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PERIMETER INSTITUTE RECORDED SEMINAR ARCHIVE

A real ensemble interpretation of quantum mechanics
Speaker(s): Lee Smolin
Abstract: A new ensemble interpretation of quantum mechanics is proposed according to which the ensemble associated to a quantum state really exists: it is the ensemble of all the systems in the same quantum state in the universe. Individual systems within the ensemble have microscopic states, described by beables. The probabilities of quantum theory turn out to be just ordinary relative frequencies probabilities in these ensembles. Laws for the evolution of the beables of individual systems are given such that their ensemble relative frequencies evolve in a way that reproduces the predictions of quantum mechanics. These laws are highly non-local and involve a new kind of interaction between the members of an ensemble that define a quantum state. These include a stochastic process by which individual systems copy the beables of other systems in the ensembles of which they are a member. The probabilities for these copy processes do not depend on where the systems are in space, but do depend on the distribution of beables in the ensemble. Macroscopic systems then are distinguished by being large and complex enough that they have no copies in the universe. They then cannot evolve by the copy law, and hence do not evolve stochastically according to quantum dynamics. This implies novel departures from quantum mechanics for systems in quantum states that can be expected to have few copies in the universe. At the same time, we are able to argue that the centre of masses of large macroscopic systems do satisfy Newton's laws.
Date: 03/05/2011 - 4:00 pm
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