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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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 ...
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333 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
334 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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138 views

Is frequency or Bayesian interpretation used in quantum mechanics?

In quantum mechanics, we discussed about probability. There are two kinds of interpretations: frequency and Bayesian. Which one is actually used in quantum mechanics? My impression is, it doesn't ...
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112 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 ...
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144 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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158 views

Successor to Copenhagen Interpretation as Orthodox Interpreation of Quantum Mechanics

First, I read the questions FAQ for this and I hope this does not violate the rules. I am not asking for personal opinion, but for observations of hard evidence of trends on this subject. When I ...
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578 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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501 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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Why is Wheelers Delayed Choice Experiment Incorrect?

I have come across 'Wheelers Delayed Choice Experiment' which tries to prove that you can work out which Slit a Photon Goes Through in the Double Slit Experiment. But I thought it was impossible to ...
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1k 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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959 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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428 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
830 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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722 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
902 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
311 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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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
311 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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1answer
944 views

Flaws of Broglie–Bohm pilot wave theory?

I recently learned about an oil drop experiment that showed how a classical object can produce quantum like behavior because its assisted by a pilot wave. How has this not gained more attention? What ...
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4answers
319 views

Does quantum mechanics imply that particles have no trajectories?

In Classical Mechanics we describe the evolution of a particle giving its trajectory. This is quite natural because it seems a particle must be somewhere and must have some state of motion. In Quantum ...
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2answers
3k 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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2answers
947 views

Which theory explains the path of a photon in Young's double-slit experiment?

In Young's double-slit experiment, we know that a photon goes through either one of the slits but we don't know which one, and it ends up on a screen. I want to know which theory can predict to the ...
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3answers
225 views

What is a measurement in MWI

I was reviewing the MWI, and couldn't figure what a measurement is in the MWI? Everett claims that split happens when you measure, but what is it for MWI (not for general QM)? Yes, I know about ...
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292 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
89 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 ...
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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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1answer
107 views

In interpretations of QM where the wave function is real, what does that mean?

In a lot of interpretations of Quantum Mechanics they believe that the wave function is "real". But what does that mean? Are they saying that the wave function of an elementary particle ...
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1answer
186 views

What specifically is incorrect about the Dirac Sea interpretation?

So taking the square root of $E^2 = (m_oc^2)^2 + p^2c^2$ yields two solutions. The Dirac Sea treats the negative solution as an infinite space of electrons with negative energy. All the observable ...
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2answers
358 views

Determinism loophole?

I was thinking about the question I posted yesterday, and I thought of a better way to ask it. I'm trying to figure out why QM necessitates "pure randomness". Assume you have a photon that has a ...
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320 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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159 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
226 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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516 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 ...
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219 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 ...
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2answers
194 views

Does Bell's theorem rule out the possiblity that measurements are completely determined by events in the past light cone?

I'm studying Bell's theorem and the CHSH inequality for some time. Now it's clear to me that one cannot reproduce the correlations predicted by quantum mechanics by assuming that particles carry ...
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180 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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1answer
195 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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1answer
522 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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970 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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1answer
236 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 ...
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718 views

Do we really know which slit the photon passed through in Afshar's experiment?

The plain old double slit experiment displays interference when we don't measure which slit the photon passed through, and no interference when it is measured. Let's turn our attention to the case ...
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930 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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229 views

Does recent paper show Bohmian mechanics is correct?

The following paper was recently featured in a German science magazine (Spektrum der Wissenschaft): "Experimental nonlocal and surreal Bohmian trajectories" (DOI:10.1126/science.1501466) The abstract ...
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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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5answers
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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.
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2answers
116 views

When does the world split in MWI

I've been reading Eliezer Yudkowsky's blog post regarding decoherence and many worlds, and although he is not a physics but a strong proponent of MWI, I can basically see why he feels that MWI is a ...
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284 views

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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112 views

Does the canonical commutation relation relate to the fact that momentum is the generator of spatial translations?

In classical mechanics momentum is the generator of spatial translations. This remains true in quantum mechanics. The way we define the momentum operator in one-dimension, for example, already shows ...
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830 views

Double slit experiment and single particles. Is the wave function just a mathematical model?

I really do want to apologize in advance, I know this question has been 'answered' before. I have this 'problem' of feeling negatively toward much of today's 'mystical' interpretations of physics, ...