Weekly Papers on Quantum Foundations (11)

Authors: V.I. YukalovD. Sornette

We demonstrate that behavioral probabilities of human decision makers share many common features with quantum probabilities. This does not imply that humans are some quantum objects, but just shows that the mathematics of quantum theory is applicable to the description of human decision making. The applicability of quantum rules for describing decision making is connected with the nontrivial process of making decisions in the case of composite prospects under uncertainty. Such a process involves deliberations of a decision maker when making a choice. In addition to the evaluation of the utilities of considered prospects, real decision makers also appreciate their respective attractiveness. Therefore, human choice is not based solely on the utility of prospects, but includes the necessity of resolving the utility-attraction duality. In order to justify that human consciousness really functions similarly to the rules of quantum theory, we develop an approach defining human behavioral probabilities as the probabilities determined by quantum rules. We show that quantum behavioral probabilities of humans not merely explain qualitatively how human decisions are made, but they predict quantitative values of the behavioral probabilities. Analyzing a large set of empirical data, we find good quantitative agreement between theoretical predictions and observed experimental data.

Authors: Oliver PassonJohannes Grebe-Ellis

Planck’s law for black-body radiation marks the origin of quantum theory and is discussed in all introductory (or advanced) courses on this subject. However, the question whether Planck really implied quantisation is debated among historians of physics. We present a simplified account of this debate which also sheds light on the issue of indistinguishability and Einstein’s light quantum hypothesis. We suggest that the teaching of quantum mechanics could benefit from including this material beyond the question of historical accuracy.

Authors: Durmus Demir

It is shown that gravity can be incorporated into the Standard Model (SM) in a way solving the hierarchy problem. For this, the SM effective action in flat spacetime is adapted to curved spacetime via not only the general covariance but also the gauge invariance. For the latter, gauge field hard masses, induced by loops at the UV scale $\Lambda$, are dispelled by construing $\Lambda$ as the constant value assigned to curvature. This gives way to an unprecedented mechanism for incorporating gravity into the SM in that the hierarchy problem is solved by transmutation of the Higgs boson $\Lambda^2$–mass into the Higgs-curvature coupling, and the cosmological constant problem is alleviated by metamorphosis of the vacuum $\Lambda^4$–energy into the Einstein-Hilbert term. Gravity emerges correctly if the SM is accompanied by a secluded dark sector sourcing non-interacting dark matter, dark energy and dark radiation. Physics beyond the SM, containing Higgs-phobic scalars that resolve the strong CP problem, flavor problem, baryogenesis and inflation, respects the hierarchy. Majorana neutrinos are naturally incorporated if $\Lambda$ lies at the see-saw scale. This mechanism, in general, leaves no compelling reason to anticipate new particles at the LHC or higher-energy colliders.

Authors: Steven B. Giddings

Quantum modifications to black holes on scales comparable to the horizon size, or even more radical physics, are apparently needed to reconcile the existence of black holes with the principles of quantum mechanics. This piece gives an overview of some possible observational tests for such departures from a classical description of black holes, via gravitational wave detection and very long baseline interferometry. (Invited comment for Nature Astronomy.)

Authors: Otto C. W. Kong (Nat’l Central U, Taiwan)

The physical world is quantum. However, our description of the quantum physics still relies much on concepts in classical physics and in some cases with `quantized’ interpretations. The most important case example is that of spacetime. We examine the picture of the physical space as described by simple, so-called non-relativisitic, quantum mechanics instead of assuming the Newtonian model. The key perspective is that of (relativity) symmetry representation, and the idea that the physical space is to be identified as the configuration space for a free particle. Parallel to the case of the phase space, we have a model of the quantum physical space which reduces to the Newtonian classical model under the classical limit. The latter is to be obtained as a contraction limit of the relativity symmetry.

Authors: Liane GaboraKirsty Kitto

This paper proposes that cognitive humor can be modeled using the mathematical framework of quantum theory. We begin with brief overviews of both research on humor, and the generalized quantum framework. We show how the bisociation of incongruous frames or word meanings in jokes can be modeled as a linear superposition of a set of basis states, or possible interpretations, in a complex Hilbert space. The choice of possible interpretations depends on the context provided by the set-up vs. the punchline of a joke. We apply the approach to a verbal pun, and consider how it might be extended to frame blending. An initial study of that made use of the Law of Total Probability, involving 85 participant responses to 35 jokes (as well as variants), suggests that the Quantum Theory of Humor (QTH) proposed here provides a viable new approach to modeling humor.

Authors: Florian FröwisPeter C. StrassmannAlexey TiranovCorentin GutJonathan LavoieNicolas Brunner,Félix BussièresMikael AfzeliusNicolas Gisin

Quantum theory predicts that entanglement can also persist in macroscopic physical systems, albeit difficulties to demonstrate it experimentally remain. Recently, significant progress has been achieved and genuine entanglement between up to 2900 atoms was reported. Here we demonstrate 16 million genuinely entangled atoms in a solid-state quantum memory prepared by the heralded absorption of a single photon. We develop an entanglement witness for quantifying the number of genuinely entangled particles based on the collective effect of directed emission combined with the nonclassical nature of the emitted light. The method is applicable to a wide range of physical systems and is effective even in situations with significant losses. Our results clarify the role of multipartite entanglement in ensemble-based quantum memories as a necessary prerequisite to achieve a high single-photon process fidelity crucial for future quantum networks. On a more fundamental level, our results reveal the robustness of certain classes of multipartite entangled states, contrary to, e.g., Schr\”odinger-cat states, and that the depth of entanglement can be experimentally certified at unprecedented scales.

Evans, Peter W. and Shrapnel, Sally (2017) The Two Sides of Interventionist Causation. [Preprint]
Holik, Federico and Fortin, Sebastian and Bosyk, Gustavo and Plastino, Angelo (2017) On the interpretation of probabilities in generalized probabilistic models. [Preprint]
Fortin, Sebastian and Lombardi, Olimpia and Martínez, Juan Camilo (2017) The relationship between chemistry and physics from the perspective of Bohmian mechanics. [Preprint]
Dawid, Richard (2017) Scientific Realism and High Energy Physics. [Preprint]

Authors: Sabine HossenfelderTobias Zingg

Analogue gravity is based on a mathematical identity between quantum field theory in curved space-time and the propagation of perturbations in certain condensed matter systems. But not every curved space-time can be simulated in such a way, because one does not only need a condensed matter system that generates the desired metric tensor, but that system then also has to obey its own equations of motion. And specifying the metric tensor that one wishes to realize usually overdetermines the underlying condensed matter system, such that its equations of motion are in general not fulfilled, in which case the desired metric does not have an analogue.

Here, we show that the class of metrics that have an analogue is bigger than what a first cursory consideration might suggest. This is due to the analogue metric only being defined up to a choice of parametrization of the perturbation in the underlying condensed matter system. In this way, the class of analogue gravity models can be vastly expanded. In particular, we demonstrate how this freedom of choice can be used to insert an intermediary conformal factor. Then, as a corollary, we find that any metric conformal to a Painlev\’e–Gullstrand type line element can, potentially, result as an analogue of a perturbation propagating in a non-viscous, barotropic fluid.


Englert et al. (Zeitschrift für Naturforschung, 47a, 1175–1186, 1992) claim that, in certain circumstances, the Bohmian trajectory of a test particle does not match the reports of which-path detectors, concluding that the Bohmian trajectories are not real, but “surrealistic.” However, Hiley and Callaghan (Physica Scripta, 74, 336–348, 2006) argue that, if Bohm’s interpretation is correctly applied, no such mismatch is ever sanctioned. Unfortunately, the debate was never settled since nobody showed where the source of disagreement resided. In this paper, I reassess the debate over such “surrealistic” trajectories and I derive both a necessary and a sufficient condition for there to be a mismatch between the Bohmian trajectories and the reports of which-path detectors. I conclude that the mismatch is possible as a matter of principle, but can be ruled out in practice. I explore in depth the philosophical consequences of such mismatch arguing that it does not render realism about the Bohmian trajectories untenable. In addition, I show that the opposing conclusion of Hiley and Callaghan is due to the fact that they assume a set of trajectories that are incompatible with the postulates of Bohmian mechanics.

Norton, John D. (2017) How to Built an Infinite Lottery Machine. [Preprint]
Szabo, Laszlo E. (2017) Meaning, Truth, and Physics. In G. Hofer-Szabó, L. Wronski (eds.) Making it Formally Explicit.

Author(s): Ying Li, Andrew M. Steane, Daniel Bedingham, and G. Andrew D. Briggs

Continuous spontaneous localization (CSL) is a model that captures the effects of a class of extensions to quantum theory which are expected to result from quantum gravity and is such that wave-function collapse is a physical process. The rate of such a process could be very much lower than the uppe…
[Phys. Rev. A 95, 032112] Published Mon Mar 13, 2017

Author(s): Q. Duprey and A. Matzkin

Nondestructive weak measurements (WMs) made on a quantum particle are useful in order to extract information as the particle evolves from a prepared state to a finally detected state. The physical meaning of this information has been open to debate, particularly in view of the apparent discontinuous…
[Phys. Rev. A 95, 032110] Published Mon Mar 13, 2017

Authors: T. P. Singh

We highlight three conflicts between quantum theory and classical general relativity, which make it implausible that a quantum theory of gravity can be arrived at by quantising classical gravity. These conflicts are: quantum nonlocality and space-time structure; the problem of time in quantum theory; and the quantum measurement problem. We explain how these three aspects bear on each other, and how they point towards an underlying noncommutative geometry of space-time.

Authors: Patrick P. HoferJonatan Bohr BraskMartí Perarnau-LlobetNicolas Brunner

We propose the use of a quantum thermal machine for low-temperature thermometry. A hot thermal reservoir coupled to the machine allows for simultaneously cooling the sample while determining its temperature without knowing the model-dependent coupling constants. In its most simple form, the proposed scheme works for all thermal machines which perform at Otto efficiency and can reach Carnot efficiency. We consider a circuit QED implementation which allows for precise thermometry down to $\sim$ 15mK with realistic parameters. Based on the quantum Fisher information, this is close to the optimal achievable performance.

Authors: George JaparidzeDipendra PokhrelXiao-Qian Wang

PT-symmetric quantum mechanics, the extension of conventional quantum mechanics to the non-Hermitian Hamiltonian invariant under the combined parity (P) and time reversal (T) symmetry, has been successfully applied to a variety of fields such as solid state physics, mathematical physics, optics, quantum field theory. Recently, the extension of PT-symmetrical theory to entangled quantum systems was challenged in that PT formulation within the conventional Hilbert space violates the no-signaling principle. Here, we revisit the derivation of non-signaling principle in the framework of PT inner product prescription. Our results preserve the no-signaling principle for a two-qubit system, reaffirm the invariance of the entanglement, and reproduce the Clauser-Horne-Shimony-Holt (CHSH) inequality. We conclude that PT-symmetric quantum mechanics satisfies the requirements for a fundamental theory and provides a consistent description of quantum systems.


I consider a quantum system that possesses key features of quantum shape dynamics and show that the evolution of wave-packets will become increasingly classical at late times and tend to evolve more and more like an expanding classical system. At early times however, semiclassical effects become large and lead to an exponential mismatch of the apparent scale as compared to the expected classical evolution of the scale degree of freedom. This quantum inflation of an emergent and effectively classical system, occurs naturally in the quantum shape dynamics description of the system, while it is unclear whether and how it might arise in a constrained Hamiltonian quantization.

Cuffaro, Michael E. (2016) Reconsidering No-Go Theorems from a Practical Perspective. [Preprint]
<span><div>Abstract</div>Wood and Spekkens ([<a href=”#axw037-B37″>2015</a>]) argue that any causal model explaining the EPRB correlations and satisfying the no-signalling constraint must also violate the assumption that the model faithfully reproduces the statistical dependences and independencesa so-called fine-tuning of the causal parameters. This includes, in particular, retrocausal explanations of the EPRB correlations. I consider this analysis with a view to enumerating the possible responses an advocate of retrocausal explanations might propose. I focus on the response of Nger (<a href=”#axw037-B22″>[2016]</a>), who argues that the central ideas of causal explanations can be saved if one accepts the possibility of a stable fine-tuning of the causal parameters. I argue that in light of this view, a violation of faithfulness does not necessarily rule out retrocausal explanations of the EPRB correlations. However, when we consider a plausible retrocausal picture in some detail, it becomes clear that the causal modelling framework is not a natural arena for representing such an account of retrocausality. <ul><li>1Causal Models, Quantum Mechanics, and Faithfulness</li><li>2Fine-Tuning <ul><li>2.1Fine-tuning in a retrocausal model</li></ul></li><li>3Possible Responses</li><li>4Quantum Causal Models and Retrocausality <ul><li>4.1A more detailed retrocausal account</li><li>4.2A model of the EPRB probabilities</li><li>4.3Mapping to a causal model</li></ul></li><li>5Conclusion</li></ul></span>

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