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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Is the “consistent histories” interpretation of QM a “many worlds interpretation” in disguise?

The so called consistent histories interpretation is claimed to be a correction of the Copenhagen Interpretation. One of its aim, as much as I can see is to show that observers don't have any special ...
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3answers
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What are specific arguments against the ensemble interpretation (as promoted by L. Ballentine)?

Leslie Ballentine develops in QM: A Modern Development an interpretation based on the ensemble interpretation, and responds to most criticisms. My question: what criticisms still exist against this ...
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6answers
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Is Shor's algorithm a demonstration of the many worlds interpretation?

David Deutsch is very fond of pointing out Shor's integer factorization algorithm is a demonstration of the many worlds interpretation. As he often asked, where else did all the exponentially many ...
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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 ...
11
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3answers
551 views

Is it possible to define a “it went through two slits” observable?

This concerns the famous two-slit experiment. Electrons or photons or your favorite particle, doesn't matter. As we all know, the attempt to detect which slit the quanta pass through leads to loss ...
9
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7answers
796 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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2answers
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Why is quantum mechanics based on probability theory? [duplicate]

What makes us formulate quantum mechanics based on probability theory? Isn't the real quantum world based on unknown laws to us? Is it possible that results of an experiment will be measurable in ...
4
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1answer
251 views

Does Hardy's paradox represent a proof against Bohm's interpretation of the quantum mechanics?

This is a thought-experiment, see "Quantum Mechanics, Local Realistic Theories, and Lorentz-Invariant Realistic Theories", Phys. Rev. Lett., Vol. 68, No. 20, page 2981, year 1992, that rules out local ...
10
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1answer
631 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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3answers
1k views

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.] Scott ...
6
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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 ...
5
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2answers
842 views

Bohmian loophole in PBR-like theorems

I'm reviving and expanding this question, because of the new paper today, by Aaronson et al. The more general question is: How does quantum-potential Bohmian mechanics relate to no-go theorems for ...
5
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3answers
738 views

Why doesn't Many-Worlds interpretation talk about many worlds?

I was reading this interpretation from this site, where these lines are noteworthy enough to talk for the fact that this interpretation doesn't actually talk about many-worlds: These are the "many ...
5
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4answers
858 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", ...
5
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2answers
147 views

Bell's theorem and fluid-mechanical experiments using droplets: are local hidden-variable theories possible after all?

Recent fluid-mechanical experiments by the groups of Couder in Paris and Bush at MIT, mimic a surprisingly wide range of quantum effects. The essential ingredient of these fluid-mechanical systems is ...
2
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4answers
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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 ...
11
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3answers
351 views

Can someone clarify whether the recent experiment closing all remaining loopholes to Bell's Theorem really shut the door on local realism for good?

I saw this recent article on Phys.org that purports to close all remaining loopholes that previous experiments on violations of Bell's inequality left open. My question is, does this really close the ...
8
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3answers
650 views

Couder-Fort Oil Bath Experiments and Quantum Entanglement Phenomena

The oil bath experiments of Couder and Fort have been able to reproduce various "pilot wave like" quantum behavior on a macroscopic scale. Particularly striking is the fact that the double-slit ...
7
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2answers
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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 ...
6
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3answers
593 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 ...
5
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1answer
150 views

Does QFT prevent preparation of an entangled particle pair as in EPR experiment?

This is the claim Tommasini makes in Reality, Measurement and Locality in Quantum Field Theory:"Two spin $1/2$ particles, A and B, are created in coincidence in a spin-singlet state, and are detected ...
11
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1answer
296 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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6answers
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Are coherent states of light 'classical' or 'quantum'?

Coherent states of light, defined as $$|\alpha\rangle=e^{-\frac{|\alpha|^2}{2}}\sum_{n=0}^\infty \frac{\alpha^n}{\sqrt{n!}}|n\rangle $$ for a given complex number $\alpha$ and where $|n\rangle$ is a ...
10
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3answers
509 views

What is the physical meaning of weak expectation values?

In the two-state formalism of Yakir Aharonov, 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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5answers
881 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 ...
7
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2answers
445 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 ...
7
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3answers
676 views

Defining Measurement in Quantum Mechanics

I should begin by saying that I am a total newbie when it comes to Quantum Mechanics. Therefore my question might sound metaphysical to people who know their stuff. So please forgive. What I am ...
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6answers
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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 all,...
4
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3answers
226 views

How do probabilities emerge in the many-worlds interpretation?

My understanding is that at each quantized unit of time that a split occurs, every possible recombination of particles occurs in the 'objective' universe. If this is the case, what relevance to ...
2
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1answer
231 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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2answers
700 views

The quantum state can be interpreted statistically, again

Now there are two papers The quantum state cannot be interpreted statistically http://arxiv.org/abs/1111.3328 (It was discussed here the consecuences of this "no-go theorem") And this one (two of ...
1
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1answer
235 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 $p_A$...
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3answers
238 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 ...
12
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1answer
554 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 ...
7
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1answer
1k views

Box normalization

Whenever we study free fields, the solutions of these fields (or particles, whatever feels most comfortable) are always given by plane waves. The dispersion-relation $\omega=\omega(k)$ will of course ...
5
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1answer
247 views

Calculate the entropy per atom in Bohmian Mechanics

Bohmian mechanics description of a large number of interacting atoms would require a large phase space due to the large number of classical degrees of freedom. The entropy per atom is given as the ...
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3answers
1k 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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2answers
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Books about alternative interpretations of quantum mechanics

Recently I've heard that there exist alternative interpretations of quantum mechanics which, while not as widespread as the Copenhagen intepretation (or so it would seem), are equally valid in the ...
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3answers
1k 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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0answers
217 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
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4answers
320 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 ...
2
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1answer
196 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 U(\...
2
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3answers
149 views

Does valid interpretations of quantum mechanics always reduce to trivial arguments about the equations? [closed]

This is the editted 'short' version of the question :) Interpretation is very important in physics, but physics is governed by equations. With bare equations, physics would be just mathematics. ...
2
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3answers
277 views

Does processing for a quantum computer take place in other universes?

Apologies in advance if my question seems misinformed. I am a software developer, and neither quantum mechanics nor physics are my specialties. From http://physics.about.com/od/quantumphysics/f/...
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3answers
520 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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1answer
71 views

Is contemporary physics interpreted in an instrumentalist way? [closed]

I'm a master student in theoretical physics and the reason why I choose this career is far more related to the "philosophical beauty" of physics, than to my personal ability or skills. This, in some ...
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6answers
231 views

Meaning of probability in a multiverse/a many-world interpretation?

Consider me tossing a coin and I got tail as a result on observing it. Then, what would be the result of the 'parallel me' in another universe? If the 'parallel me' gets head as a result then, ...
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3answers
382 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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3answers
203 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
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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 ...