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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43
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3answers
19k 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 ...
17
votes
6answers
2k views

Why is superdeterminism generally regarded as a joke? [closed]

Before anything, I'm sorry for being an outsider coming to opine about your field. This is almost always a stupid decision, but I do have a good justification for this case. I've been reading about ...
17
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4answers
424 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 ...
16
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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" ...
15
votes
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 ...
15
votes
5answers
627 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 ...
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 ...
14
votes
3answers
604 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. ...
14
votes
5answers
954 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 ...
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 ...
13
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13answers
2k views

Arguments for and against Many Worlds?

I would like to hear the best arguments for and against the Many Worlds interpretation of QM.
12
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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 ...
11
votes
3answers
388 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
618 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
787 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
498 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 ...
10
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 ...
10
votes
4answers
909 views

Is the statistical interpretation of Quantum Mechanics dead?

I'm sure this question is a bit gauche for this site, but I'm just a mathematician trying to piece together some physical intuition. *Question:*Is the statistical interpretation of Quantum ...
10
votes
2answers
668 views

Is the preferred basis problem solved?

Once and for all: Is the preferred basis problem in the Everettian Interpretation of QM considered solved by decoherence or not? THere are a few people who claim that it's not, but it seems the vast ...
10
votes
1answer
177 views

Are quantum decoherence and Everettian approaches to the measurement problem necessarily distinct?

As I understand it, there is a large contingent of physicists who believe that the measurement problem is "solved" by decoherence, without, for example, needing to postulate the existence of "many ...
9
votes
4answers
719 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
196 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 $p_i$: ...
9
votes
1answer
89 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 ...
8
votes
8answers
698 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
343 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
462 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 ...
8
votes
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 ...
8
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
112 views

Does quantum collapse involve a loss of information? Does it require energy as suggested by the Landauer Limit?

I read in the context of quantum computing or of the minimal energy required for computation that there has to be a minimum possible amount of energy required to change one bit of information, called ...
8
votes
0answers
189 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 ...
8
votes
8answers
965 views

What criteria distinguishes causality from retrocausality?

The brilliant philosopher David Hume remarked that if two events are always found to be correlated to each other with one event happening prior to the other, we call the earlier event the cause and ...
7
votes
4answers
537 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
286 views

Are probabilities really tangible physical real numbers?

Probabilities are usually considered to be a real number between 0 and 1. A real number has an infinite decimal expansion. Are probabilities really real numbers? Is the infinite decimal expansion ...
7
votes
3answers
210 views

Is the Copenhagen interpretation merely an approximation to quantum mechanics?

So, I'm reading Max Tegmark's Our Mathematical Universe (Knopf edition, p. 229). He's discussing Everett/MWI for a bit and I'm not really paying attention and then I wake up to this: [I]t's time ...
7
votes
6answers
840 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 ...
7
votes
7answers
560 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
435 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
145 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 ...
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 ...
6
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
3answers
775 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 ...
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 ...
6
votes
4answers
226 views

Are coherent states of light 'classical' or 'quantum'?

Coherent states of light, defined as $$|\alpha\rangle=e^{-\frac{|\alpha|^2}{2}}\sum_{n=0}^\infty \frac{\alpha^n}{n!}|n\rangle$$ for a given complex number $\alpha$ and where $|n\rangle$ is a Fock ...
6
votes
4answers
722 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 ...
6
votes
8answers
882 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
208 views

Interpretation: probability form probability amplitude (free particle)

If you compute the probability amplitude of a free 1D non-relativistic particle with mass $m$, located at position $x_0$ at time $t_0$, for beeing detected at some other point $x_N$ at time $t_N$ you ...
6
votes
6answers
814 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
138 views

Can an observer be the observed?

As a supplement to this question as to whether particles can be observers, supposing that the answer is yes. One could suppose a setup where particle A is observing particle B, but what to stop us ...
6
votes
5answers
494 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
342 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 ...