Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

I understand Quantum Theory

  1. Nov 9, 2007 #1
    Please tell me what I'm thinking wrong.

    Take Flatland and imagine it on a piece of construction paper. We theorize that the world is curved, so for simplicity's sake, roll up the construction paper into a cylinder. Now take a pencil and poke it completely through. To the Flatlanders, they will see two perfectly thin discs in two different places of their world. If they rotate one of the discs, the other will rotate in the opposite direction simultaneously. The flatlanders would then want to say that the two discs are Quantum entangled - that the discs are separate and in different places of their universe, yet rotating one would effect the other instantly regardless of distance. They would also want to believe that the information they feed to one disc goes to the other faster than the speed of light, when in fact it doesn't travel at all because they're both the same object, just appearing at two different places at the same time.

    Now we can ramp up to 3 dimensions. If a 4th dimensional pencil could be poked into our world the same thing could happen. The pencil would be two 3 dimensional objects in two different places at the same time and rotating one would rotate the other instantly, no matter the distance.

    When I look at quantum tunneling, I can imagine that the only reason it looks as if an electron passes through a barrier, is because I'm looking at it in my limited view - that if I could look at it from another dimension, the barrier could look like a flat ruler with electrons flowing down it and some falling off the sides.

    And maybe with probability clouds, they're only based on uncertainty because we can only see them when they pass through our brane of the universe. They might be completely predictable if we could only see at least one more dimension of them. Like they're constantly vibrating in a dimension we can't see so it looks random to us.

    And maybe the superposition with an interferometer is just the same photon taking two different paths at the same time according to our view, when in fact it's like drawing in a flatland sandbox with two fingers.

    And as we add more dimensions, we can even have parts of two different objects that are actually their own separate object in another dimension. I could go on and on.

    Anyways, my thinking is that it's really not so strange, it only looks strange because we're limited.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 9, 2007 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Are you sure you have "understood" quantum theory to make such a scenario?

  4. Nov 9, 2007 #3
    Your thinking of an un-testable version of General Relativity not Quantum Theory.
  5. Nov 9, 2007 #4


    User Avatar


    the idea of hidden variables underlying quantum behaviour is not new. The problem is, that nobody has ever succeded in making a complete mathematically well-defined theory out of it. There have been efforts by E. Nelson in the 1950's (as I remember), which he called stochastic mechanics, and by Parisi and Wu (1981) with the so-called Langevin approach. The common thing with these approaches is, that the classical equations of motion are augmented by a stochastic force which depends on Planck's constant. This can be considered as a generalization of Brownian motion to the motion of fields rather than particles.

    Surprisingly the Parisi-Wu method is actually underlying the most common approach to simulate quarks on a lattice: the Hybrid Monte-Carlo (HMC) algorithm. But there it is not considered as a fundamental property of nature but rather a kind of numerical tool.

    In order to make sense at a fundamental level, you'd first need a fundamental theory that describes the flatland stuff you are thinking of. From this fundamental theory you'd have to be able to deduce the probabilistic behaviour of the quantum systems that we "flatlanders" observe. Be prepared to encounter some problems with fermions in this picture...
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?