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Thread: Reimagining of "Schrödinger’s cat" breaks quantum mechanics — and stumps physicists

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    Reimagining of "Schrödinger’s cat" breaks quantum mechanics — and stumps physicists

    Source: Nature


    In a multi-‘cat’ experiment, the textbook interpretation of quantum theory seems to lead to contradictory pictures of reality, physicists claim.




    In the world’s most famous thought experiment, physicist Erwin Schrödinger described how a cat in a box could be in an uncertain predicament. The peculiar rules of quantum theory meant that it could be both dead and alive, until the box was opened and the cat’s state measured. Now, two physicists have devised a modern version of the paradox by replacing the cat with a physicist doing experiments — with shocking implications.

    Quantum theory has a long history of thought experiments, and in most cases these are used to point to weaknesses in various interpretations of quantum mechanics. But the latest version, which involves multiple players, is unusual: it shows that if the standard interpretation of quantum mechanics is correct, then different experimenters can reach opposite conclusions about what the physicist in the box has measured. This means that quantum theory contradicts itself.

    The conceptual experiment has been debated with gusto in physics circles for more than two years — and has left most researchers stumped, even in a field accustomed to weird concepts. “I think this is a whole new level of weirdness,” says Matthew Leifer, a theoretical physicist at Chapman University in Orange, California.

    The authors, Daniela Frauchiger and Renato Renner of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, posted their first version of the argument online in April 2016. The final paper appears in Nature Communications on 18 September1. (Frauchiger has now left academia.)


    Weird world

    Quantum mechanics underlies nearly all of modern physics, explaining everything from the structure of atoms to why magnets stick to each other. But its conceptual foundations continue to leave researchers grasping for answers. Its equations cannot predict the exact outcome of a measurement — for example, of the position of an electron — only the probabilities that it can yield particular values.

    Quantum objects such as electrons therefore live in a cloud of uncertainty, mathematically encoded in a ‘wavefunction’ that changes shape smoothly, much like ordinary waves in the sea. But when a property such as an electron’s position is measured, it always yields one precise value (and yields the same value again if measured immediately after).

    The most common way of understanding this was formulated in the 1920s by quantum-theory pioneers Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg, and is called the Copenhagen interpretation, after the city where Bohr lived. It says that the act of observing a quantum system makes the wavefunction ‘collapse’ from a spread-out curve to a single data point.

    The Copenhagen interpretation left open the question of why different rules should apply to the quantum world of the atom and the classical world of laboratory measurements (and of everyday experience). But it was also reassuring: although quantum objects live in uncertain states, experimental observation happens in the classical realm and gives unambiguous results.

    Now, Frauchiger and Renner are shaking physicists out of this comforting position. Their theoretical reasoning says that the basic Copenhagen picture — as well as other interpretations that share some of its basic assumptions — is not internally consistent.


    What’s in the box?

    Their scenario is considerably more involved than Schrödinger’s cat — proposed in 1935 — in which the feline lived in a box with a mechanism that would release a poison on the basis of a random occurrence, such as the decay of an atomic nucleus. In that case, the state of the cat was uncertain until the experimenter opened the box and checked it.

    In 1967, the Hungarian physicist Eugene Wigner proposed a version of the paradox in which he replaced the cat and the poison with a physicist friend who lived inside a box with a measuring device that could return one of two results, such as a coin showing heads or tails. Does the wavefunction collapse when Wigner’s friend becomes aware of the result? One school of thought says that it does, suggesting that consciousness is outside the quantum realm. But if quantum mechanics applies to the physicist, then she should be in an uncertain state that combines both outcomes until Wigner opens the box.

    Frauchiger and Renner have a yet more sophisticated version (see ‘New cats in town’). They have two Wigners, each doing an experiment on a physicist friend whom they keep in a box. One of the two friends (call her Alice) can toss a coin and — using her knowledge of quantum physics — prepare a quantum message to send to the other friend (call him Bob). Using his knowledge of quantum theory, Bob can detect Alice’s message and guess the result of her coin toss. When the two Wigners open their boxes, in some situations they can conclude with certainty which side the coin landed on, Renner says — but occasionally their conclusions are inconsistent. “One says, ‘I’m sure it’s tails,’ and the other one says, ‘I’m sure it’s heads,’” Renner says.




    The experiment cannot be put into practice, because it would require the Wigners to measure all quantum properties of their friends, which includes reading their minds, points out theorist Lídia Del Rio, a colleague of Renner’s at ETH Zurich.

    Yet it might be feasible to make two quantum computers play the parts of Alice and Bob: the logic of the argument requires only that they know the rules of physics and make decisions based on them, and in principle one can detect the complete quantum state of a quantum computer. (Quantum computers sophisticated enough to do this do not yet exist, Renner points out.)


    Duelling interpretations

    Physicists are still coming to terms with the implications of the result. It has triggered heated responses from experts in the foundations of quantum theory, many of whom tend to be protective of their pet interpretation. “Some get emotional,” Renner says. And different researchers tend to draw different conclusions. “Most people claim that the experiment shows that their interpretation is the only one that is correct.”

    For Leifer, producing inconsistent results should not necessarily be a deal breaker. Some interpretations of quantum mechanics already allow for views of reality that depend on perspective. That could be less unsavoury than having to admit that quantum theory does not apply to complex things such as people, he says.

    Robert Spekkens, a theoretical physicist at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada, says that the way out of the paradox could hide in some subtle assumptions in the argument, in particular in the communication between Alice and Bob.

    “To my mind, there’s a lot of situations where taking somebody’s knowledge on board involves some translation of their knowledge.” Perhaps the inconsistency arises from Bob not interpreting Alice's message properly, he says. But he admits that he has not found a solution yet.

    For now, physicists are likely to continue debating. “I don’t think we’ve made sense of this,” Leifer says.


    Source: Nature
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    Interesting article.


    This is just a hunch, but I always had a feeling that the standard interpretation of quantum theory may be wrong. If we accept the simulation theory of the universe, it is in fact a bit like a 3-D video game or VR. When nobody's looking, there isn't anything actually there. It is the act of looking, in other words perceiving or decoding that collapses the wave into a solid particle. That is exactly how a holographic computer simulation would work. Why waste resources creating a solid reality that nobody is currently looking at or experiencing.

    Your chair is solid only when you look at it. As soon as you leave the room, it becomes a wave, with no solidity whatsoever. This is a bit like your typical first-person shooter video game. The computer will only generate that part of the world you're in that you can directly perceive, the rest is just stored in Random Access Memory. As soon as you turn around, you will perceive, therefore decode a different part of the reality, but it isn't actually created until you interact with it in some way.


    To me, this simulation or Holographically generated matrix theory actually makes more sense than standard Quantum theory. It would certainly explain a lot.

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    Quote Originally posted by Chris View Post
    This is just a hunch, but I always had a feeling that the standard interpretation of quantum theory may be wrong. If we accept the simulation theory of the universe, it is in fact a bit like a 3-D video game or VR. When nobody's looking, there isn't anything actually there. It is the act of looking, in other words perceiving or decoding that collapses the wave into a solid particle. That is exactly how a holographic computer simulation would work. Why waste resources creating a solid reality that nobody is currently looking at or experiencing.

    Your chair is solid only when you look at it. As soon as you leave the room, it becomes a wave, with no solidity whatsoever. This is a bit like your typical first-person shooter video game. The computer will only generate that part of the world you're in that you can directly perceive, the rest is just stored in Random Access Memory. As soon as you turn around, you will perceive, therefore decode a different part of the reality, but it isn't actually created until you interact with it in some way.
    Well, to be more precise, nothing is ever solid, even when you're looking at it, because we (and everything else) are all merely figments of the imagination of the Prime Creator Consciousness. Our senses are deluding us into believing that something is solid, or liquid, or whatever. Not that there's anything wrong with that — too many people in this so-called alternative community seem to think that this is bad, and that they must become gods and abandon the material world.

    But indeed, the key to understanding it all is consciousness. And that is something scientists refuse to acknowledge. They seek to explain the whole universe by way of formulas and a materialist view in which consciousness is merely neurological activity that came to be as a side-effect of any biological organism's evolution. And they are quite fanatic in that, too, because scientism is a religion like any other, and scientists are either always on somebody's payroll or they're at the mercy of somebody else's money.

    Still, what's intriguing about this article is how the consciousness of two separate people could possibly create two separate and contradictory realities, when both these people start off from within the same reality. Quantum uncertainty can of course be invoked insofar as we're dealing with phenomena at the quantum scale, but they do no longer apply at the scale of the macrocosm. That's what Erwin Schrödinger's thought experiment with the cat was all about. He wanted to prove that the Copenhagen interpretation was ridiculous. And this latest thought experiment ups that by a notch.

    The tail is wagging the dog.
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    Quote Originally posted by Aragorn View Post
    Well, to be more precise, nothing is ever solid, even when you're looking at it, because we (and everything else) are all merely figments of the imagination of the Prime Creator Consciousness. Our senses are deluding us into believing that something is solid, or liquid, or whatever. Not that there's anything wrong with that — too many people in this so-called alternative community seem to think that this is bad, and that they must become gods and abandon the material world.

    But indeed, the key to understanding it all is consciousness. And that is something scientists refuse to acknowledge. They seek to explain the whole universe by way of formulas and a materialist view in which consciousness is merely neurological activity that came to be as a side-effect of any biological organism's evolution. And they are quite fanatic in that, too, because scientism is a religion like any other, and scientists are either always on somebody's payroll or they're at the mercy of somebody else's money.

    Still, what's intriguing about this article is how the consciousness of two separate people could possibly create two separate and contradictory realities, when both these people start off from within the same reality. Quantum uncertainty can of course be invoked insofar as we're dealing with phenomena at the quantum scale, but they do no longer apply at the scale of the macrocosm. That's what Erwin Schrödinger's thought experiment with the cat was all about. He wanted to prove that the Copenhagen interpretation was ridiculous. And this latest thought experiment ups that by a notch.

    The tail is wagging the dog.
    This theory does seem to be somewhat similar to the so-called Mandela Effect. Two people can remember the very same event in a diametrically opposing way. I suspect it isn't just their memories playing tricks with them, but they may have experienced a different reality in that they subjectively decoded the same quantum probability based on their own expectations and perceptions and gotten different results, therefore their actual subjective experience of the same objective reality was different for each individual. I do think that within the human energy field we create our own reality to a certain extent, based on the kind of energy we emanate, which is in turn a function of our state and level of consciousness. In the end, it is all about frequency and this is why I really like String Theory and its implications. Everything is vibration and the amplitude and frequency of that vibration is what determines everything there is. Change the vibration and you get a different particle. Change the frequency even further and you move into a higher dimension. Parallel realities become possible. They can share the same space, but since they vibrate to different frequencies, they won't interfere with each other.

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    When I run into articles like this I usually try to find the actual paper that the experiment was founded on.

    Given that there is far more to be said within that interpretation thus in this experiment there are several theories invoked. Not simply the ones discussed within the article itself.

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-05739-8

    As I'm far too tired still and on my first half cup of coffee I'd like to add the comment added that does indeed sum up some interesting conclusions as well as the original interpretation from the original article here and concludes outside the box...yes I just said that...LOL

    The conclusion is kind of baked in from the beginning. The entire
    analysis depends on the notion of wave function collapse. Wave function
    collapse, as Bohr et. al. formulated it, intrinsically depends on a classical,
    nonquantum, observer interacting with a quantum system. So proving that a
    quantum observer is inconsistent with wave function collapse is, to me,
    a circular argument. It is trivially true because that's what you
    started with.

    There is an interpretation of quantum mechanics
    that treats the observer as a quantum object as well -- the many worlds
    interpretation. In it, wave function collapse does not exist. Everything
    is always in a superposition of states, both before and after
    measurement. By taking away the collapse process you take away the
    core of this argument as well since it intrinsically depends on being able to assign a definite value after measurement.
    Last edited by Shadowself, 20th September 2018 at 13:35.

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    I'm not sure that a large part of physics community has been satisfied with 'The Copenhagen Interpretation' which essentially concludes 'tough sh*t if you don't like it'. Multiple worlds solutions which allow both quantum physicists to be exactly correct exist...in an alternate world that is way alternate...I think that is what they are suggesting. In a true 'infinity scale sense' it happened.
    "We are one thought away from changing the world!"

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    I looked at the nature article. There's a lot I don't understand (esp right now) but there's a word that I really like:

    Gedankenexperiment.

    Great word.

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    The more I think about it, the more wisdom I find in string theory. No wonder I'm such a fan of Michio Kaku. He really understands the underlying reality of our existence better than most physicists.

    The slight modification I would make to string theory and I'm relying on the work of alternative researchers such as David Wilcock here, is that the vibrations that make up our universe are not along one-dimensional strings but standing waves in three-dimensional fluid. This fluidic substance is similar to the concept of Aether, which has been discredited but may be making a comeback.


    I wrote about this before, but it would seem that energy is basically just movement in fluid. Spinning vortices and vibrating standing waves are the basis of our reality.


    When I meditate, I can feel the increasing vibration of my molecules, the quickening of the spinning vortices of energy known as the chakras and the increased flow of energy all over my body. Notice that we are referring to vibrations, vortices and flow, subconsciously recognising that we are talking about movement in a fluidic medium here. As the frequency, or in other words, the speed of movement in this fluid rises, so does the temperature, hence the heat generated by an active Kundalini.

    I personally feel this heat not just along my spine, but particularly at the top of my head. Friction generates temperature and when you force a fluid to flow faster, you are putting it under greater pressure and therefore you get an increase in temperature. If you apply the basic laws of thermodynamics in fluid to what we call chakras and energy, the whole phenomenon starts making sense from the viewpoint of classical physics.


    If we could somehow marry string theory, with the science of fluid dynamics and thermodynamics, we could get a lot closer to understanding our reality, not to mention how our subtle physical bodies work.

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    Quote Originally posted by Chris View Post
    The more I think about it, the more wisdom I find in string theory. No wonder I'm such a fan of Michio Kaku. He really understands the underlying reality of our existence better than most physicists.

    The slight modification I would make to string theory and I'm relying on the work of alternative researchers such as David Wilcock here, is that the vibrations that make up our universe are not along one-dimensional strings but standing waves in three-dimensional fluid. This fluidic substance is similar to the concept of Aether, which has been discredited but may be making a comeback.


    I wrote about this before, but it would seem that energy is basically just movement in fluid. Spinning vortices and vibrating standing waves are the basis of our reality.


    When I meditate, I can feel the increasing vibration of my molecules, the quickening of the spinning vortices of energy known as the chakras and the increased flow of energy all over my body. Notice that we are referring to vibrations, vortices and flow, subconsciously recognising that we are talking about movement in a fluidic medium here. As the frequency, or in other words, the speed of movement in this fluid rises, so does the temperature, hence the heat generated by an active Kundalini.

    I personally feel this heat not just along my spine, but particularly at the top of my head. Friction generates temperature and when you force a fluid to flow faster, you are putting it under greater pressure and therefore you get an increase in temperature. If you apply the basic laws of thermodynamics in fluid to what we call chakras and energy, the whole phenomenon starts making sense from the viewpoint of classical physics.


    If we could somehow marry string theory, with the science of fluid dynamics and thermodynamics, we could get a lot closer to understanding our reality, not to mention how our subtle physical bodies work.
    I love Michio Kaku...(I hope Wind sees this)

    He has written at least one very good book that I read...In it he says we are thinking wrong when we speculate that Aliens are a 100 or even a 1,000 years ahead of us. He says it is more likely that they are 'millions' of years ahead of us in development.
    "We are one thought away from changing the world!"

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    ok, today I'm going to straighten you out, DD

    In theoretical physics there are two event types:

    Timelike events and Spacelike events. Timelike events we experience daily and they are causal in nature (i.e. cause before effect). The 2nd type, 'Spacelike' occur in what is termed the 'elsewhere' (i.e. non-causal events). In the elsewhere a rapidly moving observer in relativistic terms (i.e. below the speed of light, which is not infinite or put in physics lingo, not unity) can experience an event in the past that is a now event for a motionless observer. What that means is that if you, DD are on a fast spaceship and I'm sitting here on my keyboard, you can see my typing as an event that occurred long ago. You moved on are currently engaged in an argument with your girlfriend. So what does that mean?

    It means it is possible for you to see my future. So the question is, is it possible for you to communicate that to me in my here and now...

    From another theoretical perspective, a metaphysical one, it seems possible. OBEs, Dreams, etc, could allow for that. I'm not sure where science stands.

    When I started this post, I thought I was going to consider the ramifications of timelines but I guess I was wrong...oh snap!

    A timeline shift may not be a timeline shift, after all...it might be a cosmic miscommunication, something might have been lost in the translation and just whopped you upside the head with a surprise.
    "We are one thought away from changing the world!"

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    Quote Originally posted by NotAPretender View Post
    ok, today I'm going to straighten you out, DD

    In theoretical physics there are two event types:

    Timelike events and Spacelike events. Timelike events we experience daily and they are causal in nature (i.e. cause before effect). The 2nd type, 'Spacelike' occur in what is termed the 'elsewhere' (i.e. non-causal events). In the elsewhere a rapidly moving observer in relativistic terms (i.e. below the speed of light, which is not infinite or put in physics lingo, not unity) can experience an event in the past that is a now event for a motionless observer. What that means is that if you, DD are on a fast spaceship and I'm sitting here on my keyboard, you can see my typing as an event that occurred long ago. You moved on are currently engaged in an argument with your girlfriend. So what does that mean?

    It means it is possible for you to see my future. So the question is, is it possible for you to communicate that to me in my here and now...

    From another theoretical perspective, a metaphysical one, it seems possible. OBEs, Dreams, etc, could allow for that. I'm not sure where science stands.

    When I started this post, I thought I was going to consider the ramifications of timelines but I guess I was wrong...oh snap!

    A timeline shift may not be a timeline shift, after all...it might be a cosmic miscommunication, something might have been lost in the translation and just whopped you upside the head with a surprise.
    I wrote about this before, but I believe each chakra is its own mini-wormhole. They can connect you to different, even quite distant areas in space, time and even higher dimensions. By going out of our standard 4-dimensional universe and into higher dimensions, a wormhole can easily connect to our future selves for instance, so sending back information to our past selves becomes possible. I believe that is what premonitions and prophetic dreams are. This way a future catastrophe can be avoided and thus our seemingly unalterable fates can after all be altered.

    The way I believe it works, is that our Higher Self is outside the physical universe and thus spacetime. It exists in a timeless realm and is thus simultaneously connected to all our past and future selves, through wormholes (the chakras). It can send warnings about future events and effect a better outcome, thus improving and changing the timeline. That is actually probably its main function as an observer and influencer.

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    makes total sense to me...
    "We are one thought away from changing the world!"

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    Quote Originally posted by Chris View Post
    I wrote about this before, but I believe each chakra is its own mini-wormhole. They can connect you to different, even quite distant areas in space, time and even higher dimensions. By going out of our standard 4-dimensional universe and into higher dimensions, a wormhole can easily connect to our future selves for instance, so sending back information to our past selves becomes possible. I believe that is what premonitions and prophetic dreams are. This way a future catastrophe can be avoided and thus our seemingly unalterable fates can after all be altered.

    The way I believe it works, is that our Higher Self is outside the physical universe and thus spacetime. It exists in a timeless realm and is thus simultaneously connected to all our past and future selves, through wormholes (the chakras). It can send warnings about future events and effect a better outcome, thus improving and changing the timeline. That is actually probably its main function as an observer and influencer.
    I think it would rather be a quantum field communication than a wormhole — which is a distortion of spacetime — but other than that, you could be right.
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    Wormholes require immense energies...not sure if the frail human form could contain it...but...I'm thinking we won't really 'get' the answers until new forms of mathematics are developed...and who is gonna do that? Only the next super duper mathematician...likely working with extraterrestrials a million years older than us.
    "We are one thought away from changing the world!"

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    Plants photosynthesize, bumble bees fly, and we somehow manage to absorb B vitamins when we digest meat even though our bodies are too hot.

    Perhaps there's something unexplainable about us that we can have chakra wormholes.

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