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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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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What constitutes an observation/measurement in QM?

Fundamental notions of QM have to do with observation, a major example being The Uncertainty Principle. What is the technical definition of an observation/measurement? If I look at a QM system, it ...
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Is the classical world an illusion?

In the paper Zeh, H. D. The Wave Function: It or Bit? In Science and Ultimate Reality, eds. J.D. Barrow, P.C.W. Davies, and C.L. Harper Jr. (Cambridge University Press, 2004), pp. 103-120. ...
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2answers
261 views

Do scientists literally believe the Schröedinger's cat though experiment?

I've heard the Schrödinger's cat "paradox" (although there's nothing particularly paradoxical about it, just counterintuitive), but I've never been clear on whether or not it's meant to be taken with ...
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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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1answer
245 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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1answer
84 views

Is the time of collapse of the wave function empirical?

Is the time of the collapse of the wave function empirical? Suppose there is a very long von Neumann chain of observations of a quantum system. Suppose also practically irreversible decoherence ...
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Consistent histories and Bohm mechanics, many worlds in disguise?

This was posted on here in someone's Phys.SE answer: No, in the many worlds interpretation, every parallel universe is real, but in consistent histories, once you choose your projection operators, ...
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1answer
410 views

What is the spatial mode of light or the spatial mode of a massive particle?

I'm extremely confused by what physicists mean by the spatial mode of light. I am also equally if not more confused by what the spatial mode of a massive particle is. Can anyone help me out by ...
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282 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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4answers
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On the nature of the collapse of the wave function

The collapse of the wave function by measurements is one of the most mysterious properties of quantum mechanics. At what scale does the wave function collapse? What are the conditions for a ...
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1answer
158 views

Who are “we”, and what counts as a “question” in consistent histories?

If the preferred basis in quantum mechanics and/or choice of consistent histories in consistent histories is arbitrary, and can only be determined by the "questions we ask", just who exactly is this ...
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According to wave function collapse you only have one outcome, so what happens to the other superpositions?

If the superpositions of a wave function are not needed because only one of the superpositions is allowed, what happens to the eigenvalues of the "null" superpositions? Is the energy transferred ...
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338 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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1answer
381 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 ...
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1answer
70 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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1answer
511 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 ...
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2answers
229 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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1answer
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Quasiparticles in Bohmian mechanics

My questions are about de Broglie-Bohm "pilot wave" interpretation of quantum mechanics (a.k.a. Bohmian mechanics). Do quasiparticles have any meaning in Bohmian mechanics, or not? Specifically, is ...
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A foundational question about entanglement

The recent Nature article http://www.nature.com/news/data-teleportation-the-quantum-space-race-1.11958 prompts me to ask this question, which is of the same tenor as that asked at the recent Perimeter ...
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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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1answer
195 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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668 views

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 ...
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0answers
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How to explain Tsirelson's inequality using extended probabilities?

How to explain Tsirelson's inequality using extended probabilities? Some people have tried explaining the Bell inequalities using extended probabilities. For instance, a pair of entangled photons ...
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2answers
494 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
216 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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Will Determinism be ever possible?

What are the main problems that we need to solve to prove Laplace's determinism correct and overcome the Uncertainty principle?
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346 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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870 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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995 views

Is the statistical interpretation of Quantum Mechanics dead?

I'm sure this question is a bit gauche for this site, but I'm just a mathematician trying to piece together some physical intuition. *Question:*Is the statistical interpretation of Quantum ...
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1answer
463 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 ...
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593 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 ...
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Does the nonlocality of the preferred basis mean QM is nonlocal?

Take the Mach-Zehnder interferometer as an example. A photon passes through a beam splitter, is reflected off mirrors, and interferes with itself at another half-silvered mirror. No measurements or ...
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Is quasiclassicality in consistent histories the preferred basis problem in disguise?

Is quasiclassicality in consistent histories the preferred basis problem in disguise? Out of the numerous possible consistent realms in consistent histories — with no canonical choice — ...
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Maxim Raykin's “solution to the measurement problem” using infinitely many derivatives

Recently I was made aware of the following arXiv preprint by Maxim Raykin: Analytical Quantum Dynamics in Infinite Phase Space. As far as I understand it, Raykin's idea is to reinterpret quantum ...
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445 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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314 views

Are probabilities really tangible physical real numbers?

Probabilities are usually considered to be a real number between 0 and 1. A real number has an infinite decimal expansion. Are probabilities really real numbers? Is the infinite decimal expansion ...
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1answer
120 views

Do interaction-free measurements require a physical collapse or splitting in order to be truly interaction free?

Interaction-free quantum experiments like Renninger's experiment or the Elitzur-Vaidman bomb tester are often taken to be examples of interaction-free measurements of a system. Unfortunately, such ...
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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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Does the inability to postselect to a given branch argue against MWI?

It has been argued the exponential size of the wavefunction can be interpreted as many parallel worlds, and this explains how quantum computers can factor large integers and compute discrete ...
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234 views

Open quantum systems and measuring devices

The Copenhagen interpretation by Niels Bohr insists that quantum systems do not exist independently of the measuring apparatus but only comes into being by the process of measurement itself. It is ...
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350 views

Is there any quantum interpretation which isn't “crazy” at all? [closed]

Is there any quantum interpretation which isn't "crazy" at all? Exponentially many parallel worlds in MWI, superdeterministic conspiracies, and/or nonlocality in hidden variables, idealism and the ...
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178 views

In Copenhagen, can this idea preserve locality for Bell inequalities?

Generate an entangled pair of qubits. Send to Alice and Bob far away from each other. Both measure along basis in one of two possible orientations. The result is sent to Charlie at some later time, ...
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717 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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1answer
94 views

Does quantum fingerprinting really argue for the exponential size of wavefunctions?

Does quantum fingerprinting really argue for the exponential size of wavefunctions? Quantum fingerprinting is the idea that an exponentially long classical string can be encoded in a linear number of ...
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300 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
114 views

Are the limits to prediction by QM provable?

Quantum mechanics states that only two aspects of a quantum system can be predicted with certainty: 1) the average and 2) the standard deviation of many measurements of identically prepared quantum ...
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295 views

Quantum physics before the observer and relic interferences

It is known that the concept of an observer plays important role in quantum mechanics. In interpretations with collapse only the observer can trigger the wavefunction collapse. From this naturally ...
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What is the difference between parallel universe and multiverse?

What is the difference between parallel universe and multiverse? Is it parallel universe or universes?
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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 ...