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The physicality of a quantum wave. Is it math?

The physicality of a quantum wave. Is it math? - Physics Forum

The physicality of a quantum wave. Is it math? - Physics Forum. Discuss and ask physics questions, kinematics and other physics problems.

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Old 07-19-2008, 10:27 AM
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Default The physicality of a quantum wave. Is it math?

On Fri, 18 Jul 2008 20:27:19 -0700 (PDT), BURT <[Only registered users see links. ]>

The wavefunction could be using probability to model the average
outcome of behaviour that is too complex to explicity model. There is
a discussion here of that kind of possibility.

'Process Physics: quantum theories as models of complexity',
K. Kitto,
[Only registered users see links. ]
Invited paper for the Electronic Journal of Theoretical Physics
Special Issue on the Physics of Emergence and Organization, Volume 4,
Issue 16 I. To be published in the collection: I. Licata, A. J.
Sakaji eds. (2008) Physics of Emergence and Organization, World
Scientific, In Press.

<Start extract>
"....Although traditionally the quantum formalism has only been
applied to a very particular set of systems, a wide variety of more
novel applications are starting to appear, where quantum theories of
macroscopic systems are being created, often quite successfully [51].
For example, different varieties of the quantum formalism have been
applied to situations such as: stock market analysis [52]; quantum
models of the brain [53, 54]; models of cognitive function and
concepts [55, 56, 57]; modelling of the process of decision making in
situations of ambiguity [58] etc. This general use (some might argue
abuse) of the quantum formalism suggests that it is indeed far more
generally applicable than is traditionally considered to be the case,
and indeed the above consideration of the form of the quantum
formalism suggests a reason for this; there is no mention of
macroscopic detectors or microscopic particles in this formalism, and
there is no reason to supose a priori that they are necessary. This is
merely an historical bias resulting from the discovery of the quantum
formalism as a description of a specific class of systems (i.e.,
microscopic ones).

A clue to this apparent generality of the quantum formalism lies in
the theorems, generally attributed to Bell, of nonlocality and
contextuality [48].

Each of these theorems rely upon showing that when a quantum system is
entangled there exists a set of observables for which it is
impossible to consistently assign an eigenvalue i.e., the outcomes of
measurements of apparently independent experiments are incompatible.
The resolution to this incompatibility lies in a proper consideration
of the experimental arrangement; performing one experiment always
results in a change of the quantum system and rules out the
possibility of performing an alternative one. Thus, it is impossible
to completely describe a quantum system without reference to its
context. Entangled quantum systems exhibit a form of nonseparable
behaviour and should not be considered independently of the set of
measurements performed upon them.

This situation shares much similarity with systems exhibiting high end
complexity. Such systems should not be considered independently of
their context, and may show incompatible results depending upon the
measurements to which they are subjected. For example, as was
discussed in section 3 the social context in which schizophrenia
occurs can have a dramatic effect upon the course of a patients
illness. Indeed, different patients may be classified as schizophrenic
or not depending upon the culture in which they are being diagnosed
[37]. This situation is analagous to the incompatible measurements
occuring in the quantum formalism, and hence it is expected that
the very well developed quantum formalism could be used to provide
models of such contextual dependency during measurement.

This suggests that the quantum theoretic formalism can be understood
as modelling generic situations of contextuality where a system cannot
be considered reductively as a set of separable subcomponents
uninfluenced by their environment, even in cases where two subsystems
are spread over a distance [2]. This contextual dependence often
manifests itself as randomness arising from a lack of knowledge about
the outcome of experiments, which can be used to explain the
appearance of randomness in systems exhibiting contextual behaviour,
including quantum ones [59]..."

<End extract>

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