fredag 20 maj 2011

Monstrosity of Quantum Mechanics

Schrödinger trying to slay the many-headed monster of the wave function (assisted by Einstein) however without success.

Basically, classical physics is Newtonian mechanics and modern physics is quantum mechanics.

Quantum mechanics is supposed to be described by Schrödinger's equation, worshipped by modern physicists. The equation was formulated by Erwin Schrödinger in 1925 seeking an equation with wave-like solutions called wave functions describing the dynamics of atoms and molecules resulting from an interplay of positive kernels and negative electrons under attractive and repulsive electric Coulomb forces. Nothing strange in principle, but what Schrödinger had created showed to be nothing but a Monster.

Monster? Why? Well, the wave function for the simplest case of the Hydrogen atom with one electron depends on 3 space coordinates and and time, but the wave function for an atom with N electrons depends on 3N space coordinates (and time), which makes it into a Many-Headed Monster beyond direct physical interpretation:
  • Instead of describing an actuality in 3 space dimensions, the wave function describes all possibilities
  • Instead of describing a specific actual sequence of 1000 coin flips, the wave function describes the 2^1000, much more than 10^100 = googol, possible sequences of coin flips.
  • Instead of describing the life of one specific actual human being, it describes the lives of all possible human beings.
As soon as Schrödinger understood that he had created a scientific monster, he tried to kill it but failed and then he withdrew from physics, while the Monster captured the minds of all the modern physicists (except Einstein's) who quickly formed a whole army under the leadership of Niels Bohr and his Copenhagen Interpretation of the wave function as a probability distribution of all possibilites.

To get from possibility to actuality, the idea of collapse of the wave-function was invented,
a Monstrous Idea to handle a Monster. Before collapse the Schrödinger Cat in the box would be in a state of superposition of alive and dead with all possibilities still present, and only upon opening of the box and inspection, would the Cat collapse into an actuality as alive or dead.

This Monstrous Idea has led modern physics into an endless desert of Multiverses and Many-Worlds of all possibilities. A recent contribution to this monstrosity is the
The Multiverse Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics by Raphael Bousso and Leonard Susskind:
  • We argue that the many-worlds of quantum mechanics and the many worlds of the multiverse are the same thing, and that the multiverse is necessary to give exact operational meaning to probabilistic predictions from quantum mechanics. Decoherence - the modern version of wave-function collapse - is subjective in that it depends on the choice of a set of unmonitored degrees of freedom, the "environment".
Read and try to understand where physics is today...

For a new approach without monsters, see Many-Minds Quantum Mechanics based on a different non-linear version of the Schrödinger equation as a coupled system of one-particle three-dimensional equations.

The thesis of Hugh Everett III behind the many-worlds interpretation exhibits the difficulties or rather monstrosities of the usual scalar linear multidimensional version of Schrödinger's equation. We will return to Everett's thesis in search of a connection between many-minds and many-worlds physics. Since we all have different conceptions of the world, maybe we in fact live in a many-worlds universe, one for each mind. Of course, the following questions then comes up: What is a mind and how many are there?

Another monstrosity perturbing the minds of many modern physicists is the Greenhouse Gas Effect, but there are some physicists fighting this monster, as e g William Happer: The Truth about Greenhouse Gases referring to Charles Mackay's Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds first published in 1841.

The development of modern physics into monstrosity is described in Dr Faustus of Modern Physics.

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