Apology and Disclaimer: Guidance in Quantum Interpretations

  • Thread starter AngryBeavers
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AngryBeavers
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Let me begin with an apology and a disclaimer. I posted here before, with an admittedly defensive, and somewhat hostile
demeanor, which is in no way a proper manner to present yourself, especially to a crowd of giants you are hoping to inspire something other than negativity amongst. I am sorry for that, truely. It's something i'd never have done in a real world situation, and there is no excuse for my having done so here.

Secondly, I am not in any way a member of the scientific community, nor is my mathmatics even in the realm of being concise enough to prove or disprove my ideas. Which is the main reason I am here. I do not have any dilusions of some kind of underdog coming into an area and turning it on it's head by their "unique way of thinking". My intention is to hopefully find some kind soul, or a not so kind one I suppose, who can "dumb it down" to a level I can understand as to potentially right way or wrong way of thinking. If something I say sparks such an interest, I would be incredibly grateful.

Once I get my thoughts in order, and written in a way that clearly conveys them, while hopefully not boring anyone to tears, I will create another post. Unless of course, I've chosen the wrong place to post this, and am directed to do so elsewhere beforehand.

[Mentor Note: Thead moved from the Quantum Interpretations forum to the Feedback forum]
 
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  • #2
AngryBeavers said:
Let me begin with an apology and a disclaimer. I posted here before, with an admittedly defensive, and somewhat hostile
demeanor, which is in no way a proper manner to present yourself, especially to a crowd of giants you are hoping to inspire something other than negativity amongst. I am sorry for that, truely. It's something i'd never have done in a real world situation, and there is no excuse for my having done so here.

Secondly, I am not in any way a member of the scientific community, nor is my mathmatics even in the realm of being concise enough to prove or disprove my ideas. Which is the main reason I am here. I do not have any dilusions of some kind of underdog coming into an area and turning it on it's head by their "unique way of thinking". My intention is to hopefully find some kind soul, or a not so kind one I suppose, who can "dumb it down" to a level I can understand as to potentially right way or wrong way of thinking. If something I say sparks such an interest, I would be incredibly grateful.

Once I get my thoughts in order, and written in a way that clearly conveys them, while hopefully not boring anyone to tears, I will create another post. Unless of course, I've chosen the wrong place to post this, and am directed to do so elsewhere beforehand.
PF operates in a rather unusual manner in that it aims to make sure everything is discussed within mainstream physics. So personal speculations are out. The moderators can be very strict about this. However, asking whether you've understood something seems to be fine, though you will be challenged if your question sneaks in something you've just made up. It's best to keep your questions simple rather than try to dress them up in jargon which you may not understand - it's bad enough with professional physicists using words differently!

I don't know what happened before, maybe the moderators will have a view on it, but if that can be set aside, I'd say fire away and ask. What's the worst that could happen? But don't forget to set the "level" to B for beginner if that's what you are.
 
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  • #3
As to the level, I only had the option for I and A, else I would have chosen B, for sure. I'll look more closely this time.

Also, thank you for the clarification. I just finished writing up a post that I feel fits the guidelines perfectly as it is only me trying to understand one aspect of one of the basics. I'll post it next.
 
  • #4
Some forewords..

I am not claiming to understand any of this on the same level as someone who took the classes, has put in the time, and performed the work. I am just someone who has spent a substantial amount of time and effort into finding the answers to questions I have, and these are the remainders.

You may find the way I think very frustrating. Apologies beforehand. I have always been a relativisitic learner, and the nature of QM tends to be put forth as one thing not learned in such ways. Nearly all of the things I say will have this idea as its basis. Perhaps because I haven't had the same time and training and other factors to boot, but, I've been unable to effectively change this about myself, and have become resigned.

Starting simple, is the "weirdness" of electrons. No doubt about it, i've no explanation for the behavior they exhibit. I do not know the attributes being measured, and as such, I am confident that this one will be the easiest to educate my lack of insight in. MIT Courseware vid uses an example I most easily understood so I'll use it here.

We have a 'color box' and a 'hardness box'. If we fire electrons into the color box, they come out either black or white. Then we take only one color of electron and shoot it through the hardness box and it produces with about 50 percent proportions, a hard electron, or a soft electron. This is 'weird' because either attribute is repeatable. White through a second color box produces white all the time, etc. Further, a white electron into a hardness box coming out soft, and then into another color box produces not a white electron 100 percent of the time, but either black or white half the time.

As I am operating on "instinct" here, and what can be intuited ( not a good thing, I am aware ), this tells me that an electron can have any one measurable state in pepertuity. Two states however, is a 50/50. At least, in this example, its the second box that is the issue. What happens to the white electron that came out soft, then entered the 2nd color box, to make it come out either black or white. This is so confusing to me not because it's weird, but because this way of thinking assumes the white electron, upon exiting the hardness box, is no longer white.

Why cant it be White and Soft? Nothing indicates our first measurement of color would have or should have changed at this point. After exiting the second color box, sure, that's a problem if it comes out black, so figure out what happened to change it from white to black. Superposition as an actual state just rubs me the wrong way beyond that of visual aid, and for that, I am sorry. It's intuition I know. And a lack of mathematics.

I think that's probably more than enough to drive anyone to distraction, so, I'll end it here. I have many more observations, or question that I would very much enjoy clarity on, if this one gets attention.

Thanks for the time.
 
  • #6
AngryBeavers said:
As to the level, I only had the option for I and A, else I would have chosen B, for sure. I'll look more closely this time.
AFAIK, the Quantum Interpretations forum only offers the A and I options, due to the advanced nature of the discussions there.
 
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  • #7
After watching the video, which is interesting, admittedly, I cannot help but feel the answer to be a deflection. Not one that is given unreasonably though. Why did Aunt Millie go to the hospital could quite understandbly lead to the question of why she went to the hospital. Then to how she slipped, why is is slippery, etc. The issue I have with this is because this requires me to recieve an answer to my query, to which I would then need to follow up with more questions that lead me further and further from understanding the original question.

Towards the end of the video his explanations, to me at least, was in the realm of saying "You wouldn't understand because I cannot give you an answer to which you can equate to a situation you can experience" This answer doesn't bother me in the least. I cannot help but feel as if my forewards perhaps led to a quicker response such as you provided. I am not taking anything away from it, I get it. I just think that even with my declaration of not having a level of knowledge equal to your own, even by a far stretch, I did not claim I understood nothing. Perhaps I did not relate that very well.

I know enough to be able to ask the questions ,but my rhetoric is tricky sometimes, unintentionally. The focus of the post was meant to very simply ask why, upon exiting the hardness box, and before entering the color box, do we assume the electron is no longer white, and thus, in a superposition of states, but still measurably soft somehow? Why not assume it's a soft, white electron, and when entering the second color box, the 'weirdness' happens to produce a potentially black electron?

Maybe that did not help my cause any, and I apologize if so. I do see the potential other takeaway I was supposed to get which is "I cant explain to you in terms that will make you understand, so learn more, or be content". But, this seems unfair to me, from my "uneducated perspective". If only because I intentionally focused on the most basic of things within QM. The idea that I couldn't gain understanding due to a limited amount of knowedge, is the very foundation of why QM is difficult for intuitive thinking people I suppose.

If I have to be content with that being a fact, I will do so. I am just not quite convinced of that yet. I do appreciate you taking the time to respond though.
 
  • #8
AngryBeavers said:
Towards the end of the video his explanations, to me at least, was in the realm of saying "You wouldn't understand because I cannot give you an answer to which you can equate to a situation you can experience" This answer doesn't bother me in the least.
This was a statement in error. I had thought it was a much shorter video than it actually is. It was towards the beginning he offered the statment I meant. Apologies. I am watching the remainder now.
 
  • #9
AngryBeavers said:
I know enough to be able to ask the questions ,but my rhetoric is tricky sometimes, unintentionally.
My point in quoting the learned prof Feynman was to accentuate the problem of answering any "open ended" question. If you think it is tricky to ask the question in a coherent way, just imagine how difficult it is to answer that same question. Feynman is always worth revisiting (reading or video lecture). The man was was a deep thinker with clear vision.
 
  • #10
hutchphd said:
My point in quoting the learned prof Feynman was to accentuate the problem of answering any "open ended" question.
I can see the point. Like if someone were to ask me something so broad in my field, such as "How does the POS at the front of the store know where to process end of day transactions within the database on the store server". I could tell them about IP Addresses and packets and routing tables but ultimately it wouldn't give them clarity if they didn't know what I was talking about.

I suppose the core of my question, upon reflection now, is that it is my understanding that there is no explanation for why the electron isn't considered to be white and soft upon entering the 2nd color box. I could more easily accept things if that were the case. It's odd to think that "i do not know" is more easily accepted for me than "you do not know how to understand'.
 
  • #11
AngryBeavers said:
Starting simple, is the "weirdness" of electrons. No doubt about it, i've no explanation for the behavior they exhibit. I do not know the attributes being measured, and as such, I am confident that this one will be the easiest to educate my lack of insight in. MIT Courseware vid uses an example I most easily understood so I'll use it here.
I haven't seen the video, but it seems like a unique approach. It's not going to be easy for anyone else to explain what they mean.
AngryBeavers said:
We have a 'color box' and a 'hardness box'. If we fire electrons into the color box, they come out either black or white. Then we take only one color of electron and shoot it through the hardness box and it produces with about 50 percent proportions, a hard electron, or a soft electron. This is 'weird' because either attribute is repeatable. White through a second color box produces white all the time, etc. Further, a white electron into a hardness box coming out soft, and then into another color box produces not a white electron 100 percent of the time, but either black or white half the time.
I guess the idea is that while the electron is in the hardness box, it gets repainted to black or white - although that's not really QM.
AngryBeavers said:
As I am operating on "instinct" here, and what can be intuited ( not a good thing, I am aware ), this tells me that an electron can have any one measurable state in pepertuity.
This is not really a good description of quantum states.
AngryBeavers said:
Two states however, is a 50/50. At least, in this example, its the second box that is the issue. What happens to the white electron that came out soft, then entered the 2nd color box, to make it come out either black or white. This is so confusing to me not because it's weird, but because this way of thinking assumes the white electron, upon exiting the hardness box, is no longer white.
I don't see how this is weird. It could be explained by the colour box changing the hardness. Although, again, that's not the QM model.
AngryBeavers said:
Why cant it be White and Soft? Nothing indicates our first measurement of color would have or should have changed at this point.
Why not? An electron is not a classical particle. QM isn't just a twist on classical physics. QM is a completely new way of describing nature using abstract states or wavefunctions to describe an electron's dynamic properties. MIT is using hardness and colour as incompatible observables. There's nothing logical or rational about that. In the sense that it's inexplicable. The electron property they are trying to model is spin, with colour being spin about one axis; and hardness being spin about another axis. It's a lot more plausible that putting an electron through a magnetic field that aligns its spin about one axis also inevitably scrambles its spin about another axis. I'm not saying that's obvious, but it's not as inexplicable as the relation between hardness and colour.
 
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  • #12
AngryBeavers said:
Why cant it be White and Soft? Nothing indicates our first measurement of color would have or should have changed at this point. After exiting the second color box, sure, that's a problem if it comes out black, so figure out what happened to change it from white to black. Superposition as an actual state just rubs me the wrong way
The quick answer is that there are statistical differences between the sensible-seeming model (sensible because it comes from a lifetime of experience with objects large enough to behave classically) that you are using and the quantum-mechanical state superposition model. These differences can be tested experimentally, the experiments have been done over the past half-century by several generations of physicists, and they unequivocally confirm the quantum mechanical model. The experimental results cannot be explained without superposition.
For more on this subject you can search the QM forum (not the Interpretations subforum) for our many threads on "Bell's Theorem" and "Bell's Inequality". These, especially the B-level threads, contain links to some pretty good explanations - you should make a good-faith effort to understand these before proceeding, and we can help you over the hard spots when you get stuck.
beyond that of visual aid, and for that, I am sorry. It's intuition I know. And a lack of mathematics.
Unfortunately there is no way of doing quantum mechanics without the math. Intuition will take us a very long ways with classical physics because we've spent our entire lives surrounded by classical objects behaving classically, but QM requires developing an intuition for completely different behaviors. We develop that intuition by doing the math, seeing where it takes us.
 
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  • #13
AngryBeavers said:
As to the level, I only had the option for I and A, else I would have chosen B, for sure. I'll look more closely this time.

Also, thank you for the clarification. I just finished writing up a post that I feel fits the guidelines perfectly as it is only me trying to understand one aspect of one of the basics. I'll post it next.
Oh yeah. sorry. The Interpretations forum doesn't have a B level.
 
  • #14
kered rettop said:
Oh yeah. sorry. The Interpretations forum doesn't have a B level.
This is true. The idea is that it is that discussion of the foundations of the theory requires a solid (that is, more solid than math-free heuristic) understanding of the theory.
 
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  • #15
AngryBeavers said:
Why cant it be White and Soft? Nothing indicates our first measurement of color would have or should have changed at this point.
If those were just two binary properties, then there would be no reason for nature to behave like that. But in the end, this sort of behavior happens when the physical degree of freedom is basically just a single qubit, like for example the polarization of a planar electromagnetic wave of a fixed given frequency. You could imagine a setup with beam-splitters which exactly reproduces your described behavior, for example with White/Black modelled as horizontal/vertical polarization, and Soft/Hard as 45°/135° polarization.

Then you might want to ask the next question: why nature has to behave like that in cases where the physical degree of freedom is limited to a single qubit? My guess is that nature has to limit the possible entropy of a single qubit somehow. Even so it is a continuous degree of freedom (basically three real parameters), its entropy "somehow must always be" less than the entropy of 4 different equally likely classical outcomes. Otherwise nature would run into those paradoxes like the ultraviolet catastrophe, which forced Max Planck to introduce quantization and his constant in the first place.
 
  • #16
gentzen said:
If those were just two binary properties, then there would be reason for nature to behave like that.
I guess you mean no reason?
 
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  • #17
It's time to move the physics part of this discussion back to the QM forum. This thread will have given the OP a good starting point for more tightly focused and productive threads there.

This thread is closed - further discussion of moderation policies and how PhysicsForums operates belongs in a new thread.

(As with all thread closures, you may ask any mentor to reopen the thread if there is more to say on the topic)
 
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