Chance and time

Dissertation, UBC (2004)
One of the recurrent problems in the foundations of physics is to explain why we rarely observe certain phenomena that are allowed by our theories and laws. In thermodynamics, for example, the spontaneous approach towards equilibrium is ubiquitous yet the time-reversal-invariant laws that presumably govern thermal behaviour in the microscopic level equally allow spontaneous departure from equilibrium to occur. Why are the former processes frequently observed while the latter are almost never reported? Another example comes from quantum mechanics where the formalism, if considered complete and universally applicable, predicts the existence of macroscopic superpositions—monstrous Schr¨odinger cats—and these are never observed: while electrons and atoms enjoy the cloudiness of waves, macroscopic objects are always localized to definite positions.
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