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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Determinism, classical probabilities, and/or quantum mechanics?

[I]f you want a universe with certain very generic properties, you seem forced to one of three choices: (1) determinism, (2) classical probabilities, or (3) quantum mechanics. [My emphasis.] ...
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5answers
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Connection between quantum physics and consciousness

Can someone explain the quantum physics-consciousness connection? In the double slit or quantum eraser experiments, the system behaves as a whole, with some apparent time independent traits. Invoking ...
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8answers
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Is the quantum analog of a probability distribution the wave function or the density matrix?

Classically, probability distributions are nonnegative real measures over the space of all possible outcomes which add up to 1. What they mean is open to debate between Bayesians, frequentists and ...
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4answers
767 views

Quantum Physics and the Law of Large Numbers

On page 1 of this recent paper by Bousso and Susskind we read. This question is not about philosophy. Without a precise form of decoherence, one cannot claim that anything really "happened", ...
9
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1answer
566 views

Is a weak measurement the same as an unsharp measurement or POVM?

This is prompted by the strong claims made in Science 332, 1170 (2011) to have observed trajectories of photons, "something all of our textbooks and professors had always told us was impossible". I'm ...
8
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7answers
732 views

Why Quantum Mechanics as a non-fundamental effective theory?

My question: What (physical or mathematical) reasons (not philosophical) do some physicists ('t Hooft, Penrose, Smolin,...) argue/have in order to think that Quantum Mechanics could be substituted by ...
6
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3answers
509 views

Could quantum mechanics work without the Born rule?

Slightly inspired by this question about the historical origins of the Born rule, I wondered whether quantum mechanics could still work without the Born rule. I realize it's one of the most ...
6
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2answers
3k views

What is the meaning of Wheeler's delayed choice experiment?

Wheeler's delayed choice experiment is a variant of the classic double slit experiment for photons in which the detecting screen may or may not be removed after the photons had passed through the ...
3
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0answers
117 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 ...
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4answers
1k views

How do we know particles exist? Aren't they just waves?

In the book "A Briefer History of Time" Stephen Hawking wrote: The unpredictable, random element comes in only when we try to interpret the wave in terms of the positions and velocities of ...
10
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1answer
268 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 ...
8
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3answers
394 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. ...
7
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2answers
338 views

Interpretation: probability form probability amplitude (free particle)

If you compute the probability amplitude of a free 1D non-relativistic particle with mass $m$, located at position $x_0$ at time $t_0$, for beeing detected at some other point $x_N$ at time $t_N$ you ...
6
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5answers
754 views

Quantum Wave Mechanics

I am studying QM-I these days. Now, I just think of the wave function as just a mathematical function that defines the state of the particle at an instant and from it you can extract various ...
5
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7answers
862 views

Which physically acceptable quantum interpretations do not require the existence of any observer at all?

Some interpretations of quantum mechanics — like the Copenhagen interpretation in particular — require the existence of an observer. The role of the observer is a bit mysterious. After ...
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6answers
1k views

Is quantum entanglement an objective or subjective property?

Imagine the following gedankenexperiment. Observer Alice is right here on Earth. Observer Bob is at say Alpha Centauri. A pair of maximally entangled qubits is formed with one qubit handed over to ...
2
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1answer
204 views

Why should multiple versions of a weak measurement preclude it from being a measurement of intrinsic properties of some system

I've been trying to understand Stephen Parrott's criticisms of weak measurement, outlined most concisely here: http://arxiv.org/abs/0909.0295 One of his major criticisms is that weak measurement is ...
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1answer
179 views

Do consciousnesses get “scattered” across the many worlds of the MWI?

According the many worlds-interpretation (MWI) of quantum mechanics, following a decision with possible outcomes $A$ and $B$, with respective probabilities $p_A=P(A)$ and $p_B=P(B)$, a proportion ...
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3answers
228 views

The need for a 'particle description' of electrons

Is there any phenomenon where the 'wave description' of the electron's motion is not applicable? The reason for this question is to find out if there are any situations were quantum wave theories ...
11
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1answer
538 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 ...
4
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3answers
745 views

What happens after the collapse of a wavefunction?

If I have a quantum system which I prepare in a certain state, this state then evolves unitarily via a Hamiltonian. Suppose an observer provokes a collapse of the wave function by a certain ...
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3answers
933 views

Is contextuality required in quantum mechanics?

I still don't really understand what contextuality means in reference to quantum mechanics. If someone could give a clear definition that would be great. It sounds like it means you can't always ...
2
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1answer
163 views

Question about Weinberg's derivation of a one-particle states under the Poincare group

I'm reading QFT: Vol 1 by Weinberg and I have a (perhaps trivial) question about a statement he makes on page 63. I can follow him to his derivation of equation (2.5.2): \begin{equation} P^\mu ...
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4answers
305 views

Why should the observed probability distributions in quantum mechanics always align with the pointer basis of decoherence?

It has always been claimed decoherence solves the problem of the preferred-basis for observed probability distributions, but why should this be the case? If there is only one world, and there are ...
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3answers
303 views

How does De Broglie–Bohm theory or pilot wave theory explain the results of the Stern–Gerlach experiment?

The Copehagen interpretation of QM explains the Stern–Gerlach experiment by asserting that a particle is in a superposition of states and doesn't have a definite spin until measured. However, the de ...
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3answers
182 views

Why does the Copenhagen interpretation assert randomness if this cannot be tested?

Why does the Copenhagen interpretation of QM assert that random events occur if such a claim cannot ever be proven or disproven? A related question: How to tell if QM is really random? Edit On ...
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2answers
102 views

multiverse fabric of reality

Source-"fabric of reality"- author d. deutsch - his contention, as I understand it, is that quantum interference is caused by "almost, but not identical quite quantum entities" , e.g. electrons, from ...
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0answers
297 views

Hardy's Theorem

https://perimeterinstitute.ca/psi_portal/sites/perimeterinstitute.ca.psi_portal/files/hardyphysrevlett.68.2981.pdf Some researchers in Bohmian Mechanics have hoped to make the theory Lorentz ...
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1answer
115 views

In Quantum mechanics, what is realism? [closed]

Some interpretations of QM are realist and some are anti-realist. But, it is the idea that something exists before it is measured, correct?
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2answers
421 views

Consciousness and quantum mechanics [closed]

Quantum mechanics is very mysterious. Consciousness is often brought into play to explain quantum phenomena. Is this only a matter of convenience, or is consciousness inherent to interpreting quantum ...
9
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4answers
2k views

Why is the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics the most widely accepted one?

I've been digging a lot into quantum physics in the last few weeks. I didn't care much about the maths, just about what empirically happens to get a conceptual idea about quantum phenomena. The most ...
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0answers
101 views

Free Will Theorem question

The Kochen-Specker Theorem says, if I understand it correctly, that the results of spin measurements cannot be predetermined independent of measurement. They get to this conclusion by describing 33 ...
4
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2answers
631 views

Shor's algorithm and Bohmian Mechanics

Do quantum computer's tell us anything about the foundations of quantum theory? In particular Shor argued in the famous thread by 't Hooft Why do people categorically dismiss some simple quantum ...
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5answers
928 views

Schrodinger's cat experiment

What's wrong in taking the cat as an observer in Schrodinger's experiment? Plz kindly elaborate! And if possible also describe about possible logics if the question bears the answer No.
2
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1answer
493 views

What is the preferred basis objection to the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics?

I've seen the preferred basis problem referred to in many places, but have not seen a clear explanation of what the problem is. For example, this question asks whether the problem has been solved, but ...
2
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2answers
300 views

Many-worlds interpretation vs 'just' randomness?

I have this question about MWI I always wanted to ask but never dared to! It could be that I just don't know enough physics to understand the answer, or the question! Anyway, here goes: What is it ...
2
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3answers
121 views

What is the splitting structure of a state in thermal equilibrium in MWI?

What is the splitting structure of a state in thermal equilibrium in the many worlds interpretation? This is a mixed state, but we can perform a purification of it by doubling the system and forming a ...
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1answer
81 views

Interpretations of Stern-Gerlach experiment

In many textbooks (J.J. Sakurai for instance) S-G experiment is explained through the idea of a collapse of a state of a system. So here, in this discrete case, we can see quantum behavior more ...
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3answers
310 views

A question on quantum computing and de Broglie's pilot wave theory

I don't know much about quantum computing except what I have read about on wiki and popsci. I have been reading about the de Broglie-Bohm pilot wave theory and how they describe quantum mechanics in ...
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0answers
42 views

Books on foundations of QM [duplicate]

I am seeking for books on foundations of Quantum Mechanics with subjects like the EPR experiment, Bell's theorem, the problem of measurement, entanglement, decoherence, nonlocality, interpretations, ...
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4answers
210 views

Are there any non-interpretational arguments in favour of Everett's Many-Worlds?

As far as I understand Everett's Many-Worlds Interpretation, he makes the case for a realist theory of QM at the enormous cost of many-worlds. Are there any arguments in favour of Everett's ...
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4answers
908 views

Do multiple electrons exist during superposition?

Wikipedia says: Quantum superposition is a fundamental principle of quantum mechanics that holds that a physical system—such as an electron—exists partly in all its particular, theoretically ...
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3answers
540 views

Is the classical world an illusion?

In the paper Zeh, H. D. The Wave Function: It or Bit? In Science and Ultimate Reality, eds. J.D. Barrow, P.C.W. Davies, and C.L. Harper Jr. (Cambridge University Press, 2004), pp. 103-120. ...
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2answers
153 views

A foundational question about entanglement

The recent Nature article http://www.nature.com/news/data-teleportation-the-quantum-space-race-1.11958 prompts me to ask this question, which is of the same tenor as that asked at the recent Perimeter ...
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3answers
337 views

Why is the tunnel effect of solid matter not observable in macroscopic objects?

Assume I place a tea cup on a table (say, about a centimetre thick). Quantum mechanics tells us that the wave function for the nuclei and electrons of the cup is not zero below the table (while being ...
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1answer
48 views

If the only observer dies, could observer 2 ever have see a different result?

My layman's understanding of QFT is that once a system is observed, any future observation will always yield the same result. Would this hold true if the original-and-only observer, without any ...