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De Broglie Bohm interpretation & virtual particles

  1. Feb 5, 2013 #1
    I sincerely apologise if this has been asked previously, I searched via Google and have been unable to find an answer I understand. How does the de Broglie-Bohm, or Pilot Wave, interpretation, well interpret virtual particles. The beauty of the deBB interpretation seems to be the unity of the quantum-world and the everyday world (no magic observation mysteriously collapsing an superposition, or splitting the multiverse), but virtual particles seem so indeterminate that they provide, in my understanding, difficilty for deBB.
    If it helps you gauge the level of answer to give I studied physics in the UK until 18, and my university education was largely in medical biology. Though equations are appreciated for sake of completion...i doubt i will do any more than partially understand them.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 6, 2013 #2

    tom.stoer

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    deBB is an interpretation of the formalism of non-rel. QM. Virtual particles are a name for some mathematical aspects of an approximation (perturbation theory) of full quantum field theory QFT). Neither is deBB complete (not applicable to QFT) nor is the picture of virtual particles complete (limited applicability of perturbation theory).

    You should not try to infer an interpretation of a limited formalism based on another limited formalism.
     
  4. Feb 6, 2013 #3
    Thankyou,
    As I understood it QFT is an attempt to unify describe what happens to the laws of quantum physics when combined with relativistic laws, am I oversimplifying, or mistaken? Aren't there attempts to produce a relativistic version of deBB? If so do these attempt to define virtual particles? I apologise if the answer is again that the interpretation is too incomplete to make an viable description.
    The copenhagen explanation seems, in layman's terms, to be vacuum energy is subject to heisenberg uncertainty, virtual particles can arise for a short time, indeterministically, at random. Is this due to the Copenhagen Interpretation being more developed than deBB?
     
  5. Feb 6, 2013 #4

    Demystifier

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    It is not true that deBB is not applicable to QFT. See e.g.
    http://arxiv.org/abs/0904.2287 [Int. J. Mod. Phys. A25:1477-1505, 2010]
     
  6. Feb 6, 2013 #5
    Thankyou Mr.Nikolic, I will attempt to understand what you have written and then attempt to ask an intelligent question and less than 2 stupid questions.
     
  7. Feb 6, 2013 #6

    Demystifier

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    That's perhaps slightly oversimplified, but essentially correct.

    Of course. See e.g.
    http://arxiv.org/abs/1205.1992

    The interpretation is sufficiently complete to include the effects of virtual particles. However, just as in ordinary QFT, in Bohmian QFT virtual particles are merely a useful calculation tool not corresponding to actual reality.

    Well, that's what popular-science books say, but that's not exactly how professional physicists think of it.

    No. In fact, concerning conceptual questions of the kind you ask, deBB is much better developed that Copenhagen, in the sense that deBB provides a more consistent intuitive picture of what might really going on when nobody observes.
     
  8. Feb 6, 2013 #7

    Demystifier

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    You are welcome! :smile:
    By the way, stupid questions are sometimes better than the intelligent ones. :wink:
     
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