schrodinger's cat--collapse of the wave function

Message boards : Science (non-SETI) : schrodinger's cat--collapse of the wave function

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Profile William Rothamel
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Message 677869 - Posted: 14 Nov 2007, 21:11:15 UTC
Last modified: 14 Nov 2007, 21:12:55 UTC

I have been relearning some theoretical physics and am just as stumped as I was back in Grad School by the Copenhagen interpretation of Quantum mechanics.

As for Schrodinger's cat --I claim that the cat is either alive or dead, not both and that you will learn this when you make the observation. In fact dosen't the cat itself constitute an observer who is observing. The observation of an outside observer is after the fact of the state of the cat (or of the decay that either triggers the demise or does not occur).

I think I do understand how a single particle (particle/wave) (neutron, photon, etc) can take multiple paths (since it is a wave after all) especially as an energy state orbit about a nucleus. I cannot believe that the wave function (probability function) collapses instantaneously as a photon knocks out an electron in a photo-electric material.

Can someone tell me why the particle is all orbits or states at once and only when you look does it assume a given state in which you find it. I claim that it was wandering around and you happened to catch it in a particular state (orbit, location) when you look. I know there is uncertainty in measurement here at this level --looking(observing, measuring) where the particle is perturbs the particle in terms of position or momentum.

Somewhere I've lost the connection between the fact that materials absorb and release energy only at discrete levels orpackets and how this relates to allowed orbits AND all of this other weirdness called Quantum mechanics.

Can someone enlighten me further ??


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Message 678202 - Posted: 15 Nov 2007, 13:26:48 UTC - in response to Message 677869.
Last modified: 15 Nov 2007, 13:34:07 UTC

Can someone enlighten me further ??

Is it all also a state of mind for our understanding?

You must assume all possible states until you can know better or until you have disturbed the system and determined what was the case...


Are there any physical examples that require simultaneously all superposition states to simultaneously assert an effect?

(As opposed to possibly being there until one state is resolved by measurement.)


And for all of that, might we may just be observing multiple views of one multidimensional aspect?...

So... Are there possibly 'hidden variables' or is it all really 'random'?


Keep searchin',
Martin


ps: I very probably don't know!


ps #2:

A state of thoroughly conscious ignorance is the prelude to any real advance of knowledge.
- James Maxwell

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Message 678221 - Posted: 15 Nov 2007, 14:37:54 UTC

All these problems have been discussed and rediscussed many times. It is difficult to give answers to your questions in a short message. I can only point to two books by Roger Penrose, "The emperor's new mind" (easier) and "Shadows of the mind" (more technical). They both deal with quantum mechanics and the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox, which opened a new field of research now leading to quantum computing. Good luck!
Tullio


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Message 678226 - Posted: 15 Nov 2007, 14:49:36 UTC - in response to Message 678221.
Last modified: 15 Nov 2007, 14:50:09 UTC

All these problems have been discussed and rediscussed many times. It is difficult to give answers to your questions in a short message...

That sounds very similar to the book margin note written by Fermat... ;-)


Is there a 'brief' answer to:

Are there any physical examples that require simultaneously all superposition states to simultaneously assert an effect?

(As opposed to possibly being there until one state is resolved by measurement.)

?


Regards,
Martin

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Message 678296 - Posted: 15 Nov 2007, 17:25:08 UTC - in response to Message 678226.

All these problems have been discussed and rediscussed many times. It is difficult to give answers to your questions in a short message...

That sounds very similar to the book margin note written by Fermat... ;-)


Is there a 'brief' answer to:

Are there any physical examples that require simultaneously all superposition states to simultaneously assert an effect?

(As opposed to possibly being there until one state is resolved by measurement.)

?


Regards,
Martin

I would not compare myself to Fermat. Any measurement implies a reduction of the state function (a projection of the Hilbert vector on a suitable basis). Beyond this I am unable to say anything worthwhile.

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Message 678584 - Posted: 16 Nov 2007, 0:50:22 UTC - in response to Message 678296.

All these problems have been discussed and rediscussed many times. It is difficult to give answers to your questions in a short message...

That sounds very similar to the book margin note written by Fermat... ;-)


Is there a 'brief' answer to:

Are there any physical examples that require simultaneously all superposition states to simultaneously assert an effect?

(As opposed to possibly being there until one state is resolved by measurement.)

?


Regards,
Martin

I would not compare myself to Fermat. Any measurement implies a reduction of the state function (a projection of the Hilbert vector on a suitable basis). Beyond this I am unable to say anything worthwhile.


Yes--there are experiments involving the release of a single particle (photon or neutron) that demonstrably takes both of two alternate paths--Not too hard to understand since the "particle" also has the properties of a wave even though it is a single entity. From here its hard for me to make the leap that an "observer" causes the determination of an event that decides which of two states you find the particle and that it was in a superposition of both states prior to the "observer looking". I think I know how to get at this now -- i remember that there is the two-slit experiment that I need to go back and try to understand.

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Message boards : Science (non-SETI) : schrodinger's cat--collapse of the wave function


 
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