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Old 12-05-2018, 04:52 AM
Status: "Why do all the good threads get closed down?" (set 16 days ago)
 
Location: Missouri, USA
4,007 posts, read 2,779,204 times
Reputation: 1864

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I've heard three explanations for how the unpredictability of quantum physics works.

Explanation #1 is the statement, "If you think you understand quantum physics, you don't."

Explanation #2 is the idea that our perception of quantum particles actually influences the particles. I suspect that this explanation mostly just phrased the way it is to make quantum physics sound mysterious and get more funding and/or more people who want to become quantum physicists.

Explanation #3 is an explanation I've heard more recently from a couple fairly valid sources. This explanation explains the randomness of quantum physics as: quantum particles are so small that it's impossible not to detect or study them without influencing them, so it's not our perception of them that influences them, so much as just the tools we use to study them influencing their positions and movement through means such as bouncing materials off them to verify their position.

Quantum particles supposedly have a kind of seemingly random behavior to them under certain circumstances. Can someone verify or refute that this random behavior is merely due to the affect of our instruments that study them on them, rather than truly random behavior or behavior that genuinely stems from our perceiving them?

Also, I remember Einstein didn't believe in true randomness. He liked to say "God does not play dice with the universe." If it's true that quantum randomness is merely due to our instruments affecting quantum particles every time they study them, then wouldn't Einstein still potentially be correct when he made that statement? I've heard that supposedly quantum randomness refutes that mentality of his, but if the quantum randomness we detect is merely caused by our instruments, the universe might genuinely not have elements of true randomness to it.

(Note that I'm not interested in the God aspect of Einstein's statement, so much as the "does not play dice with the universe" part).

Thanks.

Last edited by Clintone; 12-05-2018 at 06:15 AM..
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Old 12-05-2018, 09:53 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
17,016 posts, read 51,872,942 times
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"Can someone verify or refute that this random behavior is merely due to the affect (sic - Effect) of our instruments that study them on them, rather than truly random behavior or behavior that genuinely stems from our perceiving them?"

Your question has inherent flaws. Example: Behavior that has been affected is by definition not random. There are other flaws, so rather than answer directly, I'll rephrase the question and answer that.

Is the quantum world subject to experimental bias? Yes.

If you have ever tried to force a computer to make a list of truly random numbers, you quickly realize it is impossible. You can get close, you can interject seeds from the outside that you SUSPECT are random, but finding any real complete randomness is not possible. Don't bother trying to argue the point with me, find an advanced math professor and discuss it with him or her.

One of our unrecognized assumptions with quantum "particles" is that we can treat them as discrete individuals at the smallest level of existence, and therefore ascribe them with granularity. The idea that granularity doesn't exist is just too frustrating to people stuck in Newtonian thought.

To show just how pervasive that mindset is, almost everyone automatically assumes that "either-or" conditions are influenced by a single factor, such as the setup of the experiment, or experimenter influence. That is ascribing a type of granularity - one particle/wave, one influence. Once you ditch granularity bias, you recognize that the particle/wave is subtly affected by EVERYTHING to varying degrees. By "everything", I literally mean EVERYTHING that has existed, currently exists, and exists in the future. Almost all of those influences are so small as to be immeasurable, but they can and do affect it to give an appearance of randomness - unless - one or more influences become so dominant that the other influences become insignificant in comparison.

The presence of experimenter bias and influence on the outcome of an experiment is a repeatedly proven given. The real question is "How the H*** is it done?" That gets into areas considered pseudo-science or voodoo by the mainstream, and is left unanswered.

Einstein's quote is best taken in connection with Jung's concept of "synchronicity."
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Old 12-05-2018, 11:32 AM
 
Location: Pacific 🌉 °N, 🌄°W
10,239 posts, read 4,281,741 times
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I recently read Lawrence Krauss stating the following:
Quote:
"There has been much interest in Einstein's wise views on the misplaced notion of God this week. Wise he was, but he was wrong about quantum mechanics. For anyone who continues to doubt the strange reality of the quantum world, another macroscopic QM test."
He then posted this link.

Quantum Entanglement With 10 Billion Atoms


From the above link I searched for Quantum Randomness and found this related link.

Gauging Randomness for Loophole-free Quantum Tests
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Old 12-05-2018, 01:33 PM
 
190 posts, read 45,919 times
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Yes, quantum mechanics is strange and really difficult to grasp based upon our everyday experiences. I try to think of QM as an interaction between waves, rather than point-like particles. Waves of probability. An electron doesn't occupy a point location in an atom -- it's all smeared out in a continuum, like a wave in the ocean. The outcome of any interaction is random because there's no way to measure the state beforehand without thereby changing it.
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Old 12-05-2018, 08:10 PM
 
Location: Westwood, MA
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If you want to understand randomness and quantum mechanics, you have to understand Bell’s theorem. The basic idea is that any physics that is both local and deterministic (ie not random) must satisfy certain inequalities. Measurements have demonstrated those inequalities are violated, so either physics is non-local (ie faster than light action) or it is non-deterministic.

The full concept is a bit more challenging than that, but that’s the basic idea. Here’s a pretty good introduction: Understanding Bell’s theorem part 1: the simple version | More Quantum
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Old 12-07-2018, 08:08 AM
 
Location: Maryland
956 posts, read 285,080 times
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This is a fascinating subject to me, and beyond my understanding really. I remember reading something that always stuck with me though and wonder about the truth of it. The person was arguing that the human mind will never make any kind of intuitive sense of the quantum world because our brains evolved to make sense of the world at a different level and therefore the weirdness of the quantum world would never fit into the model of the world our brain evolved to handle.
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Old 12-08-2018, 04:27 AM
Status: "Why do all the good threads get closed down?" (set 16 days ago)
 
Location: Missouri, USA
4,007 posts, read 2,779,204 times
Reputation: 1864
Thanks a lot for the comments.
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Old 12-09-2018, 07:11 PM
 
Location: North Texas
281 posts, read 118,383 times
Reputation: 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clintone View Post
I've heard three explanations for how the unpredictability of quantum physics works.

Explanation #1 is the statement, "If you think you understand quantum physics, you don't."

Explanation #2 is the idea that our perception of quantum particles actually influences the particles. I suspect that this explanation mostly just phrased the way it is to make quantum physics sound mysterious and get more funding and/or more people who want to become quantum physicists.

Explanation #3 is an explanation I've heard more recently from a couple fairly valid sources. This explanation explains the randomness of quantum physics as: quantum particles are so small that it's impossible not to detect or study them without influencing them, so it's not our perception of them that influences them, so much as just the tools we use to study them influencing their positions and movement through means such as bouncing materials off them to verify their position.

Quantum particles supposedly have a kind of seemingly random behavior to them under certain circumstances. Can someone verify or refute that this random behavior is merely due to the affect of our instruments that study them on them, rather than truly random behavior or behavior that genuinely stems from our perceiving them?

Also, I remember Einstein didn't believe in true randomness. He liked to say "God does not play dice with the universe." If it's true that quantum randomness is merely due to our instruments affecting quantum particles every time they study them, then wouldn't Einstein still potentially be correct when he made that statement? I've heard that supposedly quantum randomness refutes that mentality of his, but if the quantum randomness we detect is merely caused by our instruments, the universe might genuinely not have elements of true randomness to it.

(Note that I'm not interested in the God aspect of Einstein's statement, so much as the "does not play dice with the universe" part).

Thanks.
The quantum state of motions are tested at very low temperatures but the fragility of quantum effects can arise from quantum decoherence. They have to cool the resonator down to the quantum state to the lowest possible energy. However, previously they struggled with this stage. Once all phonons are removed after the resonator is cooled down and they were able to transfer to superposition state where qbit was in superposition of 2 states at the same time. But the vibrations lasted a few second before they were broken down by outside influences.

Long story short, the scientists have not found an environment to fully isolate to perform this test for longer period of time rather shorter periods of time.
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Old Yesterday, 09:57 AM
 
Location: plano
6,088 posts, read 7,603,088 times
Reputation: 5139
I am a believer in science but see our ability to understand things as a point in time impacted by our tools and knowledge.


Statements of scientific absolutes can change over time. I believe the same is true of our understanding of quantum randomness too.


As we learn more it seems there is an order of magnitude more we find we do not understand or know. The nature of the universe seems more complex over time not simpler. So take the current understanding of randomness and our apparent inability to measure things without impacting them as a point in time level of knowledge subject to revision as we learn more and acquire better tools.
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Old Yesterday, 11:37 PM
 
180 posts, read 474,340 times
Reputation: 156
it’s more like random is what a quantum system is, rather than how it behaves. For example the hydrogen atom has a single electron. The electron exists as a cloud of probability spherically around the atomic nucleus. It’s not so much that the electron is at a specific spot and you can only calculate the probability if where it is, it’s that the cloud of probability IS what the electron IS. That is until it is measured at which point it does collapse into a positional point that is calculated using probability. Confused yet?

Consider an example of how a system of electrons exist as the cloud of probability itself by considering the following compounds....

1) Methane
2) Ethane
3) Propane
4) Butane

All of these compounds have a cloud of electron probability around them and as you go from methane to butane the cloud is getting bigger because each compound gets bigger as you go down the sequence.

How would the properties of this sequence of compounds change as you go through the sequence of compounds if an electron cloud of probability existed? Well if the cloud gets bigger they must also become more polarizable. Think of a small soap bubble keeping a stiff spherical structure vs a huge soap bubble that wobbles around. For large wobbling electron clouds an increase in intermolecular attraction is expected and must increase as you go through the sequence.

What does the data say?

1) methane has a boiling point of -161 C
2) ethane has a boiling point of -89 C
3) propane has a boiling point of -42 C
4) butane has a boiling point of -0.5 C

So as you get a larger molecule with larger cloud you need more energy to separate the compounds in this sequence.

This is one of a number of uncountable systems where QM has never failed in its prediction.
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