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Dalibor Stys: on 7/21/10 at 5:56am UTC, wrote The think which I like on the approach of applying non-linear dynamics as...

Tobias Fritz: on 10/23/09 at 14:32pm UTC, wrote Dear William, thank you for sharing your ideas. It's an intriguing...

William McHarris: on 10/22/09 at 17:34pm UTC, wrote Dear Stephan Wechbach, Thanks for your comments — and especially for the...

Robert Oldershaw: on 10/19/09 at 3:21am UTC, wrote NM, Let me clarify. In the quotation of d'E-nat which you posted, the...

Nick Mann: on 10/18/09 at 19:51pm UTC, wrote DAMN. That's McHARRIS. Maximum apology.

Nick Mann: on 10/18/09 at 19:50pm UTC, wrote RLO, I think Bd'E is more than a knee-jerk sycophant and I'm sure Dr....

Robert Oldershaw: on 10/18/09 at 17:55pm UTC, wrote Greetings NM, I would say the Bernard d'Espagnat cannot think outside the...

Nick Mann: on 10/13/09 at 14:39pm UTC, wrote Dr. McHarris, Very interesting. Are you familiar with the work of...

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FQXi FORUM
January 18, 2022

CATEGORY: What's Ultimately Possible in Physics? Essay Contest (2009) [back]
TOPIC: Chaos and the Quantum: Limits of Physics Involving the Physics of Limits by William C. McHarris [refresh]

Author William C. McHarris wrote on Oct. 2, 2009 @ 16:16 GMT
Essay Abstract

Nonlinear dynamics and chaos theory promise to change the way we think about nature, for nonlinear systems are the rule rather than the exception. Some of the counter-intuitive aspects of nonlinear dynamics show striking similarities to those of quantum mechanics. I show that certain paradoxes produced by the orthodox Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics have parallels in nonlinear dynamics and chaos. Thus, deterministic chaos could provide a bridge between the determinism so dear to Einstein and the statistics of Bohr's interpretations. Nonlinear dynamics and chaos involve infinite limits and conditional probabilities, so perhaps the progress of physics involves a deeper intuitive understanding of these.

Author Bio

With a B.A. from Oberlin College and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, I went immediately to Michigan State University with a joint appointment between the Chemistry and Physics/Astronomy Departments. For some 35 years I was a practicing nuclear chemist/physicist at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, first working primarily in experimental nuclear spectroscopy and progressing toward more theoretical topics such as the weak interaction. About eight years ago I found chaos theory and chaos theory found me, and I have been working with it ever since, trying to fathom a possible connection with quantum mechanics.

Stefan Weckbach wrote on Oct. 3, 2009 @ 09:38 GMT
Dear William C. McHarris,

i thought a long time about possible connections between deterministic chaos and quantum mechanics. I saw some similarities in the behaviour of fractal structures, especially in form of the attractor. That attractor in every fractal pattern led me to the conclusion that for example the interference-pattern in the double-slit experiment with single photons could be...

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Florin Moldoveanu wrote on Oct. 4, 2009 @ 02:39 GMT
Dear William,

As a former nonlinear dynamics practitioner, I had enjoyed your essay very much. Did you consider ‘t Hooft’s approach of deriving QM as an emergent theory from a chaotic deterministic theory?

Regards,

Florin

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Robert L. Oldershaw wrote on Oct. 4, 2009 @ 02:45 GMT
Have you seen Tim Plamer's work on invariant sets, fractal attractors and QM?

http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0812/0812.1148.pdf

A nice laymen's version of the arguments is given in the excellent book by Ian Stewart entitled "Does God Play Dice?"

Yours in science,

RL Oldershaw

www.amherst.edu/~rloldershaw

http://arxiv.org/a/oldershaw_r_1

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Robert L. Oldershaw wrote on Oct. 4, 2009 @ 02:49 GMT
Oops, that's Tim Palmer.

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Stefan Weckbach wrote on Oct. 8, 2009 @ 09:29 GMT
Dear William C. McHarris,

there is a brand new paper about experimental results concerning chaos and quantum mechanics. It is titled "Butterfly effect gets entangled: Chaotic behaviour emerges from quantum entanglement" and can be found under the breaking news as a twitter-link in the fqxi-community.

Perhaps it could be of interest for your topic.

Best,

Stefan Weckbach

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J.C.N. Smith wrote on Oct. 12, 2009 @ 15:23 GMT
Mr. McHarris,

Thank you for an interesting, well written, thought-provoking essay.

Fwiw, there's another nice treatment of the so-called Monte Hall Paradox in 'The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives' by Leonard Mlodinow.

Cheers

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Nick Mann wrote on Oct. 13, 2009 @ 14:39 GMT
Dr. McHarris,

Very interesting.

Are you familiar with the work of Arjendu Pattanayak? Good stuff at Arxiv.

I love this understated (you could almost say tongue-in-cheek) take by the Templeton Prize's own Bernard d'Espagnat (quote):

Hence, to sum up, contrary to a view that seems to be widespread it appears that whoever considers himself to be an adept of objectivist realism cannot logically claim that the phenomena related to chaos violate determinism just because they are "chaotic." Let it however immediately be added that, anyhow, such considerations are, to a large extent, academic since they bear on classical physics and its laws. It is well known that, at the level of anything that might deserve the name "ultimate reality" or even just that of "microscopic reality," these laws are violated (we know that, at the microscopic level, only the quantum ones are correct). Elementary as it is, this observation severely diminishes the pertinence of the, sometimes uttered, statement according to which the advent of the theory of chaos constitutes one of the most important conceptual upheavals that ever took place in physics. But of course this is not to say that the theory in question is uninteresting as far as basic ideas are concerned. Quite on the contrary it has the considerable interest of showing that within classical physics there are phenomena that imitate intrinsically random ones to such an extent that they are operationally indistinguishable from the latter. ("On Physics and Philosophy" page 319)

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Robert L. Oldershaw wrote on Oct. 18, 2009 @ 17:55 GMT
Greetings NM,

I would say the Bernard d'Espagnat cannot think outside the quantum box.

His theoretical assumptions, derived from a thoroughly heuristic quantum mechanics and dubiously interpreted experiments, may be acceptable to the current crop of theoretical physicists, but I do not think they will hold up in the near future.

Nonlinear dynamical systems theory will eventually explain all the "weirdness" of quantum mechanics in a manner that is fully causal and deterministic. The revolution is already well underway.

RLO

www.amherst.edu/~rloldershaw

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Nick Mann wrote on Oct. 18, 2009 @ 19:50 GMT
RLO,

I think Bd'E is more than a knee-jerk sycophant and I'm sure Dr. McHenry with his declared respect for both Bell and Aspect would agree. Also unless I'm mistaken Espagnat's the guy who first realized Bell's inequality can be experimentally tested in the macroworld and without violation. That requires a certain offbeat imagination, indeed evinces a refreshing playfulness. Even demonstrates a mild readiness to flirt with danger.

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Nick Mann wrote on Oct. 18, 2009 @ 19:51 GMT
DAMN. That's McHARRIS.

Maximum apology.

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Robert L. Oldershaw wrote on Oct. 19, 2009 @ 03:21 GMT
NM,

Let me clarify.

In the quotation of d'E-nat which you posted, the sentence beginning; "It is well known..." is fatuous and unscientific in its arrogant assumptions that the Aspect-type experiments of Bell's inequality theorems are fully understood and definitively explained.

There are serious scientists, like Tim Palmer and J. Christian, among many others, including Dr. Mc Harris, who have published radically different assessments.

For d'E-nat to summarily dismiss nonlinear dynamical systems theory as a fundamental approach to understanding atoms and quantum "weirdness" is quite regrettable. I predict that he will be forced to revise his opinions considerably in the next 10 years, or less.

Yours in science,

RLO

www.amherst.edu/~rloldershaw

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Author William C. McHarris wrote on Oct. 22, 2009 @ 17:34 GMT
Dear Stephan Wechbach,

Thanks for your comments — and especially for the reference to the Nature news and article, "The Butterfly Effect Gets Entangled." It is heartwarming to find some experimental verification of chaotic effects in quantum systems, especially since the kicked top has been so thoroughly studied in classical chaos.

I also liked your comments about the Monty Hall problem. I think the so-called counter-intuitiveness of the problem starts to go away as one increases the number of doors, such that by the time the number becomes large, the probability of winning does approach 1. This is covered rather well in the Wikipedia entry on the Monty Hall Problem, where also a formal Bayesian treatment is given. There are links there as well to several papers on quantum versions of the Monty Hall problem, probably the best being the paper by D'Ariano et al.

Cheers,

Bill McHarris

Member Tobias Fritz wrote on Oct. 23, 2009 @ 14:32 GMT
Dear William,

thank you for sharing your ideas. It's an intriguing observation that the emergence of a discrete number of modes in nonlinear dynamics resemble the discretenss of observables in quantum theory. (Although note that the reason why the Tacoma Narrows bridge collapsed was in fact not resonance, but a self-exiciting oscillation.) Also the universality that you mention is present...

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Dalibor Stys wrote on Jul. 21, 2010 @ 05:56 GMT
The think which I like on the approach of applying non-linear dynamics as hidden variable theory for quantum mechanics is the fact that then it would be rather general theory. For example, most systems biologists already accepted that limit cycles lie behind the stability of intracellular metabolism. Equally well population biologists work similarly, the metheorologists as well, many astronomers, economists .... In case that molecules are stable for the same reasons we may be approaching new universal theory.

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