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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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 ...
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1answer
644 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 ...
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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 ...
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5answers
634 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 ...
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2answers
593 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 ...
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1answer
540 views

Residues in QFT propagator

It is a well known fact that the location of the pole of a propagator (in QFT) can be interpreted as the physical mass. Is there an interpretation for the residue of the propagator? Note: I´m ...
7
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1answer
210 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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5answers
3k views

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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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 ...
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4answers
1k views

Is QFT mathematically self-consistent?

After recently going through a short program of self-study in quantum mechanics, I was surprised to find a quote attributed to Feynman essentially saying he was extremely bothered by the computational ...
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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 ...
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8answers
1k views

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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3answers
557 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 ...
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2answers
458 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 ...
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1answer
904 views

What is the meaning of the Fourier transform of Feynman propagator?

I know $K(a,b,t)$ is the probability amplitude that a particle that starts at point $a$ is found at point $b$ at a time $t$ later. There is also an expression that sometimes is called green function: ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
152 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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2answers
250 views

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 ...
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1answer
172 views

If a fundamental theory exibits e.g. a mirror symmetry, in what sense it the underlying geometry real?

Are the more recently discovered symmetries in string theory such that the theories based on mirroring geometries are absolutely the same from an observable point of view? I have mirror symmetry ...
6
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1answer
156 views

Has the Copenhagen Interpretation remained accurate?

Almost a century past, has the Copenhagen Interpretation (CI) undergone any modification? In other words, has any of its underlying principles been reformulated since? The notable (usual) examples ...
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3answers
257 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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3answers
353 views

How would a realist interpretation of the Mermin-Peres square look like?

How would a realist interpretation of the Mermin-Peres square with counterfactual definiteness and the existence of states prior to measurements look like?
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3answers
773 views

Assumptions in Bell's Theorem

It is often Stated that Bell's Theorem is equivalent to the statement: No theory of Local Hidden Variables can reproduce all of the predictions of quantum mechanics. I see nowhere in Bell's Theorem ...
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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 ...
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5answers
734 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 ...
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1answer
531 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 ...
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3answers
626 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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1answer
180 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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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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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", ...
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2answers
161 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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1answer
517 views

't Hooft for laypersons

I have looked at some of 't Hooft's recent papers and, unfortunately, they are well beyond my current level of comprehension. The same holds for the discussions that took place on this website. (See, ...
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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 ...
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2answers
771 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 ...
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5answers
319 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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1answer
308 views

Uniqueness of quasiclassical consistent histories

The current zeitgeist here is on interpretations of quantum mechanics, so let me add my own two cents here. As you may know, consistent histories is an alternative interpretation proposed in a series ...
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2answers
432 views

What happens when particle-antiparticle pairs annihilate in MWI?

The many-worlds interpretation of quantum physics is built around a configuration space, where the position of a particle is three components of the position of that universe. What happens with ...
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0answers
136 views

Is it possible to reproduce the energy spectrum of quantum chaos using classical cellular automata?

Is it possible to reproduce the energy spectrum of quantum chaos using classical cellular automata? It's hardly impressive to reproduce harmonic oscillators.
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151 views

Does it make sense to speak of amplitudes of finite closed boundaries in QFT?

A example of amplitude in Relativistic Quantum Mechanics or specifically in QFT is the amplitude of a field configuration on a space-like hyper-surface of space-time to "lead" to another field ...
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4answers
536 views

Quantum mechanics threshold

First of all I beg your forgiveness as I am not a physicist and the question I am going to ask may sound silly. I am aware that beyond a certain threshold in the hierarchy of building blocks of ...
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3answers
2k views

Canonical Commutation Relations

Is it logically sound to accept the canonical commutation relation (CCR) $$[x,p]~=~i\hbar$$ as a postulate of quantum mechanics? Or is it more correct to derive it given some form for $p$ in the ...
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829 views

Retrocausal interpretations of quantum mechanics

Can retrocausality resolve the paradoxes of quantum mechanics? The Copenhagen interpretation presumes something has no property until it is measured, but retrocausal interpretations explain that away ...
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2answers
362 views

Does a wavefunction interact with itself?

Considering the double slit experiment with a charged particle, after the particle passes through the slits, do the two portions of the wavefunctions feel the electromagnetic attraction of the other ...
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3answers
336 views

What's wrong with this faster-than-light gedankenexperiment?

It is common wisdom - and mathematically proven - that quantum entanglement cannot be used to bypass the relativistic speed limit and transfer information faster than light. So there must be something ...
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4answers
675 views

How do we show that no hidden variable theories can replace QM?

I've always hit two big stumbling blocks in conceiving of the proof or disproof of hidden variable theories as being even valid idea, let alone an answerable question... I feel I must be ...
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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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1answer
796 views

Does this new quantum experiment rule out the possibility of a many-worlds interpretation?

This brand new published result (nature): Experimental non-classicality of an indivisible quantum system by Radek Lapkiewicz, Peizhe Li, Christoph Schaeff, Nathan K. Langford, Sven ...
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1answer
290 views

If nothing is “objectively real” prior to “measurement”, what exactly is a “measurement”?

If nothing is "objectively real" prior to "measurement", what exactly is a "measurement"? Is there any "objective" criteria to demarcate a process as being a "measurement" or not? If "measurements" ...
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932 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 ...