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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1answer
163 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 ...
-3
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1answer
406 views

Quantum superposition and fate [closed]

First of all, sorry for my knowledge of physics. Maybe my question is too obvious but I want to ask it. I am thinking about fate and if it exist or no. According to my assumption if I take any ...
5
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1answer
645 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
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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3answers
191 views

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 ...
3
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2answers
364 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: ...
8
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3answers
982 views

How does Bell's theorem rule out the possibility of local hidden variables?

It seems to be common consensus that the world is non-deterministic and this is proved by Bell's theorem. But even though Bell's experiments proved that the theory of quantum mechanics work, How does ...
6
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1answer
418 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 ...
3
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2answers
244 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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2answers
144 views

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 ...
2
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1answer
478 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 ...
4
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1answer
206 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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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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3answers
826 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 ...
2
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0answers
90 views

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 ...
3
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2answers
550 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 ...
2
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5answers
366 views

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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6answers
1k views

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 ...
5
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1answer
404 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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4answers
1k 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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0answers
49 views

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 ...
1
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1answer
116 views

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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6answers
921 views

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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4answers
339 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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4answers
359 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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3answers
749 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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3answers
182 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, ...
3
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1answer
106 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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3answers
133 views

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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1answer
120 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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2answers
1k views

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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2answers
518 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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0answers
119 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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9answers
1k views

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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3answers
287 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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3answers
995 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
304 views

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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1answer
212 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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3answers
336 views

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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4answers
195 views

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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1answer
167 views

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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2answers
100 views

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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0answers
141 views

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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4answers
783 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 ...
4
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2answers
449 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 ...
0
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1answer
171 views

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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4answers
200 views

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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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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0answers
227 views

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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0answers
106 views

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 ...