Proposed experiment would prove that quantum jumps are not objective events

Jun 11, 2012 by Lisa Zyga feature
In this graph, the blue-shaded region represents the high efficiency area where the proposed experiment would rule out all theories of objective quantum jumps, finally proving that quantum jumps are detector-dependent. Image credit: Wiseman and Gambetta. ©2012 American Physical Society

(Phys.org) -- The famous physicist Niels Bohr first conceived of the notion of quantum jumps, or quantum leaps, in 1913. Bohr understood quantum jumps as objective events in which an atom emits or absorbs a photon, causing an electron to jump from one energy level – or quantum state – to another inside the atom. But a few decades later, when physicists began to understand how the act of measuring can affect the result in quantum mechanics, the assumed objectivity of quantum jumps required a second look.

Then in the early 1990s, physicists developed quantum trajectory theory, showing that are not caused by the emission of a photon, but by the detection of a photon. If an emitted photon is not detected, then there is no quantum jump. In other words, quantum jumps are detector-dependent, which is in marked contrast to Bohr’s objective emission events.

Despite the wide acceptance of the assertion that there can be no detector-independent quantum jumps, no experiment has ever been performed to rigorously test this claim.

Now in a new study, physicists Howard M. Wiseman at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia, and Jay M. Gambetta at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York, have proposed experimental tests to prove that all quantum jumps must be detector-dependent. Their work is published in a recent issue of Physical Review Letters.

“Our work relates to something everyone has heard of (quantum jumps) but says that their fundamental nature has still not been established experimentally,” Wiseman told Phys.org. “By proposing actual experiments, it gives experimentalists a real motivation to try to increase their collection and detection efficiency.”

The proposed tests would rule out not just certain specific detector-independent models of quantum jumps, but all models that could conceivably describe quantum jumps as detector-independent.

As the physicists explain in their study, the key to the tests is to show that there are two different ways to monitor the radiated field of photons emitted by an atom, but the two methods give incompatible results. The procedure is an example of the EPR steering phenomenon, in which two parties (Alice and Bob) share an entangled state. By making measurements (for example, of position and momentum) on her half of the entangled state, Alice can collapse Bob’s half into a different, incompatible state. In this way, Alice shows that Bob’s system does not have an objective quantum state that exists independent of her measurement choice.

Using similar techniques, the physicists explain how their test can show that two different monitoring techniques give two different results. Mathematically, they show that an EPR steering inequality can be violated when the detector efficiency is above a certain value. Although this efficiency value (0.58) is still very challenging experimentally, achieving it for the new tests would rule out all models – not just the high-efficiency scenarios – that involve detector-independent quantum jumps.

“If the efficiency requirements can be met, then that rules out all models,” Wiseman said. “But if the requirements cannot be met then that doesn't allow us to conclude anything unfortunately. At least, our analysis doesn't imply anything.”

In the future, the physicists hope that these tests will be performed, which would finally prove that quantum jumps are indeed detector-dependent.

“One plan is to try to come up with tests that could be done in systems other than , such as superconducting qubits coupled to a radio-frequency transmission line,” Wiseman said. “We don't yet know what the efficiency requirements would be because the type of dynamics can be quite different. But experimental colleagues (e.g., at Berkeley) in that area are working hard to increase their efficiency anyway.”

Explore further: Physicists discuss quantum pigeonhole principle

More information: Howard M. Wiseman and Jay M. Gambetta. “Are Dynamical Quantum Jumps Detector Dependent?” PRL 108, 220402 (2012). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.108.220402

Journal reference: Physical Review Letters search and more info website

4.3 /5 (23 votes)

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El_Nose
5 / 5 (2) Jun 11, 2012
could someone explain the conclusion -- if they are decetor dependant then -- what?? what would that truly mean?
Vortimer
5 / 5 (8) Jun 11, 2012
One of the authors here. It would mean that the behaviour of the quantum state of an atom (i.e. the way it jumps) *must* depend on the way the observer sets up the detection apparatus, no matter how distant that is from the atom. This is a special case of Einstein's "spooky action at a distance" applied to quantum jumps. Hope that helps.
hemitite
1 / 5 (5) Jun 11, 2012
That nothing can exist without being observed.

But then, who observes the observer?
Erik
5 / 5 (3) Jun 11, 2012
Reminds me of Cramer's "A Transactional Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics". The detector is an essential part of the transaction.
Erik
not rated yet Jun 11, 2012
That nothing can exist without being observed.

But then, who observes the observer?


Perhaps they can exist, but nothing can change without an observer?
Don Crusty
5 / 5 (1) Jun 11, 2012
could it be somewhat similar to this ugly metaphore "sticking a thermometer into a glass of water to determine it's energy level and concluding you've changed the volume of the quantum-container as well as it's energy level and containable-volume" ?
Terriva
1.3 / 5 (3) Jun 11, 2012
"Are Dynamical Quantum Jumps Detector Dependent?"
I dunno, what the "statical jump" is supposed to mean, but for me it seems rather strange, when some object can be affected with observer/detector at distance longer, than the decoherence distance. We know, that the photons decohere at distance of few dozens of kilometers, so I wouldn't expect any connection to observer after then.
hemitite
5 / 5 (1) Jun 11, 2012
"Perhaps they can exist, but nothing can change without an observer?"

It seems to me that if that is the case, then the unobserved world would be in a state of frozen timelessness.
Terriva
1 / 5 (8) Jun 11, 2012
What the photons are supposed to do in dense aether model is they dissolve in the vacuum fluctuations and they condense somewhere else. In this moment every causal connection with observer is lost. The photons arriving from distant stars aren't definitely connected with human observer, which didn't exist at the moment, when these photons were sent.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4 / 5 (24) Jun 11, 2012
The universe did not wait to begin functioning until observers showed up. It has been functioning the same way since it began. Observers are immaterial. We would not BE here if the universe depended upon us to function.

Observers are immaterial.
Terriva
1.1 / 5 (7) Jun 11, 2012
We would not BE here if the universe depended upon us to function
Steady state model doesn't require such an argumentation. And I'm not saying, the observers cannot affect the quantum phenomena at all - we already know, they do so (collapse of wave function during the double slit experiment, for example). The question therefore is the measure of the mutual interaction of effect and its observer and the conditions under which it can be observed.
quantumvoice
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 11, 2012
Very interesting. But... wait a minute... You say: "If an emitted photon is not detected, then there is no quantum jump".
But this means that the electron is still in a upper energy level, in spite of the hv energy emitted with the photon? And what about the second law of thermodynamics? The atom can continue to emit forever?
Cave_Man
2 / 5 (7) Jun 11, 2012
Very interesting. But... wait a minute... You say: "If an emitted photon is not detected, then there is no quantum jump".
But this means that the electron is still in a upper energy level, in spite of the hv energy emitted with the photon? And what about the second law of thermodynamics? The atom can continue to emit forever?


I assume the emitted photons are virtual and therefore if they don't interact with anything then there could be an infinite amount of them and they are all entangled so to speak. So as soon as one of those infinite virtual photons interacts with something the other photons dont exist. Or something to that effect.

I have long believed that we know very little about the true nature of the universe. One could probably learn more about the universe around us by meditating that playing around with million dollar colliders and detectors. But Shhh don't say that to someone getting paid to play with those colliderss and detectors.
FieryJack
3 / 5 (4) Jun 11, 2012
I have to ask sometime - what evidence is there that the property that will later be measured (spin etc) is not already determined even though it has not been measured? Why are entangled particles not each others "observers"?
Caliban
4.6 / 5 (7) Jun 11, 2012
One of the authors here. It would mean that the behaviour of the quantum state of an atom (i.e. the way it jumps) *must* depend on the way the observer sets up the detection apparatus, no matter how distant that is from the atom. This is a special case of Einstein's "spooky action at a distance" applied to quantum jumps. Hope that helps.


@Vortimer,

By that, do you mean to say that the *state* of the emitted photon is indeterminate unless detected --or that the photon has not been emitted?

Your insight, as one of the authors, would be much appreciated.
Thanks,
Caliban
Mike_Massen
3.2 / 5 (9) Jun 11, 2012
It does seem as if light, speed of light & various wave/particle duality issues go toward suggesting all electromagnetic energy is the means to synchronise reality "as it is observed", as if akin to the 'clock signal' limitation in virtual reality. Therefore there is no reality unless it is observed by the 'us' which are the only universal observers as we make the reality by such action...

This reminds me of the time Presbyterian missionaries arrived at the new world circa 1600's & tried to convert an American Indian tribe where the chief was the shaman & unusual for the times spoke good English. He was given a bible to read.

He glanced at it and said something to the effect of:-

"No, these are the works of men who seek to influence other men".
The missionaries were taken aback and angrily asked, that if the bible is not accepted then why are we here ? He answered:- "The answer to that question is the easiest of all"

"We are the means by which the universe may know itself"

Shiwa
5 / 5 (4) Jun 11, 2012
As photons travel at c they dont experience time. Quantum jumps at emitting and absourbing electrons hapens at same time. And thats hardcore quantum entanglement for everyone.

Hmm... Makes photons kinda weird...
Noumenon
3.5 / 5 (66) Jun 11, 2012
The universe did not wait to begin functioning until observers showed up. It has been functioning the same way since it began. Observers are immaterial. We would not BE here if the universe depended upon us to function.

Observers are immaterial.


Noumenal reality existed, yes, but by definition phenomenal reality is dependent on an observer, since we add the a-priori conceptual structure in which to formulate knowledge of realty, which in turn determines measurements and interpretations,....

... wait, was that Ghost I quoted,.... never mind.
Husky
not rated yet Jun 11, 2012
if they can prove through different fairly precise measurements that the measurements by themselves introduces different skew in the results, then by using even more different methods, an average skew could be calculated for each measuring method
mrlewish
3 / 5 (2) Jun 11, 2012
All that this means is that there must be an interaction with another object(of any sort) in order for a change of state to occur.
Vortimer
5 / 5 (7) Jun 11, 2012
Caliban: You ask whether I mean that *state* of the emitted photon is indeterminate unless detected --or that the photon has not been emitted. The answer is that the photon has not definitely been emitted until it is detected. So the state of the *field* is indeterminate until the measurement. And the point is that there are ways of detecting the field which make it determinate but still don't reveal whether a photon has been emitted or not. That is, photon number is only one property of the field --- there are others like the phase which can be measured instead. And doing that gives different sorts of quantum jumps (actually quantum diffusion).
Vendicar_Decarian
3 / 5 (2) Jun 11, 2012
If you are asking when a human readable system observes the observer then it is when the original observer or some subsequent quantum observer becomes entangled with a heat bath that converts the quanta to a continuous range of states.

"But then, who observes the observer?" - hermatite

Otherwise, the observer can just entangle with another system which is observing it.
Vendicar_Decarian
3 / 5 (2) Jun 11, 2012
Better to say that two systems become entangled although separated by distance and time. The intermediary photon is a fiction.

"All that this means is that there must be an interaction with another object(of any sort) in order for a change of state to occur." - mrlewish
Vendicar_Decarian
3 / 5 (2) Jun 11, 2012
pfffft.

"Observers are immaterial." - GhostofOtto

The term "observer" as it is used in QM typically refers to another system that receives some information or energy from somewhere else.

A hydrogen atom "observes" a photon by absorbng the photon, or scattering off of it, etc. etc. etc.
MandoZink
not rated yet Jun 12, 2012
The answer is that the photon has not definitely been emitted until it is detected

I am not entirely clear on the identity or description of the detector/observer that is required to facilitate the event.
MandoZink
not rated yet Jun 12, 2012
The answer is that the photon has not definitely been emitted until it is detected

I am not entirely clear on the identity or description of the detector/observer that is required.
Turritopsis
1.7 / 5 (6) Jun 12, 2012
If you feel the Universe is objective, that consciousness emerged from a matterial reality, you are wrong. If you feel the Universe is subjective, that consciousness materialized reality, you are wrong.

Consciousness and matter are covariant properties of the Universe. The matter is irrelevant without conscious interpretation, but consciousness is irrational without matter. Neither the objective nor subjective serve a purpose as stand-alones.

The Universe does not exist in a purely subjective nor objective form. What experiments reflect is the ability of a conscious entity to alter the objective reality. This pliability (free will) gives the illusion of a purely subjective state. This is false, it is rather a result of a dualistic state, the ability to alter our surroundings by interacting and actively participating in the Universal evolution.
Husky
4 / 5 (2) Jun 12, 2012
any exchange of information is exchange of energy, i would think that the quantum jumps are real with or without measurement, its just that while confirming you introduce entropy from you own system. Thats why they often work with ultralow temperatures to minimize spillover, yet it ocurs, but i think the "waveform"collapse is just a pure math "solved"thin, would the quantum source really start to jump AFTER we measure its expelled photon from a safe distance?
FieryJack
3 / 5 (4) Jun 12, 2012
A hydrogen atom "observes" a photon by absorbng the photon, or scattering off of it, etc. etc. etc.

Does this explain entanglement in that entangled particles are each other's observers at the momnet of entangelment, and hence each is in a "compromised superposition"?
Origin
1 / 5 (2) Jun 12, 2012
hence each is in a "compromised superposition"
I can understand the motivation of your question, but the quantum states are observable in their pure states (spectra), which were verified with high precision - so what we are observing here aren't definitely some mixed states.
Noumenon
3.4 / 5 (67) Jun 12, 2012
pfffft.

"Observers are immaterial." - GhostofOtto

The term "observer" as it is used in QM typically refers to another system that receives some information or energy from somewhere else.

A hydrogen atom "observes" a photon by absorbng the photon, or scattering off of it, etc. etc. etc.


Not true. Decoherance is fundamentally different from the 'measurement problem', i.e., the inconsistency between unitary evolution and state reduction.

Decoherance only gives the appearance (which requires an observer by definition btw) of 'wavefunction collapse', so that the classical realm emerges as a epiphenomenon (as does entropy).

Since our minds evolved in the 'classical realm', our evolved a-priori intuitions are incompatible with qm,... thus the gulf between observation and deterministic unitary evolution, the measurement problem.
Noumenon
3.5 / 5 (64) Jun 12, 2012
,... Decoherance does not 'collapse the wave function', which is to say, it does not conform reality within a conceptual structure that is dependent upon mind (empiracal observation), which is by nature necessarily required for knowledge of reality; The mind adds its own intrinsic elements as a necessity in obtaining knowledge of reality. Science can only make progress at the qm realm, by giving up on intuitional understanding, but the measurement problem is still an artifact of the mind 'operating' on reality.
Vendicar_Decarian
2.3 / 5 (3) Jun 12, 2012
Ignore the photon. It is a fiction.

"I am not entirely clear" - MandoZink

An atom enters into a state where it can make a transition.

Somewhere else another atom does the same.

They become entangled and both transition to an alternate state.

End of story.
Caliban
not rated yet Jun 12, 2012
Caliban: You ask whether I mean that *state* of the emitted photon is indeterminate unless detected --or that the photon has not been emitted. The answer is that the photon has not definitely been emitted until it is detected. So the state of the *field* is indeterminate until the measurement. And the point is that there are ways of detecting the field which make it determinate but still don't reveal whether a photon has been emitted or not. That is, photon number is only one property of the field --- there are others like the phase which can be measured instead. And doing that gives different sorts of quantum jumps (actually quantum diffusion).


Thanks, Vortimer.

Your answer makes sense. But then it begs the question: is it not also possible to indirectly infer that information by collecting the measurements that would constrain the outcome to that "solution"?

That's my last question -don't want to use up your time with a layman's lack of understanding.

ziphead
1 / 5 (6) Jun 12, 2012
That nothing can exist without being observed.

But then, who observes the observer?


Ever seen Uranus? That's you observing the observer...
Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Jun 13, 2012
The "measurement problem" is a problem regarding how quantum systems manifest as macroscopic change.

The term "observation" is used for both macroscopic measurement, and the exchange of properties at the quantum level.

"Observation" does not imply macroscopic manifestation or conscious observation.

"Decoherance is fundamentally different from the 'measurement problem'" - Noumenon
DarkHorse66
3 / 5 (2) Jun 13, 2012
Does this explain entanglement in that entangled particles are each other's observers at the momnet of entangelment, and hence each is in a "compromised superposition"?

I don't know the answer either, but: 5 = I like your thinking! #Two photons (most basic case)observing each other# Perhaps this is a kind of special case of state of 'observation' and hence the very definition of entanglement.(Goes out on a very long limb...I am only speculating here!) I've never thought about the problem in those kinds of terms before. Since he is actively involved here, I too would love to hear from Vortimer as to what he makes of your idea. :) Cheers, DH66
Graeme
5 / 5 (3) Jun 13, 2012
From the point of view of the photon no time elapses between emission and absorption, but also the Lorentz contraction has resulted in no distance between the two either from the point of view of the photon. So really you cannot tell the causation order in the photon frame of reference.
Noumenon
3.5 / 5 (63) Jun 13, 2012
@VD,

You're trying to generalize the term 'observation' to much imo,.. just use 'interaction'. The term 'observation' already has implied meaning in (inductive) science.

In decoherence the system entangles with the environment into a superposition who's evolution is theoretically deterministic. This happens "behind the scenes" all the time, even into experimental apparatus, yes.

When a experimental observation is performed, only one possibility is ever actually observed, and so the wave function fails to evolve deterministically relative to a conscious observer, ...."the measurement problem". Since science is based on observation, this matters.

We don't observe 'wave functions', we only observe specific results, because the way we conform (or filter) reality by time it reaches our consciousness, (in the design and interpretation of experiments). The entire thing is an epistemological issue.
Mike_Massen
1 / 5 (2) Jun 13, 2012
Noumenon offered this
..When a experimental observation is performed, only one possibility is ever actually observed, and so the wave function fails to evolve deterministically relative to a conscious observer, ...."the measurement problem". Since science is based on observation, this matters..
Surely the overall process must be fully probabilistic in *all* respects, with only the illusion of determinism (for the sake of communicative convenience), even if the bell curve for that probability is approaching the asymptote of being infinitely narrow ?

Especially so, could you expand and further articulate upon the linguistic to reality paradigm in terms of the first two words here
..evolve deterministically relative to a conscious observer..
That is, in what context do you place/propose 'evolve', eg as in spread, progress, extend, impose etc ?
Don Crusty
not rated yet Jun 13, 2012
brushes idiot hat : when it is time that is a delocalised immaterial observer would there not be a smallest-time ratio to exchange information-and-energy with the observed hence relocalising both energy-and-information to the apparent yet artificial observer *sorry but i barely understand this discussion anyway, something to distract*

Noumenon
3.5 / 5 (66) Jun 13, 2012
Especially so, could you expand and further articulate upon the linguistic to reality paradigm in terms of the first two words here
When a experimental observation is performed, only one possibility is ever actually observed, and so the wave function fails to evolve deterministically relative to a conscious observer

That is, in what context do you place/propose 'evolve', eg as in spread, progress, extend, impose etc ?


Mathematically the Schrödinger wavefunction is deterministic in is time evolution.

Results of actual measurements require a probabilistic interpretation of it though, which will "collapse" the wavefunction to one result,.. and start it evolving again from that new state. There is an inconsistency between this "unitary evolution" and "state reduction" which occurs after interaction with an observer.

VD's decoherence definition of "observer" does not cause this inconsistency, so is not relevant to the measurement problem, imo.
Noumenon
3.5 / 5 (64) Jun 13, 2012
@ Mike_Massen, [since your profile indicates an interest in philosophy],... I view the non-intuitive nature of qm as in essence a rediscovery of Kantian ideas in his "Critique of Pure Reason".
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.3 / 5 (16) Jun 13, 2012
@ Mike_Massen, [since your profile indicates an interest in philosophy],... I view the non-intuitive nature of qm as in essence a rediscovery of Kantian ideas in his "Critique of Pure Reason".
Which, you must admit, is quite impossible as kant died long before qm was postulated, and kant was no seer. Sadly he was actually a religionist.

"I have therefore found it necessary to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith. The dogmatism of metaphysics that is the preconception that it is possible to make headway in metaphysics without a previous criticism of pure reason, is the source of all that unbelief, always very dogmatic, which wars against morality"

-As well as a metaphysician. And as we all know, there IS no meta-physical. What a loon.
Terriva
2 / 5 (12) Jun 13, 2012
Nomeon downvotes TheGhostofOtto1923. TheGhostofOtto1923 downvotes Noumenon. Both they're off-topic here with Kant and philosophical debates, which cannot lead somewhere anyway in physical thread. In my experience, when two users at public forum are downvoting their posts mutually, they're both worth of reporting, because of their divergent and subjective nature. This is what the PM feature is about. You people simply cannot focus to the problem because of your incoherent thinking, just admit it.
Noumenon
3.5 / 5 (66) Jun 13, 2012
Have you read past the preface of "A Critique of Pure Reason" yet, Otto? Doesn't sound like it.

I'm not going to engage you again over this here, except to say that, Kant's personal belief system is not relevant to my use of his conclusions, ...in support of logical positivism and the interpretation of the non-intuitive nature of qm.

Btw, Kant's conclusion was that metaphysics can NOT be a source of knowledge, so your "objection" is redundant and pointless.
Noumenon
3.6 / 5 (69) Jun 13, 2012
Nomeon downvotes TheGhostofOtto1923. TheGhostofOtto1923 downvotes Noumenon. Both they're off-topic here with Kant and philosophical debates, which cannot lead somewhere anyway in physical thread. In my experience, when two users at public forum are downvoting their posts mutually, they're both worth of reporting, because of their divergent and subjective nature. This is what the PM feature is about. You people simply cannot focus to the problem because of your incoherent thinking, just admit it.


Sorry, I must have infringed on your patent rights of off-topic and irrelevant posts,... i.e. Dense Aether Model.

Besides, my post was addressed to Mike_Massen.
Noumenon
3.6 / 5 (69) Jun 13, 2012
Nomeon downvotes TheGhostofOtto1923. TheGhostofOtto1923 downvotes Noumenon. Both they're off-topic here with Kant and philosophical debates, which cannot lead somewhere anyway in physical thread. ..., they're both worth of reporting, because of their divergent and subjective nature. - Water-wave-face


It's almost as if you made all those hundreds of posts on "dense aether model", just so you can tell that joke.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.1 / 5 (14) Jun 13, 2012
Have you read past the preface of "A Critique of Pure Reason" yet, Otto? Doesn't sound like it.
1) Who has? 2) Who says they have but lied about it? 3) How could anyone tell if they were lying or not? 4) Who has and said they understood it but were lying about it? 5) etc.
Kant's personal belief system is not relevant to my use of his conclusions, ...in support of logical positivism and the interpretation of the non-intuitive nature of qm.
His personal belief systems, which include this metaphysics nonsense, are relevant to my use or non-use of his conclusions...as well as all the critics, scientist and philo alike, who attest to his total lack of substance and relevance.
Btw, Kant's conclusion was that metaphysics can NOT be a source of knowledge, so your "objection" is redundant and pointless.
-And yet he still regarded it as...something...? Who knows what? Jebus?
Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Jun 14, 2012
No one understands how the "state reduction" occurs over space-time volumes. The conversion of a distributed state to one that is localized must either be cooperative over the volume or instantaneous. But instantaneous change has a problem in that what is instantaneous in one observer may not be for another.

The conversion from extended to collapsed is as far as I know, strictly a matter of observation. The quantum state of a system isolated from outside observation continues to evolve as a wave as long as it remains non-interacting with the rest of the universe, even though internally there are "observations" of itself.

Observation "collapses the wave function" for the observer and includes the observer in the evolving state. If a potential observer and and the content of a box about to be observed, are themselves in a box and being CONT.

"There is an inconsistency between this "unitary evolution" and "state reduction" which occurs after interaction with an observer." - NumenTar
Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Jun 14, 2012
with another observer outside waiting to observe. The second observer will conclude that the interior wave function of the interior box and interior observer continue to evolve as waves until they are observed by the outside observer.

If something is non-interactive then it evolves as a wave. If it interacts (is observed), the observer becomes part of the wave function and the combined state evolves.

Some particle/particle reactions are not isolated and can effect more and more particles. In that case the state can become very precisely localized by the observation.
Noumenon
3.5 / 5 (66) Jun 14, 2012
what evidence is there that the property that will later be measured (spin etc) is not already determined even though it has not been measured? - FieryJack


Ignoring the problem with your use of the term "determined" above,... the statistical correlations in entanglement are found to be greater than with any 'local realism' assumption.

http://en.wikiped...#Concept

http://en.wikiped...Overview

Why are entangled particles not each others "observers"?


They wouldn't ever be entangled then, nor would they ever need to be formulated as a single entity (wave function), if they could logically be considered 'observers' and collapse their systems wave-function a-priori.

The reason is, is that 'Observation' implies resolving (through experiment) a definite outcome from a probability amplitude of possibilities.

I think you are misusing the term observation, or by doing so I am misunderstanding your point.
Noumenon
3.5 / 5 (64) Jun 14, 2012
If something is non-interactive then it evolves as a wave. If it interacts (is observed), the observer becomes part of the wave function and the combined state evolves.

Some particle/particle reactions are not isolated and can effect more and more particles. In that case the state can become very precisely localized by the observation.


If your generalization of the term 'observer', is valid..., then during an actual experiment on a simple qm system, ...why is it that only the probability amplitude describing that simple system is required for predicting outcomes, ....and not the entire superposition of the experimental apparatus and observer along with the system?
Noumenon
3.5 / 5 (64) Jun 14, 2012
The conversion from extended to collapsed is as far as I know, strictly a matter of observation. - VD


The quantum state of a system isolated from outside observation continues to evolve as a wave as long as it remains non-interacting with the rest of the universe, even though internally there are "observations" of itself. - VD


Your use if the term "observation" to include interactions generally, is needlessly confusing.

Do you mean experimental observation, or interaction? If the former, then yes I agree. If the latter, than no, I don't follow.

Decoherence does not collapse the wave-function, rather it superposes the environment into one wave-function as it continues to evolve. That it becomes less spread out, and the emergence of the classical realm occurs, is an epiphenomena.
spacealf
5 / 5 (2) Jun 14, 2012
I think perhaps some of the comments just proved that a higher intelligence must exist to have run the Universe up until humans think once again that unlike the Earth also, they are not the center of the Universe.

It's those photons and electrons messing with us once again.
Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Jun 14, 2012
Since you are a wave function it is quite needful even though you might not understand it or like it.

"Your use if the term "observation" to include interactions generally, is needlessly confusing." - NumenTard

"Do you mean experimental observation, or interaction?" - NumenTard

There is no distinction.

"Decoherence does not collapse the wave-function, rather it superposes the environment into one wave-function as it continues to evolve" = NumenTard

Needlessly confusing.

When two or more wave functions become decoherent they have undergone decoherence.

It is no more complex than that.

Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (1) Jun 14, 2012
The probability amplitude is a vector in complex vector space, so it has a phase angle as well as a magnitude. It is the magnitude that determines the probability, but it is both magnitude and phase angle that determine all interactions.

The phase angle is lost in the measurement process for large machines because large systems have a phase angle that averages to zero.

This is not true for small systems that make observations.

"If your generalization of the term 'observer', is valid..., then during an actual experiment on a simple qm system, ...why is it that only the probability amplitude describing that simple system is required for predicting outcomes, ....and not the entire superposition of the experimental apparatus and observer along with the system?" - NumenTard
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (2) Jun 14, 2012
There is a cat, in a box, observing a cat in a box.

when the cat in the box opens it's cat in the box it will find that the cat in the box is either dead or alive. Yet outside of it's box it's fate, along with the cat in the box in the box will not be determined until the outer box is opened.

If you were to open a box containing a cat. It is claimed that the wave function of the cat will collapse to a dead or alive state at the time of observation.

But what if you are in a box yourself? How do you know that you aren't in such a box now?
Noumenon
3.5 / 5 (63) Jun 14, 2012
The probability amplitude is a vector in complex vector space, so it has a phase angle as well as a magnitude. It is the magnitude that determines the probability, but it is both magnitude and phase angle that determine all interactions.

The phase angle is lost in the measurement process for large machines because large systems have a phase angle that averages to zero.

This is not true for small systems that make observations.

"If your generalization of the term 'observer', is valid..., then during an actual experiment on a simple qm system, ...why is it that only the probability amplitude describing that simple system is required for predicting outcomes, ....and not the entire superposition of the experimental apparatus and observer along with the system?"


That's the correct answer to my question, but does not really resolve the "measurement problem"

http://en.wikiped..._problem
Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Jun 15, 2012
"That's the correct answer to my question, but does not really resolve the "measurement problem" - Noumenon

Actually it does.

Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Jun 15, 2012
"That's the correct answer to my question, but does not really resolve the "measurement problem" - Noumenon

The issue is one of locality vs non-locality and this problem exists not only in terms of observation but also with simple existence.

My current bias is that all material things are manifestations of fluctuations in a vacuum field. The wave function - like a sound wave function - describes the form but not the details of how the waveform interacts.
Noumenon
3.5 / 5 (63) Jun 15, 2012
What I mean is that the interpretation of the wave-function as a probability amplitude implies a Range of potential out-comes, even though only one such possibility is in principal "experimentally" observable. This is the case prior to any actual measurement.

The wave function - like a sound wave function - describes the form but not the details of how the waveform interacts.


I view as opposite; the wavefuncion tells how interaction occur given interference, but does not give a substantive form (particle or wave), so it is added by us.

I think what's going on is that the wavefucntion, is like a (Hamiltonian) "leash" around whatever the underlying reality "is",... and an "experimental" observation forces "it" into a conceptual form dependent upon the exprimental setup, and therefore a mind, ultimately.

What I mean by "conceptual form" is simply like a wave or a particle, ...forms which are artificial in that they are imposed upon reality by the nature of the "measurement".
Noumenon
3.5 / 5 (64) Jun 15, 2012
,... this does not imply that a conscious oberver is required for reality to function, just to know that reality,... that is, to conceptualize it.
spaceagesoup
1 / 5 (2) Jun 15, 2012
That things do not exist in any real sense unless observed, seems to me to be a natural conclusion about the world in which we live.

We "see" or detect surfaces, fields, etc by way of interactions that occur between predetermined detection scenarios and/or "direct" observation. But there is a whole raft of phenomena that are outside of the detection range for any given device/sensor/eye.

These phenomena are digitised upon observation, because that is us making sense of what we see. I would be more surprised if any evidence could be given for events occurring without an observer.
Turritopsis
1 / 5 (2) Jun 16, 2012
The more complex the conscious observer, the more complex the subject of observance (aka object). This can be modeled in the following way: observe a distant galaxy (subject), it appears as a singular star, increase the optical complexity, now the galaxy comes into view, it is composed of billions of stars. An objective reality of sorts must exist somewhere down the line, (even if this Universe is a subjective one it must be objectively based iow the energy of the Universe is real). Interaction is absolutely key, consciousness is the awareness of the resonance, consciousness also resonates independently of the field, iow it can be unreal. Imagination. Reality cannot be unreal. But imagination can. This is a new resonating frequency brought into reality. So the conscious mind has the ability to change reality.

Is the orbital jump subjective? Sort of, but it is based off of real energy (as in: objective in nature). So not really, but the conscious mind has the capacity to introduce the
Turritopsis
1 / 5 (2) Jun 16, 2012
unreal. That means subjective and that means a dual aspect. Reality is both objective and subjective. The information is capable of change (entropy) but energy remains. Conscious minds can direct the entropy of the system. This is because we are in essence, as biological systems, designed with the ability to alter nature (a rock can't go up a hill, we can).

Complexity. A rock and you exchange information. A rock sees you as a massive energetic object, you see it as that too, but far more, that rock can be forever interpreted, forever calculated, forever measured. The rock interprets us in the most simplistic way (objective), we observe the rock in a manner as complex as we want (we see the objective reality too), but we operate in an unnatural way. So we alter the object with the expectant interpretative conscious energy. In classical sense we alter it by breaking it in half to see the innards, in the quantum sense we push in inspecting em energy (brain waves are em too)
Noumenon
3.5 / 5 (63) Jun 16, 2012
Reality cannot be unreal. But imagination can. This is a new resonating frequency brought into reality. So the conscious mind has the ability to change reality.


I'm not proposing, and I don't think, that conscious mind causes a Physical change in reality that would account for the 'measurement problem', and non-intuitive nature of qm. It's more to do with the act of conceptualization of Reality altering the form in which it exists on its own. For example,....

Noumenon
3.5 / 5 (63) Jun 16, 2012
An objective reality of sorts must exist somewhere down the line, (even if this Universe is a subjective one it must be objectively based iow the energy of the Universe is real).


We can define 'phenomenal reality' as reality as conceptualized reality (known) by a conscious mind. This logically inplies that the conceptual frame work in which Reality is formulated for consciousness is subjective,.... so 'phenomenal reality' thus has a subjective component dependent on mind.

It is imo, a purely logical deduction to conclude that objective reality exists, merely by removing the above subjective condition of conceptualization. What is left is an unconceptualized reality;,.. Reality 'as it is in itself', .. as Kant called it, 'Noumenal Reality'. This objective Reality is by definition unknowable in itself. To Know is to Conceptualize, but this alters artificially the original Reality.
Noumenon
3.5 / 5 (63) Jun 16, 2012
@spaceagesoup,

By "digitized", I would phrase as "conceptualized", and given the way the mind evolved to order sense experience for consciousness, we necessarily presuppose an a-priori conceptual scheme, as in time, space, and perhaps temporal causality. These presumptions evolved to make sense of macroscopic reality, not the qm realm,... so we see failure and intuitive inconsistency wrt entanglement for example.

By definition 'evidence' requires an observer. Some people think that because a machine is used to "observe" instead of fingers or eyes, it makes a difference,... but those machines were made by and results interpreted by minds. It's way more subtle than that.

The wave-function is not an objective entity of itself. History has rejected that interpretation; Born's interpretation replaced Schrodinger's. Again, to make Observable predictions, we must supply the conceptual form,... as in (conjugate) basis vectors in Hilbert space to project (collapse) onto.
Noumenon
3.5 / 5 (63) Jun 16, 2012
It appears the rating troll, "SatanLover" knows how to rate a 1, but is unable to add any substantive objection to the conversation.
Jitterbewegung
1 / 5 (2) Jun 17, 2012
"A hydrogen atom "observes" a photon by absorbng the photon, or scattering off of it, etc. etc. etc."

I thought scattering, diffraction, reflection etc, were all forms of absorption in QM.
taka
1 / 5 (2) Jun 20, 2012
It can be explained as:
There is some time interval when atom should send out photon. During all this interval it send out something in all directions that spread with the speed of light and search the "observer" to interact with. When it found one this something collapses (instantaneously) and we see that detector/observer has registered photon and atom has lost its excess energy. The same mechanism explain also famous double slit experiment and all other spooky actions at a distance. That this something can collapse instantaneously indicates that actually it is nothing else then wormhole. Fanny, all our solid world is knitted from exotic wormholes.
taka
1 / 5 (2) Jun 20, 2012
It can be explained as:
There is some time interval when atom should send out photon. During all this interval it send out something in all directions that spread with the speed of light and search the "observer" to interact with. When it found one this something collapses (instantaneously) and we see that detector/observer has registered photon and atom has lost its excess energy. The same mechanism explain also famous double slit experiment and all other spooky actions at a distance. That this something can collapse instantaneously indicates that actually it is nothing else then wormhole. Fanny, all our solid world is knitted from exotic wormholes.
Terriva
1 / 5 (2) Jun 20, 2012
cacortez
1 / 5 (3) Jun 28, 2012
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