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Interpretations of QM - List

  1. Nov 22, 2004 #1
    Hi Everyone,
    I am compiling a list of all the interpretations of QM and to later put on a website with detailed information on all of them and if they have any problems, etc. Here is my list so far. I would appreciate if anyone had any to add or if you find any that aren't interpretations or belong with another. Also, have any of these been falsified or suffer from any serious problems?


    Copenhagen (waveform real)
    Copeghagen (waveform not real)
    Theory Of Elementary Waves
    Mangled Worlds
    Consistent Histories
    Renselle's Heuristic
    Stein Ontology
    Conscience Creation
    Heisenberg Duplex
    Quantum Logic
    Multiple Natures
    Extended Probability
    Penrose's Interpretation (?)
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2004
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  3. Nov 22, 2004 #2
  4. Nov 23, 2004 #3


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    I didn't even know there were so many interpretations.
    Does anyone know of a website where I can read about all of those?
    (I guess not, or caspiansea wouldn't be working on one. But I`m trying anyway).
  5. Nov 23, 2004 #4


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    But even then, there's still one glaring omission - the Feyman's non-interpretation of "Shut Up And Calculate", which I think, is what most practicing physicists adopt.

  6. Nov 23, 2004 #5
    Here are some links:
    [1] The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
    Many links there ...
    [2] The Nine Lives of Schroedinger's Cat:
    This is basically an Imperial College MSc dissertation.

  7. Nov 23, 2004 #6
    I think that's not an easy task you've set yourself. :smile:

    A lot of the interpretations are inter-related, and one forms part -- or can form part of -- another intepretation.

    "Decoherent Histories" is another interpretation, "Decoherence" not really being an interpretation on its own. Consistent Histories and Decoherent Histories are basically the same thing, with Decoherent Histories being a broader, deeper version, and they're both Everett and Copenhagen interpretations as well.

    There are books and papers you can look up that will give you of which interpretation fits where, and even if some actually are interpretations.

    ashfaque's link to the Stanford website is a good place to start as the pages give lots of references.

    People like d'Espagnat, Bell, Bohm and Omnes are likely to be good sources of information.

    Good luck. :smile:
  8. Nov 24, 2004 #7
  9. Nov 25, 2004 #8
    Have u started?
  10. Nov 26, 2004 #9
    Hi - Yes, I am just starting. I didn't realize there were this many interpretations :smile: If anyone wants to help out let me know. I am especially interested in comparing each of them to Afshar's epxeriment (if it is confirmed) to see if they survive.
  11. Nov 26, 2004 #10
    You can count me in!
    And a B-I-G Occam's Razor will be required! (to cut the interpretations)

    Good Luck!

  12. Nov 26, 2004 #11
    Afshar's experiment just confirms standard quantum theory. It's a pity Afshar doesn't understand that. When both holes are open, the interference effect is there in front of the focusing lens whether the wires are in place or not.

    This guy has pictures of the experiment but talks about it in a way that's a bit overcomplicated for just pointing out the error:


    I'd say the simple way of putting the error is this:

    The entire righthandside of the experiment is irrelevant. Imagine putting a card between the wires and focusing lens in Afshar's experiment, all that you'd see on the card is the usual two slit interference pattern when both holes are open. It's still there whether you take the wires away or put them back.

    It's then exactly like the usual two-slit experiment, just it now involves a two-slit experiment that involves putting wires right at the screen at the gaps in the pattern and calling that we can put wires here and that nothing changes a "discovery".

    Nope, it's just standard quantum theory again. :smile:

    Putting wires in front of the screen in the two-slit experiment when only one hole is open would also give you the same effect as Afshar's experiment when one hole is open, that being the wires block part of the patterns. They'd simply cast shadows in the two-slit experiment.

    Back to the two-slit experiment when both slits are open, we can maybe even beat Afshar at this and and put wires in all sorts of places in front of the screen predicted by destructive interference to have no chance of a photon being there. Same result. :biggrin:
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2004
  13. Nov 27, 2004 #12
    Hi Caribou,

    If you think that Afshar experiment is wrong then you can discuss about that in the official blog at http://irims.org/blog/index.php and explain why it is wrong. I would like to see you there.

  14. Nov 27, 2004 #13
    This should be the "statistic" point of view: what we have are probabilities and a way to compute them, i.e. the interpretation is removed, just calculus and experimental results are kept, a way to leave the interpretation philosophy to philosophers’ hands.

    In addition, there is also the quantum probability, the "vaxjo school interpretation".

  15. Nov 27, 2004 #14
    In the book <<Quantum Theory: Reconsideration of Foundation-2>>. Vaxjo University Press, 2003, p. 315-322, you can find Stochastic Gravitational Interpretation http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/quant-ph/0212139.
    In this interpretation de-Brougle waves have the gravitational random origin.
  16. Nov 27, 2004 #15
    Just people mentioning Feynman's Shut Up and Calculate approach, he did eventually seem to agree with Gell-Mann and Hartle on the decoherent histories interpretation being a good thing:

    It is worth mentioning that the figure caption on the last page of the article is misleading. The photograph shows Richard Feynman and one of us (Gell-Mann), and the caption describes Gell-Mann as ``one of the most sensible critics of orthodox quantum theory'' and Feynman as ``one of its most sensible defenders.'' In fact, both physicists held very similar views of quantum mechanics. Some months before Feynman's death in 1988, Gell-Mann described to a class at Caltech the status of our work on decoherent histories at that time. Feynman was in attendance, and at the end of the class, he stood up, and some of the students expected an exciting argument. But his comment was, ``I agree with everything you said.''


    Feynman and Gell-Mann had been discussing quantum theory on and off for decades to the extent that Gell-Mann thanks him in a paper he wrote with Hartle that I think is the first published paper on decoherent histories.
  17. Nov 27, 2004 #16
    I might do that, I don't know. :smile:
  18. Nov 27, 2004 #17
    In compiling a list of interpretations, it might be useful to set some criteria to distinguish fully fledged interpretations from "interesting ideas". Otherwise the list is bound to become overcomplicated. Here are a couple of ideas:

    - It must be able to reproduce all of nonrelativistic quantum mechanics, including spin and multiparticle systems (note, Cramer's transactional interpretation would fail on the last point at the moment).

    - It must be extendible to a fully fledged interpreatation of quantum field theory. This might be an over-stringent requirement, since many realist interpretataions, such as Bohmian mechanics, have many field-theory variants, but none that are universally agreed to be correct.

    I think it is a useful task to try and compile a list of all known interpretations of quantum theory. However, Ashfar's experiment doesn't have anything to say about them.
  19. Nov 27, 2004 #18
    In http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-ph/0206103, "A New Interpretation on Quantum Mechanics", Guang-jiong Ni presented a new interpretation, though he did not assigned any name to it. We can call it "Ni interpretation". I think he will be happy about it
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