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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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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4answers
748 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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1answer
194 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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1answer
286 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 ...
6
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3answers
317 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
185 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
156 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
95 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
136 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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2answers
409 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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0answers
207 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
105 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 ...
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1answer
118 views

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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2answers
924 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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5answers
667 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 ...
5
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2answers
708 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 ...
4
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2answers
206 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
165 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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8answers
707 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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3answers
585 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 ...
2
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0answers
57 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 ...
8
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2answers
505 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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1answer
374 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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4answers
3k views

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
439 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
137 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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2answers
123 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 ...
4
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1answer
167 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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4answers
781 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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1answer
358 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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8answers
932 views

Is the quantum analog of a probability distribution the wave function or the density matrix?

Classically, probability distributions are nonnegative real measures over the space of all possible outcomes which add up to 1. What they mean is open to debate between Bayesians, frequentists and ...
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4answers
654 views

Quantum Physics and the Law of Large Numbers

On page 1 of this recent paper by Bousso and Susskind we read. This question is not about philosophy. Without a precise form of decoherence, one cannot claim that anything really "happened", ...
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4answers
236 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
233 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
107 views

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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3answers
304 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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4answers
277 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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3answers
559 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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3answers
761 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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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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3answers
453 views

If the multiverse and many-worlds don't exist, how should we interpret probabilities?

If the multiverse of eternal inflation and the many-worlds of quantum mechanics don't exist, how should we interpret the meaning of probabilities? If there is only one copy of the universe out there, ...
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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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1answer
724 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: ...
3
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1answer
628 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
68 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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0answers
322 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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2answers
2k views

Is the “consistent histories” interpretation of QM a “many worlds interpretation” in disguise?

The so called consistent histories interpretation is claimed to be a correction of the Copenhagen Interpretation. One of its aim, as much as I can see is to show that observers don't have any special ...
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115 views

Can events unhappen for a conscious program on a reversible quantum computer? [closed]

Some time far into the future, humans have made the technology breakthroughs to construct decoherence-proof reversible quantum computers with quantum fault tolerance. They have also solved the hard AI ...
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1answer
274 views

Uniqueness of quasiclassical consistent histories

The current zeitgeist here is on interpretations of quantum mechanics, so let me add my own two cents here. As you may know, consistent histories is an alternative interpretation proposed in a series ...
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2answers
389 views

Consciousness and quantum mechanics [closed]

Quantum mechanics is very mysterious. Consciousness is often brought into play to explain quantum phenomena. Is this only a matter of convenience, or is consciousness inherent to interpreting quantum ...