Thursday, August 2, 2012

Ghosts in the atom: Unmasking the quantum phantom - physics-math - 02 August 2012 - New Scientist

Ghosts in the atom: Unmasking the quantum phantom:  ...They imagined a hypothetical theory that completely describes a single quantum system such as an atom but, crucially, without an underlying wave telling the particle what to do.

Next they concocted a thought experiment to test their theory, which involved bringing two independent atoms together and making a particular measurement on them. What they found is that the hypothetical wave-less theory predicts an outcome that is different from standard quantum theory. "Since quantum theory is known to be correct, it follows that nothing like our hypothetical theory can be correct..."

The UK trio's work has also received support from Lucien Hardy at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Using slightly different assumptions, he has obtained a similar result indicating the reality of the wave function (

...Some point to problems with the team's "benign" assumptions. One is the notion that a quantum system has true properties even before any measurement has been made on it...

Pusey and his colleagues also suppose that the two atoms in their thought experiment are truly independent of each other, so that a measurement made on one does not affect the other. They also take for granted that the laws of cause and effect hold...

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