Weekly Papers on Quantum Foundations (52)

This is a list of this week’s papers on quantum foundations published in the various journals or uploaded to the preprint servers such as arxiv.org and PhilSci Archive.

Beyond the cosmological standard model

Physics Reports

on 2014-12-26 10:09pm GMT

Publication date: Available online 25 December 2014
Source:Physics Reports
Author(s): Austin Joyce , Bhuvnesh Jain , Justin Khoury , Mark Trodden
After a decade and a half of research motivated by the accelerating universe, theory and experiment have a reached a certain level of maturity. The development of theoretical models beyond Λ or smooth dark energy, often called modified gravity, has led to broader insights into a path forward, and a host of observational and experimental tests have been developed. In this review we present the current state of the field and describe a framework for anticipating developments in the next decade. We identify the guiding principles for rigorous and consistent modifications of the standard model, and discuss the prospects for empirical tests. We begin by reviewing recent attempts to consistently modify Einstein gravity in the infrared, focusing on the notion that additional degrees of freedom introduced by the modification must “screen” themselves from local tests of gravity. We categorize screening mechanisms into three broad classes: mechanisms which become active in regions of high Newtonian potential, those in which first derivatives of the field become important, and those for which second derivatives of the field are important. Examples of the first class, such as f ( R ) gravity, employ the familiar chameleon or symmetron mechanisms, whereas examples of the last class are galileon and massive gravity theories, employing the Vainshtein mechanism. In each case, we describe the theories as effective theories and discuss prospects for completion in a more fundamental theory. We describe experimental tests of each class of theories, summarizing laboratory and solar system tests and describing in some detail astrophysical and cosmological tests. Finally, we discuss prospects for future tests which will be sensitive to different signatures of new physics in the gravitational sector. The review is structured so that those parts that are more relevant to theorists vs. observers/experimentalists are clearly indicated, in the hope that this will serve as a useful reference for both audiences, as well as helping those interested in bridging the gap between them.

A first-principles approach to physics based on locality and operationalism. (arXiv:1412.7731v1 [quant-ph])

quant-ph updates on arXiv.org

on 2014-12-25 9:58am GMT

Authors: Robert Oeckl (CCM-UNAM)

Starting from the guiding principles of spacetime locality and operationalism, a general framework for a probabilistic description of nature is proposed. Crucially, no notion of time or metric is assumed, neither any specific physical model. Remarkably, the emerging framework converges with a recently proposed formulation of quantum theory, obtained constructively from known quantum physics. At the same time the framework also admits statistical theories of classical physics.

Interpretations of Quantum Theory in the Light of Modern Cosmology. (arXiv:1412.7576v1 [gr-qc])

quant-ph updates on arXiv.org

on 2014-12-25 9:58am GMT

Authors: Mario CastagninoSebastian FortinRoberto LauraDaniel Sudarsky

The difficult issues related to the interpretation of quantum mechanics and, in particular, the “measurement problem” are revisited using as motivation the process of generation of structure from quantum fluctuations in inflationary cosmology. The unessential mathematical complexity of the particular problem is bypassed, facilitating the discussion of the conceptual issues, by considering, within the paradigm set up by the cosmological problem, another problem where symmetry serves as a focal point: a simplified version of Mott’s problem.

Relativeness in Quantum Gravity: Limitations and Frame Dependence of Semiclassical Descriptions. (arXiv:1412.7538v1 [hep-th])

gr-qc updates on arXiv.org

on 2014-12-25 9:57am GMT

Authors: Yasunori NomuraFabio SanchesSean J. Weinberg

Consistency between quantum mechanical and general relativistic views of the world is a longstanding problem, which becomes particularly prominent in black hole physics. We develop a coherent picture addressing this issue by studying the quantum mechanics of an evolving black hole. After interpreting the Bekenstein-Hawking entropy as the entropy representing the degrees of freedom that are coarse-grained to obtain a semiclassical description from the microscopic theory of quantum gravity, we discuss the properties these degrees of freedom exhibit when viewed from the semiclassical standpoint. We are led to the conclusion that they show features which we call extreme relativeness and spacetime-matter duality—a nontrivial reference frame dependence of their spacetime distribution and the dual roles they play as the “constituents” of spacetime and as thermal radiation. We describe black hole formation and evaporation processes in distant and infalling reference frames, showing that these two properties allow us to avoid the arguments for firewalls and to make the existence of the black hole interior consistent with unitary evolution in the sense of complementarity. Our analysis provides a concrete answer to how information can be preserved at the quantum level throughout the evolution of a black hole, and gives a basic picture of how general coordinate transformations may work at the level of full quantum gravity beyond the approximation of semiclassical theory.

Bell Inequalities, Experimental Protocols and Contextuality

Latest Results for Foundations of Physics

on 2014-12-25 12:00am GMT


In this paper we give additional arguments in favor of the point of view that the violation of Bell, CHSH and CH inequalities is not due to a mysterious non locality of nature. We concentrate on an intimate relation between a protocol of a random experiment and a probabilistic model which is used to describe it. We discuss in a simple way differences between attributive joint probability distributions and generalized joint probability distributions of outcomes from distant experiments which depend on how the pairing of these outcomes is defined. We analyze in detail experimental protocols implied by local realistic and stochastic hidden variable models and show that they are incompatible with the protocols used in spin polarization correlation experiments. We discuss also the meaning of “free will”, differences between quantum and classical filters, contextuality of Kolmogorov models, contextuality of quantum theory (QT) and show how this contextuality has to be taken into account in probabilistic models trying to explain in an intuitive way the predictions of QT. The long range imperfect correlations between the clicks of distant detectors can be explained by partially preserved correlations between the signals created by a source. These correlations can only be preserved if the clicks are produced in a local and deterministic way depending on intrinsic parameters describing signals and measuring devices in the moment of the measurement. If an act of a measurement was irreducibly random they would be destroyed. It seems to indicate that QT may be in fact emerging from some underlying more detailed theory of physical phenomena. If this was a case then there is a chance to find in time series of experimental data some fine structures not predicted by QT. This would be a major discovery because it would not only prove that QT does not provide a complete description of individual physical systems but it would prove that it is not predictably complete.

Scale invariance vs conformal invariance

Physics Reports

on 2014-12-24 10:05pm GMT

Publication date: Available online 24 December 2014
Source:Physics Reports
Author(s): Yu Nakayama
In this review article, we discuss the distinction and possible equivalence between scale invariance and conformal invariance in relativistic quantum field theories. Under some technical assumptions, we can prove that scale invariant quantum field theories in d =2 space–time dimensions necessarily possess the enhanced conformal symmetry. The use of the conformal symmetry is well appreciated in the literature, but the fact that all the scale invariant phenomena in d = 2 space–time dimensions enjoy the conformal property relies on the deep structure of the renormalization group. The outstanding question is whether this feature is specific to d = 2space–time dimensions or it holds in higher dimensions, too. As of January 2014, our consensus is that there is no known example of scale invariant but non-conformal field theories in d = 4 space–time dimensions under the assumptions of (1) unitarity, (2) Poincaré invariance (causality), (3) discrete spectrum in scaling dimensions, (4) existence of scale current and (5) unbroken scale invariance in the vacuum. We have a perturbative proof of the enhancement of conformal invariance from scale invariance based on the higher dimensional analogue of Zamolodchikov’s c -theorem, but the non-perturbative proof is yet to come. As a reference we have tried to collect as many interesting examples of scale invariance in relativistic quantum field theories as possible in this article. We give a complementary holographic argument based on the energy-condition of the gravitational system and the space–time diffeomorphism in order to support the claim of the symmetry enhancement. We believe that the possible enhancement of conformal invariance from scale invariance reveals the sublime nature of the renormalization group and space–time with holography. This review is based on a lecture note on scale invariance vs conformal invariance, on which the author gave lectures at Taiwan Central University for the 5th Taiwan School on Strings and Fields.

Retrocausal models for EPR

ScienceDirect Publication: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics

on 2014-12-24 12:22pm GMT

Publication date: February 2015
Source:Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, Volume 49
Author(s): Richard Corry
This paper takes up Huw Price׳s challenge to develop a retrocausal toy model of the Bell-EPR experiment. I develop three such models which show that a consistent, local, hidden-variables interpretation of the EPR experiment is indeed possible, and which give a feel for the kind of retrocausation involved. The first of the models also makes clear a problematic feature of retrocausation: it seems that we cannot interpret the hidden elements of reality in a retrocausal model as possessing determinate dispositions to affect the outcome of experiments. This is a feature which Price has embraced, but Gordon Belot has argued that this feature renders retrocausal interpretations “unsuitable for formal development”, and the lack of such determinate dispositions threatens to undermine the motivation for hidden-variables interpretations in the first place. But Price and Belot are both too quick in their assessment. I show that determinate dispositions are indeed consistent with retrocausation. What is more, I show that the ontological economy allowed by retrocausation holds out the promise of a classical understanding of spin and polarization.

From Quantum Discord and Quantum Entanglement to Local Hidden Variable Models

Latest Results for International Journal of Theoretical Physics

on 2014-12-24 12:00am GMT


We revisit the quantum discord, quantum entanglement and local hidden variable models in quantum mechanics, and present a kind of understanding of quantum states from the view of correlations given by the probability distributions of local measurements outcomes.

Disturbance trade-off principle for quantum measurements

PRA: Fundamental concepts

on 2014-12-23 3:00pm GMT

Author(s): Prabha Mandayam and M. D. Srinivas

We demonstrate a fundamental principle of disturbance tradeoff for quantum measurements, along the lines of the celebrated uncertainty principle: The disturbances associated with measurements performed on distinct yet identically prepared ensembles of systems in a pure state cannot all be made arbit…

[Phys. Rev. A 90, 062128] Published Tue Dec 23, 2014

Bell on Bell’s theorem: The changing face of nonlocality

PhilSci-Archive: No conditions. Results ordered -Date Deposited.

on 2014-12-22 9:11pm GMT

Brown, Harvey R. and Timpson, Christopher Gordon (2014) Bell on Bell’s theorem: The changing face of nonlocality. [Preprint]

Physical properties as modal operators in the topos approach to quantum mechanics

PhilSci-Archive: No conditions. Results ordered -Date Deposited.

on 2014-12-22 9:08pm GMT

Freytes, Hector and Domenech, Graciela and de Ronde, Christian (2014) Physical properties as modal operators in the topos approach to quantum mechanics. [Published Article]

Reconstructing Quantum States from Local Data

PRL: General Physics: Statistical and Quantum Mechanics, Quantum Information, etc.

on 2014-12-22 3:00pm GMT

Author(s): Brian Swingle and Isaac H. Kim

We consider the problem of reconstructing global quantum states from local data. Because the reconstruction problem has many solutions in general, we consider the reconstructed state of maximum global entropy consistent with the local data. We show that unique ground states of local Hamiltonians are…

[Phys. Rev. Lett. 113, 260501] Published Mon Dec 22, 2014

Hidden symmetries of dynamics in classical and quantum physics

Recent Articles in Rev. Mod. Phys.

on 2014-12-22 3:00pm GMT

Author(s): Marco Cariglia

Many physical systems display unexpected symmetries which are often discovered by careful analyses of their solutions and structures. These ubiquitous “hidden” symmetries are found in both classical and quantum systems. This review presents a detailed and instructive list of systems with hidden symm…

[Rev. Mod. Phys. 86, 1283] Published Mon Dec 22, 2014

Exclusivity principle and the quantum bound of the Bell inequality

PRA: Fundamental concepts

on 2014-12-22 3:00pm GMT

Author(s): Adán Cabello

We show that, for general probabilistic theories admitting sharp measurements, the exclusivity principle together with two assumptions exactly singles out the Tsirelson bound of the Clauser-Horne-Shimony-Holt Bell inequality.

[Phys. Rev. A 90, 062125] Published Mon Dec 22, 2014

Epistemology of Wave Function Collapse in Quantum Physics

The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science – Advance Access

on 2014-12-22 11:05am GMT

Among several possibilities for what reality could be like in view of the empirical facts of quantum mechanics, one is provided by theories of spontaneous wave function collapse, the best known of which is the Ghirardi–Rimini–Weber (GRW) theory. We show mathematically that in GRW theory (and similar theories) there are limitations to knowledge, that is, inhabitants of a GRW universe cannot find out all the facts true of their universe. As a specific example, they cannot accurately measure the number of collapses that a given physical system undergoes during a given time interval; in fact, they cannot reliably measure whether one or zero collapses occur. Put differently, in a GRW universe certain meaningful, factual questions are empirically undecidable. We discuss several types of limitations to knowledge and compare them with those in other (no-collapse) versions of quantum mechanics, such as Bohmian mechanics. Most of our results also apply to observer-induced collapses as in orthodox quantum mechanics (as opposed to the spontaneous collapses of GRW theory).

  • 1 Introduction
  •   1.1 Known examples of limitations to knowledge
  •   1.2 Remarks
  • 2 Brief Review of GRW Theories
  •   2.1 The GRW process
  •   2.2 GRWm
  •   2.3 GRWf
  • 3 First Examples of Limitations to Knowledge in GRW Theories
  • 4 Measurements of Flashes in GRWf, or of Collapses in GRWm
  •   4.1 An example in which is known
  •   4.2 Other choices of
  •   4.3 Experiments beginning before t2
  •   4.4 If is random
  •   4.5 Optimal way of distinguishing two density matrices
  •   4.6 If is unknown
  • 5 Measurements of m(x) in GRWm
  • Appendix


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