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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Gordon Watson: on 3/15/18 at 6:59am UTC, wrote Dear Anton; further to my earlier comments, please: Since we cannot both...

Vladimir Fedorov: on 2/22/18 at 7:05am UTC, wrote Dear Anthony, I highly appreciate your well-written essay in an effort to...

Gordon Watson: on 2/20/18 at 0:51am UTC, wrote Anton, if/when you reply to my post, please copy it to my essay-thread so...

Gordon Watson: on 2/20/18 at 0:50am UTC, wrote Anton, if/when you reply to my post, please copy it to my essay-thread so...

Peter Jackson: on 2/16/18 at 22:09pm UTC, wrote Anton, Interesting. Have you read the essay (is it Phillips?) identifying...

Gordon Watson: on 2/16/18 at 8:18am UTC, wrote Dear Anton, I welcome your essay and our many shared interests: eg, with...

Kevin Knuth: on 2/7/18 at 6:35am UTC, wrote Thank you, Anton, for posting this enjoyable and thought-provoking essay. ...

Gordon Watson: on 2/7/18 at 0:15am UTC, wrote Dear Neo, How wonderful to see that you've met my "spooky" 2G Grandfather,...


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FQXi FORUM
October 17, 2019

CATEGORY: FQXi Essay Contest - Spring, 2017 [back]
TOPIC: Hidden Variables: Just a little shy? by Anthony John Garrett [refresh]
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Author Anthony John Garrett wrote on Dec. 21, 2017 @ 21:02 GMT
Essay Abstract

Galileo advocated the heliocentric system in a socratic dialogue. Following the lifting of the Copenhagen view that quantum mechanics should not be interpreted, here is a dialogue about a way of looking at quantum theory that promotes progress and matches Einstein’s scepticism about God playing dice with the universe. Nothing could be more fundamental. We can predict properties of the electron to one part in a billion today, but we cannot predict its motion in an inhomogeneous magnetic field inside apparatus designed a century ago. That is embarrassing. Worse is that nobody is trying to predict its motion, because the successes of quantum theory in conjunction with its strangeness and 20th century metaphysics have led us to excuse its shortcomings. The speakers are Neo, a modern physicist who works in a different area, and Nino, a 19th century physicist who went to sleep in 1900 and recently awoke.

Author Bio

Anthony J. M. Garrett is a Visiting Researcher at the Cavendish Laboratory, the Department of Physics of the University of Cambridge, UK, where he gained a PhD in 1984. He has held postdoctoral research positions in the physics departments of the Universities of Cambridge, Sydney and Glasgow and is also a scientific editor.

Download Essay PDF File

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Gary D. Simpson wrote on Dec. 23, 2017 @ 14:28 GMT
Anthony,

Your essay is an interesting enough read. The conversation type literary tool you used seems to be applied at least once in each of these contests. You've given a pretty good summary of "why Physics is where it is" based upon the interpretation of certain experimental data. You seem to imply that the fundamental questions are whether or not there are hidden variables and whether or not the universe is local. And you challenge whether or not the answers are mutually exclusive.

Best Regards,

Gary Simpson

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Author Anthony John Garrett replied on Dec. 23, 2017 @ 15:27 GMT
It's nonlocal by inference whether or not we find hidden variables. I can't promise "Seek, and you shall find", but I am saying "Don't seek, and you won't find" - and suggesting that seeking is the job of scientists.

Best wishes

Anton (preferred nickname/abbreviation)

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Alan M. Kadin wrote on Dec. 24, 2017 @ 03:15 GMT
Dear Dr. Garrett:

I enjoyed your essay very much. I have been thinking about hidden variables since my senior thesis at Princeton in 1974. I am particularly interested in the central role that the Stern-Gerlach experiment plays in your essay. You might be interested in a recent historical review, by Schmidt-Bocking, on “The Stern-Gerlach Experiment Revisited”.

In my essay, “Fundamental Waves and the Reunification of Physics,” I go beyond skepticism to heresy: the quantum paradoxes are due to incorrect models, and even the experiments have been misunderstood.

Specifically, the two-stage SG experiment that is in all the textbooks has never actually been done. I assert that there are no spin superpositions, just incoherent mixtures, and the result of the 2-stage experiment will be deterministic and different from the orthodox prediction.

Coincidentally, my essay also a link to Neo, although perhaps a different one.

I would be interested in any comments that you might have on my essay.

Alan Kadin

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Author Anthony John Garrett replied on Dec. 24, 2017 @ 07:31 GMT
Alan,

Thank you. There more people who think about hidden variables, the better.

Unlike you I don't doubt that if the 2-stage Stern-Gerlach experiment were done then the predictions of quantum mechanics would be confirmed, but my reply is simple: Go Do It! I'm all in favor of testing predictions. You get the Nobel if you are right.

Best wishes

Anton G

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David Brown wrote on Dec. 24, 2017 @ 15:50 GMT
"Those who say quantum theory is the end of the line argue that the universe is not deterministic — genuinely random." Kolmogorov's axiomatic foundations of probability theory are precisely defined in terms of Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory, but what is meant by "genuinely random" in the Copenhagen Interpretation is not precisely defined in mathematical terms. My guess is that Bell's theorem is philosophically wrong but empirically irrefutable. My guess is that string theory with the infinite nature hypothesis implies some version of the string landscape with some version of supersymmetry, while string theory with the finite nature hypothesis implies MOND and no supersymmetry. Google "witten fredkin milgrom".

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Author Anthony John Garrett replied on Dec. 24, 2017 @ 18:43 GMT
David

I was putting words into somebody's mouth there. The word "random" causes a great deal of confusion and I avoid it myself. A "random process" simply means a process that nobody knows how to predict. But that is to do with human ingenuity, not physics! As for probability, I take it to be a numerical measure of how strongly (the assumed truth of) one binary proposition implies another. The Boolean calculus of propositions then induces a calculus for the probabilities whose arguments are propositions, and RT Cox (Am J Phys 1946, p1) showed that the probabilities in fact obey the sum and product rules. I find this a far more compelling derivation than Kolmogorov's. Cox did not phrase it as I've just done, but he did the hard mathematical work. NB I am aware that there is controversy over the meaning of the word "probability", and my response to anybody who dissents form my definition is "I don't want to fight about words; the strength of implication of one proposition by another is what you actually want in every problem in which there is uncertainty, and it's been shown to satisfy what everybody calls "the laws of probability". If you prefer to reserve the word for something else, feel free; meanwhile I'll be calculating what I need to solve the problem!

Best

Anton G

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Robert H McEachern replied on Dec. 29, 2017 @ 00:23 GMT
David Brown wrote : "My guess is that Bell's theorem is philosophically wrong but empirically irrefutable."

It has been refuted, both empirically and logically (a bad, but seldom discussed subtle assumption). See my post below. Other discussions can be found here on FQXi

Rob McEachern

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Zoran Mijatovic wrote on Dec. 27, 2017 @ 03:08 GMT
Hello Anton.

In the tradition of the discussion I hope you will allow me to add this:

To speak of Brownian motion in the context of looking for an unseen communication channel between culprits dancing to the same tune in different rooms, rightly begs the question of whether choreography is prearranged or momentary via instantaneous communication. This question has two faces, but we...

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Robert H McEachern wrote on Dec. 29, 2017 @ 00:08 GMT
"The only physical assumption involved in the reasoning is that the result of a measurement on a particle is determined by the value of a variable internal to it –locality, in other words."

Actually, there are several other assumptions: and they turn out to be false: A critique of the assumptions in the paper "A Stronger Theorem Against Macro-realism

Rob McEachern

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Author Anthony John Garrett replied on Dec. 29, 2017 @ 08:59 GMT
Bell's theorem is about logic, not quantum mechanics; would you tell me where that same logic fails in its application to the interrogation of two persons in adjacent rooms, please, and the inference that they must have been overhearing each other's interrogation when answering their own questions?

Best wishes

Anton G

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Robert H McEachern replied on Dec. 29, 2017 @ 16:59 GMT
The error in the logic was pointed out 40 years ago on the bottom of page 166: “These conclusions require a subtle but important extension of the mean­ing assigned to a notation…” In other words, you have to assume there is a one-to-one correspondence between two or more measurements and two or more attributes of the thing being measured. That is a logical impossibility, when the thing...

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Robert H McEachern replied on Dec. 29, 2017 @ 20:24 GMT
For some reason, the link in the reference to page 166 disappeared when it was posted. Here is the link:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/media/pdf/197911_015
8.pdf

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John-Erik Persson wrote on Dec. 29, 2017 @ 20:31 GMT
Anthony

The dialog is interesting and good. I like that you are interested in the hidden variable ideas. I regard them as very important.

I think that you should take more interest in anomalies in physics, like:

destructive superposition

gravitational anomalies during solar eclipses

Pioneer anomaly and flyby anomaly

With best regards from __________________ John-Erik Persson

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Author Anthony John Garrett replied on Dec. 30, 2017 @ 18:26 GMT
I'm most interested in all of those things, but they're not necessarily my subject here! I'd look for them to be resolved in other ways first.

Best wishes

Anton G

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John-Erik Persson replied on Jan. 11, 2018 @ 18:56 GMT
Anton

Yes, of course you cannot handle everything on 9 pages. Thanks.

John-Erik

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Georgina Woodward wrote on Jan. 3, 2018 @ 03:02 GMT
Your "Never be put off, for only seekers find. By doing this you become part of a great project." was the best bit for me. Good luck. Haven't read it in full, hope to be back. Kind regards Georgina

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Author Anthony John Garrett replied on Jan. 3, 2018 @ 13:16 GMT
Thank you! All comments welcome.

Anton G

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Joe Fisher wrote on Jan. 14, 2018 @ 21:58 GMT
Dear Dr. Anton Garrett,

You wroye: “Neo: Some people suggest that reality is operator-valued and our perplexities arise because of our obstinate insistence on thinking in – and therefore trying to measure – scalars.”

My research has concluded that Nature must have devised the only permanent structure of the Universe obtainable for the real Universe existed for millions of years before man and his finite complex informational systems ever appeared on earth. The real physical Universe consists only of one single unified VISIBLE infinite surface occurring eternally in one single infinite dimension that am always illuminated mostly by finite non-surface light.

Joe Fisher, ORCID ID 0000-0003-3988-8687. Unaffiliated

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Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Jan. 16, 2018 @ 04:07 GMT
Dear Anton Garrett,

I greatly enjoyed your essay [I use the same "conversational" vehicle in my essay, which I hope you will read.]

Literally thousands of comments have been spent on FQXi concerning Bell's theorem, which, as you state, "is about logic, not quantum mechanics". Bell's first statement defining the problem is his equation (1) in which he defines...

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Author Anthony John Garrett replied on Jan. 16, 2018 @ 13:31 GMT
If you have a testable prediction which differs from that of QM then I hope you will be able to test it. Good luck!

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Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on Jan. 17, 2018 @ 20:59 GMT
Dear Anton,

I may have given you 'too much information' above (after all, we've just met) but nevertheless I hope you will read my current essay and comment if you find it interesting.

Thanks for your kind attention.

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Peter Jackson wrote on Jan. 16, 2018 @ 14:31 GMT
Anthony,

Very good essay, nice format, well written, sound points well made. Excellent.

Your abstract attracted;

"..the successes of quantum theory in conjunction with its strangeness and 20th century metaphysics have led us to excuse its shortcomings".

then..

"you can’t prove that something is impossible without assumptions. So you should expose and question those assumptions (such as locality and causality). Don’t accept any axioms that are intrinsic to quantum theory, because your aim is to go beyond quantum theory."

Sensible chap that Nino, shame he's not still around, we need more like him!

But now VERY seriously. I need your help/advice. By changing QM's starting assumptions slightly (essentially Maxwell's state pairs replacing Bohr's assumed 'spin up/down' states) I seem to have found a classical mechanical sequence to reproduce all QM's predictions, loophole free and including 'non-locality', CHSH >2 etc.

Would you please take a close look (at my essay). It includes a simple cheaply repeatable experimental proof. Declan Trail's essay also has a mathematical code entirely compatible giving the same results.

It seems most here consider challenging QM way above their pay grade, but it needs falsification by someone with some understanding of the problem.

Doubtless you'll have questions. Many thanks in anticipation.

Peter

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Author Anthony John Garrett replied on Jan. 16, 2018 @ 14:35 GMT
Dear Peter

Do the experiment - and good luck!

Best wishes

Anton G

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Peter Jackson replied on Jan. 17, 2018 @ 13:58 GMT
Anton.

Thanks, but DID, that's what the essay reports on - a classical reproduction!!

I give the mechanical ontology and Declan (presently top!) the matching code.

So what does one do now when all ignore it? (Editors slam the door as it's off doctrine) Did you read it?

Isn't lip service rather pointless if it's not followed up?

Peter

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Author Anthony John Garrett replied on Jan. 17, 2018 @ 14:36 GMT
There are many scenarios that can be reproduced by classical local models. But you need only one that cannot be, and which is confirmed experimentally, to verify that the ontology of the universe is nonlocal. The analysis in my "Bell's Theorem and Bayes' Theorem" paper to which my FQXI essay refers provides such, and is matched by the predictions of QM. If you reckon that no truly loophole-free experimental Bell test has actually taken place, let us wait for one that we agree is loophole-free and then see what the outcome is. I'm betting on QM.

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Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Jan. 22, 2018 @ 17:27 GMT
Hi Anthony John Garrett,

Your words “looking at quantum theory that promotes progress and matches Einstein’s scepticism about God playing dice with the universe. Nothing could be more fundamental. We can predict properties of the electron to one part in a billion today, but we cannot predict its motion in an inhomogeneous magnetic field inside apparatus designed a century ago.” are...

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Joe Fisher wrote on Jan. 28, 2018 @ 16:43 GMT
Dear Fellow Essayists

This will be my final plea for fair treatment.,

Reliable evidence exists that proves that the surface of the earth was formed millions of years before man and his utterly complex finite informational systems ever appeared on that surface. It logically follows that Nature must have permanently devised the only single physical construct of earth allowable.

All objects, be they solid, liquid, or vaporous have always had a visible surface. This is because the real Universe consists only of one single unified VISIBLE infinite surface occurring eternally in one single infinite dimension that am always illuminated mostly by finite non-surface light.

Only the truth can set you free.

Joe Fisher, Realist

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Gordon Watson wrote on Feb. 7, 2018 @ 00:15 GMT
Dear Neo,

How wonderful to see that you've met my "spooky" 2G Grandfather, Thomas "Nino" Watson, born 1834 Sussex! Missing since 19 October 1900 after a wild party at Max Planck's home, this is the message that he whispers to thoughtful dreamers:

'Ponder how to reconcile the success of many predictions which treat systems as isolated with the supposed nonlocality and acausality revealed in Bell tests, in which separation in spacetime is of no consequence. Never be put off, for only seekers find. By doing this you become part of a great project.'

PS: Since my FQXi is playing up, I'll keep this short (and will be back). Please have a look at:

More realistic fundamentals: quantum theory from one premiss

Anton, appreciating your essay, and with best regards; Gordon Watson (hoping to link with you and 2G-Gpa as part of that great project).

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Gordon Watson replied on Feb. 20, 2018 @ 00:51 GMT
Anton, if/when you reply to my post, please copy it to my essay-thread so that I'm alerted to it. I'm having trouble keeping abreast of many good discussions this year.

Many thanks; Gordon More realistic fundamentals: quantum theory from one premiss.

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Member Kevin H Knuth wrote on Feb. 7, 2018 @ 06:35 GMT
Thank you, Anton, for posting this enjoyable and thought-provoking essay. I too enjoyed the comment "Never be put off, for only seekers find. By doing this you become part of a great project.". Seekers should not be satisfied. We should be able to understand either how to predict what a single electron will do in an SG apparatus, or why such a prediction is not possible.

You know my take on this. I believe that there is an underlying model that can explain what we can and cannot predict and how to make such predictions. I will keep Seeking...

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Gordon Watson wrote on Feb. 16, 2018 @ 08:18 GMT
Dear Anton,

I welcome your essay and our many shared interests: eg, with my emphasis throughout, we are both for hidden variables at a deeper level of ontology. I'm guessing that we differ re this next? In my essay, I claim to have found them.

However, surprised by our differing approaches, please note that I here (as elsewhere) a receptive seeker for evidence...

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Gordon Watson replied on Feb. 20, 2018 @ 00:50 GMT
Anton, if/when you reply to my post, please copy it to my essay-thread so that I'm alerted to it. I'm having trouble keeping abreast of many good discussions this year.

Many thanks; Gordon More realistic fundamentals: quantum theory from one premiss.

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Vladimir Nikolaevich Fedorov wrote on Feb. 22, 2018 @ 07:05 GMT
Dear Anthony,

I highly appreciate your well-written essay in an effort to understand.

It is so close to me. «Regard all strange outworkings of quantum mechanics as information about the hidden variables. Purported no-hidden-v ariables theorems that are consistent with quantum mechanics must contain extra assumptions or axioms, so put such theorems to work by arranging that your research violates those assumptions». «Never be put off, for only seekers find. By doing this you become part of a great project».

I hope that my modest achievements can be information for reflection for you.

Vladimir Fedorov

https://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/3080

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Gordon Watson wrote on Mar. 15, 2018 @ 06:59 GMT
Dear Anton; further to my earlier comments, please: Since we cannot both be right, would you mind commenting on my half-page refutation of Bell's theorem?

See ¶13 in More realistic fundamentals: quantum theory from one premiss.

NB: I clarify Bell's 1964-(1) functions by allowing that, pairwise, the HV (λ) heading toward Alice need no be the same as that (μ) heading toward Bob; ie, it is sufficient that they are highly correlated via the pairwise conservation of total angular momentum. Thus, consistent with Bell's 1964-(12) normalization condition:



Further, in my analysis: after leaving the source, each pristine particle remains pristine until its interaction with a polarizer. Then, in that I allow for perturbative interactions, my use of delta-functions represents the perturbative impact of each such interaction.

My equation (26) then represents the distribution of perturbed particles proceeding to Alice's analyzer. Thus (with b and μ similarly for Bob):



PS: Bridging the continuous and the discrete -- and thus Bell's related indifference -- integrals are used here by me for generality. Then, since the arguments of Bell's 1964-(1) functions include a continuous variable λ, ρ(λ) in Bell 1964-(2) must include delta-functions. Thus, under Bell's terms, my refutation is both mathematically and physically significant.

PLEASE: When you reply -- or if you will not -- please drop a note on my essay-thread so that I receive an alert. Many thanks; Gordon

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