Why interactions matter: How the laws of dynamics determine the shape of physical reality Speaker(s): Holger Hofmann
Abstract: Measurements performed at variable strengths show that noncommuting physical properties are related by complexvalued statistics, where the complex phase expresses the action of transformations along orbits represented by the eigenstates. In strong measurements, the dynamics along the orbits is completely randomized, which means that the pure states prepared by such a measurement actually represent ergodic statistics where the coherence between components originates from quantum dynamics. The complex algebra of Hilbert space inner products describes the intersection of two ergodically randomized orbits, where the complex phase describes the action of propagation along the orbits. Since the same action also appears in classical descriptions of the dynamics it is possible to derive quantum states and their time evolution directly from the classical equations of motion, without the abstractions of operator algebra.
A representative example of this fundamental relation between classical dynamics and quantum coherence is the multiphoton interference in twopath interferometers, where the multiphoton interference fringes can be explained by the action enclosed by two classical orbits corresponding to the input and output photon number states. This example shows how the nonclassical features of quantum statistics emerge from the effects of enclosed actions on the causality relations between the initial orbit prepared by ergodic randomization and the final orbit along which the system was sampled during the measurement. Since action relations take the same form in quantum mechanics and in the classical limit, any attempt to explain quantum mechanics should start with an analysis of the dynamics.
The conventional sense of reality only emerges from the consistency of causality relations,not from any abstract ``knowledge of reality''. Our concepts of particles and trajectories only have an approximate validity which breaks down in the limit of small action. Reality always requires the dynamics of interaction, and hbar is an absolute limitation of physical reality. In this presentation, I hope to clarify that this absence of a microscopic material reality can be understood quite naturally in terms of the well known physics of dynamics and interactions, removing the need for any untestable platonic assumptions about a hypothetical ``reality out there''.
Date: 24/06/2016  11:45 am
Collection: Concepts and Paradoxes in a Quantum Universe
