Talking of my attitudes…

No one asked [^] me. But I want to tell you, anyway!


1. What is your opinion about the randomness of individual quantum events (such as the decay of a radioactive nuclei)?

  • The randomness is only apparent
  • There is a hidden determinism
  • The randomness cannot be removed from any physical theory
  • Randomness is a fundamental concept of nature

Nearest option(s): The randomness is only apparent.

Comments: We have to make the laws-vs-systems distinction [^]. The fundamental laws of physics are always deterministic; e.g., Newton’s law of gravity forces on objects. The behaviour of a system, composed of many objects, may or may not be deterministic.

For example, the problem of determining trajectories in a 2-body system exchanging Newtonian gravity forces, is deterministic. A similar problem but with 3 or more bodies shows sensitive dependence on initial conditions. The fact that the law is expressed as a differential equation requires us to specify the initial condition exactly. The sensitive dependence on IC makes the integration procedure useless—even a small change in IC gives a wildly different prediction. Thus, the behaviour of the system becomes indistinguishable from an indeterministic system, even if the law is deterministic.

Individual quantum events still involve a large number of objects.

There can be hidden mechanisms, but that will not guarantee determinism for all systems.


2. Do you believe that physical objects have their properties well defined prior to and independent of measurement?

  • Yes in all cases
  • Yes in some cases
  • No
  • I am undecided

Nearest option(s): Yes in all cases.

Comments: The nature is not in a metaphysical flux.


3. How would you respond to the question “Where exactly in the orbital of a hydrogen atom is the electron prior to a measurement?”

  • It is everywhere in its orbital
  • It is not possible to know with our current understanding
  • It is impossible to know
  • The question is meaningless

Nearest option(s): It is not possible to know with our current understanding.

Comments: The fact that it can be anywhere does not mean that it is everywhere (cf. Wheeler, Feynman).

My new approach should give a better level clarity on this question.


4. Superpositions of macroscopically distinct states, e.g. a current loop in a superposition of two magnetic fluxes,…

  • are in principle possible
  • will eventually be realized experimentally
  • are in principle impossible
  • are impossible due to collapse theory

Nearest option(s): are in principle possible.

Clarifications/Comments: The question is fuzzy/not well-defined. If a buckyball undergoes diffraction, does it qualify to be called a macroscopically distinct state? Could Wigner’s friends be such that they exhibit QM behaviour but also are distinct enough to be called macroscopically different entities? I think yes. In such a case, their superpositions are of course possible.


5. In your opinion the observer

  • is a complex quantum system
  • should play no fundamental role whatsoever
  • plays a fundamental role in the application of the formalism, but plays no distinguished physical role
  • plays a distinguished physical role

Nearest option(s): should play no fundamental role whatsoever.

Comments: The question itself is vague or ill-posed. The term “observer” is not clear.

In the ordinary sense of the term: All observers have both consciousness and body. The body, like any other physical object, is a complex quantum system. The consciousness must not play any fundamental role in any theory of physics—QM or otherwise. (It can play a role in a theory of mind-body integration, which will be a different field. It will have to be compatible with both physics and what we know about consciousness. But you couldn’t call it a sub-field of physics or psychology. It would be an inter-disciplinary field.)

If we allow an inanimate object (like a detector) to be called an “observer”: Then the nearest option would be different. It would be: The observer “is a complex system”


6. How do you understand the measurement problem?

  • It is a pseudo-problem
  • It is solved by decoherence
  • It is solved/will be solved in some other way
  • It is a severe difficulty threatening quantum mechanics
  • I don’t know the problem well enough to have formed an opinion

Nearest option(s): It is solved/will be solved in some other way.

Comments: I think my new approach solves it correctly. For the time being, see the Outline document here  (PDF) [^]. It is a real problem; decoherence doesn’t solve it; but I don’t think that the absence of a solution to it has been a source of severe difficulty threatening QM itself. The absence of a good solution does make the theory incomplete. The irrational/bad philosophies brought into the field, under the disguise of solving this problem, do threaten QM (and many other areas of physics). But leaving aside the role of irrational/bad philosophies, an unsolved problem never really speaking threaten an area of physics. The same applies here.


7. What is the message of the observed violations of Bell’s inequality?

  • Hidden variables are impossible
  • Some notion of non-locality
  • Unperformed measurements have no results
  • Action-at-a-distance in the physical world
  • I don’t know the inequality well enough to have formed an opinion

Nearest options(s): Some notion of non-locality. Also: Unperformed measurements have no results.

Comments: The violations don’t by themselves justify (instantaneous) action at a distance, IAD for short, in the physical world; but they are compatible with IAD.

I simulate my new approach using Fourier’s theory, which means, using IAD. However, conceptually, it could easily incorporate very high but finite speeds.


8. If two physical theories give the same predictions, what properties would make you support one over the other? (you can check more than one box)

  • Simplicity—simple over complex
  • Determinism—deterministic over indeterministic
  • Consistency—free of paradoxes
  • Ontic—describes nature not just our knowledge of it
  • Chronology—The theory that was established first

Nearest option(s): Ontic—describes nature not just our knowledge of it. Also, as implications, and in this order (of decreasing relevance): Consistency. Simplicity. Determinism. Chronology.


9. Do physicists need an interpretation of quantum mechanics?

  • Yes, it helps us understand how nature behaves
  • Yes, it is important for pedagogical reasons
  • No, it is irrelevant as long as quantum mechanics provides us with correct predictions/results
  • No, it is entirely based on personal beliefs

Nearest option(s): Yes, it helps us understand how nature behaves.

Comments: My opinion is that those who say “no” shouldn’t even call themselves physicists. But far more important point is this: The very terms of the question assume (and exhibit) something deeply wrong.

You don’t invent a theory of physics out of the blue, say just using “math”, any more than you claim that you it was revealed to you mystically. You don’t thus formulate a theory (especially a “complete” theory like QM), and then go looking for its “interpretation” in the physical world.

You start with observations, organize your knowledge of phenomena into a consistent conceptual context, and derive or apply some good ontology—i.e., spell out what kind of objects you are assuming to exist in the reality out there, their nature (the causes), the nature of their actions (the effects), etc. On this basis, you form some hypotheses, and perform experiments—i.e. controlled observations. You then integrate the experimental findings with the pre-existing knowledge, all using the conceptually consistent phenomenological-ontological context we had talked about.

On this basis, you go about proposing what forms of equations there should be, why, and then derive the exact equations (together with units that avowed Platonists hate!). If necessary, you invent maths—whether to form equations or for finding methods to solve them. You then also show how to apply the quantitative theory.

If you follow this order, there never is an occasion to separately go hunting for “interpretations” at any stage.

In QM, physicists were not idiots—they actually were geniuses. But they also brought in bad philosophy in such a manner that one part of what they produced was indistinguishable from what an idiot would propose. To be fair, if they were to have the context of certain later developments like computational modelling, non-linear dynamics and catastrophe theory, chances are somewhat bright that they might have not said so many irrational things.

I say “somewhat” bright, and not “absolutely very bright”. The reason? von Neumann did have access to computers, did work out early computational modelling theory, but nevertheless, ended up positing the collapse postulate and axiomatizing a linear theory for QM at the same time. There won’t be many people as brilliant as him. He still did this stupid thing. Similarly, Heisenberg should have been aware of the role of non-linearities. His PhD thesis was on turbulence in fluids. He even said to the effect that QM mysteries would be solved easier than the mysteries of turbulence.

But none of them took a path to the kind of natural nonlinearity which I have proposed.

Yes, bad philosophy, and the practice of deification of towering figures/groupism/ridiculing the outsiders, etc., definitely have significant effects—even on the kind of physics you propose and/or defend.


10. What characterizes the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics? (you can check multiple boxes)

  • Collapse of the wavefunction upon measurement
  • Indeterminism—Results are not completely specified by initial conditions
  • Nonlocality, i.e. action-at-a-distance
  • Quantum mechanics works well, but does not describe nature as it really is
  • The correspondence principle—quantum mechanics reproduces classic physics in the limit of high quantum numbers
  • The principle of complementarity—objects have complementary properties which cannot be observed or measured at the same time

Nearest option(s): In the order of importance or how core it is to the Copenhagen interpretation: 1. Correspondence principle. 2. Indeterminism. 3. Complementarity principle. 

Comments: The collapse postulate was formulated by von Neumann, and not by Bohr, Heisenberg, and the other, original, advocates of the Copenhagen interpretation (CI). However, the collapse postulate only makes explicit what was already implicit in the CI. So, if the collapse postulate to be included in the CI, then its relative importance position, IMO, would be at no. 3. (Thus, the order would be: Correspondence, Indeterminism, Collapse, Complementarity.)

Indeterminism was more important to Heisenberg than to Bohr. Yes, Bohr accepted it, and advocated it too. But he belonged to an earlier, better, generation. He had arrived at the Correspondence  principle years before 1925, and insisted on it all his life.


11. What characterizes the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics? (you can check multiple boxes)

  • The existence of multiple parallel worlds
  • The existence of multiple minds belonging to one person
  • Locality, i.e no action-at-a-distance
  • The observer is treated as a physical system
  • No wave function collapse
  • Determinism—Evolution of universal wavefunction is completely governed by the wave equation
  • I don’t know the interpretation well enough to have formed an opinion

Nearest option(s): In the order of importance: 1. The existence of multiple parallel worlds. Also: 2. No wave function collapse. 3. The observer is treated as a physical system.


12. What characterizes De Broglie – Bohm pilot wave interpretation of quantum mechanics? (you can check multiple boxes)

  • Hidden variables in form of the particles exact positions and momenta
  • Nonlocality
  • Determinism—Events are completely specified by initial conditions
  • Possibility of deriving Born’s Rule
  • Wave function collapse
  • Quantum potential—each particle has an associated potential that guides the particle
  • I don’t know the interpretation well enough to have formed an opinion

Nearest option(s): In the order of importance, both of these at no. 1: (1a) Hidden variables in form of the particles exact positions and momenta. (1b) Quantum potential—each particle has an associated potential that guides the particle. Also, 2. Nonlocality.


13. What is your favourite interpretation of quantum mechanics?

  • Consistent Histories
  • Copenhagen
  • de Broglie-Bohm
  • Everett (many worlds and/or many minds)
  • Information-based / information-theoretical
  • Modal interpretation
  • Objective collapse (e.g., GRW, Penrose)
  • Quantum Bayesianism
  • Statistical (ensemble) interpretation
  • Transactional interpretation
  • Other
  • I have no preferred interpretation of quantum mechanics

Nearest option(s): Other.

Comments: By “Other” I mean: my new approach, even though, I think, what I am doing is much more than just a new “interpretation”. Yes, I do think that, eventually, my approach should also qualify to be called a new theory of (non-relativistic) quantum phenomena. (After all, I have proposed a new form of nonlinearity—i.e. new “math” too!)

If I were not to have my new approach, I would have probably said: 1. Copenhagen and 2. de Broglie-Bohm, in that order—but I would have hastened to add the necessary qualification that these interpretations, though I used them more preferentially or more often, couldn’t possibly be called my “favourites”.


14. What are your reasons for NOT favoring the Copenhagen interpretation? (you can check multiple boxes)

  • The role the observer plays in determining the physical state is too important
  • The paradoxes that arise on the macroscopic scale, e.g. Scrödinger’s cat and Wigner’s friend
  • Nonlocality
  • Quantum mechanics describes nature as it really is
  • Other

Nearest option(s): Other.

Comments: Again, by “Other”, I mean: my new approach. If I were not to have my new approach, I would’ve picked 2 options: “the paradoxes”, as well as “Other” (citing the basis of the Copenhagen interpretation in poor/irrational/inconsistent/unworkable philosophy).


15. What are your reasons for NOT favoring the many worlds interpretation? (you can check multiple boxes)

  • The notion of multiple worlds seems too far-fetched
  • The notion of multiple minds seems too far-fetched
  • The interpretation is too complex compared to others—i.e. Ockham’s razor
  • The interpretation is unable to explain the Born rule
  • It can never be corroborated experimentally
  • Other

Nearest option(s): Other.

Comments: By “Other”, again, I mean: my new approach.

Now that I have my approach, I could stop by just saying “Other”.

If I were not to have this new approach, however, I would’ve said: Nothing about it (MWI) is worth commenting upon, except for emphatically noting that all that this “development” actually demonstrates is an absolute lack of even the most basic philosophical sense concerning the term: “universe.”

On the question of whether there can be many universes, my position is this: To say that there is only one universe is, in a vague sense, true. But a more basic truth here is this: You cannot in principle assign any numbers/quantitative measures to the concept of universe—not if, by that concept, you mean “everything that exists/has ever existed/will ever exist”. Taken in this later sense, the universe becomes an axiomatic concept of physics. And, as in any field of knowledge, you can’t quantify axiomatic concepts. Quantification is possible only when you have two or more existents to compare in a size-wise manner. But there is nothing else with which the universe can at all be compared, because the concept, by its very definition, includes everything there is.

Accordingly, the only reasonable thing I have ever found about this whole “MWI interpretation” business here is that anecdotal story about its genesis. I mean, the story that they had “copious” amounts of sherry that night. I don’t know if this story is true. If yes, I would really wonder if they had stopped only at the sherry, for their “copious” amounts. But yes, the story does make sense. Everything else about the “theory” is senseless.


16. What are your reasons for NOT favoring De Broglie-Bohm theory? (you can check multiple boxes)

  • It is too complex compared to other interpretations—i.e. Ockhams razor
  • It has hidden variables, which makes the theory untenable according to Bell’s inequality
  • Nonlocality
  • The notion of all particles possessing a quantum potential that guides them seems too far-fetched
  • Other

Closest option(s): Other.

Comments: Again, I mean: my new approach. But even if I were not to have my new approach, I still would’ve picked up many other reasons for not finding this theory as acceptable or satisfactory. If you want, I will write a bit more, in a separate post. (As stated later, I may continue this post a bit further.)


17. How often have you switched to a different interpretation?

  • Never
  • Once
  • Several times
  • I have no preferred interpretation of quantum mechanics

Closest option(s): Once.

Comments: Actually, I didn’t have any preferred interpretation of QM. For instance, Einstein found the Copenhagen interpretation (CI) unsatisfactory. But since CI (plus what others like Neumann added to it) is what they mostly follow in writing text-books (or even in pop-sci books, when they show you the lay of the land), you might say that I was following CI, but without preferring it over others. Then, during my PhD times, I tried to develop a theory for the propagation of photons based on Einstein’s idea of the spatially discrete photon. So, for photons, I could be said to have been following his “interpretation” (which I no longer believe in). Etc. In answering this question I picked up “once” mainly to indicate that I have abandoned not just the CI and Einstein’s ideas, but all others too. Instead, I am now developing a completely new approach. I find it consistent and satisfactory—at least so far.


OK. That’s where the questions in the linked paper end. In the coming weeks or so, I may provide some further, more detailed comments concerning why I chose one option vs. others, provided I find enough time to do that. (See the next section.) … Further, I have also found 2–3 other, similar, surveys, with some new questions not covered in the linked paper. I may provide my answers to these additional question via a post later on.


An update regarding development of my new approach:

Some further conceptual issues have come up.

In particular, last week, I found that a significant part of the development I did in this July (perhaps going back up to this June or so) was, conceptually wrong. Plain wrong!

Some of it might work in some scenarios, but not in general. Some other suppositions/assumptions I had made (and even implemented in code) were plain wrong. So, a lot of code written earlier has to be simply junked!

However, in the process, I also found ways to tackle these issues. I’ve found that I don’t have to give up my basic ontological ideas. My basic ontology still holds—and in fact, it also shows the way to the correct generalizations (including correct quantitative predictions). OTOH, if the basic ontology (as indicated in the Outline document and in the Ontologies series of posts here) were to be outright erroneous at its core, then it would have spelt the end of my new approach. But that’s not at all the case here.

But yes, all in all, this “discovery” of where I was going wrong, has only added to the work that still needs to be done. First of all, I have to re-work through many things. Only then can I go over to the topics that were scheduled for the current week.

However, finishing up this whole enterprise (I mean, spelling out the basic essentials of the new approach, together with at least a few minimal simulations) still does seem achievable in a time-frame that’s not extended in too far a future. One or two weeks might get added to the schedule, but the overall task, I find, is still pretty much doable in the near future.

I have changed my work-flow. I am now writing down everything (whether in LaTeX or by hand, on paper) before starting writing any code, so that some simplifications introduced just for the sake of implementing some concrete simulation, don’t end up clouding my thinking about the underlying physics too. That’s what had actually happened. (In retrospect, I think I tried to rush through the things. That’s why I didn’t notice the places where I was going wrong even conceptually.)

This change in the work-flow has already proved effective. (Writing everything down isn’t always necessary. There is a value to trying some things by immediately writing some rough-and-ready simulations too. All that I am saying here is that, for my particular problem and the particular stage that I am already at, this change in the work-flow is turning out to be effective—for the time being.)

Another point. As you know, I had plans of simulating the H atom (or two interacting electrons) in a box with PBCs. I was going to take some short-cuts for evolving the dynamics. (I think I had tweeted to that effect a while ago.) Now, I’ve found that with the new mechanisms to be implemented, there no longer is any particular advantage left with those short-cuts. So, I may or may not use those short-cuts. In case you are wondering a lot: The short-cuts involved making use of the fact that what probability represents is the ideal time-fraction that a particle spends in an infinitesimally small CV (Eulerian/fixed control volume) of the domain. I had noticed this fact on my own; had never seen it being mentioned in the QM literature. (Notice, the idea makes use of the fact that a particle does have a definite position at each time instant. Thus, we are not referring to the position as measured by the position measurement apparatus.) … Anyway, these short-cuts themselves, I think, are a pretty good set of ideas; they may come in handy some time later on.

Anyway, to sum up and conclude: I found some mistakes in my conceptual development related to my new approach to QM, and therefore also in a significant part of the code that I had implemented over the last month or so. However, I’ve also have found what I believe is the correct solution for these problems. I mean to say, I now have even better (more detailed) description of the underlying physical mechanisms.  All in all, I hope to wrap up everything by, say, by September-end. May be before that.


A song I like:

(Hindi) हे, नीले गगन के तले, धरती का प्यार पले (“hey, neele gagan ke tale, dharati kaa pyaar pale”)
Singer: Mahendra Kapoor
Music: Ravi
Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi

[The original song (1967) is here [^].

Also check out the live version here [^]. Notice how effortlessly Mahendra Kapoor sings here, even in his mature age….

PS: Comments on the page for the second link above say that a Thai song has priority; it came out in 1965. Out of curiousity, I checked out the link [^]. Yes, the tune is absolutely the same! Obviously, Ravi picked it up either from this song, or from some other song that preceded them both!

The sound quality for this Thai video isn’t so great, though one can make out that, what we in Hindi call तान “taan” was rendered superlatively in it! A matter of pleasure!

… Another comment linked to a more recent Thai performance of the same (Thai) song, here [^]. This looks like a “cover” version. Yes, likable, but a few pauses overemphasize the rhythm, in the process losing the fluidity of the original.

…I was definitely reminded of any number of “covers” of the old Hindi songs that I’ve tried recently. I had to discard almost all of them (even those from the Sony Jam Room), simply because all these young singers seem to follow a very weird kind of a voice-culture and a way of rendering that, as a rule, ends up killing the very soul of the original. There may be exceptions here and there, but I was talking of the rule … Mind you, I don’t have a problem with singing an old Hindi song in some “Western” style as such—certainly not when it’s done on experimental or innovative basis. I am all for “fusion” too. But the style of singing these young Indian idiots follow is not at all in any of the better Western traditions either. It is some Indian-perceived version of the Western. It’s pathetic. Their careless yoddlings and predictable but pathetic stretchings of the original tune is such that one wonders if they weren’t trying to match the experiences of a drug addict or so.

… Anyway, coming back to this new Thai song by some young singer (I mean this one [^]): The “taan” which I spoke about, now appears in a slightly modern (Westernized) form of rendering here; check out at around 2:15. Yes, the song style definitely seems to have been broken at a couple of places, but I did like the “taan” portion of it. … Anyway, enough of comments! ]


History:
— 2020.08.23 17:03 IST: First published
— 2020.08.23 20:19 IST: Revision. Added several comments; expanded a bit some existing comments. Almost 3,000 words by now! Must now leave this post in whatever condition it is in.
— 2020.08.23 11:51 IST: Added the comments after the song.
— 2020.08.24 12:00 IST: Added further comments. 4,000+ words now. Must now leave this post in whatever condition it is in.