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Pilot Waves, any thoughts?

  1. Jan 2, 2008 #1
    I'm reading a book, "Schrodinger's Rabbit's", by Colin Bruce. In it, he subscribes to a theory that explains quantum mechanics with a hidden variable theory, called the "Pilot Wave Theory". The idea is a basically a particle theory of physics, with the exception that every particle has a corresponding "Pilot Wave" that guides the particle. This way, we can keep a classical view of whats going on in quantum systems.

    This just feels wrong. Does it violate Bell's Inequality? Should I put this book down right now?
     
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  3. Jan 3, 2008 #2
    De Broglie must have been high on crack when he came up with this theory. Its possible he was trying to hark back to the days of the Luminiferous aether. This theory may seem to be a distant relative of the idea of an aether. The controversy remains.

    I say you keep reading; you will never know what your sub-conscious may discover about this matter. You may also realize that the theory is Poppycock. However, always keep an open mind until the research says otherwise.
     
  4. Jan 3, 2008 #3

    Mentz114

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    It is not very classical - the guide field has non-local properties, and so does violate classical probability limits.

    The deB-B quantum theory is alive and well and offers a way of describing quantum phenomena that does not require 'probability' densities and 'wave functions' that 'collapse', etc. These things are just as weird as a guide field - which incidentally, gives the same experimental predictions as the Copenhagen interpretation.

    There are in fact several interpretation of QM that work as well as the Copenhagen interpretation.

    To the OP : the guide-wave theory is perfectly respectable, and no more 'weird' than the Copenhagen interpretation. It's just that people are more used to using probabilty densities etc.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2008
  5. Jan 4, 2008 #4

    Demystifier

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    It certainly does. Just as ordinary quantum mechanics does. Just as experiments with entangled particles do.

    For a historical context, I recommend the book (available online for free):
    http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/quant-ph/0609184
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2008
  6. Jan 4, 2008 #5
    In the book "The Undivided Universe" by Bohm & Hiley which was finished just about Bohm's death, Bohmian mechanics, which I assume to be a continued development of deBroglie's model, is described as decidedly non-local (via the quantum potential, the pilot wave, which is non-local).

    As far as I understood, BM's predictions are equal to the Copenhagen Interpretation and can therefore not be discerned by experiment. However the book (1999, I think) indicates that further development of the theory would lead to additional predictions that can then be tested by experiment. Any news here?
     
  7. Jan 4, 2008 #6

    Doc Al

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    In that book Colin Bruce promotes the "many worlds" interpretation of quantum mechanics, not a "pilot wave" (e.g., Bohmian mechanics) view. If I recall correctly, he just brings up a cartoon version of BM in order to dismiss it.
     
  8. Jan 4, 2008 #7

    Demystifier

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    For those of us who do not have this book, could you indicate his arguments for dismissing BM?
     
  9. Jan 4, 2008 #8

    Doc Al

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    Unfortunately, my copy is packed away and I do not trust my memory. (Especially since I'm no fan of the MWI to begin with. :wink:)

    Maybe someone else who has the book can chime in. (Realize that this was just a pop-sci book, not a hardcore work; I remember picking it up thinking maybe it would change my mind regarding MWI. It didn't.)
     
  10. Jan 6, 2008 #9
    Just to clarify here in case there's any ambiguity- violating Bell's inequality is a good thing :biggrin:
    As I understand it, the most common objection to BM is that it is explicitly non-local, and hence it doesn't gel with special relativity. Supporters of BM respond that there is no possibility of using this non-locality to achieve faster-than-light signalling, so there would be no experimental conflict, and consider the pilot wave to be merely outside the domain of applicability of SR.
     
  11. Jan 6, 2008 #10
    Somehow this made me wonder what the world looks like from the perspective of a photon. Do most things move at the speed of light, even though they have a non-zero rest mass? Or do they look like photons with a rest mass of zero? Are photons already "outside the domain of applicability of SR." ? But I guess that is a question for the relativity forum section...
     
  12. Jan 6, 2008 #11

    Mentz114

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    There is no 'perspective of a photon'. There are two threads now active in the Relativity forum about this. Worth looking at.
     
  13. Jan 6, 2008 #12
    Yes, thanks for the pointer, appreciated. I would summarize the discussion as saying that SR doesn't possibly apply to the frame of reference of a photon (in so far as there even is any). I'll add a question over there.
     
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