After reading Mott’s paper


The wave mechanics of α-ray tracks

Mott N.F., Proc. R. Soc. Lond. A, 126, 79-84, 1929.

my simple question is why this kind of reasoning isn’t sufficient to show that any kind of quantum state reduction (projection postulate, collapse of the wave function) is unnecessary.

Of course this does not rule out the idea to use the quantum state reduction as a tool in some calculations, but as presented in some books and lecture notes it seems that the quantum state reduction ist still believed to be an essential, indispensable postulate for quantum mechanics.

(of course I know that there are non-collapse interpretations; to my knowledge they haven’t been ruled out experimentally but agree with observations)


1 Answer 1


This is a very good question, and I think the answer is yes. But Mott’s paper on its own doesn’t provide the answer because (at best) it says alpha particles form tracks but it doesn’t say why any one particular track is selected. I have recently published a paper in Foundations of Physics that offers a new physical analysis of how the selection takes place. The title is “The first droplet in a cloud chamber track,” and it’s available online.


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