Quantum philosophy, a peculiar twentieth-century malady, is responsible for most of the conceptual muddle plaguing the foundations of quantum physics. When this philosophy is eschewed, one naturally arrives at Bohmian mechanics, which is what emerges from Schrodinger's equation for a nonrelativistic system of particles when we merely insist that 'particles' means particles. While distinctly non-Newtonian, Bohmian mechanics is a fully deterministic theory of particles in motion, a motion choreographed by the wave function. The quantum formalism emerges when measurement situations are (...) analyzed according to this theory. When the quantum formalism is regarded as arising in this way, the paradoxes and perplexities so often associated with quantum theory simply evaporate.Bohr's ... approach to atomic problems ... is really remarkable. He is completely convinced that any understanding in the usual sense of the word is impossible. Therefore the conversation is almost immediately driven into philosophical questions, and soon you no longer know whether you really take the position he is attacking, or whether you really must attack the position he is defending. (shrink)
Bohmian mechanics is a theory about point particles moving along trajectories. It has the property that in a world governed by Bohmian mechanics, observers see the same statistics for experimental results as predicted by quantum mechanics. Bohmian mechanics thus provides an explanation of quantum mechanics. Moreover, the Bohmian trajectories are defined in a non-conspiratorial way by a few simple laws.
A source of much difficulty and confusion in the interpretation of quantum mechanics is a naive realism about operators. By this we refer to various ways of taking too seriously the notion of operator-as-observable, and in particular to the all too casual talk about measuring operators that occurs when the subject is quantum mechanics. Without a specification of what should be meant by measuring a quantum observable, such an expression can have no clear meaning. A definite specification is provided by (...) Bohmian mechanics, a theory that emerges from Schrödinger's equation for a system of particles when we merely insist that particles means particles. Bohmian mechanics clarifies the status and the role of operators as observables in quantum mechanics by providing the operational details absent from standard quantum mechanics. It thereby allows us to readily dismiss all the radical claims traditionally enveloping the transition from the classical to the quantum realm — for example, that we must abandon classical logic or classical probability. The moral is rather simple: Beware naive realism, especially about operators! (shrink)
It is well known that density matrices can be used in quantum mechanics to represent the information available to an observer about either a system with a random wave function (“statistical mixture”) or a system that is entangled with another system (“reduced density matrix”). We point out another role, previously unnoticed in the literature, that a density matrix can play: it can be the “conditional density matrix,” conditional on the configuration of the environment. A precise definition can be given in (...) the context of Bohmian mechanics, whereas orthodox quantum mechanics is too vague to allow a sharp definition, except perhaps in special cases. In contrast to statistical and reduced density matrices, forming the conditional density matrix involves no averaging. In Bohmian mechanics with spin, the conditional density matrix replaces the notion of conditional wave function, as the object with the same dynamical significance as the wave function of a Bohmian system. (shrink)
We analyze the origin of quantum randomness within the framework of a completely deterministic theory of particle motion—Bohmian mechanics. We show that a universe governed by this mechanics evolves in such a way as to give rise to the appearance of randomness, with empirical distributions in agreement with the predictions of the quantum formalism. Crucial ingredients in our analysis are the concept of the effective wave function of a subsystem and that of a random system. The latter is a notion (...) of interest in its own right and is relevant to any discussion of the role of probability in a deterministic universe. (shrink)
Das vorliegende Buch richtet sich an Studierende der Physik, für die nach der Quantenmechanik-Vorlesung die wesentliche Frage offen geblieben ist: „Was sagt denn nun der mathematische Formalismus, den ich jetzt ausgiebig und ach so mühsam studiert habe, über die Natur aus?“. Bei der Suche nach der Antwort besprechen die Autoren unter anderem die modernen Quantentheorien, die von John Stuart Bell „Theorien ohne Beobachter“ genannt wurden: die Bohmsche Mechanik, die Kollaps-Theorie und die Viele-Welten-Theorie. -/- Neben zielgerichteten mathematischen Aussagen, die in Kursvorlesungen (...) selten vorkommen, erklärt das Buch anhand der neuen Theorien die Rolle der Wellenfunktion und des Zufalls in der Quantenmechanik. Insbesondere beschäftigen sich die Autoren auch mit der Gedankenwelt des Physikers John Stuart Bell, der mit den berühmten, aber leider oft missverstandenen Bellschen Ungleichungen unser physikalisches Weltbild nachhaltig verändert hat. Das Buch eignet sich damit begleitend oder ergänzend zu einer Kursvorlesung über Quantenmechanik oder aber auch zum Selbststudium. (shrink)
Bohmian Mechanics was formulated in 1952 by David Bohm as a complete theory of quantum phenomena based on a particle picture. It was promoted some decades later by John S. Bell, who, intrigued by the manifestly nonlocal structure of the theory, was led to his famous Bell's inequalities. Experimental tests of the inequalities verified that nature is indeed nonlocal. Bohmian mechanics has since then prospered as the straightforward completion of quantum mechanics. This book provides a systematic introduction to Bohmian mechanics (...) and to the mathematical abstractions of quantum mechanics, which range from the self-adjointness of the Schrödinger operator to scattering theory. It explains how the quantum formalism emerges when Boltzmann's ideas about statistical mechanics are applied to Bohmian mechanics. The book is self-contained, mathematically rigorous and an ideal starting point for a fundamental approach to quantum mechanics. It will appeal to students and newcomers to the field, as well as to established scientists seeking a clear exposition of the theory. (shrink)