Monday, February 11, 2008

Quantum philosophy - What it means

In the previous post, I mentioned the double slit experiment. In that experiment the Results are determined by the subjective outlook of the observer. If he wants to see light as waves it will be waves and if he wants it to be particles it will act as such. but never both at the same time.

The results of that different experiments were replicated in several more complex ones, that address any other possibility of experimental error, the mathematical models correspond to the results.

So What does this all mean ?

Interpreting the experimental findings has been the unorthodox part of quantum, since it threw determinism and the mechanistic view of the universe out of the window. It is the attempt to bridge the gap between what happens at the subatomic level and why it isn't observed in our universe at a larger scales.

The most widely supported view is that of the Copenhagen's interpretation which simply says that every particle is described by its wavefuntion that dictates its probability to be found in any place, and upon measurement that wave collapses placing the particle into what the subject is expecting of it with that measurement and that every measurement influences the end result. wave function in this interpretation means more of a non-committal mode rather than an actual wave like movement of particles.

Just in terms of reference to other interpretations in case you are saying that what this suggests is way too woo like and way too far fetched that it can't make sense (who said the universe should make sense). I won't discuss Hidden variable interpretation since it is old, and mostly a discarded attempt to hold on to classical mechanistic view of the world

Many World interpretation
this is the interesting interpretation that explains that instead of what happens after something is observed and all the other possibilities are discarded to form the current reality. It says that all those probabilities actually occur and we are only able to perceive one of those realities.
Those realities (universes) are part of a bigger multiverse which encompasses all those universes. If it happens that any 2 universes happen to intersect then they would end up merging into a single universe. It helps remove the fact that we are participants in shaping the universe (atleast the one that we live in) and back to participants... Do you remember Sliders.

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  • I didn't really understand this part. Can you put it in a simplier way?

    It is not clear if sub atomic particles can be described by being particles or waves?

    Or it can be described by both?

    By Blogger The Observer, At 20/2/08 18:00  

  • for starters, waves and particles are two manifestation of energy that we know, but they aren't the reality of the thing.

    ok let me try it this way
    imagine a rope, now you wiggle the rope and it makes a wave kind of movement along it, now there is another blind person that is standing next to the rope that will try to catch that rope.

    now the copenhagen interpretation says, when that person catches the rope that wave that is in the rope collapse and it exist in that specific instance. so it has a probability of being there at that specific location based on the wave in the rope. but if the observer listens to the rope he would hear it wiggle right ? so the rope in this case is showing us that it can exist in a specific location if we hold it(particle) or it can be heard that it is moving(wave) but in reality its neither of those things it is a rope(energy)

    what the other interpretation is saying is that there are a gazillion blind people trying to hold the rope and they all exist in parallel universes that hold the rope at every possible point but to us there is only one that we can conceive as real the rest we can't know about since they are in an inaccessible parallel universe.

    hmmm ... am tryin :D

    By Blogger No_Angel, At 20/2/08 19:47  

  • Why assume people in parallel universes trying to hold the rope?!!

    I appreciate that you are trying, and I am trying to understand too :). I just hope that I wont make you frustrated :)

    Anyhow, now what I understand is that it is like a thread of energing moving up and down like a wave. If you catch an instance of it then it would be thread and the wave attribute would vanish at that instance, but in reality it looks like a wave because of its movement.

    But why would we apply parallel universes here? We can't catch those instances maybe because they are so tiny interms of space and time? right? or am I completely beside the point here?

    By Blogger The Observer, At 21/2/08 11:05  

  • Hey don't worry i appreciate that your bearing with me here, since i know am not a good teacher :P

    the reason for a parallel universe is for quantum mechanics to be deterministic and to remove the observer influence on systems.

    that can only be satisfied if you remove the probability with certainty in the way of satisfying all those possibilities but separating the reality they occur in (those probabilities are reflected mathematically so u can't ignore them totally you have to deal with them)

    By Blogger No_Angel, At 21/2/08 11:16  

  • We can't catch those instances maybe because they are so tiny interms of space and time?

    the thing is you can catch those instance when you are looking for them. but you can't catch them all at the same time.
    a wave movement means that particle has momentum, while a particle has location. the idea is that you can't know both at the same time.

    so to explain why you can't know both at the same time while you can find them separately. so one suggestion is that they all occur but we can only perceive one reality at a time. the other is that as soon as we have knowledge of one thing the non-boolean(since it occupies both states true and false at the same time) structure falls and settles on one state.

    By Blogger No_Angel, At 21/2/08 11:34  

  • oh i don't know if i mentioned it but it bears repeating.
    those interpretations are to explain a connection between quantum mechanics and natural classical physics. and why there is such a huge contradiction between the two. in the aim to achieve a unified system that encompasses both.
    think of it as quantum mechanics being the outer bigger circle. Newtonian physics a smaller circle within that bigger circle. and the unified theory the biggest circle that holds both.

    By Blogger No_Angel, At 21/2/08 11:38  

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