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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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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295 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
529 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
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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
593 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
720 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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0answers
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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
455 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
120 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
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 ...
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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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2answers
216 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
300 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
70 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
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 ...
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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
785 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
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
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
234 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
762 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
99 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
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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1answer
725 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
630 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
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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
234 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
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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4answers
278 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
667 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
464 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
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 ...
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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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0answers
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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8answers
933 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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1answer
511 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 ...
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4answers
557 views

Is the wave function objective or subjective?

Here is a question I am curious about. Is the wave function objective or subjective, or is such a question meaningless? Conventionally, subjectivity is as follows: if a quantity is subjective then ...
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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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6answers
870 views

Are many-worlds and the multiverse really the same thing?

Are many-worlds and the multiverse really the same thing? Not too long ago, Susskind and Bousso uploaded the article "The Multiverse Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics" with the thesis that the ...
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1answer
275 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
390 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 ...
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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 ...
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6answers
1k views

Is Shor's algorithm a demonstration of the many worlds interpretation?

David Deutsch is very fond of pointing out Shor's integer factorization algorithm is a demonstration of the many worlds interpretation. As he often asked, where else did all the exponentially many ...
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2answers
413 views

What happens when particle-antiparticle pairs annihilate in MWI?

The many-worlds interpretation of quantum physics is built around a configuration space, where the position of a particle is three components of the position of that universe. What happens with ...
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3answers
831 views

How much is quantum computation changing the interpretation of quantum theory, and, if at all, how?

At the beginning of quantum computation, David Deutsch made a strong claim that the Many Worlds interpretation of quantum theory was at the foundation of his ability to do what he did. There was a lot ...
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3answers
754 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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5answers
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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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7answers
3k views

Why do people still talk about bohmian mechanics/hidden variables [closed]

I was reading the Feynman lectures in physics and after thinking about it for a while it seems particularly unreasonable to talk about hidden variables. Let us say that the electron has some internal ...
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3answers
409 views

Is it possible to define a “it went through two slits” observable?

This concerns the famous two-slit experiment. Electrons or photons or your favorite particle, doesn't matter. As we all know, the attempt to detect which slit the quanta pass through leads to loss ...
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3answers
251 views

What's the worst thing about the tomographic approach to QM?

I saw a paper on arXiv that referenced this approach to an ontology of QM: Phys.Lett. A213 (1996) 1, S. Mancini, V. I. Man'ko, P.Tombesi Symplectic tomography as classical approach to quantum ...