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

Multiverse vs Copenhagen, John von Neumann

  1. Dec 13, 2011 #1
    According to John von Neumann’s interpretation of QM, consciousness is why the wave function collapses. Copenhagen is on the same general idea, but does not mention it that categorically.

    Multiverse interpretation of QM says there is no wave function collapse, therefore the observer or consciousness has no role in it. All probabilities of a particle exist in other alternative universes. So we come to the following scenarios.

    Either all the other alternative universes exist already. This would make sense in Einstein’s universe were all spacetime is a continuum and therefore all is already determined from the beginning (no real choices); or

    The observer by observing a possibility of a particle, chooses an alternative universe, many other alternative universes split from this original act. In this scenario, the observer plays a bigger role than in the Copenhagen or John von Neumann interpretation.

    In this interpretation the observer does not collapse a wave function, it creates alternative universes.

    Which is more crazy?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 13, 2011 #2

    and which is more sexy?
  4. Dec 13, 2011 #3
    I don't believe than von Neuman ever subscribed to the "consciousness collapses the wave function". There are so many versions of Copenhagen out there that I can't say you are wrong but, most people who advocate Copenhagen do not hold this position. The only prominent physicist who did was Eugene Wigner and he later recanted.

    As to the "either.. or..." who is more crazy question. Perhaps both are wrong. There are many other alternatives out there "decoherence" is one and another is that the wave function is merely an encapsulation of the observers knowledge of the quantum system; when the observer performs a measurement he has new information and the wave function "instantaneously" changes as he incorporates the new information into his wave function.

Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook