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Rise of the Bohmians

  1. Sep 1, 2011 #1
    In the past, Bohmians are a minority and more of a curiousity or side show and even now although it's getting more popular. But thinking it over and over. The alternatives are quite stranger. In Copenhagen for example. Do you actually believe that the interferences don't actually occur physically but only in the equations (implications is we live in the equations)? In Many Worlds, do you believe that in your trip to office, you spawn hundreds of universes? These two don't quite add up and believers are more into the all powerful feeling of it. Bohmian Mechanics seem more like common sense after thinking of this over and over.

    What are the challenges facing Bohmian mechanics now? What are the disbelievers greatest critiques of it? Is it compatible with quantum gravity as in Bohmian quantuam gravity? Is Bohmian lorentz invariant? What present physics concept have to be eliminated or sacrificed to accomodate Bohmian Mechanics? What is your personal critique of it possible or negative?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 1, 2011 #2
    Bohmian mechanics is a 80 year old idea that never got off the ground. Its right up there with the pre-Einstein theories of the aether that persisted for ages because it was popular, but never went anywhere and never produced anything useful. Besides being useless, it also needs to explain recent evidence that entanglement is contextual and subject to indeterminacy.

    After a hundred years of wild theories from Bohmian aether to infinite universes and consensual reality all the evidence is still pointing right back at Indeterminacy as the central issue. The newer alternatives such as Quantum Darwinism have more evidence to support them and are even less strange. In the case of QD, it doesn't even require any underlying metaphysics to make sense or stand on its own two feet.
  4. Sep 2, 2011 #3
    Why, can't you mix Bohmian with Indeterminacy? We can say Bohmian Indeterminancy lurks in the pilot wave... or the wave is stochastic and random in its inherent nature.

    How do other Bohmian put Indeterminacy into their work?
  5. Sep 2, 2011 #4

    This is incoherent and has nothing to do with what I wrote.
  6. Sep 2, 2011 #5
    You mentioned that Indeterminacy ruled in the real world and Bohmian M may not be compatible with it. I'm asking if there is no way to make Bohmian mechanics indeterminate by manipulating certain dynamics of the pilot wave or quantum potential.
  7. Sep 2, 2011 #6
    I couldn't care less about what is possible with Bohmian mechanics. Its an 80 year old theory that is about as useless as tits on a boar hog. That is the single biggest challenge facing the theory, that it is utterly useless. Being suddenly more popular does not make it any more useful.
  8. Sep 20, 2011 #7
    wuliheron, you apparently don't understand what it means to have different interpretations of quantum theory. Bohmian QM is a different interpretation of the same data and makes generally the same predictions. As the OP accurately points out, it's about what interpretation of the data and the formalisms makes most sense given everything else we know about the world. For Bohmians, as the OP points out, it makes far more sense to suggest an implicate and explicate order, with quantum potential and normal physical reactions, respectively, guiding each particle. It is a realistic interpretation that provides a non-contradictory (contra Copenhagen) and non-profligate (contra many worlds) interpretation of the know facts and the accepted formalisms. It's on the rise.
  9. Sep 21, 2011 #8

    The issue is first and foremost what is the most useful and descriptive explanation. After that scientists can debate what is the most parsimonious explanation, but what makes the most sense or is the most realistic is for politicians, philosophers, and religious leaders to debate.
  10. Sep 23, 2011 #9
    You should read any of the many books available on the formation of quantum theory (Age of Entanglement is a good one). The issues you say are relegated to politicians and philosophers were at the forefront for people like Bohr, Einstein, Schrodinger, Heisenberg, Pauli, etc. The best physicists are also philosophers and they realize in their bones that their equations are not just equations: they refer to something real. What is that real thing they refer to? This is the debate and it should not be shunted aside as if it doesn't matter.
  11. Sep 23, 2011 #10
    You are again debating the personal philosophical issues and not the requirements of science. I'm not saying scientists should not be philosophical or even religious for that matter. That's there personal choice and if it happens to help them make contributions to science as well so much the better.
  12. Sep 24, 2011 #11
    Look at this CNN item for instance:


    Note that the complete quantum theory would be able to explain other stuff not offered by Copenhagen or Many Worlds. Bohmian Mechanics can explain the above news for example. There are loads of it all over the world. But because our physicists are 99% Copenhagen and Many Worlds. They just ignored those reports and reasoned they were not explained by Copenhagen so it doesn't exist.. not exactly a good scientific approach. But somehow perhaps when the complete theory of Bohmiam Mechanics is work out. Perhaps it can explain other data not yet explained at present.

    Therefore it is not just personal philosophical thing. It has immense potential to literally change society and the world. We need a new Einstein to crack it and hopefully he/she has already been born. Right now.. unfortunately, physicists themselves stand the way toward a more stunning breakthrough because they were already fixated by Copenhagen. Admit it.
  13. Sep 24, 2011 #12
    I wouldn't care if you claimed Bohmian mechanics could cure cancer and explain how God can create a rock large enough he can't pick it up. Its still useless.
  14. Sep 24, 2011 #13
    You're mistaken wuliheron. Every physical theory has an interpretational/philosophical component - even if it's an "instrumentalist" interpretation. The instrumentalist interpretation for QM is the "I don't care why it works, I just crunch the numbers and get an answer" approach. This itself is a particular philosophy. The Copenhagen Interpretation is more sophisticated, as is the many worlds. The Bohmian interpretation is more sophisticated still, in my view, because it is non-contradictory, realistic and matches many other lines of evidence from various disciplines.

    Those who try to distinguish physics and philosophy, with the latter being just a matter of personal preference and not particularly important, are just plain wrong. Every physical theory has a philosophy behind it, and some are better than others.
  15. Sep 24, 2011 #14
    Words only have demonstrable meaning according to their function in specific contexts. Thus a philosophy becomes so much mystical mumbo jumbo when it no longer serves any demonstrable purpose and purports to provide answers to life, the universe, and everything.
  16. Sep 24, 2011 #15
    I only have very superficial familiarity with it. The pilot wave idea is interesting, as is the idea of modelling waves and particles in the same picture, and the associated quantum potential, and, if I recall correctly, the Born Rule emerges sort of naturally from the Bohmian picture as the result of quantum equilibrium processes.

    However, Bohmian Mechanics (BM) is explicitly nonlocal. But there's no compelling reason to believe that nature is nonlocal.

    So, the nonlocality of BM ultimately, imo, amounts to the same thing as standard QM's lack of an explicit causal mechanism explaining quantum entanglement. (Imo, standard QM is superior to BM in that it allows a local understanding of entanglement, even though it doesn't explicitly formalize one.)

    And since expectation values are calculated in basically the same way in BM as in standard QM, then there doesn't seem to be much incentive to become fluent in BM.
  17. Sep 24, 2011 #16


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    Staff: Mentor

    A good place to close this down.
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