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What Is The Most Accepted Interpretation Of Quantum Mechanics?

  1. Sep 3, 2008 #1
    I know there are alot of interpretation's but what is the one that mostly top's the chart's?
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  3. Sep 3, 2008 #2


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    I guess it is the "standard" Copenhagen/Shut Up And Calculate/Statistical fuzzy mix interpretation which works well until you start thinking about it :tongue: (maybe this is also part of complementarity :tongue2:)

    That is: the world is classical, but in between experiment preparation and observation, classical concepts don't hold anymore, and the only thing you can say is that at the end, you will have classical outcomes again with a certain probability distribution, as given by quantum theory, and you shouldn't ask questions of what "really happens" in between experiment preparation and observation.

    It has the advantage of not cluttering your mind with self-contradictory or weird pictures, allows you to concentrate on the calculations and is maybe the best view if you take quantum theory as just a good calculational tool for finding out what will happen in an experiment, but not as a way to "describe what happens for real".
  4. Sep 3, 2008 #3
    my uncle told me that some interpretation's have parallel universe's,is this true?
  5. Sep 3, 2008 #4


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    Yes. It is my favorite. It's called the "many worlds interpretation", but it is in fact a family of related, but slightly different views on things. It follows in fact "naturally" when you look at how the quantum-mechanical formalism works, but is way too weird for many people.
  6. Sep 3, 2008 #5
    Family? I suppose I never looked at it that way. Are you grouping together other interpretations that take the Schrodinger equation at face value without additional postualates such as Consistent Histories, or are you simply talking about varying views on Everett?
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2008
  7. Sep 4, 2008 #6


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    Essentially, yes. To me, the family of MWI views is the set of all interpretations that:
    1) take the unitary evolution at face value
    2) give some or other ontological/physical status to the wavefunction

    and then they need to make a connection with observation and the probabilistic nature of the outcomes in one or another way.
  8. Sep 4, 2008 #7


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    Excellent answer! :tongue2:

    There are several logically consistent interpretations, but the widely accepted ones are either
    a) logically inconsistent
    b) shut up and calculate

    Frequent logically inconsistent interpretations include those that at the same time assume locality and existence of single (not many-world) reality - in contradiction with the Bell theorem,
    as well as those that at the same time accept measurement-independent reality but deny hidden variables - in contradiction with the very definition of the latter. :uhh:
  9. Sep 4, 2008 #8


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    In my experience this is the most popular interpretation among working physicists; despite having having worked on "quantum phenomena" for a number of years now (9 to be exact)I don't think I have ever met anyone who was serionsly worried about the interpretation of what they were doing.
    Interpretations is something most undergraduates worry about when they first encounter e.g. Stern-Gerlach or similar experiments; but once after a way you get used to it and QM almost becomes "normal".
    As long as the calculations match my experimental data I am happy:approve:
  10. Sep 4, 2008 #9
    That works as long as you're dealing with intangible microscopic particles, but at some point the cat (Schroedinger's) is going to get out of the box. What then?

    I hate to shamelessly advertise my own thread here, but the Elitzur-Vaidman bomb tester is one such example of the cat getting out of the bag. There are very real, macroscopic events that can be be drastically affected by the behavior of quantum waveforms, and I don't think it's possible or desirable to reduce the explanation of such events to mere numbers on a piece of paper.
  11. Sep 4, 2008 #10


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    IMHO, if ones considers the "progression of science" - the "happy event" when our past predictions of the future are in perfect agreement with the actual future on and on, is a state of no-progression of science. This would represent the state of a "perfect theory" that needs no improvement - ie a "trivial case".

    So let's turn to the non-trivial case. I can make a guess and get lucky. But it seems the challange is what actions to take when the predictions aren't consistent with the observations. Is the any rational logic behind evolving the predictive engines? How does this logic look like?

    When it seems the scientific process is so fundamental, why is it that the effiency of this creative process, as seen by many physicists, is left for "the philosophers"? Are we really content with just taming this ambigous and uncontrollabe creative process with poppers falsification selection? Does it work? Yes it seems. But could it work better? I guess we will never know unless we ask the question.

    We often focus on what the perfect theory looks like, when the problems at hand seems to be how to learn about it. It's two different choices of focus.

    That's how I feel about the shut up and calculate interpretation.

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