Any theory that is to explain the world correctly has to provide a mechanism by which the interesting results of quantum mechanics happen (e.g. diffraction patterns, momentum/position uncertainty, etc.).

While there are numerous explanations of particular historical experiments on the web (double slits, delayed choice eraser, bell inequalities, etc.), I couldn't seem to find an actual minimal, non-redundant, and exhaustive list of such experiments that we have to provide an explanation for.

I guess I'm looking for very bare-bone (and experiment-centered) answers of the type "When a photon/other particle goes through system A, B should happen."

What relevant properties and behavior should a particle exhibit ? What should the "test suite" of a quantum theory contain, if you will ?

  • $\begingroup$ Explaining the outcome of the double-slit experiment is sufficient. $\endgroup$
    – Řídící
    Commented Feb 27, 2015 at 8:45
  • $\begingroup$ @GlenTheUdderboat The double slit is not sufficient, it's the place to start---the first test people will turn to. Then you still have to get the Quantum Zeno effect, Bell's inequality experiments, and the delay-choice quantum eraser right as well. Probably others too. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 27, 2015 at 20:38

1 Answer 1


What experiments should be done to test a theory depends on both the theory and its rivals. At some point, somebody may come up with a better theory. The crucial experiments will then depend on where quantum theory and its rival differ.

If you're asking about quantum physics versus classical physics, there are many experiments where they would make different predictions. These include single particle interference, Bell-correlation type experiments, the existence of atoms and so on. There isn't going to be a completely exhaustive list because classical physics is only the same as quantum physics in certain limits, and then only as long as you are content with predictions of low enough accuracy. So for just about any system for which you could come up with a model some of the predictions of the two theories will be different in ways that could in principle be tested.


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