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B Does quantum mechanics explain why subatomic particles behave the way they do?

  1. Mar 16, 2016 #1
    For example, general relativity relates the behavior of gravity the the deformation of spadetime. But does quantum mechanics explain why particles behave the way they do? Or does it only explain how processes such as entanglement work not why they occur.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 16, 2016 #2

    DrChinese

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    Welcome to PhysicsForums, KarminValso1724!

    Generally speaking, the answer to your question is no. The consensus is that QM explains (or describes or predicts) the behavioral outcomes of a statistical ensemble of particles. Past that, there is much speculation but no consensus.
     
  4. Mar 16, 2016 #3

    bhobba

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    In a sense QM is a meta theory that sits on top of other theories:
    http://www.scottaaronson.com/democritus/lec9.html
    'So, what is quantum mechanics? Even though it was discovered by physicists, it's not a physical theory in the same sense as electromagnetism or general relativity. In the usual "hierarchy of sciences" -- with biology at the top, then chemistry, then physics, then math -- quantum mechanics sits at a level between math and physics that I don't know a good name for. Basically, quantum mechanics is the operating system that other physical theories run on as application software (with the exception of general relativity, which hasn't yet been successfully ported to this particular OS). There's even a word for taking a physical theory and porting it to this OS: "to quantize."'

    Its basic essence is its what's called a generalised probability model. Its the simplest one that allows continuous transformations between so called pure states:
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/quant-ph/0101012.pdf

    The real issue with QM isn't this particles can be in two places at once stuff and similar sensationalist claims in the popular press. Its that the probability model that is QM is applied to observations that occur in an assumed common sense classical world. How a theory that assumes such from the start explains such a world is the real issue with QM. Great progress has been made in that - but a few issues remain. Start a new thread if you want to pursue it.

    Thanks
    Bill
     
  5. Mar 17, 2016 #4

    vanhees71

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    Science never "explains" nature but it describes it as accurately as possible, and quantum theory so far describes very well nearly everything. The only thing we cannot describe yet in a satisfactory way with quantum theory is gravity.
     
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