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2-slits, 2-observers, 2-languages, 2-outcomes ?

  1. Sep 29, 2006 #1
    I was just thinking about this experiment and wondered what the outcome would be.

    Run a double slit experiment with detectors that can provide the "which path" information of photons.

    Here is the twist, there are two scientists in the laboratory. One scientist can only read Chinese and the other can only read english. They are stuck on a planet where there is no way for the english speaking scientist to learn Chinese.

    Now the detector displays the "which path" information in Chinese. Both scientist see the Chinese, but only one can actually understand the information. The English scientist can't read Chinese and has no clue "which path" the photon took.

    Does the English scientist see interference and the Chinese scientist not?

    Could a third person who speaks both languages ask each scientist what they saw and get different responses?


  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 29, 2006 #2


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    It doesn't matter if the "which way knowledge" is known to the scientist, or if it's dispersed across the entire universe; as long as it exists, interference will not be observed.
  4. Sep 30, 2006 #3
    As described by Wikipedia, observation is nothing more than irreversible thermodynamic process. This has nothing to do with languages or consciousness (or at least wasn't proven yet :P ).
  5. Oct 1, 2006 #4
    I thought above example might be similar to the quatum eraser experiment, where the process is reversable and the "which path" information is lost and interference is re-established.

    In this case the information is simply "lost in translation", instead of some elaborate mechanism of beam splitters.

    I guess this has more to do with the true meaning of observer than anything else.
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