- #1

Fiziqs

- 134

- 0

Whenever I read about the double slit experiment, the literature always states that the particle's "probability wave" collapses when you measure which slit the particle actually passes through. But after giving it some thought, I began to suspect that it isn't really the particle's probability wave that collapses, but rather the observer's probability wave that collapses. I know this probably sounds a bit stupid, and it most likely is, so I was hoping that someone could point out some of the flaws in my reasoning.

I doubt that I can explain my reasoning clearly, but I'll try. First, I assume, that just like particles, observers have probability waves also. I personally know of no way to test this assumption, so I simply envision the future as being analogous to a probability wave, where all potential outcomes are possible, until conditions and decisions render them impossible. The future exists as a probability wave. Whether this is literally true or not I can't say, but it should be a straightforward mathematical construct. (Of course, I for one could never do it)

So my understanding of the double slit experiment is based upon the observer having a probability wave, in the same way that the particle does. Everything that I read tells me that it's the particle's probability wave that collapses, but it seems to me that the only thing that we can be absolutely certain of, is that the observer's probability wave collapses. Once the particle's path through slit A or B has been measured, the observer can't say for certain whether the particle still goes through both slits or not, all that the observer can say for sure, is that the observer only sees the results of it going through one slit. The particle itself may still be free to go through both, only the observer can't see it.

I know that this sounds ridiculous, but I do have some reasons for preferring this view. For one the "Delayed choice quantum eraser" seems to suggest that if an observer sees only one subset of data (D1,D2), they can see an interference pattern, whereas another observer, (D3,D4), sees no interference pattern, and still a third observer (D0) sees no interference pattern even though one exists. So based upon this information, I conclude that it is possible for an observer's probability wave to collapse, and apparently collapse the particle's probability wave, but in reality not affect the particle's probability wave at all. Just because an observer sees only a specific result, does not mean that the other possibilities cease to exist, only that the observer may no longer see them.

The other reason that I prefer this interpretation is that it would seem to give some explanation for superluminal communication between entangled pairs. The way that I have seen most people explain superluminal communication, is that observing particle A, of an entangled pair, collapses its probability wave, and this information is somehow instantly relayed to particle B. But if my interpretation is correct, then it is the observer's probability wave that collapses, not the particle's. The particles are completely unchanged, no information is exchanged. The particles are still as they were before, only now, the observer sees just one state, where before the observer saw multiple states at once. It's not the particle that changed, but rather the observer. There is no need for superluminal communication, because the effect is confined to the observer.

Ok, that's the feeble logic behind my interpretation of the double slit experiment, any comments, corrections, and additions are encouraged.