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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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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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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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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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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Wave/particle duality

Apologies if this has been asked before (I did check and I believe it wasn't). I have a question about the particle/wave duality of photons (or other particles). Depending on what and how we measure ...
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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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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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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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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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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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355 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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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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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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1answer
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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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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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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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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 ...
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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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What criteria distinguishes causality from retrocausality?

The brilliant philosopher David Hume remarked that if two events are always found to be correlated to each other with one event happening prior to the other, we call the earlier event the cause and ...
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283 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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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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EPR paradox and uncertainty principle

In Wikipedia article EPR paradox, The original paper purports to describe what must happen to "two systems I and II, which we permit to interact ...", and, after some time, "we suppose that there ...
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201 views

On Bell's Inequality (Classical Intuition) and Quantum Mechanical Counter Intuition

This posting is directly related to the issue in The System and the Measuring Gadget. The QM expectation is given by: $$\langle\sigma_{1}.\vec{a}{\;}\sigma_{2}.\vec b\rangle=-\vec a.\vec b$$ In the ...
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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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What counts as an observer and memory states in quantum interpretations?

The Everett interpretation has memory robots. Copenhagen requires observer memory states. Consistent histories has its IGUSes. Decoherence has its existential interpretation. All of them refer to ...
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What role does memory robots play in the many worlds interpretation?

Ron Maimon gave a very interesting answer to a question about the many worlds interpretation here. He mentions the essential role of memory robots in MWI, which is something I have never ever heard ...
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What is the splitting structure of a state in thermal equilibrium in MWI?

What is the splitting structure of a state in thermal equilibrium in the many worlds interpretation? This is a mixed state, but we can perform a purification of it by doubling the system and forming a ...
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Question regarding the Bohm interpretation

I tryed to understand the Bohm interpretation and this is what picture appeared to me. Please tell me if I understood something incorrectly. All particles have definite positions and follow ...
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765 views

Can quantum mechanics really be the same as underlying deterministic theory?

I am perplexed by recent papers by 't Hooft giving an explicit construction for an underlying deterministic theory based on integers that is indistinguishable from quantum mechanics at experimentally ...
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431 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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The System and the Measuring Gadget

In Quantum Mechanics the value of an observable results from the interaction between the "system" with the "Measuring gadget". But when the experimenter[or the technologist concerned] is ...
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Why do we consider the evolution (usually in time) of a wave function?

Why do we consider evolution of a wave function and why is the evolution parameter taken as time, in QM. If we look at a simple wave function $\psi(x,t) = e^{kx - \omega t}$, $x$ is a point in ...
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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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Hardy's Theorem

https://perimeterinstitute.ca/psi_portal/sites/perimeterinstitute.ca.psi_portal/files/hardyphysrevlett.68.2981.pdf Some researchers in Bohmian Mechanics have hoped to make the theory Lorentz ...
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Bohmian Quantum Mechanics diffusion

About one year ago I attended a pretty interesting seminar of Nino Zanghì on the actual state of Bohmian mechanics. Now, during my undergraduate studies, I didn't have the possibility to take a class ...
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Are there any objective wavefunction collapse theories which are local and forbid superluminal signalling?

Are there any objective wavefunction collapse theories which are local and forbid superluminal signalling? GRW is nonrelativistic and nonlocal.
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Why do people rule out local hidden variables?

I bet the automatic response to my question would be "Bell's theorem" and of course I am not disputing Bell's proof. I am however uncertain of one of his assumptions. The so called "no conspiracy" ...
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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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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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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 ...
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991 views

If the moon is not there when no one is looking, how does the moon know how to stay in orbit between observations?

Quantum Copenhagenists will tell you if there is a stop sign, it only manifests itself by the act of observation. When no one is looking, there is nothing there. This is like the cognitive process of ...
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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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Are there any connections between James–Stein estimator and quantum mechanics?

Very nice statement from wiki: When three or more unrelated parameters are measured, their total MSE can be reduced by using a combined estimator such as the James–Stein estimator; whereas when ...
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Is the collapse of the wave function inherently time asymmetric?

Schroedinger's equation, as we all know, is time symmetric. In quantum field theory, we have to come up with a more sophisticated CPT reversal, but the essential point remains unchanged. However, the ...
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Given entanglement, why is it permissible to consider the quantum state of subsystems?

Quantum entanglement is the norm, is it not? All that exists in reality is the wave function of the whole universe, true? So how come we can blithely talk about the quantum state of subsystems if ...
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Worlds branching or diverging in Many-Worlds Interpretation? [closed]

In recent years there seems to have been a growing discussion surrounding MWI's ontology. In the 2010 volume "Many Worlds?", Simon Saunders has a chapter dedicated to discussing whether the worlds in ...
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Information conservation during quantum measurement in $\psi$-epistemic interpretations [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Information conservation during quantum measurement I asked a version of the following quesiton previously on Physics.stackexchange, where it didn't get a lot of ...