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(Wired)   I was always certain the cat was dead   (wired.com) divider line 77
    More: Interesting, quantum mechanics, Niels Bohr, special relativity, Schrodinger, applied mathematicses, wave equations, classical mechanics, Richard Feynman  
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6875 clicks; posted to Geek » on 30 Jun 2014 at 9:52 AM (7 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-06-30 08:56:23 AM
But then the cat came back, the very next day.
The cat came back, subby thought he was a goner...
 
2014-06-30 09:21:24 AM
I went to pat him on the head.
He didn't purr, he didn't meow, he didn't blink or sniff.
 
2014-06-30 09:29:17 AM

fc01.deviantart.net

 
2014-06-30 10:00:50 AM
I first saw the "light through slits in paper" demo in 2nd grade, and it STILL doesn't make any damn sense to me; I've long since accepted that it's just one of those things where "that's how it is, accept it, unless you wanna learn and do a buncha math."
 
2014-06-30 10:02:03 AM
So the alternative to a theory that nobody understands is a theory that nobody understands plus droplets bouncing through space and time.
 
2014-06-30 10:04:04 AM
These particles are phase shifting between the 3rd and 4th dimensions, this is why they appear to move at random

/Elementary, my dear data
 
2014-06-30 10:09:20 AM
How many dimensions are we up to?  Like 11?  Can't we just add another one so all that math works out?
 
2014-06-30 10:10:09 AM

grinding_journalist: I first saw the "light through slits in paper" demo in 2nd grade, and it STILL doesn't make any damn sense to me; I've long since accepted that it's just one of those things where "that's how it is, accept it, unless you wanna learn and do a buncha math."


What? It's pretty straight forward.

web.mit.edu

See? Nothing to it.

/studying it now
//just putting that image in my comment caused me to curl up under my desk in the fetal position
 
2014-06-30 10:13:55 AM
Have We Been Interpreting Quantum Mechanics Wrong This Whole Time?

Possibly, but if we have I'm not going to read about it first on Wired.

Pilot-waves weren't discarded because they didn't work. They were discarded because they were even more convoluted and messy than the alternative. Sort of like Ptolemy's crystal spheres vs heliocentrism.

It seems like what this experiment has done is create a working model of the crystal spheres that accurately models everything we see in the night sky and proclaim "Hey, maybe the Earth is the center of the universe after all!"

Again, the problem was never that the model didn't work, so simulating it and getting expected results isn't exactly groundbreaking; the problem was that the model was just significantly less straightforward and, frankly, useful than the competing model.
 
2014-06-30 10:26:05 AM
It's an interesting idea, come back and talk when you've developed an experiment to compare it to the null hypothesis.
 
2014-06-30 10:26:35 AM
It's only dead when you open the box...
 
2014-06-30 10:29:48 AM
What's the mysterious fluid that the particles are influencing and being influenced by?
 
2014-06-30 10:39:37 AM
I always found the theory oddly anthropocentric and unscientific.

/I am not a scientist.
 
2014-06-30 10:57:40 AM

GoldSpider: I always found the theory oddly anthropocentric and unscientific.

/I am not a scientist.


I found it shallow and pedantic.
 
2014-06-30 11:01:55 AM

ikanreed: It's an interesting idea, come back and talk when you've developed an experiment to compare it to the null hypothesis.


I wouldn't exactly call the idea that quantum mechanics is not probabilistic to be "null hypothesis".
 
2014-06-30 11:06:52 AM
Light is a wave AND a particle.

www.stateofdigital.com
 
2014-06-30 11:09:45 AM

Delta1212: Have We Been Interpreting Quantum Mechanics Wrong This Whole Time?

Possibly, but if we have I'm not going to read about it first on Wired.

Pilot-waves weren't discarded because they didn't work. They were discarded because they were even more convoluted and messy than the alternative. Sort of like Ptolemy's crystal spheres vs heliocentrism.

It seems like what this experiment has done is create a working model of the crystal spheres that accurately models everything we see in the night sky and proclaim "Hey, maybe the Earth is the center of the universe after all!"

Again, the problem was never that the model didn't work, so simulating it and getting expected results isn't exactly groundbreaking; the problem was that the model was just significantly less straightforward and, frankly, useful than the competing model.



By that reasoning, doesn't the fact that it's mostly dismissed give credence to it eventually being found correct.

If you posed heliocentric vs geocentric a few centuries ago, scientists would have argued that the heliocentric model was too complicated and didn't make as much sense. History has proven that scientists are not immuned from confirmation-bias and hubris.

When you use the wrong model, you end up asking the wrong questions.
 
2014-06-30 11:12:19 AM
So if subatomic particles are causing waves which push them along, what are the waves made of? The Michelson Morley experiment seemed to show there's no "medium" (aether) we're moving through.
 
2014-06-30 11:12:24 AM
Have We Been Interpreting Quantum Mechanics Wrong This Whole Time?
...Likely.

The ambiguity will break down as our methods & tools improve.


I've been predicting this for years.
But what do I know, I'm just an amateur with no paperwork.


Right now, we're the equivalent of a far-sighted person trying to read the fine print.
The glasses are getting better.


But this dynamic has been true throughout science history.
A model is built...there is buy-in and belief.  (at times almost religious-like)
Then another step happens...either sudden and at once...or over time and with multiple sources & efforts.
Then the belief is proven to be "not quite" what it was.
Then another "truth" is built and the believers convert.


Scientists think they are "above it all", but most have their own biases and beliefs.


Quantum Mechanics is just another model.


Things may be in flux...but sooner or later, there will be a state that it settles into.
You'll find that those things that are "constantly" in flux is actually a state unto itself.
 
2014-06-30 11:12:48 AM
I predict a new influx of bad science fiction in the "Quantum Surfer" meme.
 
2014-06-30 11:27:44 AM

Clent: Delta1212: Have We Been Interpreting Quantum Mechanics Wrong This Whole Time?

Possibly, but if we have I'm not going to read about it first on Wired.

Pilot-waves weren't discarded because they didn't work. They were discarded because they were even more convoluted and messy than the alternative. Sort of like Ptolemy's crystal spheres vs heliocentrism.

It seems like what this experiment has done is create a working model of the crystal spheres that accurately models everything we see in the night sky and proclaim "Hey, maybe the Earth is the center of the universe after all!"

Again, the problem was never that the model didn't work, so simulating it and getting expected results isn't exactly groundbreaking; the problem was that the model was just significantly less straightforward and, frankly, useful than the competing model.


By that reasoning, doesn't the fact that it's mostly dismissed give credence to it eventually being found correct.

If you posed heliocentric vs geocentric a few centuries ago, scientists would have argued that the heliocentric model was too complicated and didn't make as much sense. History has proven that scientists are not immuned from confirmation-bias and hubris.

When you use the wrong model, you end up asking the wrong questions.


Being mostly dismissed never gives credence to anything eventually being found correct. Most things are dismissed. Occasionally some of them wind up being revisited and being found correct, which are the ones you here about, but most of them stay on the garbage heap of history.

In fact, the tendency to say "scientists have been wrong in the past, therefore they are probably wrong now, and this idea that they all currently dismiss is probably right, because previous ideas that were dismissed were eventually proved right" is more a result of confirmation bias than the alternative. For every one idea that was dismissed and later proved right, there are thousands that were dismissed and stayed that way because they were wrong. The act of being dismissed as wrong in no way makes something more likely to be proven correct.

To be clear, that doesn't mean pilot-wave theory has been conclusively proven wrong. But it's certainly not more likely to be right simply by virtue of being unpopular.

If you take the number of ideas that were popularly held by scientists that have continued to be born out as correct today versus the number that were proved to be incorrect and compare it with the number that were dismissed and remained dismissed vs the number that were dismissed and turned out to be correct, you find that any given idea that is generally accepted by the scientific community is more likely to turn out to be true than any given idea that is dismissed as wrong.

That's not a statement that scientists are infallible, but you have to be careful about claiming "scientists make mistakes, therefore they must be mistaken in this specific case." Ideas in general are much more likely to be wrong than right, so you're starting with a bit of a handicap right out of the gate if you go down that path.
 
2014-06-30 11:35:46 AM
Thank goodness for WIRED.  It's refreshing to read science journalism that doesn't appear to be written by idiots trolling my favorite website.
 
2014-06-30 11:46:28 AM
Okay, they mention that Bell's Inequalty experiment doesn't rule out "Hidden Variables", and they're right. It doesn't.

But they don't mention that it DOES rule out LOCAL hidden variables. So it would have to be a non-local hidden variable, if it existed, and that-can proponents of hidden variables even explain what that would *be*?
 
2014-06-30 11:46:50 AM

unchellmatt: grinding_journalist: I first saw the "light through slits in paper" demo in 2nd grade, and it STILL doesn't make any damn sense to me; I've long since accepted that it's just one of those things where "that's how it is, accept it, unless you wanna learn and do a buncha math."

What? It's pretty straight forward.

[web.mit.edu image 116x41]

See? Nothing to it.

/studying it now
//just putting that image in my comment caused me to curl up under my desk in the fetal position


The double slit experiment completely baffles me.  I'm no scientist, in fact I only had a very basic education in this type of physics.  Much more E&M.

I know the math works out rather simply, especially when you model light as a wave.

The weirdness is when you realize that light is composed of quantum objects.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but previously it was thought that if you had enough photons sloshing around together they would act wavelike, like molecules of h2o composing waves in the water.  The sea of photons were interacting with each other to make those bandy ripples of light, just as our primitive wave frequency equations predict.

But then we were able to produce a single goddamn photon at a time so no other photons could interact with it.  Conventional wisdom was that the wave-like behavior would then stop because it was just one photon.

But it didn't.  It flew around through the double slit experiment and landed, statistically, where you would expect it to if there tons of photons doing their wave thing.

And the big sticking point of weirdness is the two open slits in the experiment.  When there's two and you shoot a single photon at them our detectors say it lands in a ripple pattern on the other side.  Move some of the detectors up to one of the actual slits themselves and the ripple pattern connected to the other slit disappears.

What the fark is going on?  How does one single particle know how to behave as if its brethren are there influencing it?  I've heard fanciful descriptions in layperson literature like "It is interacting with itself by going through both slits at once" or "parallel universes influence the particle" or "the other dimensions of the 11 are what's doing it.

I accept that these particles really test our limit of understanding.  They're most assurredly NOT like little billard balls or any other crutch we fall back on.  They don't have color or texture they're just floating little bits of MATH interacting at the limit of our universe.  Maybe they just move this way because the underlying fabric of the universe has that texture.  But I've never got an adequete explanation to what the heck is going on.

/maybe the plank length is limit of resolution god setup this simulation with.
 
2014-06-30 11:51:50 AM
If the only effective difference is so esoteric that it only has metaphysical consequences, I can't see the point.

This letter A has probabilistic foundations.
This letter A has deterministic foundations.

Both have what plants crave.
 
2014-06-30 11:51:50 AM
But what about the theory that"rain follows the plow"?
 
2014-06-30 11:56:17 AM

Felgraf: Okay, they mention that Bell's Inequalty experiment doesn't rule out "Hidden Variables", and they're right. It doesn't.

But they don't mention that it DOES rule out LOCAL hidden variables. So it would have to be a non-local hidden variable, if it existed, and that-can proponents of hidden variables even explain what that would *be*?


Your mom?
 
2014-06-30 11:58:16 AM

MindStalker: I wouldn't exactly call the idea that quantum mechanics is not probabilistic to be "null hypothesis".


Assuming that's what you meant: there's always going to be a de facto understanding.  The widespread one is that particles follow probability waves that aren't deterministic.
 
2014-06-30 12:25:34 PM
The cat was NEVER both dead and alive, it was always either/or.
 
2014-06-30 12:30:36 PM

big pig peaches: GoldSpider: I always found the theory oddly anthropocentric and unscientific.

/I am not a scientist.

I found it shallow and pedantic.


I think the real problem with it is that it insists upon itself.

/We need to find The Money Pit of quantum theories.
 
2014-06-30 12:35:35 PM
Well, you're supposed to put holes in the box, idiot.

/read the article, don't care.
 
2014-06-30 12:36:19 PM

Felgraf: Okay, they mention that Bell's Inequalty experiment doesn't rule out "Hidden Variables", and they're right. It doesn't.

But they don't mention that it DOES rule out LOCAL hidden variables. So it would have to be a non-local hidden variable, if it existed, and that-can proponents of hidden variables even explain what that would *be*?


One tongue-in-cheek-in-detail but serious-in-general suggestion I've thrown up here from time to time is the idea that particles always zig toward the closest passing neutrino.  We probably would never notice this since billions of neutrinos pass through every square centimeter of earth per second.

This isn't as crazy as it sounds.  There has been evidence that radioactive decay is very slightly affected by the time of the year.  The only thing we can think of is that the density of surrounding neutrinos changes as the Earth moves closer and further from the sun.

In reality, it'd probably be a lot more complex than just zigging toward the closest one, but if surrounding neutrinos did have a complicated effect on quantum probabilities, it'd be very difficult thing for us to discern.

Another idea for non local hidden variables: the pseudorandom number generator used to roll the dice depends on the history of previous rolls.

Yet another possibility: it really could just be truly random. Deal.
 
2014-06-30 12:38:24 PM

HighZoolander: big pig peaches: GoldSpider: I always found the theory oddly anthropocentric and unscientific.

/I am not a scientist.

I found it shallow and pedantic.

I think the real problem with it is that it insists upon itself.

/We need to find The Money Pit of quantum theories.


Perpetual Motion
 
2014-06-30 12:43:41 PM
That's because you killed that cat. J'accuse!
 
2014-06-30 01:28:42 PM
1.bp.blogspot.com
 
2014-06-30 01:47:56 PM

grinding_journalist: I first saw the "light through slits in paper" demo in 2nd grade, and it STILL doesn't make any damn sense to me; I've long since accepted that it's just one of those things where "that's how it is, accept it, unless you wanna learn and do a buncha math."


That is sophomore year nuclear engineering.

Easy peasy....
 
2014-06-30 01:50:06 PM
well, we are living in a giant explosion, shouldn't there always be hidden variables?
 
2014-06-30 01:53:33 PM

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2014-06-30 01:56:36 PM

AdamK: well, we are living in a giant explosion, shouldn't there always be hidden variables?


If only I could find a way to flip my 'cvar_god_mode' to 'True' ...
 
2014-06-30 02:02:55 PM

Felgraf: Okay, they mention that Bell's Inequalty experiment doesn't rule out "Hidden Variables", and they're right. It doesn't.

But they don't mention that it DOES rule out LOCAL hidden variables. So it would have to be a non-local hidden variable, if it existed, and that-can proponents of hidden variables even explain what that would *be*?


Interestingly, John Bell himself was an admirer of the pilot wave interpretation created de Broglie and revived by Bohm, and said explicitly that it was consistent with his theorem.

As far as the question of what the wave is a wave *in* that several people asked, you have to understand that it's already the case that no mainstream interpretation of QM takes place in physical spacetime. The arena of QM is phase space, and that's where the probability waves of the traditional interpretation propagate and evolve. Basically, whatever interpretation you prefer, you have to give up either locality or realism; and you have to suspect that what we experience as spacetime is not as fundamental as we feel it to be.

(A lot of interested amateurs are confused about this in part, I think, because the first quantum experiment most people learn about is the two-slit experiment. And because this experiment involves a single particle [at a time], the phase space has the same dimensionality as physical space, and this misleads people to think of the probability wave as propagating in physical space. But the moment you get to systems of two or more particles, you have to let go of that illusion.)

Ultimately, any interpretation of QM that involves a special place for "measurement" or "observation", or invokes "instantaneous collapse" of the wave, is definitely wrong -- there's simply nothing in the math that describes such things. If you take the math at face value, it's all evolving waves all the time; and this is a pretty powerful clue that the probabilistic interpretation is wrong.

Personally, I believe we need to revisit the spirit in which the Copenhagen Interpretation was invented, namely the dawn of QM, a period where people were saying "look, we can barely understand how a system as simple as the hydrogen atom works and why our calculations for the electron are off by a factor of two; we'll worry about how the classical world arises later, when we know how to calculate with more than two particles, and in the meantime we'll treat it as if there's this thing called an instantaneous collapse even though we know that's not really true"; and somehow that working approximation got transformed into dogma. And I don't believe we're going to get past it until somebody does the really hard work of examining what actually happens with systems of 100 or 1000 particles as they evolve from a pure quantum state into the appearance of a classical system.
 
2014-06-30 02:10:36 PM
FTFA: As de Broglie explained that day to Bohr, Albert Einstein, Erwin Schrödinger, Werner Heisenberg and two dozen other celebrated physicists,...

Holy crap.  If genius was gravity that group would be a black hole.
 
2014-06-30 03:08:08 PM

Prophet of Loss: AdamK: well, we are living in a giant explosion, shouldn't there always be hidden variables?

If only I could find a way to flip my 'cvar_god_mode' to 'True' ...


Interesting idea. If every possible outcome for a particle exists until "Measured" or "Observed"  then basically the very act of measuring or observing causes the particle to collapse to a certain state. So what determines the state? If we can control what state a particle collapses into, and for more than 1 or 2 particles at once, then we would in essence define our OWN reality. Scale it up, and you have your "God mode" (which is nothing more than defining your own "personal reality" and imposing it on everyone else's personal reality in the first place).

/heaven help us if the bronies get their hands on this tech.
 
2014-06-30 03:13:15 PM
I don't claim to understand QM, but I'll say something anyways: Why is it surprising for a supposedly classical system about waves and particles to share some characteristics in common with QM? Presumably both a probabilistic system and a deterministic system would use very similar math where they're being applied to similar phenomena?
 
2014-06-30 03:27:59 PM
Pilot waves all the way down...
 
2014-06-30 03:40:22 PM

whither_apophis: Pilot waves all the way down...


Well, if the waves exist in the medium of space time (which we know can at least bend, so why not waves?), kinda.  I don't know, it seems more likely than saying "farked if we can explain it, but the math works!"
 
2014-06-30 04:04:52 PM

Felgraf: Okay, they mention that Bell's Inequalty experiment doesn't rule out "Hidden Variables", and they're right. It doesn't.

But they don't mention that it DOES rule out LOCAL hidden variables. So it would have to be a non-local hidden variable, if it existed, and that-can proponents of hidden variables even explain what that would *be*?


The pilot wave being discussed in the article is one example of such a non-local hidden variable.

The fact that it's non-local is one of the reasons people didn't like it.
 
2014-06-30 04:09:47 PM

Nurglitch: I don't claim to understand QM, but I'll say something anyways: Why is it surprising for a supposedly classical system about waves and particles to share some characteristics in common with QM? Presumably both a probabilistic system and a deterministic system would use very similar math where they're being applied to similar phenomena?


I haven't read the paper yet, but I think it's surprising only in that it shows a specific behavior previously unobserved in macroscopic particles. I don't think it's surprising on a deep level or that it provides evidence for a Bohmian Pilot Wave.
 
2014-06-30 04:15:05 PM

czetie: Ultimately, any interpretation of QM that involves a special place for "measurement" or "observation", or invokes "instantaneous collapse" of the wave, is definitely wrong -- there's simply nothing in the math that describes such things. If you take the math at face value, it's all evolving waves all the time; and this is a pretty powerful clue that the probabilistic interpretation is wrong.


One has to be very careful about using this phrase to refer to an interpretation of quantum mechanics because people use it to mean so many different things.

Here, I think you are referring to the Copenhagen Interpretation in the narrow way that it was initially conceived. I would say it is clear that this interpretation is incomplete, but whether it should be called wrong is another matter.
 
2014-06-30 04:15:47 PM
The pilot wave theory was Boobiesulated by famed physicist Sum Ting Wong.
 
2014-06-30 04:19:33 PM
Prophet of Loss:

verybloggy.com
 
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