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Adam Becker (UCB) "An Incomplete Survey of Proposed Solutions to the Quantum Measurement Problem"
June 28, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
The central puzzle that drives the field of quantum foundations is the measurement problem: what gives rise to the appearance of wave function collapse? While there is no single answer to this question that has wide acceptance, this is not for lack of available options. A variety of solutions to the measurement problem have been proposed, in the form of various interpretations or modifications of quantum mechanics. Some solutions eliminate collapse entirely, as in the many-worlds and de Broglie-Bohm interpretations. Others propose altering the dynamics of the theory to make collapse objective, as in GRW (stochastic collapse) and gravitational collapse theories. “Psi-epistemic” interpretations attempt to dissolve the measurement problem by claiming that the wave function isn’t something real in itself, but merely a representation of our knowledge of an underlying reality. Finally, Copenhagen-style interpretations claim that that there is no “reality” to be talked about at all. Bounding this menagerie of interpretations are several important theorems that restrict the options available. Bell’s theorem is the most famous (and most misunderstood) of these, but it is not the only one. In this talk, I will briefly lay out the measurement problem and its history, go over several of the theorems that constrain the possible solutions, and discuss a few of the families of quantum interpretations and the open problems that remain for each of them.