In current quantum models, name one or more objects that collapse an entangled waveform into a single classical particle other than a complete living human person. The "duplicate" I just read has an accepted negative score answer that starts with "An observer is a person...", so I don't know how to make this simpler. If you are interested in jokes related to the issue, continue reading, but otherwise you may begin formulating an answer now.

Here are some examples of solid answers that, while not true, would answer my question if they were in a modern quantum model:

  • Anyone with a full head of hair is an observer. Receding hairlines have a reduced probability of collapse. Wigs count too.

  • Anything with a phone number is an observer; it doesn't matter to the quantum state if anyone picks up. The classical result and its delta T depends on your carrier, and all possible states use the data plan simultaneously.

  • Anything that walks on two legs is an observer. Sorry dolphins. And you can't just do it sometimes, it has to be your primary mode of transport, so no weasling your way in, dogs.

  • It doesn't quantize until it's published in Nature. PNAS doesn't work, and we all know the news can be both true and false simultaneously now.

  • God (not yours, the other one) decided that some things should act classical, and entangled quantum stuff is so impressed with the endorsement when they come into contact, it acts like a classical thing from that point forward.

  • The electron over there on your keyboard and/or phone is actually the one and only observer. Its potential paths look like observers now, but as soon as you touch it, we all disappear.

Include as much math as it takes. A greek letter with a hat that does the job is fine. Just no humans in your theory. Like teaching it to a millenial, one might say.

There may be follow up questions, but it is not necessary to answer them to my satisfaction to receive check mark.

  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure what this question asks that isn't covered by the above mentioned possible duplicate, namely its positively-scored answers. $\endgroup$
    – Ruslan
    Mar 9, 2017 at 9:41
  • $\begingroup$ @rusian I will look into it, but frankly, this is the 4th question in a row that has been closed, fixed exactly as requested (e.g. breaking it up into discrete, single answer parts), and it's starting to feel a little circuitous. If I qualify everything precisely like the first 2, it becomes unclear what I have asked amongst the details. If I simplify it, it starts looking like a question answered before. Would you accept my next attempt with 1 additional qualifier that separates it from your link, or will it become unclear? $\endgroup$
    – sqykly
    Mar 9, 2017 at 19:51
  • $\begingroup$ Your question above is still based on the premise that observer is a person... . But that's taken from the wrong, downvoted answer in the duplicate question. Multiple bullets in the list above look more like attempts to joke than serious options you're really considering. Thus I'm not really sure whether your next attempt will make the question clearer, if it's still in the same spirit. $\endgroup$
    – Ruslan
    Mar 9, 2017 at 19:57
  • $\begingroup$ @Ruslan if my question was indeed based on the premise that the observer was a person, it would not be a question. My premise, in fact, is that it doesn't have to be a person, and I would like to see an expert produce an example that does not involve a person at all. None of the previous answers give an example at all. However, I am also prepared to argue that none of the other 6 answers address the falsification of that premise in a categorical sense either, so where shall I make this argument? Here in the comments? The other question's answers' comments? A new question that addresses $\endgroup$
    – sqykly
    Mar 10, 2017 at 20:40
  • $\begingroup$ @Ruslan also, might it be helpful to divide my question into definitions for observer, a measurement, and an entangled system, with the stipulation that there are no circular references? I could then draw upon these answers to clarify the exact category I need an example of. Finally, am I to infer that reductions to absurdity that I anticipate as answers must not involve humor? $\endgroup$
    – sqykly
    Mar 10, 2017 at 20:49

1 Answer 1


If the entangled particle is interacted with it will "collapse". In that sense the starting set of "observers" is the set of all things. A more interesting question would then be can anything interact with an entangled or superimposed states without collapsing the wavefunction?

That's the end of my answer.

In addition to News existing increasingly as a superposition of true and false states, We have long known that Bad News has a special property being the only information capable of exchange at FTL speeds, i.e. it is tachyonic.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for answering, and for the record, this is close to my non-expert interpretation, but the fact that we can find lots of quantum systems that can interact without collapse, (e.g the atom and instruments made of atoms) but only one that can (a living human person) is conspicuous. If I could give you a check mark, I would remind you that "everything except..." is not supported by modern QM. In fact, it's equivalent to one of my gag answers. $\endgroup$
    – sqykly
    Mar 9, 2017 at 20:07
  • $\begingroup$ ?? You think that only a living human can collapse a wave-function? Where is that coming from? $\endgroup$
    – JMLCarter
    Mar 9, 2017 at 20:46
  • $\begingroup$ no, I think that's ridiculous. Which is why this ought to be a really, really easy question to answer. In fact I have a harder question, which I must sever into pieces that individually look outright silly, lest they be closed as unclear. In retrospect, it is not surprising that the smaller pieces get closed as duplicates; QM has been vigorously discussed in bits and pieces, but any attempt to join them in the real world disintegrates. $\endgroup$
    – sqykly
    Mar 10, 2017 at 4:48

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