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Interpretations of QM

  1. Jun 12, 2010 #1

    I been reading on some of the different interpretations of QM (Many Worlds, Copenhagen, polit wave, etc.), and I still can't figure it out: Are these interpretations beneficial to QM? Have we ever gained any new insight from these?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 13, 2010 #2
    There's still no experiment that would rule out any interpretation of QM. There's Bell experiment that hit hidden variables interpretations, but there are still people who believe in it, rejecting Special Relativity instead. Some interpretations are deliberately unfalsifiable.
  4. Jun 13, 2010 #3


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    To believe in hidden variables, one does not need to reject special relativity:
  5. Jun 14, 2010 #4
    I do not think physics without interpretations stands. The point is which one is most useful. Now many scientists' favorite is Copenhagen.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2010
  6. Jun 14, 2010 #5
    Not, per se, wrt to its application. That is, they neither detract from nor add to the efficacy of standard qm (interpreted as a probability calculus employing the Born rule) as an empirical theory of quantum phenomena.

    Most definitely yes. There are many eloquent and sophisticated proponents, some of whom are working physicists, of the various interpretations of qm right here at PF. The definitive interpretation of qm is an open question in physics. It's a lifetime of work. Don't expect an easy answer. There are regular contributors to PF whose perspectives and insights regarding qm will help you to learn. There have been some very enlightening discussions wrt interpretations of qm through the years here at PF. Research all threads, current and past, pertaining to your question.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2010
  7. Jun 14, 2010 #6


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    It depends on what the questions you ask are. If you are interested in practical applications of QM, such as calculations of atom energy levels or scattering amplitudes, then they are not much beneficial. If you ask more fundamental questions, then you cannot avoid interpretations.
  8. Jun 14, 2010 #7
    I'm with Demystifier here. In fact one of the primary motivations for hidden variables is to avoid the nonlocal issue, i.e., to avoid a rejection of Special Relativity. The nonlocal hidden variable theories is a separate class which I spend minimal time getting familiar with.
  9. Jun 14, 2010 #8


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    Well, my point is that it is possible to have both NONlocality and special relativity at the same time.

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