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Current Program

2017-18 Agency in the Physical World
Submit RFP by February 1, 2018
Previous Programs

2016 Physics of the Observer
2016 Awardees

2015 The Physics of What Happens
2015 Awardees

2013 Physics of Information
2013 Awardees

2010 The Nature of Time
2010 Awardees

2008 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
2008 Awardees

2006 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
2006 Awardees

Catalina Oana Curceanu
Laboratori Nazionali di Frascati Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare

Project Title

"Events" as we see them: experimental test of the collapse models as a solution of the measurement-problem.

Project Summary

One of the main pillars of our understanding of Nature and the Universe is the Quantum Theory (QT), which, in spite of its tantalizing success, generates many debates, rooted in its puzzles, which trigger efforts towards a deeper understanding of the underlying mechanisms. What we know about the world is based on the “events” we measure. But the measurement process is hiding one of the deepest mysteries of QT: the “measurement problem”. A system evolves, according to the QT, as being in a linear superposition of all the allowed states, but, when a measurement takes place, only one state emerges as the unambiguous “event”. How (even whether) the wave function collapses? This phenomenon harbors the secrets of the “Physics of What Happens”, with implications in cosmology, philosophy, and in understanding brain and consciousness. We shall perform the first dedicated experiment in the Gran Sasso (Italy) low-background underground laboratory, to investigate an elegant solution proposed to solve the “measurement problem”: the Dynamical Reduction Models. We will achieve a far deeper understanding of the “measurement problem”, intimately connected to the Physics of What Happens, and we might even glance to the theory beyond the actual QT, in the quest for unveiling reality.

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