Weekly Papers on Quantum Foundations (40)

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

Weyl’s search for a difference between `physical’ and `mathematical’ automorphisms. (arXiv:1510.00156v1 [physics.hist-ph])

gr-qc updates on arXiv.org

on 2015-10-03 8:29am GMT

Authors: Erhard Scholz

During his whole scientific life Hermann Weyl was fascinated by the interrelation of physical and mathematical theories. From the mid 1920s onward he reflected more and more also on the typical difference between the two epistemic fields and tried to identify it by comparing their respective automorphism structures. In a talk given at the end of the 1940s (ETH, Hs 91a:31) he gave the most detailed and coherent discussion of his thoughts on this topic. This paper presents his arguments in the talk and puts it in the context of the later development of gauge theories.

Random ‘choices’ and the locality loophole. (arXiv:1510.00248v1 [quant-ph])

quant-ph updates on arXiv.org

on 2015-10-03 8:29am GMT

Authors: Stefano Pironio

It has been claimed that to close the locality loophole in a Bell experiment, random numbers of quantum origin should be used for selecting the measurement settings. This is how it has been implemented in all recent Bell experiment addressing this loophole. I point out in this note that quantum random number generators are unnecessary for such experiments and that a Bell experiment with a pseudo-random (but otherwise completely deterministic) mechanism for selecting the measurement settings, such as taking a hash function of the latest million tweets with the hashtag #quantum, would be as convincing, or even more, than one using quantum random number generators.

Formal and physical equivalence in two cases in contemporary quantum physics

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

on 2015-10-02 9:05pm GMT

Publication date: Available online 26 September 2015
Source:Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
Author(s): Doreen Fraser
The application of analytic continuation in quantum field theory (QFT) is juxtaposed to T-duality and mirror symmetry in string theory. Analytic continuation—a mathematical transformation that takes the time variable t to negative imaginary time—it—was initially used as a mathematical technique for solving perturbative Feynman diagrams, and was subsequently the basis for the Euclidean approaches within mainstream QFT (e.g., Wilsonian renormalization group methods, lattice gauge theories) and the Euclidean field theory program for rigorously constructing non-perturbative models of interacting QFTs. A crucial difference between theories related by duality transformations and those related by analytic continuation is that the former are judged to be physically equivalent while the latter are regarded as physically inequivalent. There are other similarities between the two cases that make comparing and contrasting them a useful exercise for clarifying the type of argument that is needed to support the conclusion that dual theories are physically equivalent. In particular, T-duality and analytic continuation in QFT share the criterion for predictive equivalence that two theories agree on the complete set of expectation values and the mass spectra and the criterion for formal equivalence that there is a “translation manual” between the physically significant algebras of observables and sets of states in the two theories. The analytic continuation case study illustrates how predictive and formal equivalence are compatible with physical inequivalence, but not in the manner of standard underdetermination cases. Arguments for the physical equivalence of dual theories must cite considerations beyond predictive and formal equivalence. The analytic continuation case study is an instance of the strategy of developing a physical theory by extending the formal or mathematical equivalence with another physical theory as far as possible. That this strategy has resulted in developments in pure mathematics as well as theoretical physics is another feature that this case study has in common with dualities in string theory.

Dualities of fields and strings

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

on 2015-10-02 9:05pm GMT

Publication date: Available online 1 October 2015
Source:Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
Author(s): Joseph Polchinski
Duality, the equivalence between seemingly distinct quantum systems, is a curious property that has been known for at least three quarters of a century. In the past two decades it has played a central role in mapping out the structure of theoretical physics. I discuss the unexpected connections that have been revealed among quantum field theories and string theories. Written for a special issue of Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics.

A Delayed Choice Quantum Eraser Explained by the Transactional Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics

Latest Results for Foundations of Physics

on 2015-10-01 12:00am GMT

Abstract

This paper explains the delayed choice quantum eraser of Kim et al. (A delayed choice quantum eraser, 1999) in terms of the transactional interpretation (TI) of quantum mechanics by Cramer (Rev Mod Phys 58:647, 1986, The quantum handshake, entanglement, nonlocality and transactions, 1986). It is kept deliberately mathematically simple to help explain the transactional technique. The emphasis is on a clear understanding of how the instantaneous “collapse” of the wave function due to a measurement at a specific time and place may be reinterpreted as a relativistically well-defined collapse over the entire path of the photon and over the entire transit time from slit to detector. This is made possible by the use of a retarded offer wave, which is thought to travel from the slits (or rather the small region within the parametric crystal where down-conversion takes place) to the detector and an advanced counter wave traveling backward in time from the detector to the slits. The point here is to make clear how simple the transactional picture is and how much more intuitive the collapse of the wave function becomes if viewed in this way. Also, any confusion about possible retro-causal signaling is put to rest. A delayed choice quantum eraser does not require any sort of backward in time communication. This paper makes the point that it is preferable to use the TI over the usual Copenhagen interpretation for a more intuitive understanding of the quantum eraser delayed choice experiment. Both methods give exactly the same end results and can be used interchangeably.

Quantum Logic and Quantum Reconstruction

Latest Results for Foundations of Physics

on 2015-10-01 12:00am GMT

Abstract

Quantum logic understood as a reconstruction program had real successes and genuine limitations. This paper offers a synopsis of both and suggests a way of seeing quantum logic in a larger, still thriving context.

Jacob Bekenstein: Quantum gravity pioneer

Nature Physics – Issue – nature.com science feeds

on 2015-10-01 12:00am GMT

Nature Physics 11, 805 (2015). doi:10.1038/nphys3499

Author: Jonathan Oppenheim

Investigating Puzzling Aspects of the Quantum Theory by Means of Its Hydrodynamic Formulation

Latest Results for Foundations of Physics

on 2015-10-01 12:00am GMT

Abstract

Bohmian mechanics, a hydrodynamic formulation of the quantum theory, constitutes a useful tool to understand the role of the phase as the mechanism responsible for the dynamical evolution displayed by quantum systems. This role is analyzed and discussed here in the context of quantum interference, considering to this end two well-known scenarios, namely Young’s two-slit experiment and Wheeler’s delayed choice experiment. A numerical implementation of the first scenario is used to show how interference in a coherent superposition of two counter-propagating wave packets can be seen and explained in terms of an effective model consisting of a single wave packet scattered off an attractive hard wall. The outcomes from this model are then applied to the analysis of Wheeler’s delayed choice experiment, also recreated by means of a reliable realistic simulation. Both examples illustrate quite well how the Bohmian formulation helps to explain in a natural way (and therefore to demystify) aspects of the quantum theory typically regarded as paradoxical. In other words, they show that a proper understanding of quantum phase dynamics immediately removes any trace of unnecessary artificial wave-particle arguments.

Events and the Ontology of Quantum Mechanics

Latest Results for Topoi

on 2015-10-01 12:00am GMT

Abstract

In the first part of the paper I argue that an ontology of events is precise, flexible and general enough so as to cover the three main alternative formulations of quantum mechanics as well as theories advocating an antirealistic view of the wave function. Since these formulations advocate a primitive ontology of entities living in four-dimensional spacetime, they are good candidates to connect that quantum image with the manifest image of the world. However, to the extent that some form of realism about the wave function is also necessary, one needs to endorse also the idea that the wave function refers to some kind of power. In the second part, I discuss some difficulties raised by the recent proposal that in Bohmian mechanics this power is holistically possessed by all the particles in the universe.

Quantum Mechanics and Paradigm Shifts

Latest Results for Topoi

on 2015-10-01 12:00am GMT

Abstract

It has been argued that the transition from classical to quantum mechanics is an example of a Kuhnian scientific revolution, in which there is a shift from the simple, intuitive, straightforward classical paradigm, to the quantum, convoluted, counterintuitive, amazing new quantum paradigm. In this paper, after having clarified what these quantum paradigms are supposed to be, I analyze whether they constitute a radical departure from the classical paradigm. Contrary to what is commonly maintained, I argue that, in addition to radical quantum paradigms, there are also legitimate ways of understanding the quantum world that do not require any substantial change to the classical paradigm.

Indistinguishability of thermal and quantum fluctuations

Classical and Quantum Gravity – latest papers

on 2015-9-29 11:00pm GMT

The existence of Davies–Unruh temperature in a uniformly accelerated frame shows that quantum fluctuations of the inertial vacuum state appears as thermal fluctuations in the accelerated frame. Hence thermodynamic experiments cannot distinguish between phenomena occurring in a thermal bath of temperature T in the inertial frame from those in a frame accelerating through inertial vacuum with the acceleration ##IMG## [http://ej.iop.org/images/0264-9381/32/20/202001/cqg519302ieqn1.gif] {$a=2\pi T$} . We show that this indisguishability between quantum fluctuations and thermal fluctuations goes far beyond the fluctuations in the vacuum state. We show by an exact calculation, that the reduced density matrix for a uniformly accelerated observer when the quantum field is in a thermal state of temperature ##IMG## [http://ej.iop.org/images/0264-9381/32/20/202001/cqg519302ieqn2.gif] {${T}^{\prime }$} , is symmetric between acce…

Black hole thermodynamics based on unitary evolutions

Classical and Quantum Gravity – latest papers

on 2015-9-29 11:00pm GMT

In this paper, we try to construct black hole thermodynamics based on the fact that the formation and evaporation of a black hole can be described by quantum unitary evolutions. First, we show that the Bekenstein–Hawking entropy S BH may not be a Boltzmann or thermal entropy. To confirm this statement, we show that the original black hole’s ‘first law’ may not simply be treated as the first law of thermodynamics formally, due to some missing metric perturbations caused by matter. Then, by including those (quantum) metric perturbations, we show that the black hole formation and evaporation can be described effectively in a unitary manner, through a quantum channel between the exterior and interior of the event horizon. In this way, the paradoxes of information loss and firewall can be resolved effectively. Finally, we show that black hole thermodynamics can be constructed in an ordinary way, by constructing statistical mechanics.

 

Article written by

editor