantum theory? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why do people still talk about bohmian mechanics/hidden variables I've heard of De Broglie–Bohm theory a.k.a causal interpretation of quantum theory. The predictions ...
2
votes
0answers
212 views

Testing Many-Worlds Interpretation (MWI) with a causality-violating configuration of “superluminal cables”

Suppose we managed to arrange a causality-violating transmission of data with hypothetical “superluminal cables” (SLC; see both links for respective descriptions) and expect, similarly to ideas ...
2
votes
3answers
496 views

What happens with a tunneling particle when its momentum is imaginary in QM?

In classical mechanics the motion of a particle is bounded if it is trapped in a potential well. In quantum mechanics this is no longer the case and there is a non zero probability of the particle to ...
0
votes
1answer
178 views

The System and the Measuring Gadget

In Quantum Mechanics the value of an observable results from the interaction between the "system" with the "Measuring gadget". But when the experimenter[or the technologist concerned] is ...
17
votes
9answers
2k views

“Reality” of EM waves vs. wavefunction of individual photons - why not treat the wave function as equally “Real”?

In thinking how to ask this question (somewhat) succinctly, I keep coming back to a Microwave Oven. A Microwave Oven has a grid of holes over the window specifically designed to be smaller in ...
11
votes
4answers
939 views

Can quantum mechanics really be the same as underlying deterministic theory?

I am perplexed by recent papers by 't Hooft giving an explicit construction for an underlying deterministic theory based on integers that is indistinguishable from quantum mechanics at experimentally ...
16
votes
3answers
1k views

How much is quantum computation changing the interpretation of quantum theory, and, if at all, how?

At the beginning of quantum computation, David Deutsch made a strong claim that the Many Worlds interpretation of quantum theory was at the foundation of his ability to do what he did. There was a lot ...
7
votes
6answers
1k views

Maxim Raykin's “solution to the measurement problem” using infinitely many derivatives

Recently I was made aware of the following arXiv preprint by Maxim Raykin: Analytical Quantum Dynamics in Infinite Phase Space. As far as I understand it, Raykin's idea is to reinterpret quantum ...
10
votes
8answers
2k views

Given entanglement, why is it permissible to consider the quantum state of subsystems?

Quantum entanglement is the norm, is it not? All that exists in reality is the wave function of the whole universe, true? So how come we can blithely talk about the quantum state of subsystems if ...
7
votes
1answer
229 views

Motivation for Wigner phase space distribution

Most sources say that Wigner distribution acts like a joint phase-space distribution in quantum mechanics and this is justified by the formula $$\int_{\mathbb{R}^6}w(x,p)a(x,p)dxdp= \langle ...
6
votes
3answers
648 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 ...
6
votes
6answers
1k views

Are many-worlds and the multiverse really the same thing?

Are many-worlds and the multiverse really the same thing? Not too long ago, Susskind and Bousso uploaded the article "The Multiverse Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics" with the thesis that the ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Does the Hilbert space of the universe have to be infinite dimensional to make sense of quantum mechanics?

Does the Hilbert space of the universe have to be infinite dimensional to make sense of quantum mechanics? Otherwise, decoherence can never become exact. Does interpreting quantum mechanics require ...
3
votes
2answers
229 views

Does recent paper show Bohmian mechanics is correct?

The following paper was recently featured in a German science magazine (Spektrum der Wissenschaft): "Experimental nonlocal and surreal Bohmian trajectories" (DOI:10.1126/science.1501466) The abstract ...
3
votes
5answers
429 views

How do we know that there isn't a classical solution to the measurement problem/Quantum Mechanical uncertainty?

It was mentioned to me that it can be shown that there is no classical explanation for the uncertainty in Quantum Mechanics -- i.e. that there are no hidden workings that we have just not yet seen, ...
2
votes
1answer
109 views

Do electrons have a location before they are observed/measured? [closed]

Is this in all interpretations of QM? What about interpretations that are realist (MWI, penrose, ect)?
0
votes
3answers
282 views

EPR Paradox resolution: the spin is fixed at creation but its measurement isn't?

The Wikipedia article on the EPR paradox uses the example of an electron and positron created from a common source, each moving in an opposite direction to the other. Detector A is used to measure the ...
3
votes
4answers
630 views

Probability and the many-worlds interpretation

If I toss a coin, then according to the many worlds interpretation of QM, in half those worlds I'll get a head. If I then toss again, then in a quarter I will have got two heads. And so on. There will ...
3
votes
2answers
279 views

Are probability-preserving variations of QT with respect to the Born rule mathematically possible?

Is it possible to create (m)any theoretically workable framework(s) - that do(es) produce probabilities - by taking QM and replacing the Born(-like) rule(s) with something that is not equivalent to it ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Can superdeterminism resolve contextuality, entanglement and Shor's algorithm in quantum mechanics?

Superdeterminism is the idea that the apparent freedom for the choice of experimental apparatuses and their settings are nothing but an illusion. Contextuality is the dependence of the properties of a ...
3
votes
3answers
727 views

Wigner's friend and intersubjectivity in quantum mechanics

Suppose there's a radioactive material and a 1/2 quantum probability of detecting it by a Geiger counter. This puts the system in a superposition. Also suppose you are in the same room, and the walls ...
7
votes
1answer
642 views

Many-worlds: Where does the energy come from?

With regard to the theory that each time a wave function collapses the universe splits so that each possible outcome really exists - where does all the energy required to create all the new universes ...
1
vote
2answers
192 views

Non-locality and Bell's theory

Non-Locality – (just ) one more question? I have read comments that Bell’s theory proves quantum mechanics is non-local, and also comments that it does not. I have read a comment by a very eminent ...
21
votes
4answers
545 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 ...