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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Why are cosmic conspiracies considered undesirable in quantum interpretations?

Quantum interpretations like superdeterminism, nonlocal hidden variables, etc. are regularly dismissed by the vast majority of physicists because they require "cosmic conspiracies" which can ...
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2answers
137 views

Without apparatus can we say that the system is measured(decohered) by the environment?

"Einselection" and "tridecompositional uniqueness theorem" seem to resolve the preferred basis problem. But the premise is that there are three parts in discussion.(system, apparatus, environment) ...
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How can the pre-measurement be fulfilled?

In the decoherence program, the pre-measurement refers to the evolution in which the system and apparatus form a Schmidt state. In Maximilian Schlosshauer's review article(2005), I read "the linearity ...
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The status of unobservable quantum mechanical predictions

Orthodox quantum mechanics intrinsically requires an observer - since the only connection from the mathematical formalism to physical reality is through the measurement axiom (probability of observing ...
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2answers
234 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 ...
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56 views

What is a potential in De-Broglie-Bohm theory?

As I have so far understood, the De-Broglie-Bohm theory is based on two equations: The Schrödinger equation. The Guiding equation of the De-Broglie-Bohm theory. In the Schrödinger equation (as ...
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2answers
175 views

Does quantum collapse involve a loss of information? Does it require energy as suggested by the Landauer Limit?

I read in the context of quantum computing or of the minimal energy required for computation that there has to be a minimum possible amount of energy required to change one bit of information, called ...
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4answers
319 views

Are coherent states of light 'classical' or 'quantum'?

Coherent states of light, defined as $$|\alpha\rangle=e^{-\frac{|\alpha|^2}{2}}\sum_{n=0}^\infty \frac{\alpha^n}{n!}|n\rangle$$ for a given complex number $\alpha$ and where $|n\rangle$ is a Fock ...
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Is there any “fundamental” uncertainty to the timing of the Big Bang?

I wondered whether, under the probabilistic interpretations of QM, the timing of the Big Bang (or perhaps any other historical event) is fundamentally as uncertain as (or: like) other (e.g., future) ...
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1answer
126 views

What is the difference between realism in locality, and counterfactual definiteness?

I understand the EPR-experiment and the Bell inequalities. I can see how dropping 'locality' solves the issue, and how dropping 'realism' solves the issue (e.g. there are really no hidden variables ...
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1answer
114 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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1answer
105 views

Product of position eigenvectors at different times

I've been thinking about this, and it might sound like a stupid question, but I can't seem to find an answer anywhere, here goes: Whenever we calculate expecation-values between two position ...
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4answers
184 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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2answers
146 views

Basic Interpretation of Compostion of Observables and their Measurement

Given two (or more) observables $A, B$ which commute one can construct a third observable $C= A \circ B$. If $\psi$ is a common eigenvector of $A, B$ with eigenvalues $\lambda_1, \lambda_2$ then it is ...
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2answers
134 views

Can the quantum eraser experiment result indicate a 'computed universe'?

The quantum eraser experiment tells us that a photon shot at two slits is a wave, unless you measure which slit is taken and you do not destroy the measurement result. I've found this very similar to ...
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60 views

How many worlds does the world split into in the Many Worlds Interpretation? [duplicate]

I've been reading up on the Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, and there is one thing (among many) that I really don't understand. How many worlds are 'created' by an 'observation' or ...
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3answers
731 views

Why the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics is 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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2answers
223 views

Are quantum decoherence and Everettian approaches to the measurement problem necessarily distinct?

As I understand it, there is a large contingent of physicists who believe that the measurement problem is "solved" by decoherence, without, for example, needing to postulate the existence of "many ...
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1answer
148 views

Quantum randomness and brownian motion in biological systems, e.g., fertilization

I am looking for examples of physical indeterminacy impacting the macroscopic world. By physical indeterminacy, I mean physical sources of randomness such as quantum indeterminacy or brownian motion. ...
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172 views

Is the Copenhagen interpretation still valid?

"The secret lives of photons revealed" - physicsworld.com. It seems that this experiment violates the Copenhagen interpretation. Is it still valid? Can you please give me more insight on this ...
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97 views

Uncertainty Principle and Bohmian mechanics

The Uncertainty Principle is a relationship between measurements of pairs of attributes, position and momentum, as well as energy and time. Perfect precision of one attribute's measurement leads to a ...
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2answers
140 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 ...
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1answer
250 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 ...
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1answer
187 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 ...
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1answer
73 views

Is there an idealist rather than realist interpretation of QM?

The many-worlds interpretation of QM is a realist explanation as it makes the wave function of the universe real. That is it makes the probabilities of outcomes real outcomes. One could argue that ...
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1answer
104 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 ...
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207 views

How can the quantum state of the universe decohere

Decoherence explains how a classical state appears once quantum information in a quantum state leaks out. But presumably that environment has its own quantum state which then leaks out to a larger ...
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1answer
244 views

If there is no collapse of the wave-function does this mean that the many worlds interpretation of QM must be wrong?

If as some people suggest, there is no collapse of the wave function (is there a standard name for this position), then must one rule out the many-worlds interpretation of QM ?
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2answers
460 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
142 views

Can an observer be the observed?

As a supplement to this question as to whether particles can be observers, supposing that the answer is yes. One could suppose a setup where particle A is observing particle B, but what to stop us ...
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232 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
418 views

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 ...
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53 views

Interpretation of theoretical Schrodinger's cat experiment [duplicate]

I do appreciate how to interpret the famous theoretical experiment of Schrodinger's cat experiment in the following situation: A Lab has a closed box with a dead or live cat and and a person who ...
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2answers
191 views

Was TP Singh right to say that a theory of quantum gravity necessitates the Copenhagen Interpretation?

http://iopscience.iop.org/1742-6596/174/1/012024 In the above link we see TP Singh arguing that only Copenhagen will work for a theory of quantum gravity. Some of his key points are "quantum theory ...
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51 views

Is it possible to detect subjective decoherence? If yes, how?

In his paper from 1994 Thomas Breuer describes a phenomenon of subjective decoherence (p. 43). I wonder whether it can be measured, and if yes, how. I also wonder whether it would allow to create an ...
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2answers
255 views

Interpretation of de Broglie wave

Until what point can the de Broglie wave be thought as a real wave? I mean, is it made of something? What amplitude does it have? Is it a sine wave? How can it be related to the wavefunction of the ...
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818 views

Is the preferred basis problem solved?

Once and for all: Is the preferred basis problem in the Everettian Interpretation of QM considered solved by decoherence or not? THere are a few people who claim that it's not, but it seems the vast ...
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1answer
73 views

Is it possible to determine the state or values of something without measuring it

To give context to this question, I am currently looking into non-locality / hidden variables / Bell's Theorem, EPR / etc. I've noticed the assertion that the values / state of something when ...
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4answers
448 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 ...
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1answer
143 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 ...
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175 views

What experiments have been proposed to discriminate between interpretations of quantum mechanics?

There are a lot of potentially correct interpretations of quantum mechanics. While I've heard descriptions of a lot of them, I've never heard of an experiment being done to test any of them aside from ...
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20k 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 ...
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7answers
589 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 ...
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3answers
618 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.] ...
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76 views

What is the difference between Cramer and Vaidman?

Two very interesting new papers on arXiv last night by Lev Vaidman and friends lead me to ask about the differences between Cramer's transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics (TIQM) and the ...
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1answer
133 views

Is Dirac's description of a photon in a split beam still seen as correct today?

This comes from the Interference of Photons section in the book The Principles of Quantum Mechanics by P Dirac: We shall discuss the description which quantum mechanics provides of the ...
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76 views

Hamiltonian matrix propertu

A professor made an statement to prove the variational theorem: Because the Hamiltonian (H operator of quantum physics) is diagonal in its own eigenfunction, the terms in $\left \langle \Phi _{m} ...
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160 views

Quantum Mechanics - Hidden Variables

In Steven Weinberg's Lecture on Quantum Mechanics (p. 342), he writes: The correlation between the spins of the two particles can be expressed as the average value of the product of the ...
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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, ...
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Bell's Theorem graph

My friends and I got into an argument about determinism, and I brought up that quantum events are random. But I couldn't prove it. I found the Wikipedia page on Bell's theorem, which seems to imply ...