World Science Scholars

1.6 Discussion

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    • There are other interpretations of quantum mechanics with different explanations for the physical meaning of superpositions. What do you think of the prevailing view that human observation makes reality definite? How might you challenge this view?

    • It seems, on opening the box with the cat, that photons interact with the superposition to give a definite state of alive or dead. We can investigate whether introduction of a stream of only neutrinos into the box would give a definite state (detected by presence or absence of sounds from the cat or its tripping on something).

    • If the question is about how consciousness seems to play a role, I think that’s nonsense. Consciousness is just a way for us to come in possession of an information and become aware of it, but that information we get has already happened “objectively” – it was given by a physical interaction.

    • If a tree falls in the forest and nobody sees it or hears it did it actually fall? – very Zen! But I could always go for a walk in the woods and take a look, but I don’t believe that my observation would have had any actual influence.

    • Intuitively, pilot wave theory just makes more sense to me.

    • As consciousness is my only interface with the physical universe, I cannot deny that it may have unfathomable effects. Perhaps like a video game or the ads/cft 2d control mechanism, reality only rezzes up when I’m there to observe it. This was an excellent course. Very thought provoking. Thank you.

    • I have never been comfortable that somehow a human observation “collapses” the wave function. Just a matter of human perception perhaps? What if it is observed by something else – something we are unaware of that may be incapable of understanding, say an insect. Does it still become definite? It seems it is only definite within the ability of the perceiver.

      • Hi Paul,

        It’s not the human’s observation that collapses the wavefunction. It is the photons that interact with the system that collapse it. This is the case with the double slit experiment too when without the measurement, the electrons didn’t seem to diffract however once it was being measured. It behaved differently once the light (measurement) was interacting with it.

        So it is not consciousness that determines the state of the system but actually the fact that the system is being measured.

    • Panpsychism “may” be the answer.

    • The prevailing view of reality asserts that, things are “real” only when they are observed, without an observer we cannot talk about a “reality”. However we learned from Einstein’s theory of special relativity basically there may be two different “realities” of the same phenomena, depending on the frame of reference. It is true that “frame of reference” refers to an observer. And “quantum superposition” cannot be observed directly in that sense. However, it is observed in an indirect manner, by the double slit experiment and interference patterns of emitted light. In the “measurement effect problem”, the problem is not that the superposition cannot be observed directly, or we can measure the would-be “directly observed state” only as a set of probabilities. The problem may be that we don’t focus on “the effect of observation”, by asking “Why do we observe a particle instead of a wave?” or “Could this be about our state of observation, our expectations, our cognitive facilities”? However, these questions trascends the defined boundaries of physics and calls for the attention of neuroscience, biophysics and biochemistry, quantum chemistry as well.

      • If a particle is steady (not in motion), floating somewhere, does it make sense to talk about superposition and probability of finding the particle in a place x or y?
        If a particle is in continuous motion, why does it make sense to use probability to estimate/calculate its position? If it is in constant moving, it doesn’t have a position, but a trajectory, a path, therefore wouldn’t it be wrong to talk about and calculate a position?
        When you say that the electrons are in quantum superposition states, are you talking about the single specific electron? How sure can we be that we are observing the same electron?

    • If a particle changes its position from one to other and vice-versa particle can be observed at both places

    • Agreed,Lal Krishna.

    • I think they merely follow a path in space and time that is less intuitive to us, and what we call its position is where its presence is boldest to our observation, but it can really cover space and time in ways that are irregular to our everyday understandings, which is exactly where gravity is gonna come in with how it modulates an object’s ability to move through space and time.

    • Humans are just another quantum system and hold no special place in causing collapse. As far as cat in box , it is in an quantum environment that has constant interactions before the box is open so the wave function collapse is based upon multitude of interactions and will have occurred before we open box. When we open box we do not cause anything but become consciously aware of what has happened— we did not cause anything.

    • The perceiver is the perceived.

      When a tree falls in the forest, does it make any sound if none are around to hear it?

      The moon Io of Jupiter has pictures that are likely touched up. They seem to show flows of what seems brass but may be gold. If there is gold on Io, did it exist before it was seen?

      Change the energy and the manifestation of the mass changes. So change the perception and the perceived changes.

      Does consciousness alone allow for existance or do things exist before being perceived? Does consciousness create reality?

      Some cultures are better than others at flowing with this idea.

    • This lecture is very informative.
      Great effort
      Can you please get the explanation for question 1.3
      Thank You

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