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Books on interpretation of QM

  1. Nov 1, 2011 #1
    Hi, I'm looking for a book that presents a pragmatic interpretation of QM that'd be appropriate for someone who's taken one semester of it.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 1, 2011 #2


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    Ballentine, Quantum Mechanics

    gives the "minimal statistical interpretation" which is the only no-nonsense interpretation available.
  4. Nov 1, 2011 #3
    That is surely a valid opinion, but not more and should be marked as such. And I for one wouldn't agree. I don't buy the other interpretations either, but also not the minimal one. The final word on quantum theory has yet to be spoken and until then I can accept the minimal or even other interpretations as a working tool to help conceptualizing but not as something that holds fundamental physical truth.

    In any case, if someone asks about interpretations he surely wants to see more than one and pick his personal favorite. There are many books out there, but most just cover one interpretation or another. A few that I found useful are:

    Bell: Speakable and unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics
    Saunders, Barrett, etc : Many Worlds?
    Heisenberg: Quantentheorie und Philosophie (Quantum theory and philosophy)
    Jaeger: Entanglement, Information and the Interpretation of Quantum Theory

    Related, but not precisely interpretational:
    Joos, Zeh, etc: Decoherence and the appearance of a classical world in QT
    Schlosshauer: Decoherence and the quantum to classical transition

    Decoherence plays a role in a few interpretations but is not an interpretation on its own. It's good to know the details though, and specifically which problems it doesn't solve, which are most.

    Of course this list reflects my personal preferences, so take it with a (huge) grain of salt. I'm working on ideas that go in a completely different direction, but these books at least show where I have been before.

    Have a good time and don't give up!

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