# Perhaps quantum physics is elegant, but we lack an understanding?

## Main Question or Discussion Point

Well, unlike other areas of physics where the rules are predictable 100% of the time and every aspect can be known with definite precision, quantum dynamics is not as elegant.

For example, we can know the position of a an electron, but not it's speed or so on, or something like that. Perhaps the quantum world is so hectic and not as elegant because our current equations and laws are not sufficient to let us view them correctly?

The current equations for quantum physics are genius, but could it be that they are no sufficient and that no brilliance could ever unlock an elegant view of quantum mechanics?

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ZapperZ
Staff Emeritus
relativitydude said:
Well, unlike other areas of physics where the rules are predictable 100% of the time and every aspect can be known with definite precision, quantum dynamics is not as elegant.

For example, we can know the position of a an electron, but not it's speed or so on, or something like that. Perhaps the quantum world is so hectic and not as elegant because our current equations and laws are not sufficient to let us view them correctly?

The current equations for quantum physics are genius, but could it be that they are no sufficient and that no brilliance could ever unlock an elegant view of quantum mechanics?
It isn't QM that is dictating this. A theory cannot dictate what Nature is. The "other areas of physics" only APPEARS to have rules that are "100%" predictable, because they do not deal with the scale and the conditions that QM has to deal with.

BTW, here's something to think about - if QM isn't "predictable", how come your electronics work predictably, or that you would trust your life in, for example, an MRI?

Zz.

relativitydude said:
Well, unlike other areas of physics where the rules are predictable 100% of the time and every aspect can be known with definite precision, quantum dynamics is not as elegant.

For example, we can know the position of a an electron, but not it's speed or so on, or something like that. Perhaps the quantum world is so hectic and not as elegant because our current equations and laws are not sufficient to let us view them correctly?

The current equations for quantum physics are genius, but could it be that they are no sufficient and that no brilliance could ever unlock an elegant view of quantum mechanics?
I read an article once that complained a lot about how QM was just a device for fitting the known data to some equation, a curve fitting process. It seems that we don't yet have the fundamental principles from which QM is derived.

I have a suspicion that I think should be fully investigated by those more skilled in the art. I suspect that there is a conservation of information law at the heart of QM. In QM each alternative possibility has a probability of that alternative happening. Each alternative should have some entropy or information associated with that particular alternative. Paths that are far from the classical limit would have more entropy, etc. So there is information associated with the structure of each alternative, and there is information associated with the probability of that alternative happening. I suspect that these two sources of information would be equal and form some sort of conservation of information law.

ZapperZ
Staff Emeritus
Mike2 said:
I read an article once that complained a lot about how QM was just a device for fitting the known data to some equation, a curve fitting process. It seems that we don't yet have the fundamental principles from which QM is derived.
You could say that with every physics principles. So why pick on QM alone?

Secondly, what exactly is meant by "the fundamental principles"? People throw this around as IF this is something that is obviously known.

Zz.

ZapperZ said:
You could say that with every physics principles. So why pick on QM alone?
Well, let's see. QM gives a classical limit, but we don't know why QM should be necessary other than it fits the data. Also, there is the search for Quantum Gravity, and there is a few approaches being tried: Loop Quantum Gravity, Dynamical Triangulation, String Theory, etc. So it would help if there were a principle that determined which QM approach is correct.

ZapperZ said:
Secondly, what exactly is meant by "the fundamental principles"? People throw this around as IF this is something that is obviously known.

Zz.
Right. What I mean by fundamental is some principle which is undeniable because it comes from reasoning itself. For example: reality is a topology because it seems undeniable that unions and intersections of parts of reality are also parts of reality. Likewise, it seems undeniable that the universe as a whole cannot lose information... where can it go except somewhere that we also include as part of the universe.

relativitydude said:
Well, unlike other areas of physics where the rules are predictable 100% of the time and every aspect can be known with definite precision, quantum dynamics is not as elegant.

For example, we can know the position of a an electron, but not it's speed or so on, or something like that. Perhaps the quantum world is so hectic and not as elegant because our current equations and laws are not sufficient to let us view them correctly?

The current equations for quantum physics are genius, but could it be that they are no sufficient and that no brilliance could ever unlock an elegant view of quantum mechanics?
Have you ever seen a real experiment where the initial conditions are given with an infinite precision (e.g. classical mechanics)?

All the known experiments (at least, the ones I know) involve some uncertainty.

Therefore, what is the strangest? a theory allowing a possible system description with an infinite precision that has never seen in any experiment or QM theory postulating the uncertainty on the knowledge as a fundamental point?

If I take only the existing experimental results, I will be more confindent in QM theory than in any other theory allowing a deterministic (non statistical) description as a postulate.

Seratend.

ZapperZ said:
BTW, here's something to think about - if QM isn't "predictable", how come your electronics work predictably, or that you would trust your life in, for example, an MRI?

Zz.
Well sometimes, even an electronic device commits some errors :tongue2: (for example a CMOS inverter, has a probability - very low - to give some errors as any detectors- it is sometimes basically modelled with a noise signal).
And when I take a software program like w......s on my computer, I really believe in QM or may be in gremlins

Seratend.

ZapperZ
Staff Emeritus
Mike2 said:
Well, let's see. QM gives a classical limit, but we don't know why QM should be necessary other than it fits the data. Also, there is the search for Quantum Gravity, and there is a few approaches being tried: Loop Quantum Gravity, Dynamical Triangulation, String Theory, etc. So it would help if there were a principle that determined which QM approach is correct.
First of all, there seems to be this "trivialization" of the fact that "QM fits the data". Irregardless on whether this is really an accurate statement, the fact that something AGREES with an experimental measurement should be already an astounding observation.

Secondly, you seem to think that all of QM is nothing more than phenomenology. If this is so, then I question your understanding of what QM is. QM just doesn't FIT data. How did Dirac "fit" his data to came up with the existence of antiparticles? There were no "data" to fit! How did Luttinger "fit" his data to came up with the spin-charge fractionalization when it hasn't been discovered back then?

Right. What I mean by fundamental is some principle which is undeniable because it comes from reasoning itself. For example: reality is a topology because it seems undeniable that unions and intersections of parts of reality are also parts of reality. Likewise, it seems undeniable that the universe as a whole cannot lose information... where can it go except somewhere that we also include as part of the universe.
So where in physics do you get this? Nowhere! Again, why pick on QM only?

What you want is MATHEMATICS. Physics starts and ends with physical observation. It is why there are postulates that appear not out of First Principles, but out of numerous observations. There are no First Principle derivation for the constancy of the speed of light, nor the conservation of momentum. These cannot be arrived at simply by logic, because they are the physical principle of the universe we live in.

You should not confuse the fact that the physics (from the level you understand it) doesn't fit your world view with it being not having a "fundamental principle". Maybe the "lack of understanding" in the title of this thread should FIRST be directed inwardly to make sure none of what is being claimed is based on ignorance of the subject matter.

Zz.

ZapperZ said:
So where in physics do you get this? Nowhere! Again, why pick on QM only?

ZapperZ said:
What you want is MATHEMATICS. Physics starts and ends with physical observation. It is why there are postulates that appear not out of First Principles, but out of numerous observations. There are no First Principle derivation for the constancy of the speed of light, nor the conservation of momentum. These cannot be arrived at simply by logic, because they are the physical principle of the universe we live in.

Zz.
Basing postulates on nothing more than observation only begs the question as to why things are as they are. It is the same as giving up on the search for truth. It is an arbitrary choice to be content with a particular set of observations when more detailed observations require more detailed answers. It is not possible to finish with inquiry until the answer stem from the principles of reasoning itself. So physics will not be complete until it can be derived from logic. Anything less is just stopping for a moment to look at your accomplishment in order to be proud of yourself. :grumpy:

Even conservation law are based on invariance principles acording to Noether.

Mike2 said:
Right. What I mean by fundamental is some principle which is undeniable because it comes from reasoning itself.
Well, you should look at godel incompletness theorem (1931) and even with mathematics a consistent theory may be taken as wright or wrong (you cannot demonstrate it is wright or wrong).

Mike2 said:
For example: reality is a topology because it seems undeniable that unions and intersections of parts of reality are also parts of reality.
Your own reality seems to be a little bit too restrictive comparatively with the current physical models: in this case, Reality is more a sigma-algebra than a topology.
And if you look further on, you will discover that all the currently used physical models are based on the set theory, say zermello-frankel axiomatic set theory (unions, intersections, etc...). It is a consistent theory: you can take the axioms as true, what we impliciteley do with the current physical theories or you may assume them false.
Even the mathematical logic is not able to say if reality is true or not!

Mike2 said:
So physics will not be complete until it can be derived from logic. Anything less is just stopping for a moment to look at your accomplishment in order to be proud of yourself.
You are asking for the completeness of physics based on mathematical tools that are "incomplete" by principle.

Mathematics have discovered the modesty with persons like Godel during the first half of the 20th century like classical physics with the advent of quantum physics.

Sometimes, it is good to know the limits of our current logic and structures. One of the most simple examples is: the set of all the possible sets is not a set.

Seratend.

ZapperZ
Staff Emeritus
Mike2 said:
Even conservation law are based on invariance principles acording to Noether.
I could play your game too. I could ask, so why is there "invariance principles"? Such symmetries are NEVER derived logically. They are only realized after all the observations that are made. Just look at the history of discoveries that led to Noether to arrive at that conclusion. It was based, FIRST, on the discoveries of all those conservation laws based entirely on observations. Thus, those invariance principles are NOT derived out of some "fundamental derivations".

I still question your understanding of QM to be able to question it. This, you have never addressed in this and all your postings.

Zz.

Mike2 said:
Right. What I mean by fundamental is some principle which is undeniable because it comes from reasoning itself..
Nobody has ever started with mathematics and derived the universe. I think it can be proved that this is always impossible. Mathematics and reasoning without observation clearly alllow for an infinite spectrum of 'possible' universes. Most of these would be nothing like the observed one we live in.

Basically, the whole thing doesn't work like that and never has. When you introduce observation you then can make predictions based on experience. This is reasoning isn't it?

seratend said:
Well, you should look at godel incompletness theorem (1931) and even with mathematics a consistent theory may be taken as wright or wrong (you cannot demonstrate it is wright or wrong).
The effort to complete physics is not the same as the effort to complete mathematics. We are not trying to find every single mathematical expression which is true or provable within mathematics. That's not what physics is trying to do. In fact, we are looking for only one equation, not all of them, that describes our reality. Therefore, Godel's Incompleteness Theorem is irrelevant.

jackle said:
Nobody has ever started with mathematics and derived the universe. I think it can be proved that this is always impossible. Mathematics and reasoning without observation clearly alllow for an infinite spectrum of 'possible' universes. Most of these would be nothing like the observed one we live in.
Basically, I think we are getting quite close. When we start to think that spacetime itself may be a quantum mechanical superposition of various geometries, all we need is a more fundamental reason for accepting QM superpositions to begin with, and we may be done. I am of the opinion (though not proven yet) that some sort of conservation of information law is at the heart of QM.

jackle said:
Basically, the whole thing doesn't work like that and never has. When you introduce observation you then can make predictions based on experience. This is reasoning isn't it?
The problem is that if you do not have a physics based on principles of logic itself, and instead have one based on curve fitting of prior observation, then you can never really say that things could not be any other way. As far as you know, something fundamental could change and physics could start operating differently than it did in the past. You can't say that it won't. But if physics were derived from logic (reasoning) alone, then everyone would have to conclude that physic could not change.

ZapperZ
Staff Emeritus
Mike2 said:
The problem is that if you do not have a physics based on principles of logic itself, and instead have one based on curve fitting of prior observation, then you can never really say that things could not be any other way. As far as you know, something fundamental could change and physics could start operating differently than it did in the past. You can't say that it won't. But if physics were derived from logic (reasoning) alone, then everyone would have to conclude that physic could not change.
CURVE FITTING. So then I was right. You have an erroneous impression that QM (and physics, in fact) is nothing more than phenomenology.

I have shown why this is incorrect (refer to Dirac and Luttinger examples). The whole area of phase transitions IS the study of things that simply will not "fit" into any smooth "curve fitting".

Have you ever considered the possibility that it is your knowledge of QM that is faulty here? "Imagination without knowledge is ignorance waiting to happen".

Zz.

russ_watters
Mentor
relativitydude said:
Well, unlike other areas of physics where the rules are predictable 100% of the time and every aspect can be known with definite precision, quantum dynamics is not as elegant.

For example, we can know the position of a an electron, but not it's speed or so on, or something like that. Perhaps the quantum world is so hectic and not as elegant because our current equations and laws are not sufficient to let us view them correctly?
It may surprise you to learn that QM has produced the most precise and accurate predictions of any theory, ever. Strange, that this would come from a theory that says some things can't even be known, huh?
Mike2 said:
The problem is that if you do not have a physics based on principles of logic itself, and instead have one based on curve fitting of prior observation, then you can never really say that things could not be any other way. As far as you know, something fundamental could change and physics could start operating differently than it did in the past. You can't say that it won't. But if physics were derived from logic (reasoning) alone, then everyone would have to conclude that physic could not change.
That's Aristotle's view - everything can be figured out via logic alone. Its quite obviously an invalid approach to science: it has been used in the past and gives wrong answers about how things work.

ZapperZ
Staff Emeritus
Janus20 said:
the TERMINAL PROBLEM with physics are the Physicists that pretentiously practice it.

At www.unifiedtheory.org.uk there is an unanswerable proof of this. $500,000,000,000 to$1 says that I am right.
I'm sorry, but you are pointing to a site that claims some work to be "irreverant", and you're accusing me of being pretentious? Hello?

The "terminal problem" here is that we have the ignorant who are claiming to know everything, when in reality, they don't know when something new comes along even when it bites them on their rear end.

http://insti.physics.sunysb.edu/~siegel/quack.html

Zz.

russ_watters said:
That's Aristotle's view - everything can be figured out via logic alone. Its quite obviously an invalid approach to science: it has been used in the past and gives wrong answers about how things work.
See:
http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/0205039

ZapperZ
Staff Emeritus
Mike2 said:
Good grief! THIS is what you have been trying to champion?!!

Again, it appears that you are confusing between the formalism of QM and the interpretation of QM. Read carefully the very text you are refering to. ALL the formalism of QM are INTACT, whether you believe him or not! The equation for an entangled state is still IDENTICAL! Of course, you would have known that had you learned QM.

This is a paper on how to look at the SAME formalism differently. It would be nice to know if it has been published anywhere (or do you not care?). This belongs more in the philosophy section than on here.

Zz.

ZapperZ said:
Good grief! THIS is what you have been trying to champion?!!

Again, it appears that you are confusing between the formalism of QM and the interpretation of QM. Read carefully the very text you are refering to. ALL the formalism of QM are INTACT, whether you believe him or not! The equation for an entangled state is still IDENTICAL! Of course, you would have known that had you learned QM.

This is a paper on how to look at the SAME formalism differently. It would be nice to know if it has been published anywhere (or do you not care?). This belongs more in the philosophy section than on here.

Zz.
What formalism am I trying to change? I did not even write an equation yet. I am merely suggesting a reason for QM the way it is today. I wasn't trying to change anything. Your criticism is presumptuous at best, it is a strawman at worst.

ZapperZ
Staff Emeritus
Mike2 said:
What formalism am I trying to change? I did not even write an equation yet. I am merely suggesting a reason for QM the way it is today. I wasn't trying to change anything. Your criticism is presumptuous at best, it is a strawman at worst.
You are correct. It was presumptuous of me to assume that you have very little formal knowledge of QM based simply of what you have written. I AM wrong in making this assumption, aren't I?

Let's see what you have written:

I read an article once that complained a lot about how QM was just a device for fitting the known data to some equation, a curve fitting process. It seems that we don't yet have the fundamental principles from which QM is derived.
You shouldn't be talking about making a "strawman", when you REPEATEDLY make the claim that QM is nothing more than a glorified curve fitting. If it is, then keeping the formulation, but changing its interpretation changes NOTHING. That's the same irrational act as changing NMR into MRI so that it sounds more "safe". If you truly believe that QM is nothing more than curve fitting, you should also be weary of that website you proudly cited, since he did nothing more than change the color of the stripe on the tiger. The formulation is still identical! Nothing has changed, except your "feelings" towards it.

Zz.

ZapperZ said:
You shouldn't be talking about making a "strawman", when you REPEATEDLY make the claim that QM is nothing more than a glorified curve fitting. If it is, then keeping the formulation, but changing its interpretation changes NOTHING. That's the same irrational act as changing NMR into MRI so that it sounds more "safe". If you truly believe that QM is nothing more than curve fitting, you should also be weary of that website you proudly cited, since he did nothing more than change the color of the stripe on the tiger. The formulation is still identical! Nothing has changed, except your "feelings" towards it.

Zz.
Are you saying there is no value in discovering some fundamental principle from which QM is derived?

ZapperZ
Staff Emeritus
Mike2 said:
Are you saying there is no value in discovering some fundamental principle from which QM is derived?
No, I am saying that there's no value in discovering some fundamental principle from which QM is "derived" when you have no clue what QM is in the first place. How can you derive something when you have no idea what it is in the first place? This is an irrational act.

Zz.

ZapperZ said:
No, I am saying that there's no value in discovering some fundamental principle from which QM is "derived" when you have no clue what QM is in the first place. How can you derive something when you have no idea what it is in the first place? This is an irrational act.

Zz.
According the the experts I've read, nobody really knows what QM is all about. That's the point. We can never know what QM is about until we discover some underlying principle that we do understand from which QM is derived. Until then it cannot be anything more than a "curve fitting device".

ZapperZ
Staff Emeritus
Mike2 said:
According the the experts I've read, nobody really knows what QM is all about. That's the point. We can never know what QM is about until we discover some underlying principle that we do understand from which QM is derived. Until then it cannot be anything more than a "curve fitting device".
Maybe what these "experts" are trying to convey a different meaning than what you interpret. It is always risky when you rely on 2nd hand information. Have you ever consider that?

Furthermore, if you rely on experts to tell you about QM, why aren't you paying any attention to what *I* have to say, or even a few others on here who are certainly knowledgeable about the content of QM? And secondly, if you really are serious about "reinterpreting" QM, isn't it prudent that you yourself learn it, rather than rely on "experts" to tell you what it is and it isn't? This is the part that I find rather irrational. All you have is a superficial knowlege of QM. I don't understand how you can feel comfortable with what you know and do not feel foolish about about your ability to talk about it. To say what you are claiming based simply on what you "read" from "experts" is like having sex through an interpreter - you'll never feel what it is like no matter how accurately it is described.

Zz.

ZapperZ said:
And secondly, if you really are serious about "reinterpreting" QM, isn't it prudent that you yourself learn it, rather than rely on "experts" to tell you what it is and it isn't? This is the part that I find rather irrational. All you have is a superficial knowlege of QM. I don't understand how you can feel comfortable with what you know and do not feel foolish about about your ability to talk about it. To say what you are claiming based simply on what you "read" from "experts" is like having sex through an interpreter - you'll never feel what it is like no matter how accurately it is described.

Zz.
Well... I don't intend to get into a bragging contest with you about how much I know about QM. Obviously no one knows enough about QM to tell us where the postulates come from yet. How would you know how much I know about QM? Suppose you state the extent of my knowledge (what classed I took), or appologize for you presumption, again.