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The GRW Flash Theory and the Conway-Kochen ‘Free Will’ Theorem

  1. Jun 24, 2011 #1
    This looks interesting, but I am not sure I understand it. Does it resolve the nonlocality issues of quantum mechanics that arise in the viewpoint of relativity?

    “Roderich Tumulka (Department of Mathematics, Rutgers): “The GRW Flash Theory and the Conway-Kochen ‘Free Will’ Theorem.”
    In 1986, Ghirardi, Rimini, and Weber proposed a scheme of theories, now known as GRW theories, as precise versions of quantum mechanics. In GRW theories, the vague and ambiguous ‘measurement axiom’ of ordinary quantum mechanics is replaced by precise laws governing the collapse of the wave function. The particular theory that I will focus on in my talk, the GRW flash theory, corresponds to a particular choice of the ontology now known as the flash ontology that was introduced by Bell in 1987. This theory achieves, as does Bohmian mechanics, what was considered impossible by the founding fathers of quantum mechanics: to provide an explanation of non-relativistic quantum mechanics in terms of an objective reality. This theory removes all mysteries and paradoxes, solves the measurement problem, and treats ‘observers’ as just another set of particles governed by the same laws as all other particles. In 2004, a relativistic version of the GRW flash theory was developed for N non-interacting spin-1/2 particles, a situation in which, however, already the tension between relativity and quantum non-locality comes up. I will elucidate the remarkably simple resolution of that tension in the GRW flash theory. In 2006, Conway and Kochen published what they call the ‘free will theorem’ and claimed that, as a corollary of their theorem, relativistic GRW theories are impossible. I will elucidate (a) the contents of the free will theorem, (b) why the relativistic GRW flash theory is a counter-example to their further claim, and (c) what is wrong with the reasoning behind their further claim. …”


    http://www.maphy.uni-tuebingen.de/members/rotu/papers/losinj.pdf [Broken]


    This even seems to touch of issues of free will:


    Other links:


    All this came up when I started to look at updating my library to the latest version of Maudlin’s great book on this topic:

    “Quantum Non-Locality and Relativity: Metaphysical Intimations of Modern Physics”
    Paperback: 312 pages
    Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 3 edition (May 17, 2011)
    Language: English
    ISBN-10: 1444331272
    ISBN-13: 978-1444331271


    I hope I can get some explanations that make sense about this to a novice like me… I am not a physicist, but I do have a EE, so I am not exactly illiterate, but most of this is beyond my knowledge of QM. Can someone explain this to me in "popular science for the layman" terms?


    Pete B
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 26, 2011 #2
    Thank you Peteb for bringing the papers to our attention.

    I have scanned through a couple of papers and quite lost (I'm out of touch with QM for a while) and amused by the authors remarks.

    Randomness (probability) of QM always bothered me. But I'm not sure if these physicists are trying to give 'randomness' a new name 'free will' or free will actually something new.

    If 'free will' of particles are really something different from 'randomness', then my long held view may not be completely 'crazy', that atoms have intelligence (unlike human intelligence).
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