Is entanglement decoherence from the outside, and decoherence entanglement from the inside?

A recent tweet by Sean Carroll has me thinking.

Quantum decoherence is said to occur when a particular quantum system becomes entangled with its environment, that is to say, as information about the quantum system spreads throughout the environment, that system undergoes at least an apparent wave function collapse.  It stops behaving like a wave and more like a particle.

But it’s possible to have two quantum particles in their wave stage interact and become entangled, apparently without decohering.  Of course, since they are entangled, a later measurement of one of the particles in the relevant way will give us information, not just on the particle being measured, but also information about the other particle.  Once measured, from our point of view, both particles will have decohered, collapsed from a wave to a particle.

Which raises the question, from particle A’s perspective, when A becomes entangled with particle B, wouldn’t B have decohered (at least for whatever properties are entangled)?  That is, wouldn’t B’s wave function have collapsed for A?  And wouldn’t the same be true from particle B’s perspective in relation to particle A?

All of which is to ask, is entanglement what we see from an interaction we don’t partake in, but decoherence what we see from one that we do?  Put another way, can we say that entanglement is decoherence from the outside, while decoherence is entanglement from the inside?

If not, why not?  If so, what does this mean for interpretations of quantum mechanics outside of the many worlds and relational ones?

h/t James of Seattle (who replied to Carroll with a question I wouldn’t mind seeing an answer to)

57 thoughts on “Is entanglement decoherence from the outside, and decoherence entanglement from the inside?

  1. I’m certainly no expert on quantum theory, but my WAG is that the answer is no. Decoherence is usually tied with a particle interacting with a much larger system. I believe particles interact rather than “measure” each other because both are quantum objects. (But I’ve never really gotten that much into decoherence theories.)

    I know a lot of work involves trying to figure out what exactly causes decoherence or if it really even exists. (I dislike MWI and think decoherence is real and possibly caused by the gravitational field of a large enough object. I’ve been watching the 2000-atom interference experiments with interest.)

    (As an aside, just read an article about a new discovery that the quantum behavior of common water — interactions between the oxygen atom and the hydrogen atoms of adjacent molecules — might be a factor in biological systems. The idea that we really don’t see quantum effects in real life may turn out to be quite wrong.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You may not be an expert, but you know a lot more about it than I do. (The questions below are me thinking out load. So no worries if you’re not interested in answering.)

      On decoherence and interacting with a large system, how large then does the system need to be? You mentioned the 2000 atom experiments. It seems like an atom in a large molecule is interacting with a system much larger than itself. It’s hard to imagine that the atom isn’t quickly entangled with the other atoms in the molecule. If decoherence is about entanglement with the environment, then how isn’t there a miniature version of decoherence happening inside the molecule?

      (Thanks. I hadn’t seen that article, although I found the press release in Science Daily / EurekAlert / Phys.org pretty vague about what exactly they observed.
      https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/12/191209110902.htm
      I don’t doubt that quantum effects are used in biology. We know about photosynthesis for example, and possibly some other cases. But there also seems to be a lot of hype around quantum biology that’s making me pretty leery of most announcements about it.)

      Like

      1. “On decoherence and interacting with a large system, how large then does the system need to be?”

        That’s the big question.

        Everything has a quantum nature (or so the theory says), but more massive objects have smaller and smaller de Broglie wavelengths, so their wave-like nature is entirely swamped out. What the 2000 atom experiments do is (in a vacuum) send a “matter beam” of these large molecules, I believe through a grating, and measuring interference fringes.

        The wavelengths involved are smaller than the diameter of a hydrogen atom, so it takes special equipment to detect the interference. It does raise interesting questions about individual atoms in the whole, and yet the whole can be in superposition with itself.

        re real-world quantum effects, yeah, even magnetism turns out to be a quantum phenomenon, so it’s a lot more common than we used to think. The question I have, then, is what role quantum randomness turns out to play. I’ve never really believed the universe was fully deterministic, and more and more it seems that’s true. I just read an article about how, with numbers representing properties of things, once you have 10-12 digits, more precision is indistinguishable from random digits.

        Like

        1. I didn’t realize the wavelengths for large molecules were that small. Interesting. That seems like it adds a new wrinkle in how to understand those experiments. It also annoys me that the popular press never clarified that. It seems to undercut the hype somewhat.

          I can see the 10-12 digit thing. Every system is subject to perturbations from the environment, which undercuts any ability to sharpen the predictions about a system past a certain point. And we can’t rule that at least some of those perturbations aren’t from quantum effects.

          Like

          1. I’ve gotten to the point I don’t trust any science reporting in the popular press. Between the clickbait, the hyperbole, and the over-simplification, it’s often more wrong than right. I try to stick with journals and papers — the horse’s mouth as much as possible!

            Just yesterday my laptop spent over 20 hours generating a 1024×768 pixel Mandelbrot image where adjacent pixels vary by only 1.7097e-21, but those adjacent pixels get such different results the resulting image looks like static. Outcomes, even with such tiny input differences, look random. (And there’s nothing quantum going on here. It’s purely the effect of chaos, but what an interesting demonstration of chaos. I’ll be posting the image soon.)

            Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m thinking the answers to the questions are probably no, because entanglement is kind of exclusive: a system can only be fully entangled with one other system (though it can be partly entangled with many). Whereas decoherence is the-more-the-merrier. And decoherence puts an end to entanglement. When Alice measures her particle, it tells her what Bob’s must do in the corresponding measurement, but any further measurements Alice does have no correlation with further experiments by Bob.

    Like

    1. A lot of descriptions of decoherence do talk about the quantum system becoming entangled with the environment. And information is always conserved, indicating that’s it’s all still there after decoherence, just spread out. But to your point, it’s no longer useful in any realistic sense the way it was with what we historically refer to as entanglement. So from the perspective of us trying to make use of any information, I can see your point.

      Like

  3. Like aforementioned in another comment I am also in no way an expert of Quantom theory, but I have been binge watching these scientific documentaries by ‘Real Truth Science’. They are some of the most illuminating documentaries I have ever seen. Jim Al-Khalili’s communicates these complex theories in such a way that they can be understood by the Layman. The overall production and visual presentation is exemplary.

    I was particularly invested in this episode about Quantum Physics – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_4nYgrDJvc
    because I wrote that article ‘Is it too early to rule out the Copenhagen classic interpretation?’ which purported what this video demonstrates. This video proves as John Stewart Bell’s Theorem seems to suggest that the nature of reality is that only as conscious observers do we conjure particles into their existence. Or better put, Einstein’s version of reality cannot be true. Photons only become real when we observe them. The experiments shown in this presentation only confirms this.  The significance of these results is enormous!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t watched the video, but I’ve seen Al-Khalili’s stuff before, and he definitely has a tendency to play up the non-real interpretations of quantum physics. A lot of people subscribe to those interpretations, but I’d get exposure to other views before locking into to them too intensely.

      But the fact remains that every interpretation is ultimately bizarre. They all require that we throw one or more fundamental expectations about how reality is supposed to work under the bus. At this stage, all the major interpretations explain the empirical data. It’s a matter of choosing your poison.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interpretations_of_quantum_mechanics

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I would consider the episode ‘Einstein’s nightmare’ (which I linked) almost compulsory viewing considering your penchant for understanding consciousness and Quantum mechanics.

        I’ll take on board what you said about exposing myself to other views. There is a Sean Carroll Mindscape episode about the different interpretations of Quantum mechanics which I listened to. I’ll visit that wiki link you added. Thanks.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Mike,

    The timing of your post is interesting, as just this week I got hooked on a couple of on-line lectures that physicist Wojciech Zurek gave on decoherence. I enjoy following along as best I can, and try to absorb a few basic concepts–which may not actually be the case; I’m certainly entangled with blunt ignorance–but at any rate, what he spoke about was really interesting.

    When I read your post it strikes me that you are using a different language than Zurek on this topic. For instance, you are talking about particles in a wavelike mode and particle-like mode. Zurek talked more about the space of quantum states a system could occupy, and how only some are resilient, or stable, after interaction with the environment. These states are “selected” by this property for replication, and bits of information about quantum things are effectively broadcast through the environment via these records–(records which are conceivably produced through repeated environmental interactions). He is attempting to describe how a seemingly classical world arises from a purely quantum one, and doesn’t speak as much about “collapse” of a wave into a particle, but about the selection of observable states that are permitted of a quantum system.

    At any rate, I’m not sure how we would arrive at the notion that entanglement is something we observe when we’re outside of it. My understanding is we can only assess that two particles or systems are entangled by having pretty definitive knowledge of how the system was prepared. If we have that, it seems like we’re “on the inside.” In my limited knowledge, I’m not sure observing entanglement “from the outside” is something we can do. Zurek even says in one of his papers that what makes a “classical” object classical, is that we can determine what it is without any pre-existing knowledge of it. He wrote that in classical physics “unknown states can be found out by an initially ignorant observer.” A key distinction of quantum systems is that we can’t do that. We have to have some knowledge of how the system was prepared to determine its state and also there are limits on what we can know. In fact, what we measure is NOT what it was before we measured it, and what we measure is never all of what it was.

    To the converse, by asking if decoherence was entanglement from the inside, are you asking in a sense if there is some special knowledge of a system (the state that decoherence reveals) that we would have if we were “inside” it and not “outside” it, the latter being our presumed vantage for decoherence, right? But if there was some special knowledge to be had from within an entangled system–such as perfect knowledge of the system state–it would violate what we know from tests of Bell’s inequality, wouldn’t it? Meaning, if there was some extra knowledge to be had “on the inside” that we’re back to suggesting a pre-existing state exists, rather than the superposition of states that quantum mechanics suggests.

    It’s an intriguing topic for sure. I’m just not sure if decoherence and entanglement are simultaneous and opposite sides of a coin like you describe or not. It strikes me that entanglement is a definitive interaction between particles that, until decoherence occurs (at some later time presumably), results in a system that exists in a superposition of possible states. So when this “joining” occurs, I don’t know how it would look like decoherence from the inside, unless you mean that from the inside, there is some knowledge of the system that doesn’t exist on the outside. Which as I noted above, seems like a suggestion of determined states that aren’t really there?

    Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Michael,
      Zurek’s lectures sound interesting. I might have to look them up. The selection bit sounds like something I’ve heard about but don’t understand, quantum Darwinism. The key question is what does the selecting? But Zurek seems to be exploring a solution to the measurement problem. As I understand it, a generic description of decoherence doesn’t do that.

      On observing entanglement from the outside, technically I guess we never do. As you note, it has to be set up in advance, and we can only confirm it after a measurement, at which point we’ve become part of the system. But then, aren’t we technically part of the entanglement at that point?

      “But if there was some special knowledge to be had from within an entangled system–such as perfect knowledge of the system state–it would violate what we know from tests of Bell’s inequality, wouldn’t it?”

      I’m not sure. From inside the system, maybe the values are already known. But from outside, the whole system remains in superposition, the values not set until measurement. (Or we don’t know which branch of the wave function we’re on.)

      I’m not sure they’re too sides of the same coin either. Based on the language used to describe them, it seems like a possibility, but as someone who only understands this stuff through that language, not through the mathematics, I fully realize there may be complexities I’m missing.

      Like

      1. Hi Mike,

        Zurek’s work relates to quantum Darwinism, based on the papers I’ve skimmed and the lectures I mentioned. What does the selecting–and I’ll say this very poorly–is the fact that when a quantum system interacts with the environment, the phase coherence associated with the original superposition of states breaks down (or decoheres), because the interaction (like James of Seattle is describing just below), changes the phase relationships of the original system. When this occurs, only some of the possible states that may be “witnessed” or “measured” have the property of being the same after their interaction with the environment as before. So, these states are selected repeatedly, over and over, and proliferate as “records” in the environment as result of these interactions. If the system ended up in a different state every time it interacted with the environment, it wouldn’t produce this proliferation. This repeated proliferation is winning the Darwinian battle, because this trait or fitness leads to a much higher level of reproduction and broadcasting of the information, which is what makes it Darwinian in a sense–fitness for reproduction–and is also what gives us the experience of observing something classical.

        To your note, when you say “from inside the system, maybe the values are already known” I still think you are basically making the same argument Einstein did, which is that whatever the outcome we eventually observe is, it must be something that was there all along. And my understanding is that’s not how QM works. I’m assuming, BTW, that you mean the eventual measurement by an observer outside of the system reveals the information that the inside of the system “knew all along.” So, if you’re not saying that, then my objection may not be valid, but in that case I’d confess I probably haven’t understood what you are talking about. Because if you’re saying the inside of the system “knows itself” to be in a certain state, and the outside observers find through measurement that the system is something altogether different, then in a sense you would be saying the system is not objective, right? It would be one thing from one view, and another thing from another.

        This made a light bulb go off, though. I did read some popular science articles about such a notion recently, suggesting objectivity may not hold up in QM, and maybe you saw those two. My take on those was that it was for a very specific, and somewhat more complex case than one entangled pair of particles. Those were about nested quantum systems, I thought, where a party D observing a party C running an experiment to test the outcome of an entangled pair of particles, say A & B, could see a different outcome of the measurement than party C. Maybe that’s what you’re trying to say here, but I’m having trouble reducing it to the simple relationship you described. But my head is spinning, so who knows!?

        (To find the article related to my last paragraph you could search for Experimental test of local observer-independence)

        I think I need to better understand some simple things, like: is all superposition entanglement? (I don’t think so, but get confused on this.) Does every quantum interaction produce entanglement? (I’m not sure. Again, I don’t think so, but that’s mostly a hunch. Thoughts on examples of quantum interactions or events that may not produce entanglement might be the annihilation of two photons to produce an electron, or the change in orbital shells of an electron after absorbing or emitting a photon, or the reflection of a photon off a mirror.)

        Michael

        Like

        1. Michael,
          Don’t be too disillusioned with your limited understanding of quantum physics because quite frankly, the information we have all been fed by the priesthood is a bullshit story. There is no other way to state that fact other than with direct candor. Logical consistency must prevail in order for any theory to be considered credible. And our current model of the quantum world is anything but logical consistency.

          Regarding the infamous debate between Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein as to the true nature of reality: They were both correct and, they were both wrong. Each one of them had a fragment of the truth. But here is the irony of fragmented truth: Just because something is true, that truth does not mean what one thinks it means. Meaning is intrinsic to and a qualitative property of the whole, not a fragment in isolation.

          Peace

          Like

          1. Hi Lee,

            Thanks for the note. I’m not overly disappointed, as I know I know very little of this, and that even if I did, it wouldn’t be the ultimate understanding we might all be seeking. But I enjoy the thought puzzles from time to time. And it’s at once confounding and intriguing to think about the experiments themselves. A good IPA isn’t the ultimate reality either, but it’s not the worst way to spend an hour at the end of a busy week, either!

            Peace
            Michael

            Like

        2. Hi Michael,
          Quantum Darwinism sounds interesting. I might have to investigate it. The key question for me is what allows a given state to remain the same, or causes it to change after being “witnessed” or “measured”? When assessing possible solutions to the measurement problem, it seems what’s happening at the very core event must be clearly stipulated.

          “I’m assuming, BTW, that you mean the eventual measurement by an observer outside of the system reveals the information that the inside of the system “knew all along.””

          Not quite. From the outside, the system remains in superposition. Which means from the perspective of outside observer C, entangled objects A and B still have multiple states, with multiple versions of A “observing” one particular version of B, and vice versa. For each version of A, the matter is now settled, as it is for B. But for C, things remain undetermined. Only when C performs its own measurement does one version of A and B become settled. (What that then means for C depends on which interpretation you favor.)

          On the nested quantum systems, I think that’s what we’re talking about. The question is whether there is one and only one wave function collapse event. Decoherence, by the very way it’s often described, seems to imply it’s possible it’s a relative event, since it’s about information leaking into the environment. If the information is contained within a certain scope, then it seems like its decoherence should be limited to that scope.

          “is all superposition entanglement? (I don’t think so,”

          I wouldn’t think so either.

          “Does every quantum interaction produce entanglement? ”

          Carroll seems to be saying no, and your examples make sense to me. But Carroll does imply that every measurement is an entanglement. If so, then decoherence seems like a sort of wide scale entanglement.

          Like

        3. Hi Michael and everyone else,
          I was re-reading Philip Ball’s Quanta article on quantum Darwinism, when I came across this snippet.

          Even a single photon can act as an environment that introduces decoherence and selection, Pan explained, if it interacts strongly enough with the lone system photon. When interactions are weaker, a larger environment must be monitored.

          https://www.quantamagazine.org/quantum-darwinism-an-idea-to-explain-objective-reality-passes-first-tests-20190722/

          That seems like a point in favor of entanglement and decoherence being different magnitudes of the same thing (if not necessarily two sides of the same coin as I asked in the post).

          On quantum Darwinism in particular, it seems to add to the account of decoherence and how the classical world emerges, but it still seems to be missing the core answer to the measurement problem.

          But although these ideas attempt to explain why superpositions vanish at large scales and why only concrete “classical” properties remain, there’s still the question of why measurements give unique outcomes. When a particular location of a particle is selected, what happens to the other possibilities inherent in its quantum description? Were they ever in any sense real? Researchers are compelled to adopt philosophical interpretations of quantum mechanics precisely because no one can figure out a way to answer that question experimentally.

          And I’m still looking for what fundamentally makes a particular outcome more resilient, what makes it more likely to be selected?

          Like

          1. These are definitely tantalizing questions. I know you won’t mistake me for an authority, so I’ll gaze into the ethers for a moment and say what I think I understand, for what it’s worth.

            Your last question was: what makes a particular outcome more resilient, and I’m not sure if you’re asking for the “shut up and calculate” answer, or if you’re asking what the underlying physical phenomena is. I think, and am probably wrong, that what is happening is a form of symmetry breaking. Prior to a specific outcome being realized, all of the possible outcomes are not only in a superposition, I also think they might be in some sort of coherent phasing. This phase coherence is what mathematically keeps them all in the running. Decoherence involves a loss of this phase coherence, but a way to think about that is as a type of symmetry breaking. Now when this occurs, mathematically, the states that are selected are eigenvalues of the resulting “operators” that describe the interaction of the system with the environment. I’m using words I only partly understand, Mike, but I understand eigenvalues to be analogous to maxima or minima in calculus, or root loci of a controls function–they’re not the same obviously, but I do understand some calculus, and I think they are similar in the sense that they are points in the mathematical landscape that have unique properties. I think that is the shut up and calculate answer: the states that we see as “classical” are the states that are mathematically viable upon the symmetry-breaking that is decoherence.

            As to why that is the case physically–meaning, maybe there is a least energy equation or an entropy function or something like that which might explain the “reason” for this, I have no idea.

            As to what happens to the other possibilities, as I read more about quantum Darwinism I’m seeing that they don’t cease to exist, they just lose the selection battle. So, there might be albino crows, (maybe there aren’t–I don’t know, but as a rhetorical device, bear with me), but they’re so rare and so minute that we simply omit them from our perceptual filters. If the “classical” states are ramified throughout the environment via multiple copies, the other states are simply lost in the shuffle.

            As to what is “real”, well, we have no idea. The timing of this discussion is interesting because this morning I listened to the first segment of Sam Harris’ podcast with Donald Hoffman, whose theory of perception is that we simplify greatly the nature of the underlying reality (nothing new), and that the underlying reality is so different from our understanding that even time and space do not obtain there in the way we instinctively experience them. So… why couldn’t all the possible states be equally real, while only some rise to the level of “classical” experience through environmental selection? There’s probably reasons, but it’s an interesting question, I thought. Then there is no measurement problem.

            Part of our challenge I think is that experiments deal with extremely isolated systems, with just a couple of particles. And when we try to scale that up to the world as we perceive it, the increase in complexity simply defies our intuition I suspect. So who knows?

            Michael

            Like

          2. There’s also this, Mike, which may be more recent than Ball’s notion that experiments haven’t been conceptualized to validate the underpinnings of Quantum Darwinism.

            Like

          3. Thanks Michael! I don’t have the knowledge to comment on your “shut up and calculate” explanation, but I appreciate it. And I realize, similar to selection in evolution, there may be a variety of answers. But even in a static environment, like the one used in experiments, we see a variety of outcomes, outcomes that no one can predict. I don’t know if I’ll be satisfied until I see an account of the causes. (Of course, I might never be satisfied.)

            Like

  5. My answer, based on my simplified understanding, is yes, entanglement is decoherence from the outside, while decoherence is entanglement from the inside.

    I would state it this way: Interactions are all that there is. To exist is to have the capacity to interact. Quantum mechanics describes the probability a given system (A) will interact with another given system (B) at a particular location, with different probabilities for different locations. If there is such an interaction, those systems will be changed in some way, giving A’ and B’. Parts of those systems will/may have “mutual information” with respect to other parts. This mutual information is another way to refer to decoherence. A third system (C) may have knowledge of the original pre-interaction states (A & B, because it prepared them) without having knowledge of the post-interaction states (A’ & B’, because it hasn’t yet interacted with any part of either system). Relative to C, A & B are entangled, i.e., share mutual information, but the third system does not have any access to that mutual information, so it doesn’t know which possible A’ and B’ is the case. The equations of quantum mechanics provide the probabilities of C interacting with all the possible variations of A’ and B’.

    So the bottom line is that any system with which you share mutual information is “decohered”, and everything else is “entangled” with whatever it shares mutual information.

    *
    [The request to Carroll was: please provide an example of interaction without entanglement. No response so far.]

    Like

    1. James “Interactions are all that there is. To exist is to have the capacity to interact.”

      Yes, that’s a promising angle to come at this, and something I have come across in stepping from thinking about consciousness to broader metaphysics. One of the consequences is that existence is relative – something exists relative to something else, to the extent it is able to interact with it. The follow up consideration is whether that interaction is one way or two way.

      Like

    2. Thanks James. That matches my intuition too, although with the presence or absence of superpositions added for good measure.

      If Carroll has responded yet, he probably won’t, at least not this time. But I’m curious myself to know the answer.

      Like

        1. I only mentioned superpositions because I didn’t perceive you had covered them, but you did tie it to decoherence, so that stipulation on my end was unnecessary.

          It’s also compatible with the many worlds interpretation.

          Like

          1. “sure that’s possible, but it doesn’t help you understand/predict anything”

            This seems true for any quantum interpretation. All of them make the same testable predictions. It’s their non-testable ones that are different.

            We’re in much the same position as the people in the late 1500s arguing between Ptolemy’s, Copernicus’s, or Brahe’s model of the universe. Eventually the telescope broke the logjam. Quantum foundation physics needs its version of Galileo to retroactively demonstrate which visionary is Copernicus, if any.

            Like

    3. Hi James,

      I’m not sure I fully understand your bottom line. To say it another way and see if I have this correct: are you saying that system A shares information with system B, and so system B has decohered from A’s perspective? But…if “everything else”, say an unrelated system C, shares information with system D, then from A’s perspective C and D are entangled? And at the same time, from system C’s or D’s perspective, A and B are entangled, even though from A’s perspective they are not?

      Thanks,
      Michael

      Like

      1. I would say yes, you have it correctly, with the caveat that I’m not sure what you mean by “sharing information”. Just to be sure, “sharing” is used in the passive sense, as in my brother and I share a last name, as opposed to the active sense, as in I shared my lunch with my brother. More specifically, I’m referring to the Information Theory concept of mutual information.

        *

        Like

        1. Thanks, James. I’m starting to understand better why you would suggest decoherence is entanglement from the inside, etc., etc. This is helpful. My choice of terminology was poor. But let me ask you this: would you agree that entanglement is a situation in which the condition of one particle is related, or in a sense dependent, upon another, while superposition is simply the fact that a particle is in an indeterminate, or mixed state? Meaning, entanglement is something more than a mixed state, or a superposition–it involves a sort of dependency of one particle that is in a superposition on another particle that is also in a superposition.

          Michael

          Like

          1. Yes. A single particle, until its spin is measured, can be in a superposition of possible states. It takes two to entangle. For instance, in Bell’s Inequality experiments, the two particles are entangled, but also in a superposition (of spin or polarization or whatever).

            Like

          2. I think I agree with what Wyrd said, but let me throw in this monkey wrench: who said anything about a particle?

            I know we talk about particle physics, and refer to electrons and photons as particles, but I’m pretty sure quantum mechanics has demonstrated that these things are not particles in the usual sense. Instead, we say that sometimes they behave like particles and sometimes they behave like waves. I think it’s better to say that sometimes they interact like particles, but what exactly does that mean? It means that when they interact, they interact at a single location. But particles are not the only things that interact in a single location. Consider rods. When two rods interact, that interaction happens at a point in space, but we don’t say that the rod then “collapses” to a particle.

            I’m not saying electrons are rods. I’m just saying they’re probably not particles.

            *

            Like

          3. Agreed. Words are an issue. But also, isn’t it true that the fields we measure that are associated with entities of whatever type appear to emanate from a “center”? I suppose that could be the shockwaves from an event, but then we’d be positing a continuous “event”, which as I ramble, I’m not opposed to. That would make “particles” self-repeating events. All quite possible I suppose, and far beyond me to understand how such notions relate to experiments. We know very little, I think, despite knowing quite a lot.

            Like

          4. FWIW, the modern view, Quantum Field Theory (QFT) sees “particles” as the minimal allowed vibration in their respective fields. An “electron” is a quanta of vibration in the electron field, an up quark is one in the up field, and so on.

            They act like waves sometimes because they are, and they act like particles sometimes because there is a kind of “geometric center” of the greatest probability of finding the “particle” in that location.

            Since they are minimal quanta of energy, any interaction has to be localized (“particle-like”) to transfer that energy to another particle (say when an electron absorbs a photon).

            Like

  6. I’m no physicist, one who can freely, without any quantifiable justification other than an arbitrary opinion based solely upon observation make outrageous claims, claims which do not conform to logical consistency. But as a metaphysician, I can state with confidence that wave theory, along with it’s infamous, mystical, magical wave function collapse is a bullshit intellectual construct and has absolutely nothing to do with the true nature of reality.

    Superposition is just another one of those ambiguous words concocted by the church of science’s priesthood. Where in reality, superposition simply means: “If I cannot physically see it, I don’t know where the fuck it is, it could be anywhere. I won’t know until I can detect it with an instrument. And then, even after I detect it with an instrument, it’s no longer where I just detected it, so I guess I’m still fucked.”

    Wave function collapse, superposition, MWI, “photons only become real when we observe them”, angels and demons, it’s all the same shit. Metaphysics rocks…

    Peace

    Like

    1. Lee,
      I think if we had no evidence for the waves, if the waves were pure speculation, your criticism would be valid. But in the double slit experiment, we do see the interference pattern, even when only one particle is sent in at a time. If that’s not caused by wave mechanics, then what is it caused by?

      Like

      1. “..we do see the interference pattern, even when only one particle is sent in at a time. If that’s not caused by wave mechanics, then what is it caused by?”

        Agreed. I discussed this earlier with Wyrd on his site. The wave mechanics is there and I do not dispute that finding. According to my models, the only thing that is in dispute is the cause of the wave mechanics. The wave mechanics is not caused by a particle interfering with itself, the wave mechanics is caused by dark energy and/or dark matter, both of which are properties of space. When a measuring instrument is set up to detect the interference pattern of the wave mechanics on the double-slit, the measuring instrument destroys the interference pattern because dark matter and/or dark energy are quantum properties. The measuring instrument does not collapse an imaginary, superposition of a wave function, which, according to the Copenhagen interpretation is a property of the particle.

        This shit isn’t magic. There is a logical explanation for the phenomena that is observed in the double-slit experiment other than a century old intellectual construct called the Copenhagen interpretation. One would think, and I’m just thinking out loud here; one would think that theoretical physicists would be open-minded enough to take into consideration the discovery of dark matter and/or dark energy and apply what we understand about wave mechanics, thereby rethinking the Copenhagen interpretation in light of dark matter and/or dark energy being responsible for the wave mechanics observed in the double-slit experiment.

        Peace

        Like

        1. FTR, Wyrd sees no connection between the well-established principles of wave interference and “dark matter” or “dark energy” (which are just placeholder names for phenomenon we don’t understand — and not everyone even agrees the phenomenon exist).

          You’re on your own on this one. 😉

          Like

          1. FTR, would you clarify your position please? Do you believe that the complete vacuum of space is “no-thing” and that the complete vacuum of space is void of any structural and/or qualitative properties whatsoever?

            Peace

            Like

          2. “No one in physics thinks “empty space” contains nothing.”

            Fair enough, and correct me if I’m misunderstanding here. What your FTR asserts is that even though empty space has structural and/or qualitative properties, that those structural and/or qualitative properties cannot, under any circumstances be responsible for the wave like interference patterns observed at the micro-level in the double-slit experiment.

            Peace

            Like

          3. What I asserted was that I see ‘no connection between the well-established principles of wave interference and “dark matter” or “dark energy”’ (whatever, if anything, those turn out to be).

            But I am also comfortable agreeing that the “structural and/or qualitative properties” of space have no special function regarding wave interference.

            Like

          4. Actually, I was hoping that Mike would have the courage to respond to my original post. But, based upon my previous experiences with him, he will undoubtedly claim he doesn’t understand what I’m talking about. The easiest exit strategy for him would be to agree with you and all of the other closed-minded theoretical physicists. One can always find comfort and a sense of security with a mob.

            The moral of the story: If the immune system possessed the same intensity of power, coextensive with a greater degree of self determination intrinsic to mind, we would all be truly fucked.

            Peace

            Like

          5. As it turns out I mostly agree with Wyrd here. It is conceivable that dark energy or dark matter might have something to do with quantum waves, but that’s saying very little since, as Wyrd noted, “dark energy” and “dark matter” are just place holder terms, labels for our ignorance.

            Like

          6. Although I may be a poet at heart, I lack the credentials to call myself a romantic, even though I often fantasize of being one. The allure of romanticism appeals to my nature, a nature which is firmly grounded in the pragmatism of metaphysics, a paradigm which is based solely upon logical consistency and nothing more.

            Peace

            Like

        2. All, notwithstanding the fact we don’t know what dark matter and dark energy “really” are, what I believe we do know is that for dark matter (leaving the energy aside for the moment) to have gravitational mass of the order that would account for the observations that lead us to believe they exist in the first place, then one particle of the stuff would be exceedingly rare to find in a volume of space the size of a room. Something like the probability of one in a million in a million kind of thing. Andrew Pontzen relayed this fact in a Youtube video I watched relatively recently called Dark Matter’s Not Enough, which I enjoyed.

          Michael

          Like

          1. Hi Michael,
            Is it that occurrences of dark matter are very rare, or interactions with normal matter (via the weak nuclear force or whatever) what is very rare? From what I understand, dark matter should be coursing through our bodies right now, it’s just that most of it doesn’t interact with our type of matter.

            Like

          2. If you find the video I mentioned, there is a description from minute 21 – 25 or so (in the 54 minute version of Andrew’s talk that suggests it is that the expected density of dark matter on Earth is fairly low. A millionth of a millionth of a millionth of a kilogram of dark matter in small auditorium.

            Michael

            Like

Your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.