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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Amsterdam: on 12/30/09 at 6:45am UTC, wrote From a cursory read of many of the essays, Vinson seems to me to be the...

Eckard Blumschein: on 3/12/09 at 16:02pm UTC, wrote I appreciate the jury for causing me to read the essay by Barbour and for...

C. Vinson: on 12/3/08 at 10:04am UTC, wrote Essay Abstract The orthodox perspective on the arrow of time...


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FQXi FORUM
February 5, 2023

CATEGORY: The Nature of Time Essay Contest (2008) [back]
TOPIC: Quantum Measurement as an Arrow of Time by C. Vinson [refresh]
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C. Vinson wrote on Dec. 3, 2008 @ 10:04 GMT
Essay Abstract

The orthodox perspective on the arrow of time originating from entropy suggests it comes about from an initial condition on the universe. I explore the possibility of a different arrow of time originating from the behavior of measurements in quantum mechanics and its connection with the thermodynamic arrow, as well as building an analogy between the decoherence perspective on quantum measurement and the arguments that place the thermodynamic arrow as an initial condition. Together, these ideas suggest two alternative possibilities for physics: one where quantum measurement introduces a time-reversal asymmetry in the dynamics of physical law, and another where the universe started in a particular state that creates both the quantum measurement and thermodynamic arrows. Finally, I argue there's no a priori reason to prefer one of these perspectives over the other given the current state of experiment and theory, so the neglect of the former in favor of the latter is not justified.

Author Bio

C. Vinson developed an interest in physics, particularly the physics of time, at an early age and followed it as far as graduate school at the University of Maryland; but decided not to pursue theoretical physics as a career and now matriculates at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, studying library and information science.

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Eckard Blumschein wrote on Mar. 12, 2009 @ 16:02 GMT
I appreciate the jury for causing me to read the essay by Barbour and for excluding matters of belief. While I still consider unjustified any denial of time and of the restriction of reality to the past, Barbour might be correct in that already elapsed time can be reduced to something more fundamental. It is on its turn more fundamental as compared to the usual abstract notion of time, but it is an integral of coincidences. I would like to thank McGucken for pointing me to Minkowski who wrote the fourth dimension ict.

At the moment I cannot see any useful application of Barbour's insight that time might be not a most fundamental quantity.

On the other hand, consequent distinction between past and future seems to be overdue.

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Amsterdam wrote on Dec. 30, 2009 @ 06:45 GMT
From a cursory read of many of the essays, Vinson seems to me to be the only one furthering the discussion about time in a truly meaningful way. It is clear that any interference with the wave function introduces entropy, thereby forcing the wave to break down into constituent "parts" and subjecting it to the "arrow of time." In this way, the arrow of time is inescapable for matter, but not an inherent part of quantum reality. Pretty simple. Why isn't science pursuing this angle with more vigor?

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