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Conceptual Foundations of Quantum Physics: An Overview from by Dipankar Home

By Dipankar Home

It may well tum out that, like convinced different phenomena studied via sociologists, bouts of curiosity within the foundations of quantum mechanics are likely to are available in 60-year cycles. it really is rarely wonderful that during the 1st decade or so of the topic the conceptual puzzles generated by way of this unusual new approach of taking a look at the realm must have generated profound curiosity, not only between expert physicists themselves but in addition between philosophers and trained laymen; yet this extreme curiosity was once by means of a fallow interval within the forties and fifties while the physics institution typically took the view that the one puzzles left have been the product both of incompetent software of the formalism or of undesirable philosophy, and just a couple of courageous individualists just like the past due David Bohm dared to signify that perhaps there rather was once anything there in any case to fret approximately. As Bell and Nauenberg, surveying the scene in 1966, placed it: "The common physicist feels that [these questions 1 have some time past been responded, and that he'll totally know the way if ever he can spare twenty mins to contemplate it. " yet progressively, throughout the sixties and seventies, interest did revive, and the final ten years or so have obvious a degree of curiosity in foundational questions, and an involvement in them through the various major figures of up to date physics, that's most likely remarkable because the earliest days.

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If this is so, the ensemble interpretation is somewhat agnostic about whether a wave function constitutes a complete description of the quantum mechanical state [53]. However as soon as we attribute definite but unknown values to the dynamical variables of an individual system, we must specify whether these values are simply revealed by relevant measurements or are premeasurement values that could in general differ from postmeasurement values. Such a specification would in turn involve spelling out the specifics of a hidden variable theory.

He wrote [35]: the state of a closed system represented by a wave function is indeed objective, but not real, and that the classical idea of "objectively real things" must here, to this extent, be abandoned . . The ontology of materialism rested upon the illusion that the kind of existence, the direct "actuality" of the world around us, can be extrapolated into the atomic range. This extrapolation, however, is impossible. (pp. 27-28) 18 Chapter 1 Ontology is closely related to what we called realism-it means in general theory or description of being in contrast to epistemology, which means theory or description of how knowledge is obtained.

In other words in the standard interpretation, the formalism of quantum mechanics or the quantum algorithm does not reflect a well-defined underlying reality, but rather it constitutes only knowledge about the statistics of observed results. A similar viewpoint is echoed in the writings of Heisenberg [35, 36], another chief proponent of the standard interpretation. For instance Heisenberg emphasizes that in his interpretation, the notion of objectivity is restricted to measured statistical properties (Objectivity in the sense of just intersubjectivity does not necessarily entail realism).

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