Weekly Papers on Quantum Foundations (24)

Publication date: Available online 16 June 2017
Source:Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
Author(s): Flavio Del Santo
I present the reconstruction of the involvement of Karl Popper in the community of physicists concerned with foundations of quantum mechanics, in the 1980s. At that time Popper gave active contribution to the research in physics, of which the most significant is a new version of the EPR thought experiment, alleged to test different interpretations of quantum mechanics. The genesis of such an experiment is reconstructed in detail, and an unpublished letter by Popper is reproduced in the present paper to show that he formulated his thought experiment already two years before its first publication in 1982. The debate stimulated by the proposed experiment as well as Popper’s role in the physics community throughout 1980s is here analysed in detail by means of personal correspondence and publications.

Publication date: Available online 16 June 2017
Source:Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
Author(s): Gabriel Catren
We distinguish two orientations in Weyl’s analysis of the fundamental role played by the notion of symmetry in physics, namely an orientation inspired by Klein’s Erlangen program and a phenomenological-transcendental orientation. By privileging the former to the detriment of the latter, we sketch a group(oid)-theoretical program—that we call the Klein-Weyl program—for the interpretation of both gauge theories and quantum mechanics in a single conceptual framework. This program is based on Weyl’s notion of a “structure-endowed entity” equipped with a “group of automorphisms”. First, we analyze what Weyl calls the “problem of relativity” in the frameworks provided by special relativity, general relativity, and Yang-Mills theories. We argue that both general relativity and Yang-Mills theories can be understood in terms of a localization of Klein’s Erlangen program: while the latter describes the group-theoretical automorphisms of a single structure (such as homogenous geometries), local gauge symmetries and the corresponding gauge fields (Ehresmann connections) can be naturally understood in terms of the groupoid-theoretical isomorphisms in a family of identical structures. Second, we argue that quantum mechanics can be understood in terms of a linearization of Klein’s Erlangen program. This stance leads us to an interpretation of the fact that quantum numbers are “indices characterizing representations of groups” ((Weyl, 1931a), p.xxi) in terms of a correspondence between the ontological categories of identity and determinateness.

Authors: Dushyant Kumar

We introduce a framework for non-linear time evolution in quantum mechanics as a natural non-linear generalization of the Schrodinger equation. Within our framework, we derive simple toy models of dynamical geometry on finite graphs. Along similar lines we also propose a model of non-linear quantum field theory on spaces with state-dependent geometry.

Authors: Yuri BonderGabriel Leon

Modified gravity theories are supposed to incorporate low-energy quantum-gravity effects and, at the same time, they could shed light into the dark matter and dark energy problems. Here we study a particular modification of general relativity where local Lorentz invariance is spontaneously broken and whose physical effects, despite a decade-long effort, were unknown. We show that, during inflation, this modification produces anisotropies that would generate measurable effects on the Cosmic Microwave Background. Then, by using empirical constraints on the B-mode polarization spectrum, we can estimate that the `coefficient’ components absolute value have to be smaller than $10^{-43}$. This is a remarkably strong limit, in fact, it is 29 orders of magnitude better than the best constraints on similar coefficients. Thus, we propose that inflation could stringently test other modified gravity theories.

Authors: L. CastellaniR. CatenacciP. A. Grassi

We reformulate Super Quantum Mechanics in the context of integral forms. This framework allows to interpolate between different actions for the same theory, connected by different choices of Picture Changing Operators (PCO). In this way we retrieve component and superspace actions, and prove their equivalence. The PCO are closed integral forms, and can be interpreted as super Poincar\’e duals of bosonic submanifolds embedded into a supermanifold.. We use them to construct Lagrangians that are top integral forms, and therefore can be integrated on the whole supermanifold. The $D=1, ~N=1$ and the $D=1,~ N=2$ cases are studied, in a flat and in a curved supermanifold. In this formalism we also consider coupling with gauge fields, Hilbert space of quantum states and observables.

Authors: Roumen TsekovEyal HeifetzEliahu Cohen

We regard the non-relativistic Schrodinger equation as an ensemble mean representation of the stochastic motion of a single particle in a vacuum, subject to an undefined stochastic quantum force. The local mean of the quantum force is found to be proportional to the third spatial derivative of the probability density function, while its associated pressure is proportional to the second spatial derivative. The latter arises from the single particle diluted gas pressure, and this observation allows to interpret the quantum Bohm potential as the energy required to put a particle in a bath of fluctuating vacuum at constant entropy and volume. The stochastic force expectation value is zero and is uncorrelated with the particle location, thus does not perform work on average. Nonetheless it is anti-correlated with volume and this anti-correlation leads to an uncertainty relation. We analyze the dynamic Gaussian solution to the Schrodinger equation as a simple example for exploring the mean properties of this quantum force. We conclude with a few possible interpretations as to the origins of quantum stochasticity.

Publication date: Available online 12 June 2017
Source:Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
Author(s): Norman Sieroka
This paper aims at closing a gap in recent Weyl research by investigating the role played by Leibniz for the development and consolidation of Weyl’s notion of theoretical (symbolic) construction. For Weyl, just as for Leibniz, mathematics was not simply an accompanying tool when doing physics—for him it meant the ability to engage in well-guided speculations about a general framework of reality and experience. The paper first introduces some of the background of Weyl’s notion of theoretical construction and then discusses particular Leibnizian inheritances in Weyl’s ‘Philosophie der Mathematik und Naturwissenschaft’, such as the general appreciation of the principles of sufficient reason and of continuity. Afterwards the paper focuses on three themes: first, Leibniz’s primary quality phenomenalism, which according to Weyl marked the decisive step in realizing that physical qualities are never apprehended directly; second, the conceptual relation between continuity and freedom; and third, Leibniz’s notion of ‘expression’, which allows for a certain type of (surrogative) reasoning by structural analogy and which gave rise to Weyl’s optimism regarding the scope of theoretical construction.

Probe sends entangled photons — which could underpin quantum-based data encryption — over unprecedented distance.

Nature News doi: 10.1038/nature.2017.22142

Author(s): P. M. Harrington, J. T. Monroe, and K. W. Murch

The Zeno and anti-Zeno effects are features of measurement-driven quantum evolution where frequent measurement inhibits or accelerates the decay of a quantum state. Either type of evolution can emerge depending on the system-environment interaction and measurement method. In this experiment, we use …
[Phys. Rev. Lett. 118, 240401] Published Wed Jun 14, 2017

Crowther, Karen and Linnemann, Niels (2017) Renormalizability, fundamentality and a final theory: The role of UV-completion in the search for quantum gravity. The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.


In quantum statistical mechanics, equilibrium states have been shown to be the typical states for a system that is entangled with its environment, suggesting a possible identification between thermodynamic and von Neumann entropies. In this paper, we investigate how the relaxation toward equilibrium is made possible through interactions that do not lead to significant exchange of energy, and argue for the validity of the second law of thermodynamics at the microscopic scale.

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