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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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. ...
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1answer
161 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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3answers
181 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
543 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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498 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
327 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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3answers
317 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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3answers
420 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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1answer
668 views

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

I know $K(a,b,t)$ is the probability amplitude of find a particle that starts at point a in b in a time t later. There is also an expression that sometimes is called green function: ...
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135 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
176 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
470 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
664 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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4answers
632 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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1answer
566 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
295 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
265 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
401 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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108 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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0answers
131 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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3answers
324 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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5answers
2k 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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3answers
1k 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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622 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
431 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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3answers
561 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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4answers
521 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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3answers
675 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 ...
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1answer
174 views

Temporal part of Quantum Wavefunction

I was hoping that someone could give me the more fundamental reason that we take as the temporal part of a quantum wavefunction the function $e^{-i\omega t}$ and not $e^{+i\omega t}$? Clearly ...
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2answers
196 views

What counts as a measurement?

In quantum mechanics, an elementary particle does not have a well defined position until a measurement is performed on it (right?). Such a "measurement" is any sort of interaction with other ...
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1answer
66 views

Spekkens Toy Model, Internal Comonoids

I have been thinking about Spekkens Toy model in terms of interfaces. The Spekkens paper concerns a physics based on only being able to receive answers to half the number of questions necessary to ...
4
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1answer
151 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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1answer
159 views

Event-by-Event Simulation of Quantum Phenomena

I just recently stumbled over http://rugth30.phys.rug.nl/dlm/ and http://www.sbfisica.org.br/bjp/files/v38_26.pdf As the title suggests these are presentations of mathematical models capable of ...
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3answers
688 views

Is it possible that QM is just GR?

The more I learn about General Relativity, the more it seems like it isn't fully understood. It seems that before it's full consequences were exhaustively understood, not 10 years after its discovery, ...
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431 views

If the multiverse and many-worlds don't exist, how should we interpret probabilities?

If the multiverse of eternal inflation and the many-worlds of quantum mechanics don't exist, how should we interpret the meaning of probabilities? If there is only one copy of the universe out there, ...
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3answers
871 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 ...
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1answer
241 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" ...
3
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1answer
576 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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4answers
422 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
2k views

How should I interpret the expectation value $\langle x p\rangle$ in quantum mechanics?

$xp$ is not a hermitian operator and hence doesn't represent an observable. Then, how can we interpret the expression $$ \langle x p \rangle \text{,} $$ the expectation value of position times ...
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6answers
426 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 ...
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3answers
539 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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2answers
433 views

What is the physical interpretation of the density matrix in a double continuous basis $|\alpha\rangle$, $|\beta\rangle$?

(a) Any textbook gives the interpretation of the density matrix in a single continuous basis $|\alpha\rangle$: The diagonal elements $\rho(\alpha, \alpha) = \langle \alpha |\hat{\rho}| \alpha ...
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2answers
361 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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2answers
208 views

Can the Heisenberg interpretation or path integrals apply to open quantum systems?

It has been claimed by some people that Schrödinger's picture is more misleading compared to the Heisenberg principle or path integrals, and that we would be better off abandoning the ...
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3answers
561 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 ...
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1answer
125 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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2answers
318 views

Weak measurements rule out Many Worlds Interpretation?

I came across a paper that claims to prove that the Many Worlds interpretation is invalid by applying weak measurements. The paper can be found here: ...
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2answers
219 views

Interpretation of $e|\psi|^2$ as electron density

In solid state physics the electron density is often equated to $e|\psi|^2$. However, the Sakurai says (Chapter 2.4, Interpretation of the Wave Function, p. 101) that adopting such a view leads "to ...
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3answers
328 views

Are quantum mechanics and determinism actually irreconcilable? [closed]

As a preface, I am not a physicist. I'm simply interested in abstract physics and fundamental principles of the universe and such. As such, if you can provide an answer for the layman (as ...