Weekly Papers on Quantum Foundations (5)

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.

Strong Measurements Give a Better Direct Measurement of the Quantum Wave Function

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

on 2016-1-29 3:00pm GMT

Author(s): Giuseppe Vallone and Daniele Dequal

Weak measurements have thus far been considered instrumental in the so-called direct measurement of the quantum wave function [J. S. Lundeen, Nature (London) 474, 188 (2011).]. Here we show that a direct measurement of the wave function can be obtained by using measurements of arbitrary strength. In…


[Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 040502] Published Fri Jan 29, 2016

Discreteness of Space from GUP in a Weak Gravitational Field. (arXiv:1601.07893v1 [gr-qc])

gr-qc updates on arXiv.org

on 2016-1-29 2:14am GMT

Authors: Soumen DebSaurya DasElias C. Vagenas

Quantum gravity effects modify the Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle to a generalized uncertainty principle (GUP). Earlier work showed that the GUP-induced corrections to the Schr\”{o}dinger equation, when applied to a non-relativistic particle in a one-dimensional box, led to the quantization of length. Similarly, corrections to the Klein-Gordon and the Dirac equations, gave rise to length, area and volume quantizations. These results suggest a fundamental granular structure of space. In this work, it is investigated how spacetime curvature and gravity might influence this discreteness of space. In particular, by adding a weak gravitational background field to the above three quantum equations, it is shown that quantization of lengths, areas and volumes continue to hold. However, it should be noted that the nature of this new quantization is quite complex and under proper limits, it reduces to cases without gravity. These results suggest that quantum gravity effects are universal.

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What is the Entropy in Entropic Gravity?. (arXiv:1601.07558v1 [hep-th])

gr-qc updates on arXiv.org

on 2016-1-29 2:14am GMT

Authors: Sean M. CarrollGrant N. Remmen

We investigate theories in which gravity arises as an entropic force. We distinguish between two approaches to this idea: holographic gravity, in which Einstein’s equation arises from keeping entropy stationary in equilibrium under variations of the geometry and quantum state of a small region, and thermodynamic gravity, in which Einstein’s equation emerges as a local equation of state from constraints on the area of a dynamical lightsheet in a fixed spacetime background. Examining holographic gravity, we argue that its underlying assumptions can be justified in part using recent results on the form of the modular energy in quantum field theory. For thermodynamic gravity, on the other hand, we find that it is difficult to formulate a self-consistent definition of the entropy, which represents an obstacle for this approach. This investigation points the way forward in understanding the connections between gravity and entanglement.

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Probabilities and Signalling in Quantum Field Theory. (arXiv:1601.07784v1 [hep-th])

hep-th updates on arXiv.org

on 2016-1-29 2:13am GMT

Authors: Robert DickinsonJeff ForshawPeter Millington

We present an approach to computing probabilities in quantum field theory for a wide class of source-detector models. The approach works directly with probabilities and not with squared matrix elements, and the resulting probabilities can be written in terms of expectation values of nested commutators and anti-commutators. We present results that help in the evaluation of these, including an expression for the vacuum expectation values of general nestings of commutators and anti-commutators in scalar field theory. This approach allows one to see clearly how faster-than-light signalling is prevented, because it leads to a diagrammatic expansion in which the retarded propagator plays a prominent role. We illustrate the formalism using the simple case of the much-studied Fermi two-atom problem.

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Nonlocal Quantum Information Transfer Without Superluminal Signalling and Communication

Latest Results for Foundations of Physics

on 2016-1-29 12:00am GMT


It is a frequent assumption that—via superluminal information transfers—superluminal signals capable of enabling communication are necessarily exchanged in any quantum theory that posits hidden superluminal influences. However, does the presence of hidden superluminal influences automatically imply superluminal signalling and communication? The non-signalling theorem mediates the apparent conflict between quantum mechanics and the theory of special relativity. However, as a ‘no-go’ theorem there exist two opposing interpretations of the non-signalling constraint: foundational and operational. Concerning Bell’s theorem, we argue that Bell employed both interpretations, and that he finally adopted the operational position which is associated often with ontological quantum theory, e.g., de Broglie–Bohm theory. This position we refer to as “effective non-signalling”. By contrast, associated with orthodox quantum mechanics is the foundational position referred to here as “axiomatic non-signalling”. In search of a decisive communication-theoretic criterion for differentiating between “axiomatic” and “effective” non-signalling, we employ the operational framework offered by Shannon’s mathematical theory of communication, whereby we distinguish between Shannon signals and non-Shannon signals. We find that an effective non-signalling theorem represents two sub-theorems: (1) Non-transfer-control (NTC) theorem, and (2) Non-signification-control (NSC) theorem. Employing NTC and NSC theorems, we report that effective, instead of axiomatic, non-signalling is entirely sufficient for prohibiting nonlocal communication. Effective non-signalling prevents the instantaneous, i.e., superluminal, transfer of message-encoded information through the controlled use—by a sender-receiver pair —of informationally-correlated detection events, e.g., in EPR-type experiments. An effective non-signalling theorem allows for nonlocal quantum information transfer yet—at the same time—effectively denies superluminal signalling and communication.

The place of probability in Hilbert’s axiomatization of physics, ca. 1900–1928

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

on 2016-1-24 12:13am GMT

Publication date: February 2016
Source:Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, Volume 53
Author(s): Lukas M. Verburgt
Although it has become a common place to refer to the ׳sixth problem׳ of Hilbert׳s (1900) Paris lecture as the starting point for modern axiomatized probability theory, his own views on probability have received comparatively little explicit attention. The central aim of this paper is to provide a detailed account of this topic in light of the central observation that the development of Hilbert׳s project of the axiomatization of physics went hand-in-hand with a redefinition of the status of probability theory and the meaning of probability. Where Hilbert first regarded the theory as a mathematizable physical discipline and later approached it as a ׳vague׳ mathematical application in physics, he eventually understood probability, first, as a feature of human thought and, then, as an implicitly defined concept without a fixed physical interpretation. It thus becomes possible to suggest that Hilbert came to question, from the early 1920s on, the very possibility of achieving the goal of the axiomatization of probability as described in the ׳sixth problem׳ of 1900.


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