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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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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5answers
4k views

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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2answers
769 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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2answers
219 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
167 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 ...
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2answers
1k 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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6answers
454 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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0answers
58 views

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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2answers
633 views

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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8answers
719 views

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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1answer
378 views

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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0answers
42 views

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 ...
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4answers
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What errors would one learn from Eliezer Yudkowsky's introduction to quantum physics?

Eliezer Yudkowsky wrote an introduction to quantum physics from a strictly realist standpoint. However, he has no qualifications in the subject and it is not his specialty. Does it paint an accurate ...
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3answers
467 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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0answers
143 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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1answer
173 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
376 views

M-theory and many-worlds interpretation

I am getting some confusion on whether M-theory accepts many-worlds interpretation. Can anyone show me the reasons or rebuttals for the possibility of the many-worlds interpretation in M-theory? ...
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4answers
281 views

How can new interpretations of QM help?

There is some current work on interpretations of quantum mechanics. How do you think can interesting results in that area help physics? Can it change quantum physics or make it easier? Which ...
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3answers
638 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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2answers
302 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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5answers
558 views

How isolated must a system be for it's wave function to be considered not collapsed?

As an undergrad I was often confused over people's bafflement with Schodinger's cat thought experiment. It seemed obvious to me that the term "observation" referred to the Geiger counter, not the ...
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4answers
1k views

Why is Gleason's Theorem not enough to obtain Born Rule in Many Worlds Interpretation?

The Many Worlds interpretation suffer from at least 2 "wounds", the preferred basis issue and perhaps the most notorious probability issue. How do you make sense of probability in a model where ...
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2answers
614 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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7answers
760 views

Which physically acceptable quantum interpretations do not require the existence of any observer at all?

Some interpretations of quantum mechanics — like the Copenhagen interpretation in particular — require the existence of an observer. The role of the observer is a bit mysterious. After ...
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Identifying fragments when there is a superposition of fragments in quantum Darwinism

In Zurek's theory of quantum Darwinism, information about the pointer states of a system imprint themselves upon fragments of the environment carrying records about the state of the system. ...
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6answers
488 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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1answer
130 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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2answers
126 views

How do you properly analyze decoherence when the system-environment interaction is strong?

The standard decoherence analyses work something like this. Split the universe into a system and its environment, and split the Hamiltonian as the sum of the system Hamiltonian, environment ...
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3answers
315 views

Is energy conserved in decay of hydrogen atom in superposed state?

This looks like a paradox. Let's say we have an hydrogen atom. Superposition of states could be possible for electrons. But if an electron is in a superposition, I guess it could decay into a lower ...
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2answers
223 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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5answers
304 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
71 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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5answers
719 views

Is quantum mechanics intrinsically dualistic?

In just about every interpretation of quantum mechanics, there appears to be some form of dualism. Is this inevitable or not? In the orthodox Copenhagen interpretation by Bohr and Heisenberg, the ...
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5answers
2k views

Consequences of the new theorem in QM?

It seems there is a new theorem that changes the rules of the game in the interpretational debate on QM: http://www.nature.com/news/quantum-theorem-shakes-foundations-1.9392 Does this only leave ...
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4answers
836 views

Is QFT mathematically self-consistent?

After recently going through a short program of self-study in quantum mechanics, I was surprised to find a quote attributed to Feynman essentially saying he was extremely bothered by the computational ...
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4answers
238 views

Are Everettian branchings global or local?

Everett's theory of quantum mechanics is about the wavefunction of the whole universe holistically. If a branching occurs very far away at the Andromeda galaxy, do I also branch? Are branchings global ...
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2answers
2k views

What is the meaning of Wheeler's delayed choice experiment?

Wheeler's delayed choice experiment is a variant of the classic double slit experiment for photons in which the detecting screen may or may not be removed after the photons had passed through the ...
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5answers
236 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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3answers
819 views

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

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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3answers
575 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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1answer
762 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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1answer
678 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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0answers
70 views

Complementarity between the laws of physics? [closed]

Is this following proposal plausible, worth considering, or dismissable as lunatic fringe science? What if the universe isn't really what we think it is but some universal quantum computer where we ...
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2answers
238 views

Is there a manifestly Lorentz invariant formulation of the many worlds interpretation?

First, I give an absurd example. A conscious observer lives on Earth at time t. A light-year away, at a space-like separation, a nuclear bomb chain reaction goes off. A nuclear bomb chain reaction is ...
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0answers
338 views

Does the extended probability ensemble interpretation of quantum mechanics make any sense?

Gell-Mann and Hartle came up with the extended probability ensemble interpretation over here. Basically, they extended probability theory to include real numbers which may be negative or greater than ...
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4answers
281 views

Why should the observed probability distributions in quantum mechanics always align with the pointer basis of decoherence?

It has always been claimed decoherence solves the problem of the preferred-basis for observed probability distributions, but why should this be the case? If there is only one world, and there are ...
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4answers
699 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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1answer
493 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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3answers
606 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 ...