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FQXi FORUM
December 6, 2022

ARTICLE: Why Quantum? [back to article]

Peter Morgan wrote on Jun. 17, 2014 @ 23:16 GMT
I take QT to be universal for a very elementary reason, that we can take the Hilbert space to be arbitrarily large when describing a finite amount of data. If a small-dimensional Hilbert space doesn't work, we introduce something larger that can (as we perhaps most notably do when we introduce QFT).

What is then difficult is to decide whether the simplest QT model is more or less parsimonious, natural in some pragmatic, human sense, tractable, or otherwise better or worse in whatever sense we think important on a given day than the simplest model we can construct in some equally universal theoretical landscape that might replace it (which, of course, we have to have in hand for us to be able to make a comparison).

This is an accommodation that I've thought through only to a limited extent, of which I would not make much claim, but I've decided to accept it as good enough so that I can work on other things without fussing at these particular shadows. Best wishes with your attempts to construct a more robust reason why QT is inevitable.

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Thomas Howard Ray replied on Jun. 18, 2014 @ 14:11 GMT
Peter M, if a 'robust' reason for the belief that (conventional) quantum theory is 'inevitable' turns out to be an infinite dimension Hilbert space, it predicts its own death -- because then the problem will have reverted to an analytical solution.

We can just as easily (actually more easily) assume the analytical solution in the first place. Especially since we have more physical reason to do so -- and more especially since we now have the tools to prescribe extradimensional limits to the physical space. We just need a convincing way to test them.

It seems erroneous to me, to look for the n-dimension finite Hilbert space solution which, if it exists, is compelled to assume that quantum theory will never be complete -- with the implication that our understanding of the universe will never completely map to how the universe actually works.

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Florin Moldoveanu replied on Jun. 18, 2014 @ 20:42 GMT
Hi Peter, hope you remember me, I checked my emails and it was *only* 4 years ago when we last spoke. I finally did it, I have a proof of the necessity of QM and I am in the process of getting feedback on the draft for the archive. Hope to be able to upload it in about a month. I am extra cautious because this is a really big deal and I am triple checking everything.

Your argument: "I take QT to be universal for a very elementary reason, that we can take the Hilbert space to be arbitrarily large when describing a finite amount of data." does not work because classical mechanics can also be put in Hilbert space formalism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koopman%E2%80%93von_Neumann_cl
assical_mechanics) and therefore the argument does not distinguish between classical and quantum mechanics.

Best,

Florin

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Jason Mark Wolfe replied on Jun. 27, 2014 @ 20:42 GMT
"Peter M, if a 'robust' reason for the belief that (conventional) quantum theory is 'inevitable' turns out to be an infinite dimension Hilbert space, it predicts its own death -- because then the problem will have reverted to an analytical solution." -Tom

I've said that I think that the best interpretation of quantum mechanics is that wave-functions really exist as a manifestation of spirit. If wave-functions can be higher dimensional objects inside of a Hilbert space than that means that wave-functions can be higher dimensional objects. That works for me. What's wrong with that?

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Steve Agnew wrote on Jun. 18, 2014 @ 03:14 GMT
It is very interesting to me when quantum theory is called odd by a quantum theorist.

"Quantum theory is one of the most successful frameworks in science. But it is also decidedly odd. Physicists cannot use the theory to calculate the precise outcomes of quantum experiments before they have been performed, for instance; they can only work out the probabilities of getting a certain result."

That statement naturally means that there is another reality that is not odd and where there are deterministic futures for all objects. In other words, the author has built in an implicit strawman of gravity action as the normal, intuitive reality.

So why not face the demon of gravity down from the start...gravity action is the nemesis, not the second law. The second law is great. It is all about states. I like states. The question is, can the second law incorporate incompatible gravity states and quantum states, especially if gravity states are degenerate with quantum states.

Will your second law show us the way? By the way, I think that gravity action turns out to be more way more odd than quantum action...

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Joy Christian wrote on Jun. 18, 2014 @ 08:41 GMT
The obsession with probabilities is misguided. It stems from the total lack of knowledge and training in branches of physics outside the little box of "quantum foundations." The result is that when an actual progress is made in the so-called "quantum foundations", it is not understood, because those who have cornered the subject to their political and financial advantage are not capable of understanding it.

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Anonymous replied on Jun. 18, 2014 @ 13:40 GMT
Joy, I think 'little box' is an apt metaphor. Probability is without a doubt the least understood branch of mathematics -- and even less understood when applied to physical phenomena.

One has to be reminded that to calculate probability, what one puts into the box determines what one gets out of it. When actual physical results turn up more than the box can hold, one is compelled to assume that one created something (entanglement) that wasn't in the box before one made a measurement (nonlocality).

Take the calculation of the constant Pi by the Monte Carlo method:

It is only because we know that the value of Pi exists before we describe the statistics by which Pi is a solution to the condition we have set (pi = 4M/N) for a circle we have prescribed, that the method generates to any arbitrary accuracy the value we know to exist as the exact solution to the equation.

When we do the same thing with Bell-Aspect results, we are only getting confirmation of our assumption of entanglement and nonlocality. We specified the conditions and we got the solution we asked for.

Problem is that the universe doesn't live in a little box. There's no 'pi in the sky' as John Barrow put it. We can't impose our mind's conditions on nature's structure and say we have 'found' something that wasn't there.

(By the way, Peter, the foregoing illustrates exactly why your program doesn't work.)

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Thomas Howard Ray replied on Jun. 18, 2014 @ 13:41 GMT

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Thomas Howard Ray replied on Jun. 18, 2014 @ 18:11 GMT
Peter J, I meant.

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Peter Jackson wrote on Jun. 18, 2014 @ 10:47 GMT
Steve,

Is it NOT 'odd'!? Even to Bell it's "unprofessionally vague and ambiguous" he continued; "Professional theoretical physicists ought to be able to do better." (beables.. p173) I think he was rightly concerned about the "intrinsic ambiguity in principle" and the "complacency" from familiarity with the ancient myths some now believe is all there can be. Joy is then correct.

The...

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Robert H McEachern replied on Jun. 21, 2014 @ 00:21 GMT
Peter,

I agree. "the theory which they established aimed only to describe systematically the response of the apparatus".

Physicists could learn a lot about the nature of information and entropy, if they would study modern communication systems, starting with techniques such as Decision Feedback Equalization. Such techniques are the means by which modern communications systems remove "the response of the apparatus" as well as "interfering information, coming from sources of no interest", leaving behind only the information from the source of interest. This, and this alone, is what has made it possible to, for the first time in history, reliably recover information, at rates very near the Shannon Limit. One cannot get any better than that.

Rob McEachern

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Anonymous replied on Jun. 21, 2014 @ 05:03 GMT
Rob,

DFE means: "the distortion on a current pulse that was caused by previous pulses is subtracted". I see a main problem of theorists like Tom and many physicists already in their lacking readiness to accept that the distinction between earlier and later is more fundamental than their trust in a mathematically constructed world. We EEs don't operate with undirected arrows between boxes that symbolize transfer functions while theorists like Wheeler admit the wheel of history rotating back.

That's why I question Minkowski's spacetime and the necessity to integrate over future time too when analyzing past data.

Eckard Blumschein

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Robert H McEachern replied on Jun. 21, 2014 @ 14:44 GMT
Eckard,

You have hit one of the big nails, squarely on its head; "the necessity to integrate over future time too when analyzing past data."

I have pointed-out the problem with this previously, in the mathematical techniques at the foundation of QM, namely the use of Fourier Transforms, that integrate over all of time. How can one integrate over all of time, if one does not know the future?

Well, one can indeed know the future, for systems devoid of information, the very systems at the heart of classical physics. It is easy to predict the future of a conserved (constant) quantity, and it is easy to predict the future of a perfectly periodic function (idealized orbits). So, in those cases, one can indeed integrate over the future values, by integrating over the predictions.

Unfortunately, this does not work for unpredictable, high-information-content phenomenon, such as human observers. Unwittingly assuming that it does is THE problem. But this fact is not apparent in the Fourier transform formulation, and, consequently, has yet to be appreciated as a central problem in the mathematical formulation of QM, when it attempts to make claims about how observers behave and impact observable results..

Rob McEachern

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Thomas Howard Ray wrote on Jun. 18, 2014 @ 19:18 GMT
The article avers, "Any theory worthy of replacing quantum mechanics would still need to assign probabilities to the outcome of experiments and so would be found in the landscape of generalised probability theories that Barrett and Leifer are investigating. Physicists should be able to instantly rule out a sub-section of the choices that violate the Second Law, due to their prediction that smashed mugs of coffee can surreptitiously reform."

Generalized probability theories, as I know Leifer to support from earlier writings, are based in Bayesian probability interpretations, which means that some measure of personal belief unavoidably begs the question of entanglement; the circular argument doesn't even provide a sound strategy toward an objective basis for a foundational quantum theory.

In fact, there do exist alternative frameworks, such as complex systems science that retain the second law of thermodynamics at multiple scales; i.e., the variety of thermodynamic paths toward equilibrium ensure unitary results with probability 1.0.

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Pentcho Valev wrote on Jun. 18, 2014 @ 21:00 GMT
Clausius' famous principle "Entropy always increases" (which, according to A. Eddington, holds "the supreme position among the laws of Nature") was deduced in 1865 in the way presented by Jos Uffink on p. 37 in:

Jos Uffink, Bluff your Way in the Second Law of Thermodynamics, p. 37: "Hence we obtain: THE ENTROPY PRINCIPLE (Clausius' version) For every nicht umkehrbar [irreversible] process in an adiabatically isolated system which begins and ends in an equilibrium state, the entropy of the final state is greater than or equal to that of the initial state. For every umkehrbar [reversible] process in an adiabatical system, the entropy of the final state is equal to that of the initial state."

Clausius' deduction was based on three postulates:

Postulate 1: The entropy is a state function.

Postulate 2: Clausius' inequality (formula 10 on p. 33 in Uffink's paper) is correct.

Postulate 3: Any irreversible process can be closed by a reversible process to become a cycle.

All the three postulates remain unproven even nowadays; Postulate 3 is almost obviously false:

Jos Uffink, p.39: "A more important objection, it seems to me, is that Clausius bases his conclusion that the entropy increases in a nicht umkehrbar [irreversible] process on the assumption that such a process can be closed by an umkehrbar [reversible] process to become a cycle. This is essential for the definition of the entropy difference between the initial and final states. But the assumption is far from obvious for a system more complex than an ideal gas, or for states far from equilibrium, or for processes other than the simple exchange of heat and work. Thus, the generalisation to all transformations occurring in Nature is somewhat rash."

Pentcho Valev

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Jun. 19, 2014 @ 02:51 GMT
As far as I'm concerned, you guys are mired in nonsense.

Firstly, I assert that there is no platonic realm; there is only this physical universe. So, what is the physical reality behind the numbers and complex numbers that seem to be necessary to explain reality? Numbers are symbols that represent something about physical reality; otherwise you must posit that they are entities that exist in their own right. Get the basics right first.

Secondly, you all have an unwarranted BELIEF, nothing but a BELIEF, that reality is necessarily 100% deterministic. It is not quantum theory that is odd; what is REALLY ODD is the mob mentality with its very tame, but unshakable, belief that the underlying reality will be found to be 100% deterministic.

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Joy Christian replied on Jun. 19, 2014 @ 06:58 GMT
Lorraine,

The underlying reality *IS* found to be 100% deterministic. It is only by politically suppressing the evidence presented that the physics community is able to maintain the façade of inevitable indeterminism (cf. Tom's rhetorical question below).

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Lorraine Ford replied on Jun. 19, 2014 @ 09:41 GMT
Joy,

where is the experimental evidence for your belief that all individual physical outcomes are 100% deterministic i.e. the time and space "parameters" for every individual particle outcome is predictable/calculable beforehand?

Do you have anything to say about, or any ideas about, what it is that NUMBERS represent about the nature of physical reality, or are you a platonist?

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Joy Christian replied on Jun. 19, 2014 @ 10:03 GMT
Lorraine,

I have to admit that as yet I cannot support my claim with unambiguous experimental evidence. All I have so far is extensive theoretical evidence (in 15 papers, a book, and numerous computer simulations) to support my deterministic framework. But I have also proposed an experiment to test this framework, which may someday prove me either right or at least partially wrong. If I am experimentally proven wrong about my framework, even partially, then I may reconsider my position about determinism (more precisely about Bell's no-go theorem).

Concerning your question about numbers, to me they are simply excellent tools for us to do mathematics and physics. I rather not speculate anything deeper about numbers than that.

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Thomas Howard Ray wrote on Jun. 19, 2014 @ 03:41 GMT
" ... unshakable, belief that the underlying reality will be found to be 100% deterministic."

And your belief that reality is probabilistic is objectively based on ... ?

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Anonymous replied on Jun. 19, 2014 @ 09:20 GMT
I never said "reality is probabilistic". Seemingly you must consider that there are only 2 possible options for the nature of reality: probabilistic or 100% deterministic.

I might as well ask you : "And your belief that reality is 100% deterministic is objectively based on" what experimental evidence?

Do you have anything to say about, or any ideas about, what it is that NUMBERS represent about the nature of physical reality, or are you a platonist?

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Lorraine Ford replied on Jun. 19, 2014 @ 09:21 GMT
Above post was me

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Thomas Howard Ray replied on Jun. 19, 2014 @ 13:09 GMT
"I never said "reality is probabilistic". Seemingly you must consider that there are only 2 possible options for the nature of reality: probabilistic or 100% deterministic."

At its foundation, nature is one or the other, or your belief is logically inconsistent. The problem is one of cosmology; the initial condition either had 100% potential for every observed physical outcome, or a...

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Jason Mark Wolfe wrote on Jun. 19, 2014 @ 05:17 GMT
Quantum entanglement gives psychics and the paranormal something to work with. Grey aliens and UFO's could be some dark matter life form popping in for a visit. Ghosts and spirits could be some kind of quantum entanglement form of life. And with the millions and millions of people who have experienced these things, they make the whole subject matter respectable.

Now let me give you some examples of woo. Time travel. The MWI interpretation of quantum mechanics. Those things are so in conflict with what we know about physics, conservation of energy, causality, etc., that they are not only impossible, but they are not observed by anyone.

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Jason Mark Wolfe replied on Jun. 19, 2014 @ 08:38 GMT
It was the Higgs field that toppled materialism as a philosophy that describes nature; basically, the idea that particles are just hard spheres is dead. If nature allows invisible fields to exist, like the Higgs field, and nature also allows invisible matter to exist, than it is clear that the laws of physics do not oppose the existence of ghosts. In contrast, time travel is going to create paradoxes which make it impossible.

If you treat a ghost like a quantum field, than it fits in very nicely with quantum mechanics. It goes a long way in explaining why so many people have had experiences with ghosts, shadow figures and other disembodied entities. Lot of people have seen the glowing red eyes of otherworldly entities. There is physical evidence of attacks by ghosts, which include scratching, biting, shoving. There are tons of poltergeist events.

Skeptics are free to disbelieve. But in my view, it makes more sense. If the nature of reality is made of particles and fields, then it suggests that life forms should be able to exist as fields as well as particles.

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Jason Mark Wolfe replied on Jun. 19, 2014 @ 18:11 GMT
If there were grey aliens made of dark matter abducting humans for their research, or alternatively if there were lifeforms made of quantum fields that were occasionally terrifying humans, the scientific community would be totally unaware of it. Atheists-skeptics are the snobby unimaginative branch of science who play around with trivial things, but then express disdain for very real phenomena. None of you are in search of truth. You are all guilty of protecting your reputation by calling grey aliens, spirits, ghosts, and all these things woo, when it is really scientific theorism that is woo, devoid of imagination, and does not fit with either established physics or the observations of millions of intelligent and reliable human beings. There are more reliable witnesses to ghosts and grey aliens than there are to super-strings, time travel and many-world interpretations combined.

Come into the light of enlightenment.

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Jason Mark Wolfe wrote on Jun. 19, 2014 @ 19:01 GMT
Who knows, you might have some fun if you try to reconcile UFO technology and ghosts with what we know about quantum mechanics and quantum field theory. Maybe there is a way to apply top down engineering to a quantum system, quantum field theory and quantum entanglement. Quantum entanglement is a correlations between two or more particles. Maybe there is a way to reinforce the entanglement, and then remove the particles. If it worked, you would be left with an invisible mesh that could be used as a template to organize new particles that it comes into contact with.

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Lawrence B Crowell wrote on Jun. 21, 2014 @ 21:52 GMT
Why quantum mechancs? We really do not know. As I have been studying this it appears that quantum mechanics is really a logical system of gates where there are certain topological properties to the lattice operations that deviate from Boolean logic. The two slit experiment is a sort of topological problem with loops that are not contractible to a point. There is homotopy associated with this. ...

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Jason Mark Wolfe replied on Jun. 22, 2014 @ 09:14 GMT
Isn't it much simpler just to say that wave-functions are real things, and that they have energy states and momentum states? That way you don't have to split the universe into an infinite number of branches to represent the eigenstates. Isn't it easier just to say that wave-functions exist?

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Jason Mark Wolfe replied on Jun. 22, 2014 @ 09:27 GMT
As fun as a many world interpretation might be to some people, it would flagrantly violate conservation of energy if every universe in the branch is real and solid. For that reason, the MWI might be literally impossible.

In contrast, if wave-functions are assumed to be real things, then there could be this nebulous aether of wave-functions that is completely undetectable, unpredictable and mysterious. Physicists will hate it. But it being very subtle, it also want cause any big problems for physicists to have to explain.

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Lawrence B Crowell replied on Jun. 22, 2014 @ 23:59 GMT
Ray,

How can wave functions be real, when they are represented as complex valued functions. They are not even mathematically real.

The eigenvalues of QM are determined by Hermitean matrices or operators. These eigenvalues are then by definition real c-numbers that correspond to things measured.

In MWI the amount of mass-energy is constant. Each eigen-branched world is weighted by a probability and the Born rule permits a conservation of mass-energy. This is the case even though there is the appearance of being along only one world and not many.

LC

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Anonymous wrote on Jun. 22, 2014 @ 05:06 GMT
Rob, LC,

I guess Eddington was correct when stating: "experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation."

Maybe, the recently claimed at Havard evidence for the BB was premature? Maybe, at least a few of the unwelcome argument I uttered aren't unfounded? My primary concern is to possibly reveal very basic mistakes affecting the relationship between mathematics and physics.

Yes Rob, application of Fourier transformation is to blame.

"How can one integrate over all of time, if one does not know the future?" Heaviside's analytical continuation cheats us: The mirrored past is similar to but essentially different from the open future. I beg for getting aware of what we are doing.

Yes LC, "That quantum mechanics is unitary is equivalent to saying it is deterministic". I see the property to be unitary closely related to the likewise unphysical ideal property to be infinite. While a point, a line, the number pi, etc. are strictly speaking just ideals they are nonetheless common prectice as to describe physical systems. Scruples a la Hjelmslev are unfounded. Moreover, history shows that even slightly dirty mathematics adopted from Leibniz, Cauchy, Dedekind, and Heaviside proved utterly useful. Quantum theories obviously led to valuable applications in contrast to SR which merely created paradoxes. Maybe, some oddities that occur with quantum theories will vanish when we accept that the real-valued cosine transformation may in principle fit better than the complex Fourier transformation.

Eckard Blumschein

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John R. Cox wrote on Jun. 22, 2014 @ 19:10 GMT
The second Law of Thermodynamics holds in a CLOSED system, which does not necessitate that universally spacetime is itself closed. Given the irrationality of pi, if we accept our mathematics to be true enough to reality, it is quite acceptable to conjecture that the only differernce between time and space to be that deficit of radial length resulting from the circumference of a sphere never quite being exactly proportional to any radii constructed to ascertain that a change in volume is physically uniform. If the elusive 'Quantum' realistically exists, it might be found in that relative difference. Energy could then be the creative result of such a physically coherent, yet distinct stress of spatial difference and the relative covariance would be the source of a continuous sustaining creation of energy. This is simply a matter of treating Energy rather than Time as emergent. It is a long way from the laboratory of Lavoisier in yesteryear, to the frontier of inflationary cosmology tomorrow. Bye, now. jrc

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Jason Mark Wolfe wrote on Jun. 22, 2014 @ 19:55 GMT
Please forgive me for saying the obvious, but some of these explanations of reality sound like a mathematical snowstorm that doesn't actually mean anything. The best explanation for everything that we observe, the quantum fields, the Higgs fields, the encounters with ghosts, is that the quantum vacuum is made of wave-functions that really do exist in some ethereal way, and that the ghosts that people witness are probably real things.

Wave functions are real things!!! That is the simplest and best explanation for quantum mechanics.

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Jason Mark Wolfe replied on Jun. 22, 2014 @ 21:07 GMT
I'm not the only one who thinks that wave functions are real things.

http://arstechnica.com/science/2011/11/the-insanely-w
eird-quantum-wave-function-might-be-real-after-all/

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Lawrence B Crowell replied on Jun. 24, 2014 @ 14:17 GMT
I am not going to engage in too much discussion on “reality” from a metaphysical perspective, where terms like reify and ontology and the like come into play. Wave functions though are not real in a strict sense of having real valued measurable properties. If one wants to engage in metaphysical conjectures about reality other than this rather operational one, then fine. I just tend not to take these that seriously.

LC

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Jason Mark Wolfe replied on Jun. 24, 2014 @ 17:30 GMT
I think that attitude is blocking the physics community from exploring a whole area of theoretical physics that could describe parts of reality that you are all uncomfortable with. For instance, I can explain the physics of a ghost. Let me show you. Virtual photons make electric and magnetic fields work. If a ghost can get access to the virtual photons, if it has great skill it can create a potential energy V(r,t) without using charged particles. If, as I have stated, wave-functions are real things even if they're not measurable directly, then a wave-function will come into existence by virtue of the time dependent Schrodinger equation. This wave-function will have energy states and momentum states that the ghost has to fill with energy (by creating cold spots, siphoning from batteries or from people). Then it can use that energy to move objects, radiate photons that look like scary red eyes, shove people down stairs and do all the spooky poltergeist phenomena.

Can anyone tell me the specific reason for why this kind of a ghost would contradict known physics?

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John R. Cox wrote on Jun. 22, 2014 @ 21:13 GMT
Jason,

"Wave functions are real things"

I tend to agree, energetically of course. jrc

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Jason Mark Wolfe replied on Jun. 23, 2014 @ 06:37 GMT
John, you're a radical! lol Watch out! The idea that wave-functions are real things is heresy as far as the physics community is concerned.

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Jason Mark Wolfe replied on Jun. 23, 2014 @ 23:14 GMT
I can't help but think that if a ghost is going to produce some phenomena, it has to create an equivalent wave-function/quantum field. To do so, it has to generate the appropriate V(x,y,z,t) in order to get a psi-wave-function that can emit red photons from the eyes (for the glowing red eyes appearance), or appropriate momentum states so that the ghost can properly shove somebody. I'm just using an educated guess, but a spirit is something feels and experiences. To that end, maybe the ghost/spirit has to feel or experience the V(x,y,z,t) that it generates; maybe it feels it as pain or discomfort. But when it doe gnereate a wave-function with energy and momentum states, then it has to obtain energy from somewhere.

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Jason Mark Wolfe replied on Jun. 24, 2014 @ 17:54 GMT
By the way, I'm not too interested in philosophy either. I want to understand how observables relate to physics. If someone is claiming to see something that violates physics, I want to know "how" it violates known physics. Physicist "scoffing" at paranormal phenomena is shackling humanity to the dark ages.

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John R.Cox wrote on Jun. 23, 2014 @ 21:55 GMT
Eckard,

"I question Minkowski's spacetime and the necessity to integrate over future time too when analyzing past data."

Yes, I think I follow that argument. Really it goes back to the ambiguity of what r^2 is supposed to represent, and in reality at best only trigometrically. I have always found it as contrary to comprehension as the 'rubber sheet' illustration of GR, to look at an illustration of the universe 'timeline' that has the shape of a tall plastic cup that has been picked up from sitting on a hotplate.

Also, I seldom comment due to my lamentable lack of advanced math, but do often find help in understanding from many of your learned contributions. I do wish you and Tom could find common ground, though he is theoretical and engineers are more practical. My best wishes to all. jrc

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Anonymous replied on Jun. 25, 2014 @ 06:03 GMT
jrc,

Integrating over future data in case of an analysis of past data is not the only indication of obvious nonsense. The first reason for me to wonder was the astonishing superiority of spectral analysis within the human ear as compared with the so called spectrogram. We must not attribute this superiority just to brain. Physiology contradicts to the interpretation of cochlea in terms of Fourier analysis. A major problem of the latter is the choice of width and position of an appropriate window of time. Theory of signals relies to an event-related time scale with arbitrarily assumed zero that is definitely not known to the ear. The position of the window on this scale is just valid for one also arbitrarily chosen moment. This requires awkward permanent relocation of the window. Moreover, the spectrogram exhibits non-causality, and the one-way rectification of the hair cell response would be impossible in case of a complex cochlear analysis while it is physiologically evident.

Why are experts reluctant to abandon complex models although cosine transformation has proven equivalent in practice of coding? They are not ready to question the necessity of Fourier analysis in the theory of signal processing, ict, and ih in quantum theory. Don't get me wrong. I still enjoy using complex calculus as a tool but not as a gospel. A drunk person may consider himself and her mirror picture as two persons.

Eckard Blumschein

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Anonymous replied on Jun. 25, 2014 @ 16:13 GMT
Eckard

"cosine transformation has proven equivalent in practice of coding"

I think both Peter Jackson and Robert McEachern are in general agreement with you as to Fourier Analysis, though with their own qualifications from different perspectives. The question as to Why Quantum? is still open. I am in agreement with Tom Ray to the extent that Classical Mechanics CAN evolve to Quantum...

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Eckard Blumschein replied on Jun. 25, 2014 @ 18:06 GMT
jcr,

In order to avoid that our discussion peters out, I just clarify that Peter J. didn't at all deal with cosine transformation. Did Robert McEachern already utter himself to the question CT vs. FT?

You are right, my suspicion that, in contrast to Pauli's opinion, the complex representations are redundant not just in classical physics but also in quantum physics does not yet answer the question why quantum but possibly the question why Schroedinger introduced a complex wave function. He revealed his thoughts in his fourth communication in 1924. I see Heisenberg's equivalent musing based on the same fallacy.

Hegel denied the existence of atoms. Mach and Ostwald considered atoms for quite a while as mere imaginations without reality. I would like to cautiously answer the question why quantum by pointing to those few experimental results that don't rely on possibly questionable methods like careless application of Fourier transformation.

Eckard

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Anonymous wrote on Jun. 24, 2014 @ 19:40 GMT
If there is a choice, then causation is fundamental to the construction of physics. If the foundation of physics is causal, then entropy is an indication of moving from one causal system to another, not characterized completely by energy. Entropy is an indication of the dis-coordinate relationship between time and space.

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Lawrence B Crowell wrote on Jun. 25, 2014 @ 00:50 GMT
The wave function is considered to be unreal for a number of reasons. The first reason is that it is complex valued. So we might then say wave functions are not real, but they are complex. However, there is a bit more than this. It has a lot to do with the nonlocality of quantum waves and states. This is a fundamental departure from classical physics.

The theorems of Bell on nonlocality and the contextuality theorem of Kochen-Specker and other related results are inescapable. Now of course this is the case in this entire world except for here at FQXi, where the blog site has succeeded in doing what Feynman told us to do if we did not like QM:

Go somewhere else. So the FQXi blog site is a little bubble that we might say has escaped the universe --- or some have this delusion.

If you want to say that in some metaphysical sense the wave function is real then go ahead. I suppose most physicists at times do this any ways. It is just that this ontology is of a different nature than our standard idea of what reality or “ontic” means. The wave function is better thought of as epistemological, and it gives the set of probability amplitudes corresponding to measurement in qubits or quNits (a set with N amplitudes).

As Richard Feynman says, if you don’t like this, go somewhere else.

LC

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Jason Mark Wolfe replied on Jun. 25, 2014 @ 01:19 GMT
If wave-functions are not real objects, admittedly with strange properties, then how does one interpret the nature of quantum mechanics. I believe Feynman told us not to try to interpret it, just keep calculating. Beyond Feynman's suggestion, there remains the MWI interpretation, which is too unruly by creating universes at the point of the eigenvalues and ushering them off to oblivion in some magical way.

But the beauty of wave-functions is that, if they do exist, they are subtle, unpresuming, and easy to see. The infinite potential energy well generates a wave-function of something as simple as

$\psi(x) = A_0 cos (\frac{n \pi x}(L))$

A college professor could point to that and say, "we think that is something that actually exists." Everyone would breath a sigh of relief that quantum mechanics actually matches the physical universe.

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Lawrence B Crowell replied on Jun. 25, 2014 @ 02:01 GMT
There is with quantum mechanics what I call an incompressible fluid of confusion. The fluid can be squashed flat or drawn into a thin tube and so forth, but the volume remains the same. We have gotten very good at manipulating this blob of fluid, and in doing so we illuminate some things, but we do not know the answer to questions such as how eigenvalues obtain in measurements or how nonlocality...

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Lorraine Ford replied on Jun. 25, 2014 @ 02:42 GMT
Re "This is the way nature works! - Richard Feynman" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sAfUpGmnm4 ):

"I'm forcing upon you a lecture on the things that we think we know something about" (0:12)..."the students do not understand it either , and that's because the professor doesn't understand it" (1:40) ... "Nature is strange as it can be...the RULES...are so screwy you can't believe 'em! " (2:17) ... "if you don't like it, go somewhere else to another universe where the rules are simpler" (4:52) ... "nobody understands it" (6:27)

Lawrence, I believe that you and others are too content with surface appearances. What is the physical reality behind these law-of-nature "rules" which generalize/represent individual physical outcomes? What is the physical reality behind the numbers we use to represent physical outcomes, including the unpredictable individual physical outcomes from quantum processes? What is the physical reality behind the necessity to use complex numbers and pi? Forget about complexity of "the wave function" - there are far more basic issues than that!

Do you take law-of-nature rules and numbers for granted; do you take them as given inputs to the system; i.e. are you a platonist?

Lorraine

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Lawrence B Crowell wrote on Jun. 25, 2014 @ 12:29 GMT
I am not commenting on ghosts; I think that definitely gets into supernaturalism.

We have no clear understanding of the relationship between physics and mathematics. There are some people who claim that mathematics is physics, but I fail to see how this can either be proven mathematically or demonstrated experimentally. If you think that mathematics precedes physics there is then a sort of mysteriousness of how pure mathematical structures become reified. If you think that physics precedes mathematics then one is left with the unknowable “stuff” which composes reality. Asking what is the relationship between mathematics and physics heaps another unknown or unknowable onto the picture.

I think the most reasonable way of thinking about how quantum outcomes of measurements occur is to think of consciousness as a sort of illusion. Consciousness is probably some form of epiphenomenon, similar to virtual images in optics, that occurs with neural activity. The occurrence of a quantum outcome is then a sort of illusion generated by this illusion. In that way we have an illusion of being taken along one particular MWI world branch or eigen-branching of the world.

I don’t have time to go into this, but I think this is connected to our perception of another illusion called time.

LC

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Jason Mark Wolfe replied on Jun. 25, 2014 @ 17:24 GMT
I'm going to assume that wave-functions are real things. It is a much more defensible position, more so than MWI. It's better than "I have no idea." As for epiphenomena having illusions creating consciousness, it all sounds pretty vague. It is more likely that ghosts and spirits do exist, but that the evidence is getting mixed in with other stuff.

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Florin Moldoveanu replied on Jun. 25, 2014 @ 18:59 GMT
If the wavefunction is ontological, which wavefunction is the real thing? The complex number wavefunction, or the quaternionic wavefunction? Both complex quantum mechanics and quanternionic quantum mechanics give the same predictions for the hydrogen atom. A pure state in complex quantum mechanics is defined up to a phase (a unit complex number) and a pure state in quaternionic quantum mechanics is defined up to a unit quaternion and so the two wavefunctions assign different values at the same space-time point. How can the wavefunction be ontological under this circumstance?

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Jason Mark Wolfe replied on Jun. 25, 2014 @ 19:25 GMT
That is a very smart question, and the answer is: I don't know. I am a spiritualist, and so I am more comfortable with the existence of an aether if I can throw out the Michelson-Morley experiment, and replace it with some kind of wave-function aether filled with the Higgs field, virtual photon E&M field, etc. I think this interpretation of quantum mechanics makes more sense that the MWI interpretation, or just saying, "I don't know". If the aether is made out of ontological wave-functions, then how is that so different from quantum mechanics, quantum field theory and the Higgs field?

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Lawrence B Crowell wrote on Jun. 25, 2014 @ 20:04 GMT
Florin,

It is nice to hear from you. It has unfortunately been a while since I went to your website. I had to reinstall browser and lost the bookmark.

The example with quaternionic QM is interesting. This is the quaternion Dirac equation and the model of the H-atom is a Euclidean form of gravitation. The complex wave function for a system is equivalent up to a phase, and for quaternions they are equivalent up to multiplication by any quaternion, not just the unit quaternion --- at least as I recall. We could write the quaternion wave function as

Ψ = c_1i + c_2j + c_3k + c_41

Expanded in the quaternion basis i, j, k, 1. This is equivalent under multiplication by a quaternion, just as the wave function gives equivalent physics when multiplied by a c-number or phase. So for simplicity multiply this by the quaternion i to get

iΨ = c_1i*i + c_2i*j + c_3i*k + c_4i

= -c_11 + c_2k – c_3j + c_4i

which is just an SO(4) rotation in the basis of elements. Of course QM and physics is invariant under changes of coordinates.

In point of fact the Dirac operator and the quaternion function are both the same thing --- quaternions. The action of the Dirac operator on the quantum field quaternion is equivalent to the cohomology condition ψψ = 0. This is known as the Pauli exclusion principle.

The statement that the wave function is real does have this odd implication that all complex numbers are equal to a quaternion. Mathematically this is strange, and even without quaternions the wave function being real means complex numbers are all real. Physically the nonlocal properties of QM simply can’t be reduced to a classical realization. We might even go so far as to say that classical physics is an illusion. We know it is an illusion because it is falsified outside of certain domains of applicability, such as atomic physics.

Cheers LC

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Florin Moldoveanu replied on Jun. 26, 2014 @ 14:01 GMT
Lawrence, the address is: http://fmoldove.blogspot.com/. I am doing a series on differential and algebraic geometry to introduce the tools needed to discuss gauge theory and the standard model. It's all very good stuff explained intuitively: homotopy, homology, cohomology, de Rham, Hodge. Then I want to explain fiber bundels, Yang-Mills and the relationship with general relativity. Last I'll explain non-commutative geometry.

By the way, I did obtained QM from physical principles. I have a preprint in alpha release and by the end of next month will be in beta release (the archive). I am searching now for a suitable journal (Reviews in Mathematical Physics, Advances in Mathematical Physics, Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical, Journal of Mathematical Physics). I have to decide before the archive upload because they all have different styles you need to follow. Here is the abstract:

"Quantum and classical mechanics are derived using four natural physical principles: (1) the laws of nature are invariant under time evolution, (2) the laws of nature are invariant under tensor composition, (3) the laws

of nature are relational, and (4) positivity (the ability to define a physical state). Quantum mechanics is singled out by a fifth experimentally justified postulate: nature violates Bell’s inequalities."

I derive the Poisson algebra for classical mechanics and the phase and Hilbert space formulation for QM all in a constructive fashion.

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Anonymous replied on Jun. 26, 2014 @ 14:46 GMT
Lawrence,

I think you're getting the idea of number confused with the idea of function. It cannot be true that "... the wave function being real means complex numbers are all real." Complex numbers have no preference for the real line; only when the imaginary part is zero, do complex numbers behave as real numbers. Therefore, it also does not follow that "Physically the nonlocal properties of QM simply can't be reduced to a classical realization."

Nonlocality is a necessary assumption of applying the n-dimension Hilbert space formalism to quantum mechanical phenomena; it is not a result.

Only were the wave function equal to zero, and therefore not continuous, would it be both necessary and sufficient to frame physics in a completely probabilistic measure schema. Every physical result would have a definite probability -- a quantum number -- on the closed interval [0,1]. However, because we know that the wave function evolves deterministically, we also know that this is not true. Numerical discreteness does not determine a continuous function; it's the other way around.

Attached is a piece I am working on at the moment, to help frame the problem of continuous functions vs. quantum numbers.

Best,

Tom

attachments: The_CHSH_result_is_free_of_context.pdf

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Lawrence B Crowell replied on Jul. 1, 2014 @ 12:22 GMT
Your presentations are interesting. I have done some presentations, live and in front of people, of related material. I focused on homotopy theory. The double slit experiment is a form of homotopy, where there are two sets of trajectories that are distinct by a topological obstruction. The measurement of which slit the particle passes through transfers the superposition into an entanglement with a needle state. Entanglements can then be a case of topology or homotopy. I am particularly interested in the case of where a quantum system entangles with a black hole.

Cheers LC

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Lawrence B Crowell wrote on Jun. 25, 2014 @ 20:25 GMT
Jason,

The Higgs field is a quantum field, and it fits very well within the quantum paradigm of physics. The Higgs field though has a quartic potential which makes it different from a scalar field with just quadratic potential. For the quadratic potential the potential function has a single minimum point, which means that to get a particle orbiting around it requires the input of energy. The quantization of the field means these orbits come in discrete steps. For the quartic function there is a circle as the minimum of the potential, what might be thought of as the trough of the Mexican hat. This means under tiny amounts of energy you can set up an orbit. There is then a vast degeneracy of quantum states here that fill up a condensate. This condensate can couple in with certain particles, such as the W and Z particles of the weak interactions. This coupling might be thought of as the Whiggs and the Zhiggs (sounds like the British party of old and the Zh has a Russian sound). This gives the Z and W its mass.

Something happens when this happens. Gauge fields with a massless gauge boson have transverse degrees of freedom, two degrees per particle. A massive particle has a longitudinal degree of freedom. The coupling with the Higgs field gives the W and Z particles this extra degree of freedom.

This was proposed because a quantum field with mass has this longitudinal degree of freeom, and at very high energy this field effect has anomalous propagations --- it propagates faster than light. So Higgs, Englert, Kibble and others proposed this mechanism so that massive bosons of the weak interaction could be massless at high energy. This prevents the quantum field theory from becoming sick.

Cheers LC

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Jason Mark Wolfe replied on Jun. 26, 2014 @ 01:30 GMT
Lawrence,

I think that both our world views are pretty fixed. You're an atheist down the core who doesn't believe in an afterlife. I am a Spiritualist who believes in the existence of spirits, an afterlife, and God. Neither of our world views are going to change. For my part, one of the problems I have with atheism is that it is so entrenched in cynisism. I don't even think that atheists believe that there exists physics beyond GR and QM, other than some quantum gravity theory. Some of the things I liked about Spiritualism was their positivity, their sense of hope, as well as the countless uncanny evidences from psychic readings, and the entities that I've personally witnessed, and my fiance who was assaulted by a ghost (shoved down the stairs), and this nagging feeling that wave-functions mathematics is describing an all pervasive spirit.

Now, I agree with you that there are people who claim paranormal phenomena who are just painful to watch. They take pictures of dust particles and bugs and call them spaceships. So I totally agree with you that there is a lot of crap in the paranormal literature. But on the other hand, there are a few really good jewels in there as well. It warms my heart when a skeptic is confronted by a ghost, an entity, grey aliens, or some psychic who is so talented that they make it look like something impossible is going on. I've listened to cold readers and they sound like crap; they sound all intellectual, like their guessing, it sounds forced, it doesn't flow. My break is over, but I just wanted you to know that my philosophical beliefs are based in impressive evidence, not junk, not hooey.

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Lawrence B Crowell replied on Jun. 26, 2014 @ 12:45 GMT
I did not indicate anything about what I believe with regards to metaphysical ideas and so forth. I do though think one needs to keep ideas about spiritualism independent of scientific thought. The idea that the Higgs field is somehow related to ghosts or spirits running around is pure buncomb.

LC

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Jason Mark Wolfe replied on Jun. 26, 2014 @ 19:13 GMT
Hi Lawrence,

Why would anomalous faster than light propagations make QM sick? Wouldn't FTL be a threat to GR? Not QM?

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Lawrence B Crowell wrote on Jun. 25, 2014 @ 20:53 GMT
Jason,

I think to be honest the United State of America would not have become the dominant world power without World War II. I honestly think this country would have become a somewhat better off English speaking form of a nation similar to those seen in Latin America in the 20th century. WWII caused many scientists to leave Germany and Europe to the United States of America, and remember Enrico Fermi got the first sustained chain reaction. Also the war demolished the economies of every developed nation except the United States. Highly advanced nations, in particular Germany, but also France, Italy and others were economically ruined with the war. Even Britain remained on war rations for almost 10 years after the war. The Soviet Union was brutally ruined, and barely made it through the midpoint of the war. The US economy surged forwards with no competition.

Since the reconstruction of Europe and East Asia, ending around 1970 or so, the US has been declining consistently, and with virtually all metrics from educational levels, to productivity per capita to internet connectivity relative to the rest of the world. The following little clip from the program "The Newsroom" sort of captures the nature of the problem

Americans are behind on metrics such as education and we are a people that have traditionally been low on the educational and intellectual scale. There is a long tradition of know-nothingness in this nation, and this has been hobbling the country. Of late this stuff has been politically popular. We also have trends of xenophobia, and now the right winged panic-mongerers are screaming about a wave of immigrants --- who happen to be children. They are kids for ^&%*#\$@ sake, not terrorists! There are these sick trends in this country, they have been with us for quite a while and are now very rampant, similar to the early 1950s with greater durability.

Are we really that great?

LC

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Jason Mark Wolfe replied on Jun. 30, 2014 @ 18:16 GMT
Yes we are that great.

1. America provides an amazingly good life for the ordinary guy.

2. America offers more opportunity and social mobility than any other

country, including the countries of Europe.

3. Work and trade are respectable in America, which is not true

elsewhere.

4. America has achieved greater social equality than any other society.

5. People live longer, fuller lives in America.

6. In America, the destiny of the young is not given to them but is

created by them.

7. America has gone further than any other society in establishing

equality of rights.

8. America has found a solution to the problem of religious and ethnic

conflict that continues to divide and terrorize much of the world.

9. America has the kindest, gentlest foreign policy of any great power in

world history.

10. America, the freest nation on earth, is also the most virtuous nation

on earth.

things.html

But more to the point, America guarantees my right to free speech and freedom of religion, freedom of press. Also, without us, neutral nations Europe would be gobbled up by Muslim countries and other predatory nations.

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Lawrence B Crowell replied on Jul. 1, 2014 @ 17:54 GMT
There are a number of counter arguments to these. These statements are typical propaganda slogans, which have or had maybe some element of truth. However, there are a number of things that can be raised to at least raise questions. The United States has since its origin been in a fairly major war every 20 years. Recently we left Iraq after causing directly or indirectly the deaths of over a million Iraquis. With Vietnam we killed over 3 million, and Korea was similar. I am not here to get into the geo-political reasons for these wars, but we do have a serious history of bombing and attacking nations. As for equality and related matters that might have been the case up to the 1980-90 time period. There are a lot of metrics which challenge these agit prop type of statements.

On the whole the halcyon statements about this country had more truth to them in the past, or from the 1950-1960 to 1980-1990 time period. Since then we have been backsliding.

LC

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Jason Mark Wolfe wrote on Jun. 26, 2014 @ 03:03 GMT
I don't see any evidence that the physics community is able to detect ghosts. There could be shadow figures flying around people's living rooms or evil entities with glowing red eyes haunting families and physically attacking peopple, and the physics community would have no ability to confirm this. All these ghosts really need is some ability to manipulate virtual photons to create potential energies.

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Akinbo Ojo replied on Jun. 26, 2014 @ 13:33 GMT
Jason, being so knowledgeable about ghosts, I would like to know:

1. Does time flow for ghosts OR do they have different ages?

2. Are there female and male ghosts, and if there are can they copulate to give birth to more ghosts?

Thanks,

Akinbo

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Peter Jackson wrote on Jun. 30, 2014 @ 18:46 GMT
New Physics! And strong support for the causal QM of my essay, well timed!

Have We Been Interpreting Quantum Mechanics Wrong This Whole Time?

The only thing that doesn't really do, and the key to everything, is show how 'non locality' can be produced classically. I recently lodged a short (2 page) 'summary' resume of the fuller derivation in my essay, consistent with the above, here;

Classical reproduction of quantum correlations.

Paradigm changes can't be instant but my original 2020 estimate now looks more realistic; 2020 Vision. A model of Discretion in Space' http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/803

The same electron (Compton/Raman) scattering mechanism at c in the electron C of M rest frame ('discrete field dynamics' or DFM) appears able to coherently rationalise both SR and QM without paradox to allow convergence (see the other 3 essays). If anybody can spot any apparent flaws do please flag them up. Thanks.

Could this be a red letter day for fqxi? Hmmm.

Peter

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Peter Jackson replied on Jul. 1, 2014 @ 17:23 GMT
Lawrence,

Nonlocality could now be produced classically as shown in the links above. You suggested;

"Physically the nonlocal properties of QM simply can't be reduced to a classical realization."

That has certainly become the established viewpoint, but is it just a 'cop out'? John Bell was unhappy with it calling it 'sleepwalking' and saying;

"in my opinion the founding fathers were in fact wrong on this point. The quantum phenomena do not exclude a uniform description of micro and macro worlds...systems and apparatus." (Speakable..p171)

In fact he went further; "It may be that a real synthesis of quantum and relativity theories requires not just technical developments but radical conceptual renewal."

And in 'Beables..'; "I think that conventional formulations of quantum theory, and of quantum field theory in particular, are unprofessionally vague and ambiguous. Professional theoretical physicists ought to be able to do better."

I tend to agree, and think the implications of the links I posted above may prove very important. Views?

Peter

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Lawrence B Crowell replied on Jul. 1, 2014 @ 20:00 GMT
The deBroglie-Bohm theory of QM is perfectly acceptable. It has no particular flaw, unless one takes this as a theory of local hidden variables. The problem with that is that the pilot wave must adjust to a quantum outcome. The problem is that identically prepared quantum systems would have the same quantum pilot wave. As this approaches the pilot wave must “decide” which configuration to assume. It must either go left or right, and this is a nonlocal connection. I take a picture from this article and change it slightly to illustrate a quantum OR condition. The pilot wave as it approaches the double slit must adjust to either situation, and this is even if the particle or “beable” is heading directly towards the midpoint between the two. This is a nonlocal property, and it is reflect in how the quantum AND logical condition does not distribute across the OR condition.

The nonlocal property of the pilot wave means that this particular “picture” of the pilot wave is a special condition, or analogous to a gauge. The pilot wave is in fact in an infinite number of configurations. All one has to do is perform a symplectic (canonical) transformation of the classical variables to get another configuration for the beable and pilot wave. Each of these configurations is related to the others by no locality, and they form a congruency that is a form of path integral.

These results are interesting, but I suspect that if the statistics were carefully analyzed that they would be found to obey the Bell inequalities. I would be genuinely surprised if these turn out to produce the inequality violations.

LC

attachments: double-slit-quantum-or.jpg

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Jason Mark Wolfe replied on Jul. 1, 2014 @ 23:13 GMT
I interpreted the two slit experiment to mean that the electron somehow became un-manifested in such a way that it when through the two slits as wave. The pilot theory says that the waves are real, but that the electron is always manifested like a hard sphere. I disagree with the pilot wave interpretation. I believe that the particle somehow becomes un-manifested, as if melting back into the wave, until something directly measures it's properties, at which time the electron fully manifests again.

Can anyone dispute or point out an error in my interpretation that the electron becomes UN-manifested at the two slits?

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Steve Agnew wrote on Jul. 1, 2014 @ 03:44 GMT
It is simply impossible to say with certainty that a wavefunction exists or does not exist because of the very nature of language. Existence is a question of the nature of matter in either of the two realities of gravity and quantum universes. Without a complete and self consistent set of axioms for the universe that we have, you cannot state with certainty what existence really means and...

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Jason Mark Wolfe replied on Jul. 1, 2014 @ 05:10 GMT
If wave-functions do exist as real things, then I think we should consider that the speed of light/permitivity/permeability is a property of the wave-function, not a property of just empty space. The reasoning would be as follows: the best way to explain the invariance of the speed of light for all matter and all energy is to say that it's because all matter and all energy have a wave-function associated with it. All interactions have a wavefunction that span between interacting elements. Wave-functions are the invisible "existent" thing that imposes the invariance of c. Maybe in a thousand years, we will know how to disconnect a spaceship from the wave-functions of the rest of space-time, which will disconnect the space-ship from the speed of light restriction. This would allow us to travel outside of space-time.

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Steve Agnew replied on Jul. 3, 2014 @ 04:49 GMT
The best way to explain all things is the best way to explain all things...We should not presuppose what mother nature has in for us. Rather we should simply ask what she has to say and then follow her lead.

If wavefunctions have some strange reality, then so be it. But let mother nature reveal to us the nature of reality and not guess what is her way.

You may want spaceships to travel faster than the speed of light, but do not force that result, rather let nature reveal her true self and accept what she says. Clearly there are some actions that are impossible, but there are other actions that may still be possible although unlikely. Let our mother be the judge and let us find out her true reality.

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John Brodix Merryman wrote on Jul. 3, 2014 @ 02:48 GMT
I think one very basic idea to consider is how reality is fundamentally dichotomous and yet our function of perception is necessarily linear.

For example, think in terms of a production line and the product it produces;

The product, lets call it the 'object,' goes from initiation to completion. Meanwhile the production is consuming raw material and expelling finished product. So...

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Steve Agnew wrote on Jul. 3, 2014 @ 14:57 GMT
Jason Mark Wolfe replied on Jul. 2, 2014 @ 22:28 GMT

"It really bugs me that I can't find any atheists to defend their beliefs. The arguments I've been making on other websites are like ambushes. It's kind of fun to point out that the best interpretation of wave-functions is that they exist."

Do Ghosts Exist?

Science begins its universe with a set of supernatural...

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Jason Mark Wolfe replied on Jul. 3, 2014 @ 16:20 GMT
Physicists like Hawkings can figure out the laws of nature, but they can't create laws of nature, they can't create physics constants or change them. Based on this were supposed to believe that God does not exist? Not a very convincing argument.

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Steve Agnew replied on Jul. 3, 2014 @ 18:28 GMT
It is not an argument, it is a belief. You can believe in a universe that is the way that it is, or you can believe in mother nature and father time like I do, or you can believe in whatever supernatural agents you want to believe in. Belief is just the starting point for any universe including that of science.

Apologists like Augustine of Hippo can create elaborate doctrines of belief like the trinity, but a trimal of supernatural agents is not a convincing argument for science. However, when science creates a trimal belief composed of two quarks and a gluon, we get true magic. From this belief, the standard model follows.

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Jason Mark Wolfe replied on Jul. 3, 2014 @ 20:31 GMT
Physicists don't know how to change the laws of physics. That is a fact.

Physicists don't know how to change the physics constants. That is a fact.

Physicists don't know how to create consciousness. That is a fact.

Physicists cannot figure which interpretation of quantum mechanics makes the most sense. That is a fact.

The down side of my interpretation, that Wave-functions exist, is that it suggest that spirits can exist.

But the upside of a "wave-functions exist" interpretation is that it tells us that the laws of physics and the physics constants are being implemented by something that we can't see.

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Steve Agnew wrote on Jul. 3, 2014 @ 15:31 GMT
Peter Jackson wrote on Jun. 18, 2014 @ 10:47 GMT

"Is it NOT 'odd'!? Even to Bell it's "unprofessionally vague and ambiguous" he continued; "Professional theoretical physicists ought to be able to do better." (beables.. p173) I think he was rightly concerned about the "intrinsic ambiguity in principle" and the "complacency" from familiarity with the ancient myths some now believe...

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Jason Mark Wolfe wrote on Jul. 4, 2014 @ 16:29 GMT
Happy Birthday America! I am so glad I live here and not some atheist-Communist crap hole.

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John R. Cox replied on Jul. 4, 2014 @ 17:44 GMT
Free for All;

The peace in belief

in God when awake

is believing

you do while asleep.

In this the Quants

are right.

It's not that God

never throws dice,

he's down on one knee

every night,

the die.

jrc

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Jason Mark Wolfe replied on Jul. 5, 2014 @ 17:40 GMT
Sometimes God loads the dice. Those are called miracles.

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John R. Cox replied on Jul. 5, 2014 @ 18:15 GMT
Jason,

So the creationist answer to 'Why Quantum?' is that it's a miracle?! jrc

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Steve Agnew wrote on Jul. 6, 2014 @ 17:51 GMT
Jason Mark Wolfe replied on Jul. 4, 2014 @ 03:53 GMT

"I'll tell you what. When I leave this world, I will personally haunt the physics community as a poltergeist."

Well, I certainly wouldn't want you to bother with haunting in your afterlife as you will likely be much more occupied by other important things.

Wondering if there is life after death really comes down to a question of how well science understands the quantum binding between a mind and consciousness into reality.To understand any kind of consciousness after death, that consciousness would still need to be a part of this universe and not a part of some other universe or dimension, i.e., supernatural agents or ghosts are by definition not part of the universe and are therefore just beliefs that people must simply have.

Science understands some of this quantum binding of the mind with other objects including other minds very well but most of that binding remains a mystery. Moreover, it is likely that science will never understand some portion of the binding of a mind and the world and science will need to simply accept this portion as axiomatic.

Science will eventually learn how to read long-term memory from brain matter and science will learn how to measure the connections of the brain that define feeling as well. Finally, science will learn how to sustain the aware matter algorithm of neural recursion that we call thought.

So you may be right after all in that if your memories and feelings get downloaded into an aware matter computer upon your death, your afterlife could very well end up haunting the physics community.

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Jason Mark Wolfe replied on Jul. 6, 2014 @ 23:15 GMT
Steve Agnew: "Wondering if there is life after death really comes down to a question of how well science understands the quantum binding between a mind and consciousness into reality.To understand any kind of consciousness after death, that consciousness would still need to be a part of this universe and not a part of some other universe or dimension, i.e., supernatural agents or ghosts are by definition not part of the universe and are therefore just beliefs that people must simply have. "

To say that supernatural agents and ghosts are not part of the universe is unknown at this time. But then to jump to the conclusion that "ghosts are only a belief" is itself a belief. You skeptic atheists keep forgetting that big bangs coming from nothing is sleight of hand. We all know this. It is much more rational to assume that the big bang was an even that occurred in some larger existence that is undetectable at this time. You could say that the big bang was an event that occurred in the ethers, or you could just as easily say that Infinite Consciousness, aka God, created this universe in order to have something to explore, and that God created souls as extensions of His Consciousness. Ghosts are just souls that do not return to heaven (go into the light).

You can be ask skeptical as you wish. You can even ignore a good solid haunting by a hard working ghost if you wish. Most of the scientific community is already doing this.

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Steve Agnew replied on Jul. 7, 2014 @ 00:37 GMT
Believing in supernatural agents or not believing in them are indeed both beliefs. The big bang is also a belief in the supernatural and so is the belief in an agent that created the big bang.

Since I believe in the supernatural agents of mother earth and father time, that means that I am not an atheist. My agents go back to the dawn of humanity and so predate all of the later agents that come from ancient stories. My supernaturalisms are consistent with the matter and time that are both within this universe so I just like you do not have to invent any others.

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Jason Mark Wolfe replied on Jul. 7, 2014 @ 03:04 GMT
Hardcore atheist-skeptic converts to belief in life after death. His name is John S. Weiss.

http://www.johnsweiss.com/intriguing-quotes.html

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Eckard Blumschein wrote on Jul. 6, 2014 @ 17:55 GMT
Peter J wrote: “Spin' wasn't explainable as [orbital angular momentum] due [to] 'spin 1/2' and '2' etc. which took half or two revolutions to return to the start point. … my Fig 1 … shows that spin can be simply different 'scales' of orbital angular momentum”.

As well known, squaring a sinusoidal or exponential function doubles the value of its argument: 2[cos(wt)]^2=1+cos(2wt) and [exp(iwt)]^2=exp(2iwt), respectively. How carefully did those like Schroedinger, Heisenberg, Dirac introduce QM? The latter wrote what perhaps all other ones also assumed: Frequency (and therefore power too) is always positive. Up to now, the Hamiltonian is considered positive. They ignored that function of time corresponds via Fourier transformation with a complex function of both a positive and a negative frequency. Alternatively, a seemingly physically correct positive and real-valued function of frequency would correspond to positive and negative functions of time in complex domain. Schroedinger admitted in his 4th communications his heuristic way of thinking. To me it seems obvious that they altogether tacitly changed their perspective from a wave function of time to a function of frequency/power without being aware of all consequences. Because power equals to a squared function of time, the scales have periods that differ by the factor of two. Who can either confirm or refute my reasoning? Why were the experiments interpreted in terms of half integer periods? Let me add that Heisenberg (?) originally operated not with the complex wave function but in the sense of an inverse transformation eventually with its real part but they suddenly dropped that step back into real domain without explaining this trifle.

Eckard

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Eckard Blumschein replied on Jul. 7, 2014 @ 10:36 GMT
Stern-Gerlach 1922 gave rise to Heisenberg's infinite Hermitian matrices and Schroedinger's equivalent representation as a complex wave function. Schroedinger managed to derive a non-relativistic explanation of the hydrogen spectrum. Then Max Born suggested to interpret the square of wave function as probability distribution of the position of a point-like object.

Is this correct? I am not aware of a paper by Born that justified his detour from the musts of Fourier transformation.

Peter,

I decided to leave the overly long thread and focus on basic QM matters. Nonetheless, I am ready to deal with your other arguments too.

Eckard

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Peter Jackson replied on Jul. 7, 2014 @ 17:33 GMT
Eckard,

I agree, using 'frequency' was metaphysics as time is not an entity. The scalar wavelength was the tie to reality. The 'ground state' is then the wave median, so negative values are implicit. I think a new thread's a good idea. I'm happy to discuss sensible physics anywhere. I'll put down a **MARKER HERE WITH SOME BOLD CAP'S SO IT'S EASIER TO LOCATE IN THE COMING WEEKS!!**

I think the 'probabilistic' description is a quite valid secondary one. But the failure to find a logical PRIMARY derivation of QM from classical mechanics left it as the ONLY one. I agree with Bell, "professional physicists ought to be able to do better." As I show in my IQbit essay, the Born Rule should simply allow a wave validity in 3D, which is a helix. Again missing this simple reality allowed physics deeper into the 'Wonderland' Dodgson created for Alice.

But I think we should consider all that as 'water under the bridge'. I suggest the correct solution is before us so the sooner the old nonsense is retired to history and forgotten the better. I've now condensed more into the 2 page summary, including my new finding that John Bell agreed almost the EXACT solution I've proposed, but was tripped up by just ONE wrong assumption, and missed one dynamic cosine geometry (OAM distribution with spherical latitude).

The assumption he made was that photons propagated as particles and not just their spin but their AXIS was random. That caused the problem. If the spin axis is also the propagation axis then the axis (and equatorial spin plane) are the 'entanglement', so the (Wigner'd'Espangnat) inequality he hit doesn't apply!

I hope you'll give the short summary a very careful read and rigorous criticism.

Classical reproduction of quantum correlations. Summary; B.

Best wishes

Peter

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Eckard Blumschein replied on Jul. 8, 2014 @ 09:14 GMT
Dear Peter,

Stern-Gerlach dealt with atoms. For all those who interpreted their experiment it was quite natural that particles (fermions) don't have a preferred orientation in space. It is seemingly more natural that photons (bosons) have a natural axis of spin, their direction of motion. As usual, the most naturally seeming assumptions were not questioned. Isn't same true for the principle of relativity?

In other words, it might not be the particles that are spinning but positive or negative spin can be attributed to the direction of quanta of energy transfer. I would like to replace the question "why quantum?" by "why quantum nonsense?", why did a seemingly natural assumption imply nonsensical and mystical theories up to Jason's ghosts?

Regards,

Eckard

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Steve Agnew wrote on Jul. 8, 2014 @ 04:59 GMT
John Brodix Merryman replied on Jul. 4, 2014 @ 02:51 GMT

"I would just like to point out black holes are nonsense as well. It's a vortex. What energy doesn't get radiated away, as it spins ever tighter, gets shot out the poles!! As usual, they are only looking at half the equation, obviously the condensing/reductionistic side. What is at the center is just the eye of the storm. That's why the 'physics breaks down."

It is really not necessary to say what black holes really are, just what they are not. What black holes are not is a stopage of time and a place that sustains any outlaw theory. Black holes are simply the boson stars of the universe.There actually is a whole literature on boson stars awaiting our evolution...

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John Brodix Merryman replied on Jul. 8, 2014 @ 10:31 GMT
Steve,

There are a lot of potentially exotic bodies out there. I just think not enough credence is given to the fact that galaxies radiate light and other forms of energy out over areas many billions of lightyears across. This would have to be accounted for, from the mass falling into them. Then that mass is coalescing back out of that energy, in an overall cycle. My suspicion is that we will eventually explain redshift as an effect of the intergalactic expansion of this radiation, balancing the mass density in overall flat space.

As such an optical effect, it would explain why we appear at the center, without having to say space itself expands, but still assuming a constant speed of light against which to measure it, which is contradictory. Also there would be no need for dark energy, since those galaxies are not actually moving away and the curvature of the rate of expansion could be explained as a compounding effect of this redshift. Obviously no need for inflation either.

Gravity would be an overall effect of all contraction processes, not just its own force, starting with light collapsing from waves to photons and the dark matter issue would wash out with a better understanding there.

Obviously this is light on all the specifics, but while I might not have my nose pressed against the glass as close as many, it does get rid of most of those theoretical elements which mostly serve to bridge the many gaps between theory and observation.

Regards,

John M

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Jason Mark Wolfe replied on Jul. 10, 2014 @ 05:06 GMT
The fact that an electron can pass through both slits should tell you something. In the two slit experiment, if it is indeed impossible to tell which slit the electron when through, then it seems very likely that the electron is not a solid object like a marble. It seems more likely that the electron is wave-dependent phenomena.

The electron is not a hard marble, otherwise you would know which slit it went threw. If anything, it is a projection from the quantum wave. It is a non-solid phenomena. Maybe the electron is ethereral and ghostly?

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Jason Mark Wolfe replied on Jul. 10, 2014 @ 16:34 GMT
I tell you practitioners of physics that the Two Slit Diffraction experiment for electrons tells us that electrons cannot be hard spheres, and there is silence. I can hear the crickets chirping. What gives?

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Luca Valeri wrote on Jul. 9, 2014 @ 12:36 GMT
Why quantum is indeed as Lawrence pointed out a metaphysical question and there is no "procedure system for metaphysics." Barrett and Leifer avoid the metaphysical part of the question demanding consistency with the second law of thermodynamics. This is interesting insofar the whole quantum journey started with Planck's equation of the black body radiation. This suggest that the key for the need of quantum mechanics might in fact lie in the second law of quantum mechanics.

In my current contest essay I tried to show, that in order to make reversible microscopic dynamic compatible with the second law of thermodynamics one has to put in the asymmetry of time from additional arguments. I take the asymmetry as a priori condition for scientific experience. A metaphysical argument!

Until now there has been no convincing argument of why quantum should be preferred to classical mechanics. Florin was able to give 4 "natural physical principles" and one "experimentally justified postulate" to derive quantum mechanics. (@Florin: what is the difference? And please keep us updated when the paper is available.)

My guess at the moment is that maybe quantum mechanics could be derived from the fact, that a measurement system cannot know all his own states (Thomas Breuer) and that undecidable propositions can be codified as a quantum state (Caslav Brukner. Quantum theory would then be the minimal complete theory that describes the incomplete knowledge inherent in the measurement process. But I was not yet able to give a precise mathematical description to these statements.

Ironically it would be the reflection on the measurement process that would give the answer to the question: "Why Quantum?". Could that help to resolve the measurement problem?

Luca

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Akinbo Ojo wrote on Jul. 9, 2014 @ 15:24 GMT
WHY QUANTUM? Here is why...

The photon no matter its frequency is an indivisible particle. This is a postulate of Quantum Mechanics, which if untrue, we must ask Why Quantum? In order to defend this postulate against logical and experimental assaults, and to prevent us asking the question, 'Why Quantum?', a number of mathematical escape routes have been invented.

Experiment...

view entire post

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Akinbo Ojo replied on Jul. 9, 2014 @ 18:58 GMT
More…

A DEMAND FOR AUTOPSY ON SCHRODINGER'S CAT

Niels Bohr and partners of the Copenhagen School will have us believe that all possible states co-exist before the act of measurement in order to maintain the position in which they have been boxed by holding on to their postulate. T o counter this Schrodinger formulated his famous paradox to show the absurdity. By the way Schrodinger and Einstein are said to believe in the same school that God does not play dice. To which Bohr stubbornly replied that we should not tell God what to do.

To Schrodinger's paradox, the Copenhagen partners reply that Schrodinger's cat exists in a superposition of dead and alive states and it is only when the experimenter opens the box that the cat's wave function collapses and the cat may then be found in a dead state.

To settle the argument, since modern science is now capable of using autopsy to determine the time of death, this should be tabled before the believers in the Copenhagen doctrine for resolution of this long standing dispute.

Note that autopsy may not even be required, but just to fulfill all righteousness. Leaving the cat in the box for weeks after the triggering event, may show a recently dead cat whose wave function has just collapsed or the skeleton of a long dead cat.

Am I missing something?

Akinbo

*Peter J, I will reply you tomorrow. Laptop battery dying and no electricity.

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Eckard Blumschein replied on Jul. 10, 2014 @ 04:31 GMT
Yes Akinbo,

I think so. The cat might be a symptom. I prefer looking for Gleason in hidden assumptions that were made much earlier. The experiment by Franck and Hertz did already provide what made QM so successful: quantum energy levels. Bohr's model of the atom was also appealing. However, it was perhaps premature to take it as a fact and interpret the experiment by Stern and Gerlach accordingly.

Eckard

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Akinbo Ojo replied on Jul. 10, 2014 @ 12:33 GMT
Peter J and Eckard, (and Tom, the mathematician if you are listening)

Do you have objection to conducting autopsy on Schrodinger's cat to determine the time of death and collapse of its wave-function?

Do you believe in the quantum postulate of photon indivisibility? If so, do you agree on how a single photon is said to pass through a half-silvered mirror in quantum mechanics?

Peter,

Thanks. I advise you not to trust the Copenhagen proponents by claiming they are 'as trustworthy as any'. I am therefore happy you asked 'Mustn't it?' and put Aspect's claim of 'proof' in inverted commas. The devil will be in the detail of those experiments which is not within my reach. But I recall you once sent me a link to a C. Thompson paper which disagreed with Aspect's claimed experimental proof.

"The 'same room' is a problem due to small range harmonic resonance 'wave lock' effects well known in tomography etc…."

Why should the same room be such a problem for a quantum investigation? Why should A and B be light years apart? Is it easier to be entangled when light years apart or when in the same room? The logic does not sound right as with all propositions from Copenhagen. Again, why inventing all kinds of new ad hoc effects, like 'wave lock', etc when confronted with absurdity?

Akinbo

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Anonymous wrote on Jul. 9, 2014 @ 16:03 GMT
For there to be no boundary between the probabilities of the uncertainty principle in quantum mechanics, and the hidden variables in classical causality, there must be some invariable condition for which there is zero probability by either method to predict what, where, when or why.

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Thomas Howard Ray replied on Jul. 9, 2014 @ 20:13 GMT
Absolutely correct, Anonymous. In the Joy Christian measurement framework, that invariable condition is the structure of the topology.

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oswaldo salcedo wrote on Jul. 11, 2014 @ 00:29 GMT
but can us grasp the character of nature ? i mean, we articulate concepts just that, apart we dont know the extension of "ALL" reality.

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John R. Cox wrote on Jul. 13, 2014 @ 01:15 GMT
The question posed by the article is not why quantum granulation in the microscopic realm arises, but only why statistically the quantum mechanical probabilities seem to be confirmed across the board, while other probabilistic theories seem to prove out as well but not always in all their parts. It would be nice to hear from those with enough practical (practiced) familiarity with probability methodologies, to explain what the Barrett and Leifer proposal attempts to discover in regard to the question of how does spacetime incarnate as energy resolve into clumps in the first place.

In our macro world things seem to be solid and smoothed over, while the micro atomic world seems to be granule. Only in extreme cases is entropy zero, as is theoretically the case for electromagnetic radiation in a background free frame. So the question goes to; Below diffeomorphism, is entropy zero or does diffeomorphism of matter-like energy clumps evolve in anentropic spacetime? jrc

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Steve Agnew replied on Jul. 14, 2014 @ 01:02 GMT
Yes, it is true that this thread has not taken the "Why Quantum" essay to heart. But the stated intent of the essay seems to be somewhat different from what you describe. All the essay seems to propose is that entropy might show why the microscopic universe follows quantum logic instead of a host of other possible models.

Frankly, the essay asks why the universe is the way that it is, which...

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John R. Cox replied on Jul. 14, 2014 @ 03:23 GMT
Steve,

Thanks again for a clarifying moment. So if QM is inherently probabilistic its a log of the numbers of statistically averaged states, compared to what numbers of such as predicted by other theories. Assuming we live in a perfect universe and everything that could or should or would happen, always will eventually. So we have to swallow a multiverse.

Which I doubt. The one thing that you can invariably count on is Murphy's Law of Perversity (attributed to a guy on the early rocket powered test sled project) which states that anything that can go wrong, will. At the least opportune time. Applying that generally to all of reality in whole or in macro part, it isn't a paranormal question of something popping into existence without any cause, it is a matter of something that should occur that doesn't for no reason at all. And there is no predicting that. But once something does not happen which predictably should, then it alters the terrain and other things occur that are not 100% predictable classically. But that applies to classical mechanics as well as quantum mechanics. Murph rules! jrc

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Jason Mark Wolfe replied on Jul. 14, 2014 @ 19:39 GMT
I think the number of states of the universe has increased over time by virtue of the fact that the universe is expanding. Space itself is filled with states. If the universe expands, then it adds more states to itself.

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Steve Agnew wrote on Jul. 15, 2014 @ 03:10 GMT
Akinbo Ojo replied on Jul. 14, 2014 @ 20:02 GM

"I have browsed the article. Peter, click 'back to article' on top of this page. I may not make much comment because 'entropy' as a concept itself is yet to be fully understood and now trying to combine it with an equally controversial theory like QM will only lead to the invention of more mechanisms that then lead to absurdities and paradoxes."

Oh my goodness sakes almighty...entropy as a concept is very well defined. It is the logarithm of the number of states available to the system. Now, the number of state of a system is perhaps not always very well understood, especially gravity states. Quantum states, however, are very well defined. People just don't want to believe them.

In thermodynamics, it is actually the density of states or the heat capacity of a substance that is most important, not really the entropy or free enthalpy per se. That is, heat capacity determines both entropy and enthalpy and so it is heat capacity that is the empirical function fit that we use all of the time for complex systems.

Quantum action is very compatible with thermodynamics because the partition functions are so well defined and partition functions are how you do everything in statistical mechanics. The particle in a box is a standard quantum description of the states in space and is very nice. Gravity in a box has no simple partition function.

Once again, the theme of this essay is specious. I do not like to be critical of these sorts of things, but really...using the universe as thermodynamics to prove that the universe is the way it is as quantum action does not seem very useful. The universe is the way it is. Period.

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Akinbo Ojo wrote on Jul. 15, 2014 @ 14:40 GMT
LET US SUBJECT QUANTUM MECHANICS TO EDDINGTON'S TEST!

Since Barrett and Leifer believe in Sir Arthur Eddington's advice to assess the credibility of a proposed new model of physics (see article), let us subject Quantum mechanics to Eddington's test:

"…if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to...

view entire post

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Akinbo Ojo replied on Jul. 16, 2014 @ 08:49 GMT
There is a certain evasiveness in answering the question whether the photon is an elementary particle or not. Quantum mechanics is based on the idea that it is. Whereas, if it is not, most of the absurdities and probability mathematics in physics at the micro-scale would disappear. Again, does the Quantum mechanics postulate that the photon is an elementary particle pass Eddington's test? If so, how? If not, what next?

Akinbo

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Akinbo Ojo replied on Jul. 16, 2014 @ 08:59 GMT
And to add to the incomprehensibility of the Quantum postulate, I just saw our Zeeya Merali in an article in Nature discussing that even our dear electron is "Not-quite-so elementary". So what exempts the photon? Why can it not be split at a half-silvered mirror?

Akinbo

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Peter Jackson replied on Jul. 16, 2014 @ 09:48 GMT
Akinbo,

In 'joined-up' physics photons ARE split. Old historic assumptions seem to endure too long in old theorists minds. The worst part is to bypass Planck's solution they teach the nonsense to young ones as 'facts'!

As Milton Freeman pointed out; there are no 'facts' in physics.

Of course it seems the energy is never spit precisely equally. If you look at the last figure in my previous essay you'll see the experimental evidence of charge density distribution. At any point in space the positive peak will go one way OR the other (50:50). When recombined they'll interfere subject to phase, constructively or destructively (and tunably so). There is the so called 'quantum eraser' so imply resolved as Wheeler suspected. If theorists kept up with experiments we'd get more 'joined-up-physics!.

If you followed up the citation in my last essay you'll also see a much more up to date details on the effects Zeeya reported on in 2012.

All should understand this simple update, which I'll post again; It includes references to the effects I invoke which I'm sure some think 'don't exist'!

2014. Current Matter Wave Diffraction and interferometry update.

Best wishes

Peter

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John R. Cox wrote on Jul. 15, 2014 @ 15:07 GMT
Let us be careful not to confuse 'Quantum' = h; with 'Photon' =hv. While also being aware of the common use of 'quantum' simply to distinguish from the fuzzy quasi-differentiated matter state expressed as a continuous function via the inverse square law of interaction. Hence the use of 'heat capacity' as a measure of number of states in classical mechanics.

Steve, would you please elaborate on how heat capacity correlates to Quantum states? jrc

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Steve Agnew replied on Jul. 17, 2014 @ 03:42 GMT
Gladly. Anyone who has done practical thermodynamics knows that it is the density of states that drives all other thermodynamic properties. Heat capacity is the easiest and closest link to density of states...so much thermal energy results in so much rise in temperature.

Entropy is just the accounting of the those states, temperature is their average occupation, and enthalpy is their relative differences. If we want a quick and dirty measure of a system, we fit the heat capacity to an empirical function of temperature and let er' rip.

Quantum states are very well defined in general, either by calc or by direct measurement. That simplifies their partition functions and their entropy, which is just an accounting of states.

Gravity is the pain in the ass for thermo. There are just too many singularities in gravity for any clean description of entropy.

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ABC wrote on Jul. 15, 2014 @ 15:10 GMT
I am convinced that you are searching in the right direction.

* the Born rule,

* the no-go theorems of quantum mechanics,

* the time-symmetry of weak measurement and, nevertheless, the impossibility of using weak measurement apparent retrocausality so as to get information about a future strong measurement outcome (cf. Can a Future Choice Affect a Past Measurement's Outcome? Yakir Aharonov, Eliahu Cohen, Doron Grossman, Avshalom C. Elitzur (Sep 2012) http://arxiv.org/abs/1206.6224 )

* the strong links between quantum theory predictions, bayesian inference, maximum entropy approach and irreversible phenomena (cf. the entropic dynamics approach to quantum theory of David T. Johnson and Ariel Caticha http://arxiv.org/abs/1108.2550v1)

* the strong link between the lack of information of an observer and the emergence of time (Von Neumann Algebra Automorphisms and Time-Thermodynamics Relation in General Covariant Quantum Theories, A. Connes, C. Rovelli http://arxiv.org/abs/gr-qc/9406019)

* the strong link between the irreversible diffusion of information in the environment of an observed system and the emergence of a classical world (Environment as a Witness: Selective Proliferation of Information and Emergence of Objectivity in a Quantum Universe Harold Ollivier, David Poulin, Wojciech H. Zurekhttp://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/0408125 )

All that seems to suggest the relevance of your aim of embedding the second principle of thermodynamics as one of the building blocks of quantum mechanics.

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Eckard Blumschein wrote on Jul. 16, 2014 @ 06:01 GMT
Peter wrote "We should try to falsify, not construct support!" and I understand this as an affront against the strategy to speculatively outperform the mainstream without daring to reveal possible serious mistakes. Let me admit that I don't ask "why the subatomic realm is governed by the strange laws of quantum mechanics rather than by an alternative theory" but I envision something more close to the sentence "one day we might find that our quantum view of the world breaks down".

While I don't see any reason to doubt that the experiments by Franck and G. Hertz and by Stern and Gerlach paved the way for many successful applications, I got aware of logical incorrectness in the mathematical interpretation.

Therefore, I put the question why quantum into the same drawer as questions like why nature: So far no reasonable answer is in sight. Barrett and Leifer don't have any chance.

Instead, I see good chances to find out why no variant of quantum interpretation so far is free of mysteries. Peter Jackson has been offering a possibly too simple as to be believable explanation of seemingly strange experiments.

My approach focuses on possible logical mistakes mainly made around 1924.

Eckard Blumschein

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Peter Jackson replied on Jul. 16, 2014 @ 09:27 GMT
Eckard,

You misinterpret my point. Falsification is the most important test of a hypothesis. A common mainstream flaw to focus on 'supporting' a hypothesis not finding disprooofs. That problem however seems even more prevalent in outlying science! The method is NO 'affront' to the widest speculation, indeed it's consistent application is even more important in helping to validate speculative hypothesis.

A theory is either consistent with all evidence or not. It 'is what it is'. We must test it and face the answers. I agree the solution I present initially looks "too simple as to be believable", it certainly did to me, but when we're HONEST and put it through the rigorous falsification (as I had many before which failed) and it passes all tests, we MUST look closer.

QM was the steepest falsification test (see my prev essay) of the dynamic I've identified which appeared to resolve the SR paradoxes. If it couldn't reproduce QM's predictions it couldn't be correct. I assumed it wouldn't. I was wrong. (I often am, and most hypotheses fail, but not all!). It does what it does Eckard. It derives 'non-locality' and the Cos^2 distribution with a classical mechanism, and consistent with Caroline's work and Bell's views! It's entirely 'free of mysteries' (down to a far smaller scale). What more could it do???

Of course I have no doubt all mainstream quantum physicists and 'experts' will take the view that it can't be right as it's too simple, (I've said it's simple all along) but those who don't understand QM will still find it too complex! I agree "Barrett and Leifer don't have any chance" in the dark part of the forest they're searching. Actually I'm impressed at least that you do now find it simple. It shows you're now getting a good conception of 'QM'. However I don't expect any trumpets on the hilltops, soon or probably ever!

Best wishes

Peter

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Steve Agnew replied on Jul. 17, 2014 @ 03:51 GMT
I like you used to think of falsification as the key to provation...however, it is clear that while falsification is important, there is a much more important principle.

Utility.

A new theory must first of all be useful for predicting action compared to some existing theory. Utility is much more important than falsification.

For example, science knows that gravity is incorrect because of the motions of galaxies and large scale structure. And yet science does not reject gravity. Instead science patches up gravity with dark matter and dark energy and moves on.

If falsification were all that important, science would have thrown gravity out. Since gravity is very useful at many different scales, science instead patches it with dark matter and dark energy. Ergo, utility supersedes falsification.

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Peter Jackson replied on Jul. 17, 2014 @ 12:01 GMT
Steve,

I always saw utility as a falsification, but you put a good case. Utility has been the main case for the model of discrete field dynamics (DFM). I can't recall if you've read the past essays. Or the recent summary?

Unfortunately most of science seems to hold "consistency with past theories" as a far more valuable asset. On that the DFM scores less well. As an astronomer I quite agree most theory is multiple patches on patches and an entirely inconsistent mess. The problem is it's now so embedded in academic belief that no amount of evidence or logic can overcome it. We may perhaps call that test; 'familiarity'.

The model passed all the classical tests of utility and predictions are continually verified, so QM was the ultimate test! Did you read how the model proves able derives the QM predictions classically (non-locality and the cos^2 distribution). Yet quantum physicists will run ten miles screaming "impossible" rather than consider any classical solution! (Though even John Bell said "what is proved by impossibility proofs is lack of imagination".

But I do see 'falsification' as a more umbrella 'category' of which 'utility' is the key part.

Best wishes

Peter

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Eckard Blumschein wrote on Jul. 17, 2014 @ 04:58 GMT
"But our photon is indivisible."? Akinbo pointed us to Zeeya Merali's hint to the three quasi-particles of an electron: holon for charge, spinon for spin, and orbiton (orbital location) - with no avail as far as I can see.

The word indivisible reminds me of what sparked my curiosity in the question how to deal with zero when splitting IR into IR+ and IR-. Of course, splitting a number does not make sense. Being familiar with sign and step functions, I came to the conclusion that the devil is hidden in Dedekind's redefinition of the notion number. This made me a fan of Euclid and Galileo.

Eckard

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Eckard Blumschein replied on Jul. 18, 2014 @ 08:26 GMT
Interpretation of Compton scattering might be a key for those like me who are looking for what led to strangeness of QM within the decade 1920-1930. Of course, incoming "photons" are "split" into "photons" of less energy i.e. larger wavelength, propagating with a component towards one side and motion of the hit electrons towards the other one.

Physicists heuristically considered this the evidence for h/lambda being particles.

Eckard

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John R. Cox replied on Jul. 18, 2014 @ 13:19 GMT
Eckard,

"Dealing with zero..."

That does seem like it shouldn't be a problem, but ends up with a result that can be '2' instead of '1' scalar increment. I sometimes think it might be applicable as a utilitarian device, to simply carry across on the number line from ...-2,-1,1,2... and assume 'zero' occurs at either end of an equivalence function setting the scale of increment between -1 and 1.

I also agree that assuming one particle, or quasi-particle, to carry only one force effect, is wholly artificial and the source of quantum confusion. jrc

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Peter Jackson replied on Jul. 18, 2014 @ 15:03 GMT
Eckard,

I agree scattering is poorly interpreted. Some fundamental assumptions are inconsistent, as I discussed 3 years ago. Compton elastic scattering was interpreted to prove 'photon' particles, yet the wavelength change increases not reduces with lateral angle. One also wonders how we can have all round lateral emissions while supposedly not 'dividing' the 'photon'!

Three years after Compton's Nobel Raman got his, for inelastic scattering. Yet even now it's considered as both a resonant and NOT a resonant effect! But at least in (more sophisticated than Wiki) optical science it's now recognised as having a 'wave' based (as well as particle) interpretation. i.e;

Raman Scattering.

Though scattered light power has a linear relationship with incident intensity it has an inverse relation with wavelength to the 4th power.

Also while standard Rayleigh scattering re-emits at incident f, Raman scattering has a non-linear change ('energy exchange') with the phase shift; Θ = 2πx(1/λ − 1/λ'). That is highly relevant to my cosine derivation via the non-linear Stokes and Anti-Stokes up and down shifting. The Stokes parameter distribution is the same as I derive for the QM cosine distribution, again produced both classically and experimentally.

Though having little support I'm more certain than ever that we need to backtrack far further than most are willing to and change fundamental initial assumptions to then be able to rebuild our view of nature coherently. I appreciate that you at least seem perhaps to have seen that.

Best wishes

Peter

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Steve Agnew wrote on Jul. 18, 2014 @ 13:33 GMT
Photons are of course divisible and we do it all of the time with sum and difference laser spectroscopy. In fact, the beamsplitter involves surface plasmon excitation and some of the photon energy is lost as an inelastic scattering that splits the photon into two. If we used certain kinds of birefringent crystals or photoactive gain media, we could split it many different ways.

Splitting the photon is not the issue at all. Having a single photon with two possible coherent futures is the issue.

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Peter Jackson wrote on Jul. 18, 2014 @ 15:25 GMT
Steve,

"a single photon with two possible coherent futures is the issue."

Can you explain that in more detail, or rather why it may be assumed this scenario would fail, simplified;

Consider a hierarchical spin-orbit model with the photon as a spinning dipole fluctuation with a hyperfine spin +1 and -1 'peak' and 'trough', so describing a twin helical path. At the splitter mirror the +1 -1 positions are random, so head off ('re-emitted') either way. Note the negative charge exists, with a wavelength and phase. It is not 0 or 'nothing', (those qualities are conserved across the surface TZ). We may effectively then consider at two 'photons' of significantly different energies.

Now the 're-manifestation' on interaction with a surface (where not recombined) can only be from the positive charge (so 50:50)

However when recombined by the 2nd mirror the phase can be tuned to give full positive or negative amplitude 'interference' at one or other detector.

Best wishes

Peter

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Steve Agnew replied on Jul. 18, 2014 @ 22:44 GMT
I was hoping that we could sneak in without polarization effects. The beamsplitter is acually sensitive to polarization and works differently in the two linear polarizations.

It is better to start with a circularly polarized photon and then propagate that as right or left handed. The surface plasmon of the beamsplitter will preserve that polarization. Linear polarization reflects differently in a typical beamsplitter. There are now both polarization and beamsplitter operators and this complicates the simple analysis with more possible states.

I think you question comes down to if a single photon can be circularly as well as linearly polarized and the answer is yes. At the beamsplitter, the transmitted beam is rh for an rh photon while the reflected beam is inverted as a lh photon. Thus the single photon still just has two possible states. Ring lasers tend to run on circularly polarized light.

I am afraid I did not quite follow your example, though. Sounds like a Stern-Gerlach magnet type of beamsplitter. Coupling magnetic spin effects with the electric field of a surface plasmon beamsplitter would really be tricky.

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John R. Cox replied on Jul. 18, 2014 @ 23:50 GMT
Steve,

Pete will seek to refute every possible explanation that does not end up being 'a wave can only be a helix', which is kind of like pushing a string. Not that his helical model doesn't find applicable consistency, it just doesn't have the physical property component in and of itself to explain why it would continually wrap around a timeline through otherwise empty space. It's his blind spot that everybody else sees through (pssst! over here Pete!). A 'tiny spinning gyroscopes...each with inertia' is only an operational definition of inertia between two or more inertial reference frames. They wouldn't have a continual rate of spin if they each didn't have their own inertia of equal value relative to unit mass.

Akinbo...can easily see that traverse and longitudinal waves can and do occur 'in a media'. But spin (CW or CCW) a sinusoidal curvature that continuously repeats, around its graphical baseline, and you have a 3D+t graphic picture of a self-limiting, finite volumetric of clearly deterministic wave events of distinct start and end points through spacetime. Let that graphic shape contain energy which is coherent, at density proportionate to amplitude, and rotating and it will induce a signature in a detection system, of a helix of constant OAM. A LINK sausage machine.

And as You have consistently brought to discussion...

The task is to find direct correlation between classical characteristics of physical properties, with the vectors of quantum states in a space of infinite possible directions at any loci; in any selected region of real spacetime.

Energy is a dog that can hunt. jrc

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Steve Agnew replied on Jul. 19, 2014 @ 03:39 GMT
I keep hearing about these helical thingys and there are a lot of helical thingys already out there. Why are this thingys any different from the thingys that we already have?

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