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
164 views

Motivation for Wigner Phase Space Distribution

Most sources say that Wigner distribution acts like a joint phase-space distribution in quantum mechanics and this is justified by the formula ...
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2answers
232 views

Bell's Theorem graph

My friends and I got into an argument about determinism, and I brought up that quantum events are random. But I couldn't prove it. I found the Wikipedia page on Bell's theorem, which seems to imply ...
7
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1answer
200 views

What experiments have been proposed to discriminate between interpretations of quantum mechanics?

There are a lot of potentially correct interpretations of quantum mechanics. While I've heard descriptions of a lot of them, I've never heard of an experiment being done to test any of them aside from ...
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2answers
444 views

Should it be obvious that independent quantum states are composed by taking the tensor product?

My text introduces multi-quibt quantum states with the example of a state that can be "factored" into two (non-entangled) substates. It then goes on to suggest that it should be obvious1 that the ...
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3answers
842 views

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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0answers
88 views

What is the difference between Cramer and Vaidman?

Two very interesting new papers on arXiv last night by Lev Vaidman and friends lead me to ask about the differences between Cramer's transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics (TIQM) and the ...
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0answers
80 views

Hamiltonian matrix propertu

A professor made an statement to prove the variational theorem: Because the Hamiltonian (H operator of quantum physics) is diagonal in its own eigenfunction, the terms in $\left \langle \Phi _{m} ...
4
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1answer
178 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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2answers
131 views

EPR vs. EPRBB? Why can't we perform the original EPR experiment?

The EPR gedanken experiment was invented by Einstein Podolsky and Rosen in 1935. It involved positions and momenta. In 1957, Bohm revised this gedanken experiment into one involving spins, or ...
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2answers
238 views

If inherent randomness exist in quantum mechanics, what then of eternalism implied by relativity?

I am nothing but a curious layman so don't go too technical on me. First of all, I am well aware that a lot of people consider the question of determinism vs indeterminism to be unsolved and others ...
0
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1answer
153 views

Does quantum reversibility require many worlds?

The source S sends a photon into the beam splitter below. There is a 50% chance that it will be detected at A and a 50% chance it will be detected at B. ...
15
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3answers
831 views

Does quantum computing rely on particular interpretations of quantum mechanics?

It is my understanding that quantum computing relies on quantum superposition and entanglement to work--qbits must exist in all states simultaneously before giving a particular result when observed. ...
2
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2answers
219 views

What does the Copenhagen interpretation say about the position of a particle before measurement?

Suppose there is a particle in space. When we measure the position of that particle, we get a particular value with a probability that can be calculated from the wave function. But, according to the ...
3
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1answer
264 views

Question about Wigner's friend

The Wigner's friend thought experiment can be used to understand non-realism in quantum mechanics. For anyone not familiar, the thought experiment involves two researchers observing an experiment at ...
2
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2answers
179 views

Cardinality of the Universes Set

No expert by any means, but sometimes, in different contexts the term multiverse used. In quantum mechanics, some say that it is possible that there are actually many universes where all the possible ...
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2answers
325 views

What are hidden variables exactly?

What are hidden variables in quantum mechanics? I am aware there are many types but what exactly do they mean or even "do" exactly? Do they mean that the quantum indeterminacy becomes hidden but ...
1
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3answers
261 views

Is a quantum system mandatory for generating true random sequence?

Is a quantum system necessary if we want to generate true random sequence? The mathematical framework used for classical mechanics doesn't involve any random value. But the mathematical framework of ...
15
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5answers
1k views

What combinations of realism, non-locality, and contextuality are ruled out in quantum theory?

Bell's inequality theorem, along with experimental evidence, shows that we cannot have both realism and locality. While I don't fully understand it, Leggett's inequality takes this a step further and ...
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0answers
179 views

Is there any way to prove/disprove we are in a computer simulation? [closed]

Is there any way to prove/disprove we are in a computer simulation in some transcendental reality? Even if we are "really" not in a simulation, can we ever prove so? Even if some messages/evidence ...
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3answers
1k 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 ...
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2answers
300 views

Ontology of the quantum field

I'll use QED as an example, but my question is relevant to any quantum field theory. When we have a particle in QED, where is its charge contained in the field? Is the field itself charged? If so, ...
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4answers
223 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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0answers
44 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
286 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 ...
14
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5answers
2k views

The transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics

John Cramer’s transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics (TIQM) is billed as resolving the fuzzy agnosticism of the Copenhagen interpretation while avoiding the alleged ontological excesses of ...
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3answers
705 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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6answers
2k 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 ...
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3answers
525 views

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
294 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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6answers
542 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 ...
4
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1answer
275 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
88 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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0answers
171 views

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, ...
2
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1answer
600 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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3answers
306 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
2k views

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 ...
0
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1answer
167 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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2answers
396 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: ...
6
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1answer
483 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 ...
4
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1answer
73 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 ...
11
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1answer
526 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 ...
3
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2answers
248 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
149 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 ...
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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 ...
4
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1answer
238 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 ...
2
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0answers
98 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
642 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 ...
3
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2answers
227 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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6answers
1k views

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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1answer
457 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 ...