What is Quantum foundations: Definition and 16 Discussions

Quantum foundations is a discipline of science that seeks to understand the most counter-intuitive aspects of quantum theory, reformulate it and even propose new generalizations thereof. Contrary to other physical theories, such as general relativity, the defining axioms of quantum theory are quite ad hoc, with no obvious physical intuition. While they lead to the right experimental predictions, they do not come with a mental picture of the world where they fit.
There exist different approaches to resolve this conceptual gap:

First, one can put quantum physics in contraposition with classical physics: by identifying scenarios, such as Bell experiments, where quantum theory radically deviates from classical predictions, one hopes to gain physical insights on the structure of quantum physics.
Second, one can attempt to find a re-derivation of the quantum formalism in terms of operational axioms.
Third, one can search for a full correspondence between the mathematical elements of the quantum framework and physical phenomena: any such correspondence is called an interpretation.
Fourth, one can renounce quantum theory altogether and propose a different model of the world.Research in quantum foundations is structured along these roads.

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  1. bhobba

    I A Bold New Take on Quantum Theory

    New Scientist recently published an article entitled 'A Bold New Take on Quantum Theory'. I found interesting Unfortunately, it is behind a paywall, but I will give my precis. How QM, which only predicts probabilities, gives rise to the solid, well-defined world around us is still a mystery...
  2. K

    I The Self-Decoherence of Schroedinger's Cat

    A toy model might be to split the cat into two half-cats, each decohering the other. I'm intrigued by the idea that half-cat-1 is in a mixed state relative to half-cat-2 and vice versa. My question is, is there any reason to think that the actual cases observed by the two half-cats are going to...
  3. bhobba

    I Could Tim Maudlin's Views on Bell and QM Be Flawed?

    Hi All I have never been particularly impressed with Tim Mauldin's general take on Bell and QM. I am reading an article of his at the moment. Here is an excerpt (lightly edited by Grammarly to have correct punctuation, etc). Start Quote But for expository purposes, the point is most...
  4. S

    I Quantum entanglement in the MWI

    As far as I know, we don't understand the apparent faster-than-light "communication" between a measured particle and one entangled to it. Does the Many Worlds Interpretation explain this? Does it have anything else to say about entanglement?
  5. K

    I Realism in the entanglement swap experiment

    In the thread general-argument-that-entanglement-can-only-be-created-locally @Cthugha explains why the monogamy argument used by @DrChinese in his entanglement swapping experiment explanation is bunk. Given that the monogamy argument is bunk, if the raw measurement values of photons of 1 and 4...
  6. C

    I Ways of measuring open quantum systems

    At the heart of the theory of open quantum systems is the idea that the measurement statistics of many-body systems can be expressed in terms of a reduced density matrix, obtained by tracing over degrees of freedom that are irrelevant to the system of interest. In general, given a pure state...
  7. Demystifier

    I Nature Physics on quantum foundations

    The editors of high impact journal Nature Physics explain why the field of quantum foundations is important for physics. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41567-022-01766-x
  8. A. Neumaier

    I Quantum mechanics via quantum tomography

    I just finished a new paper, A. Neumaier, Quantum mechanics via quantum tomography, arXiv:2110.05294. (later renamed to) A. Neumaier, Quantum tomography explains quantum mechanics, arXiv:2110.05294. Abstract: Starting from first principles inspired by quantum tomography rather than Born's...
  9. P

    Methodology / Philosophy of Science

    Summary:: When experimenting to improve a theory, account for the fact that your experimental equipment is made using the very same theory which you are trying to improve. 1.) It would take many decades (~ 80 years?) to design and make equipment entirely using a proposed new theory which has...
  10. A

    I Quantum Foundations: outlook on this research field?

    Recently, it has come to my attention a field called Quantum Foundations. This is exactly what brought me into Physics, even though back then I didn't know it was a research area. In my Physics classes, I got disappointed and unmotivated at the "Shut up and calculate!" attitude of my Physics...
  11. Jamister

    Quantum Best book for quantum foundations

    I'm looking for a book on foundation of quantum mechanics. I started reading the book "do we really understand quantum mechanics" of franck laloë , and it seems to be very chatty and long. Do you have any recommendations? Thank you
  12. S

    I Forces (Fields) of Nature and Quantum Foundations

    Is it possible for new forces or fields of nature to be connected to quantum foundations? For example, new forces or fields that choose the decoherent histories or branches. Or generally actualize one of the decoherence branches? Or should new forces or fields of nature be reserved for...
  13. Demystifier

    A Implications of quantum foundations on interpretations of relativity

    Physicists often discuss interpretations of quantum mechanics (QM), but they rarely discuss interpretations of relativity. Which is strange, because the interpretations of quantum non-locality are closely related to interpretations of relativity. The field of interpretations of relativity is...
  14. Auto-Didact

    Quantum Best books on Quantum Foundations?

    What are the best books on QT Foundations out there? This seems to be a difficult question which has very different answers depending on who you happen to ask. There seem to be at least two different levels, e.g. intermediate texts and advanced texts, with a very wide gap in between, which is...
  15. W

    I Reading materials on quantum foundations

    Hi all, I have been trying to read up on quantum foundations after being first introduced to it on this Perimeter Institute page: https://www.perimeterinstitute.ca/research/research-areas/quantum-foundations/more-quantum-foundations However, I have had difficulty finding notes and papers on...
  16. bohm2

    New Quantum Foundations Journal

    Not sure if this was posted but I came across a fairly recent online journal specializing on Quantum foundations that some might find interesting: http://www.ijqf.org/wps/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/IJQF-flyer1.pdf http://www.ijqf.org/ Some topics issues that will be published/discussed...