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Author : Simon Saunders
ISBN : 9780191614118
Genre : Philosophy
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What does realism about the quantum state imply? What follows when quantum theory is applied without restriction, if need be, to the whole universe? These are the questions which an illustrious team of philosophers and physicists debate in this volume. All the contributors are agreed on realism, and on the need, or the aspiration, for a theory that unites micro- and macroworlds, at least in principle. But the further claim argued by some is that if you allow the Schrödinger equation unrestricted application, supposing the quantum state to be something physically real, then this universe is one of countlessly many others, constantly branching in time, all of which are real. The result is the many worlds theory, also known as the Everett interpretation of quantum mechanics. The contrary claim sees this picture of many worlds as in no sense inherent in quantum mechanics, even when the latter is allowed unrestricted scope and even given that the quantum state itself is something physically real. For this picture of branching worlds fails to make physical sense, let alone common sense, even on its own terms. The status of these worlds, what they are made of, is never adequately explained. Ordinary ideas about time and identity over time become hopelessly compromised. The concept of probability itself is brought into question. This picture of many branching worlds is inchoate, it is a vision, an error. There are realist alternatives to many worlds, some even that preserve the Schrödinger equation unchanged. Twenty specially written essays, accompanied by commentaries and discussions, examine these claims and counterclaims in depth. They focus first on the question of ontology, the existence of worlds (Part 1 and 2), second on the interpretation of probability (Parts 3 and 4), and third on alternatives or additions to many worlds (Parts 5 and 6). The introduction offers a helpful guide to the arguments for the Everett interpretation, particularly as they have been formulated in the last two decades.

Author : Simon Saunders
ISBN : 9780199560561
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 83.86 MB
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What would it mean to apply quantum theory, without restriction and without involving any notion of measurement and state reduction, to the whole universe? What would realism about the quantum state then imply?This book brings together an illustrious team of philosophers and physicists to debate these questions. The contributors broadly agree on the need, or aspiration, for a realist theory that unites micro- and macro-worlds. But they disagree on what this implies. Some argue that if unitary quantum evolution has unrestricted application, and if the quantum state is taken to be something physically real, then this universe emerges from the quantum state as one of countless others, constantlybranching in time, all of which are real. The result, they argue, is many worlds quantum theory, also known as the Everett interpretation of quantum mechanics. No other realist interpretation of unitary quantum theory has ever been found.Others argue in reply that this picture of many worlds is in no sense inherent to quantum theory, or fails to make physical sense, or is scientifically inadequate. The stuff of these worlds, what they are made of, is never adequately explained, nor are the worlds precisely defined; ordinary ideas about time and identity over time are compromised; no satisfactory role or substitute for probability can be found in many worlds theories; they can't explain experimental data; anyway, there areattractive realist alternatives to many worlds.Twenty original essays, accompanied by commentaries and discussions, examine these claims and counterclaims in depth. They consider questions of ontology - the existence of worlds; probability - whether and how probability can be related to the branching structure of the quantum state; alternatives to many worlds - whether there are one-world realist interpretations of quantum theory that leave quantum dynamics unchanged; and open questions even given many worlds, including the multiverseconcept as it has arisen elsewhere in modern cosmology. A comprehensive introduction lays out the main arguments of the book, which provides a state-of-the-art guide to many worlds quantum theory and its problems.

Author : Peter Byrne
ISBN : 9780191655227
Genre : Science
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Peter Byrne tells the story of Hugh Everett III (1930-1982), whose "many worlds" theory of multiple universes has had a profound impact on physics and philosophy. Using Everett's unpublished papers (recently discovered in his son's basement) and dozens of interviews with his friends, colleagues, and surviving family members, Byrne paints, for the general reader, a detailed portrait of the genius who invented an astonishing way of describing our complex universe from the inside. Everett's mathematical model (called the "universal wave function") treats all possible events as "equally real", and concludes that countless copies of every person and thing exist in all possible configurations spread over an infinity of universes: many worlds. Afflicted by depression and addictions, Everett strove to bring rational order to the professional realms in which he played historically significant roles. In addition to his famous interpretation of quantum mechanics, Everett wrote a classic paper in game theory; created computer algorithms that revolutionized military operations research; and performed pioneering work in artificial intelligence for top secret government projects. He wrote the original software for targeting cities in a nuclear hot war; and he was one of the first scientists to recognize the danger of nuclear winter. As a Cold Warrior, he designed logical systems that modeled "rational" human and machine behaviors, and yet he was largely oblivious to the emotional damage his irrational personal behavior inflicted upon his family, lovers, and business partners. He died young, but left behind a fascinating record of his life, including correspondence with such philosophically inclined physicists as Niels Bohr, Norbert Wiener, and John Wheeler. These remarkable letters illuminate the long and often bitter struggle to explain the paradox of measurement at the heart of quantum physics. In recent years, Everett's solution to this mysterious problem - the existence of a universe of universes - has gained considerable traction in scientific circles, not as science fiction, but as an explanation of physical reality.

A novel interpretation of quantum mechanics, first proposed in brief form by Hugh Everett in 1957, forms the nucleus around which this book has developed. In his interpretation, Dr. Everett denies the existence of a separate classical realm and asserts the propriety of considering a state vector for the whole universe. Because this state vector never collapses, reality as a whole is rigorously deterministic. This reality, which is described jointly by the dynamical variables and the state vector, is not the reality customarily perceived; rather, it is a reality composed of many worlds. By virtue of the temporal development of the dynamical variables, the state vector decomposes naturally into orthogonal vectors, reflecting a continual splitting of the universe into a multitude of mutually unobservable but equally real worlds, in each of which every good measurement has yielded a definite result, and in most of which the familiar statistical quantum laws hold. The volume contains Dr. Everett's short paper from 1957, "'Relative State' Formulation of Quantum Mechanics," and a far longer exposition of his interpretation, entitled "The Theory of the Universal Wave Function," never before published. In addition, other papers by Wheeler, DeWitt, Graham, and Cooper and Van Vechten provide further discussion of the same theme. Together, they constitute virtually the entire world output of scholarly commentary on the Everett interpretation. Originally published in 1973. The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

Author : David Wallace
ISBN : 9780199546961
Genre : Philosophy
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The Emergent Multiverse presents a striking and influential new account of the 'many worlds' approach to quantum theory. The point of science, it is generally accepted, is to tell us how the world works and what it is like. But quantum theory seems to fail to do this: taken literally as a theory of the world, it seems to make crazy claims: particles are in two places at once; cats are alive and dead at the same time. The Everett interpretation of quantummechanics takes the apparent craziness seriously, and asks, 'what would it be like if particles really were in two places at once, if cats really were alive and dead at the same time'? The answer, it turns out,is that if the world were like that it would be constantly branching into copies--or 'many worlds'. This idea is not sensationalist: it simply takes quantum theory seriously, literally, as a description of the world, and is now accepted by many physicists as the best way to make coherent sense of quantum theory. David Wallace brings the reader up to date with recent discussion of the Everett interpretation in physics and in philosophy of science; at the same time, he provides a self-containedand thoroughly modern account of the Everett interpretation.

Author : David Deutsch
ISBN : 9780141969619
Genre : Science
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An extraordinary and challenging synthesis of ideas uniting Quantum Theory, and the theories of Computation, Knowledge and Evolution, Deutsch's extraordinary book explores the deep connections between these strands which reveal the fabric of realityin which human actions and ideas play essential roles.

Author : Jeffrey A. Barrett
ISBN : 9781400842742
Genre : Science
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Hugh Everett III was an American physicist best known for his many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, which formed the basis of his PhD thesis at Princeton University in 1957. Although counterintuitive, Everett's revolutionary formulation of quantum mechanics offers the most direct solution to the infamous quantum measurement problem--that is, how and why the singular world of our experience emerges from the multiplicities of alternatives available in the quantum world. The many-worlds interpretation postulates the existence of multiple universes. Whenever a measurement-like interaction occurs, the universe branches into relative states, one for each possible outcome of the measurement, and the world in which we find ourselves is but one of these many, but equally real, possibilities. Everett's challenge to the orthodox interpretation of quantum mechanics was met with scorn from Niels Bohr and other leading physicists, and Everett subsequently abandoned academia to conduct military operations research. Today, however, Everett's formulation of quantum mechanics is widely recognized as one of the most controversial but promising physical theories of the last century. In this book, Jeffrey Barrett and Peter Byrne present the long and short versions of Everett's thesis along with a collection of his explanatory writings and correspondence. These primary source documents, many of them newly discovered and most unpublished until now, reveal how Everett's thinking evolved from his days as a graduate student to his untimely death in 1982. This definitive volume also features Barrett and Byrne's introductory essays, notes, and commentary that put Everett's extraordinary theory into historical and scientific perspective and discuss the puzzles that still remain.

Author : Colin Bruce
ISBN : 0309166020
Genre : Science
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For the better part of a century, attempts to explain what was really going on in the quantum world seemed doomed to failure. But recent technological advances have made the question both practical and urgent. A brilliantly imaginative group of physicists at Oxford University have risen to the challenge. This is their story. At long last, there is a sensible way to think about quantum mechanics. The new view abolishes the need to believe in randomness, long-range spooky forces, or conscious observers with mysterious powers to collapse cats into a state of life or death. But the new understanding comes at a price: we must accept that we live in a multiverse wherein countless versions of reality unfold side-by-side. The philosophical and personal consequences of this are awe-inspiring. The new interpretation has allowed imaginative physicists to conceive of wonderful new technologies: measuring devices that effectively share information between worlds and computers that can borrow the power of other worlds to perform calculations. Step by step, the problems initially associated with the original many-worlds formulation have been addressed and answered so that a clear but startling new picture has emerged. Just as Copenhagen was the centre of quantum discussion a lifetime ago, so Oxford has been the epicenter of the modern debate, with such figures as Roger Penrose and Anton Zeilinger fighting for single-world views, and David Deutsch, Lev Vaidman and a host of others for many-worlds. An independent physicist living in Oxford, Bruce has had a ringside seat to the debate. In his capable hands, we understand why the initially fantastic sounding many-worlds view is not only a useful way to look at things, but logically compelling. Parallel worlds are as real as the distant galaxies detected by the Hubble Space Telescope, even though the evidence for their existence may consist only of a few photons.

The aim of this book is twofold: to provide a comprehensive account of the foundations of the theory and to outline a theoretical and philosophical interpretation suggested from the results of the last twenty years.There is a need to provide an account of the foundations of the theory because recent experience has largely confirmed the theory and offered a wealth of new discoveries and possibilities. On the other side, the following results have generated a new basis for discussing the problem of the interpretation: the new developments in measurement theory; the experimental generation of ?Schrdinger cats?; recent developments which allow, for the first time, the simultaneous measurement of complementary observables; quantum information processing, teleportation and computation.To accomplish this task, the book combines historical, systematic and thematic approaches.