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Thread: The revival of determinism in quantum mechanics, by fluid dynamicists

  1. #1
    Senior Member Oddity's Avatar
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    The revival of determinism in quantum mechanics, by fluid dynamicists

    An interesting article on another perspective, long ignored, on the nature of QM.

    Some snippets:

    This idea that nature is inherently probabilistic ? that particles have no hard properties, only likelihoods, until they are observed ? is directly implied by the standard equations of quantum mechanics. But now a set of surprising experiments with fluids has revived old skepticism about that worldview. The bizarre results are fueling interest in an almost forgotten version of quantum mechanics, one that never gave up the idea of a single, concrete reality.

    To some researchers, the experiments suggest that quantum objects are as definite as droplets, and that they too are guided by pilot waves ? in this case, fluid-like undulations in space and time. These arguments have injected new life into a deterministic (as opposed to probabilistic) theory of the microscopic world first proposed, and rejected, at the birth of quantum mechanics.?This is a classical system that exhibits behavior that people previously thought was exclusive to the quantum realm, and we can say why,? said John Bush, a professor of applied mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who has led several recent bouncing-droplet experiments.

    ?Quantum mechanics is very successful; nobody?s claiming that it?s wrong,? said Paul Milewski, a professor of mathematics at the University of Bath in England who has devised computer models of bouncing-droplet dynamics. ?What we believe is that there may be, in fact, some more fundamental reason why [quantum mechanics] looks the way it does.?
    Acclimating to the weirdness of quantum mechanics has become a physicists? rite of passage. The old, deterministic alternative is not mentioned in most textbooks; most people in the field haven?t heard of it. Sheldon Goldstein, a professor of mathematics, physics and philosophy at Rutgers University and a supporter of pilot-wave theory, blames the ?preposterous? neglect of the theory on ?decades of indoctrination.? At this stage, Goldstein and several others noted, researchers risk their careers by questioning quantum orthodoxy.
    But at present, these connections with quantum gravity are speculative, and for young researchers, risky ideas. Bush, Couder and the other fluid dynamicists hope that their demonstrations of a growing number of quantum-like phenomena will make a deterministic, fluid picture of quantum mechanics increasingly convincing.
    ?With physicists it?s such a controversial thing, and people are pretty noncommittal at this stage,? Bush said. ?We?re just forging ahead, and time will tell. The truth wins out in the end.?

    "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it." - Edgar Allen Poe

    "If you only know your side of an issue, you know nothing." -John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

    "Even what those with the greatest reputation for knowing it all claim to understand and defend are but opinions..." -Heraclitus, Fragments

  2. #2
    Senior Member zagam's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
    Western Australia - Hammer wielding daemon
    Understanding the waves in more depth is important, but key point is that they are quantised. When you detect a photon you do it once and this reduces intensity by fixed quanta.

    The double-slit experiment is reality. The phonton really does go through all slits, but it can only be detected once.

    Dirac's brand does not discard Im[] like the standard model. This is more like Louis de Broglie. Will it also prediect too much?

    Last edited by zagam; 10-12-2014 at 09:58 PM. Reason: Cite Dirac

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