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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17
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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 ...
11
votes
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 ...
6
votes
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 ...
7
votes
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?
6
votes
5answers
528 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 ...
18
votes
5answers
3k 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" ...
14
votes
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 ...
1
vote
2answers
697 views

EPR-type experiments and faster-than-light communication using interference effects as signaling mechanism

I understand that faster-than-light communication is impossible when making single measurements, because the outcome of each measurement is random. However, shouldn't measurement on one side collapse ...
14
votes
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 ...
8
votes
2answers
357 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 ...
4
votes
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 ...
42
votes
3answers
20k views

Is the universe fundamentally deterministic?

I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask this question. I realise that this maybe a borderline philosophical question at this point in time, therefore feel free to close this question if you ...
9
votes
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 ...
6
votes
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 ...
15
votes
3answers
317 views

Classical and quantum probabilities in density matrices

In textbooks, it is sometimes written that a mixed state can be represented as mixture of $N$ (I assume here $N<+\infty$) quantum pure states $|\psi_i\rangle$ with classical probabilities $p_i$: ...
7
votes
6answers
873 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 ...
5
votes
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 ...
8
votes
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 ...
6
votes
6answers
868 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
892 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
552 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
920 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 ...
2
votes
5answers
302 views

How do we know that there isn't a classical solution to the measurement problem/Quantum Mechanical uncertainty?

It was mentioned to me that it can be shown that there is no classical explanation for the uncertainty in Quantum Mechanics -- i.e. that there are no hidden workings that we have just not yet seen, ...
2
votes
2answers
234 views

Are probability-preserving variations of QT with respect to the Born rule mathematically possible?

Is it possible to create (m)any theoretically workable framework(s) - that do(es) produce probabilities - by taking QM and replacing the Born(-like) rule(s) with something that is not equivalent to it ...
2
votes
5answers
290 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
140 views

Non-locality and Bell's theory

Non-Locality – (just ) one more question? I have read comments that Bell’s theory proves quantum mechanics is non-local, and also comments that it does not. I have read a comment by a very eminent ...
0
votes
1answer
104 views

Uncertainty and wave-trains

My textbook and the following extract from feynman's lectures present the same idea regarding wavetrains and uncertainty in their wavelengths. Why is it that a wavetrain confined to some space has an ...
0
votes
1answer
170 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 ...
17
votes
4answers
448 views

Is every quantum measurement reducible to measurements of position and time?

I am currently studying Path Integrals and was unable to resolve the following problem. In the famous book Quantum Mechanics and Path Integrals, written by Feynman and Hibbs, it says (at the beginning ...
11
votes
3answers
721 views

Why am I wrong about how to view gauge theory?

Edit: I know there have been some similar questions but I don't think any had quite articulated my particular confusion. If gauge symmetries are really just redundancies in our description accounting ...
13
votes
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 ...
11
votes
3answers
408 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 ...
8
votes
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 ...
6
votes
4answers
778 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
462 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 ...
6
votes
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 ...
5
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
232 views

Can observers be particles?

Generally Quantum mechanics divides a system what is to be observed and an observer. This is generally taken to be some human being. But why restrict it to such? Why not a particle? Is there a good ...
7
votes
7answers
589 views

Why Quantum Mechanics as a non-fundamental effective theory?

My question: What (physical or mathematical) reasons (not philosophical) do some physicists ('t Hooft, Penrose, Smolin,...) argue/have in order to think that Quantum Mechanics could be substituted by ...
5
votes
3answers
367 views

Could quantum mechanics work without the Born rule?

Slightly inspired by this question about the historical origins of the Born rule, I wondered whether quantum mechanics could still work without the Born rule. I realize it's one of the most ...
4
votes
7answers
715 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 ...
3
votes
6answers
442 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
509 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
567 views

Quantum Wave Mechanics

I am studying QM-I these days. Now, I just think of the wave function as just a mathematical function that defines the state of the particle at an instant and from it you can extract various ...
6
votes
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. ...
5
votes
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
votes
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 ...
3
votes
3answers
584 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
votes
0answers
132 views

Why should multiple versions of a weak measurement preclude it from being a measurement of intrinsic properties of some system

I've been trying to understand Stephen Parrott's criticisms of weak measurement, outlined most concisely here: http://arxiv.org/abs/0909.0295 One of his major criticisms is that weak measurement is ...
2
votes
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 ...