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Modern theoretical QM research

  1. Nov 27, 2011 #1
    I have a BS in Physics and Math, and am taking a 2 year hiatus to bike to Argentina. I'm currently 3000 miles in, 14000 left.
    Anyway, I am going to apply to graduate school for admission 2013, and I'm interested in theoretical physics. Primarily, I am interested in the foundations of quantum mechanics - the dispute between Einstein and Bohr over what we came to call entanglement is really fascinating. I don't have access to much while I am on the bike trip, but I have been reading their old papers on the subject, as well as Bell's paper on the topic ("Concerning Bertlmann's Socks" or something like that). Anyway, it seems to me as though there is still interesting work to be done on the subject, but most physicists, even theorists, seem to take a very practical approach to it and disregard any questions about the fundamental basis of QM as philosophy.
    Basically, I am interested in finding modern research into the basis of Quantum Mechanics, possibly a continuation of Bell's work. Is anyone doing this? Where can I find papers on the subject? I am trying to decide which graduate schools to apply to, and so I would like to find professors who share my interests.

  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 27, 2011 #2
    One thing about the argument is that it's been settled. Einstein was wrong. Whether Bohr is right or not is up for grabs.

    It's a small niche.

    You can start with the papers here.....


    Some other google terms "Roland Omnes" and the "black hole information problem."

    Look at the papers and see where the professors are. It's probably better if you look for graduate schools where people are working on the experimental aspects of Bell's inequality. There really isn't that much theoretical work on the topic, because the theory is pretty much reached something of a dead end (i.e. if QM is correct, then we have these weird effects, and we have a number of different interpretations which are experimentally indistinguishable, now what?). There is a lot of thinking and argument over the black hole information paradox, but that's also reaching a dead end, since it's hard to do quantum experiments with black holes.

    Personally, I think that the experimental parts are more interesting because to set up something that actually tests the Bell inequality requires non-trivial amounts of applied physics. Also what theory is going on is less "pure theory" than trying to come up with clever new experiments.

    Also something that is related but much more active are the fields of "quantum computing" and "quantum cryptography." There is a lot of active theory that basically starts with the rules of QM and then tries to figure out how to calculate things.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2011
  4. Nov 27, 2011 #3


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    Have a look at the Perimeter Institute
    http://www.perimeterinstitute.ca/en/Scientific/Research/Quantum_Foundations/ [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  5. Nov 28, 2011 #4
    What was Einstein wrong about? I think his viewpoint is commonly misunderstood. And when you say the debate is settled, what is the result of the debate? Einstein was trying to defend local realism, a principle that I don't think has been universally rejected.
  6. Nov 28, 2011 #5


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    There are lots of experiments that -thanks to the theoretical work by Bell, Legget and others- have shown that all theories that are based on local realism must be wrong.
    There is still Bohmian mechanics etc (which predict the same experimental outcomes as conventional QM), but "conventional" local realism is not in agreement with experiments.

    So yes, Einstein was wrong.
  7. Nov 28, 2011 #6
    Have a look at this


    I have the feeling that you might find that type of research mainly in Europe and especially around Balkan countries since in America it is either impress or perish. These type of things unfortunately do not impress as much as they used to do. Now a days people rush to advanced applications without solving conceptual difficulties that seem to arise in theories. They just sweep it under the carpet (or into some constants).
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