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Is there current research going on in quantum mechanics?

  1. Oct 8, 2015 #1
    I have been recently introduced to QM and I am deeply interested in it. I have come to know that quantum cryptography, quantum computing, and quantum optics are the hot areas where research is going on. But I'm curious, is there theoretical research going on for understanding of the quantum world? Or is the quantum theory just like a tool to explore other things, like condensed matter?

    Do people do a PhD in 'quantum mechanics' the same way as 'high energy physics'? Or is QM too broad a topic.Forgive me if this is a naive question.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 8, 2015 #2
    Basic quantum mechanics was pretty much complete in the 1920s. It's no longer an area of study. You're right: it is a tool that people use (from physicists to some engineers).
  4. Oct 8, 2015 #3


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    There are some people who do research into "foundational issues" such as Bell's Theorem and the CHSH inequality, which (roughly speaking) quantify the "weirdness" of QM. There are important experiments that test these things. Browse around our Quantum Physics forum for threads related to Bell's Theorem, in particular. It's a regular subject of discussion here.
  5. Oct 9, 2015 #4


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    Quantum chaos, albeit (by definition) not exclusively "quantum mechanical", is another area of research that may be of interest to the OP. There one is concerned with the relationship between quantum and classical dynamics, particularly in case the latter is chaotic.
  6. Oct 10, 2015 #5

    Meir Achuz

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    Go to arxiv.org, and click on "quantum physics". You will see that it is an active area of current research with about twenty new papers posted a day. It was not "complete in the 1920s".
  7. Oct 10, 2015 #6
    Nobody said it was. Don't leave out descriptive text when you quote people.
  8. Oct 10, 2015 #7
    Researching quantum mechanics itself (as opposed to using it as a tool) is about like buggy whip making. There are, in fact, still buggy whip makers today, and if a craftsman or manufacturer had both the opportunity and interest in making a few, more power to them.

    That doesn't make it a wise career choice, and you'll find very few people who have a PhD like what you're suggesting.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2015
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