tisdag 25 augusti 2015

Finite Element Quantum Mechanics 2: Questions without Answers

Hans Primas formulates in Chemistry, Quantum Mechanics and Reductionism, the following basic questions left without answers in textbook quantum mechanics:
  1. Do isolated quantal systems exist at all?
  2. Is the Pauli Principle a universal and inviolable fact of nature?
  3. Does quantum mechanics apply to large molecular systems?
  4. Is the superposition principle universally valid?
  5. Why do so many stationary states not exist?
  6. Why are macroscopic bodies localised?
  7. Why does quantum mechanics fail to account for chemical systematics?
  8. Why can approximations be better than the exact solutions?
  9. Why is the Born-Oppenheimer picture so successful?
  10. Is temperature an observable? 
Despite now almost 100 years of giant efforts by giant scientific minds, no satisfactory answers to these basic questions have been delivered. There is no reason to believe that 100 more years will give any answers and the question must be posed if there is something fundamentally wrong with textbook quantum mechanics which prevents progress? 

Yes, I think so: The origin of all these questions without answers is the starting point of textbook quantum mechanics with a wave function 
  • $\psi (x_1,....,x_N,t)$ depending on $3N$ space coordinates and time,
  • satsifying a linear scalar wave equation in $3N$ space dimensions and time, 
for an atom with $N$ electrons as particles, with $\vert\psi (x_1,...,x_N,t)\vert^2$ interpreted as the probability that particle $j$ is at position $x_j$ at time $t$ for $j=1,...,N$.  

Such a wave function is both uncomputable (because of the many spatial dimensions) and unphysical (because an atom is not an insurance company computing probabilities, as little as an individual person paying an insurance). The fact that textbook quantum mechanics still after almost hundred years is stuck with such a hopeless scientific misconception, is nothing less than a scientific tragedy.

Hans Primas gives the following devastating verdict:
  • There is no general agreement about the referent (physical meaning) of pioneer (textbook) quantum mechanics.
  • Pioneer quantum mechanics has an agonising shortcoming: It cannot describe classical systems. 
  • From a fundamental point of view the only adequate interpretation of quantum mechanics is an ontic (realistic) interpretation.... Bohr's epistemic interpretation expresses merely states of knowledge and misses the point of genuine scientific inquiry...If we assume that pioneer quantum mechanics is a universal theory of molecular matter, then an ontic interpretation of this theory is impossible.
  • The Bohr Copenhagen (textbook) interpretation is not acceptable as a fundamental theory of matter. 
In other words, pioneer (textbook) quantum mechanics is a failed scientific project, and it is an open problem to find an ontic description of atomic physics by "genuine scientific inquiry", that is, in the spirit of the device of this blog, "by critical constructive inquiry towards understanding". 

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