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The main problem with Hidden Variable Theory

  1. May 1, 2014 #1
    The major problem I have with hidden variable theories is this: Even if you find hidden variable solutions which would render quantum physics unnecessary, you'd still be left with the ultraviolet catastrophe problem.

    You can use holographic principle, alternate realities, determinism or any other interpretation. And yet we'd still be right back where we were 120 years ago- trying to find a mathematical model that accurately calculates energy output across the electromagnetic spectrum.

    The best model that we have for shorter wavelengths will still yield widely inaccurate results (i.e., ultraviolet catastrophe).
  2. jcsd
  3. May 2, 2014 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    A proper theory incorporating hidden variables will not lead to any catastrophe. It would, at minimum, make similar predictions as current quantum theories when given the same data. At best, it would allow for even more accurate predictions.
  4. May 2, 2014 #3


    Staff: Mentor

    Since hidden variable theories are observationally exactly the same as bog standard QM there is no issue.

  5. May 2, 2014 #4


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    Here you are making a logical error. If quantum physics is unnecessary (for whatever reason), then it is unnecessary for anything that today is dealed with quantum physics. Since ultraviolet catastrophe problem is today dealed with quantum physics, it logically follows that ... finish the logical conclusion by yourself!

    What does make a logical sense, is to ask how exactly a hidden variable theory resolves the ultraviolet catastrophe problem. If you are interested, I can answer the question on the example of Bohmian hidden variables.
  6. May 2, 2014 #5


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    I'll give you a much harder nut to chew on... :devil:

    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  7. May 2, 2014 #6
    Interesting point DevilsAdvocado,

    But maybe the major question is "What level of compatibility with SR is required?"

    SR can mathematically be satisfied, with some amount of readjustment, to nearly any conceivable new paradigm. Possibly that is one approach Lee Smolin is investigating... In other words, one might jettison the interpretation without completely destroying the mathematical apparatus.
  8. May 2, 2014 #7


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    I think SR does not (in mathematics) prohibit FTL stuff (like the hypothetical tachyon) ... but if you want to preserve causality, then a consequence of SR is that no information or object can travel FTL.

    Violation of causality causes, as we know, very complicated paradoxes.

    However, when it comes to ontic QM interpretations, I think that the main problem in EPR-Bell vs SR is simultaneity, and the existence of absolute time/space, which is definitely not allowed in SR.

    Yes maybe, he does not (of course) want to 'destroy' the foundation of SR/GR, so he's probably investigating the possibility of 'tweaking' some of the 'parameters'... but this is a HUGE task, still in progress...

    P.S: If you're interested you can check out this video of his lecture at the Perimeter Institute.
  9. May 5, 2014 #8
    Thanks for the link. It's kind of refreshing that he is calling for, and pushing for, thought and study of deeper issues than most spend their time with. That begs the question: Is there more than more powerful rockets, faster computers and cheaper energy that science can provide? We can hope science leads to wisdom too.
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