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  • Print publication year: 2017
  • Online publication date: April 2017

Epilogue

Summary

In this book, I have argued that the wave function in quantum mechanics is real, and it represents the state of random discontinuous motion (RDM) of particles in three-dimensional space. Moreover, this picture of quantum ontology is complete in accounting for our definite experience, but it requires that the quantum dynamics be revised to include a stochastic, nonlinear evolution term resulting from the RDM of particles. Obviously I took a road less traveled by researchers in the foundations of quantum mechanics. In order to convince more readers that this road is deserved to be taken, I will review the main results of this book and discuss them in a broader context.

The starting point of my road is protective measurements (Chapter 1). In 1993, this new method of measurement in quantum mechanics was discovered (Aharonov and Vaidman, 1993; Aharonov, Anandan, and Vaidman, 1993). Distinct from conventional projective measurements, protective measurement is a method for measuring the expectation value of an observable on a single quantum system. By a series of protective measurements, one can even measure the wave function of a single quantum system. Therefore, besides the Born rule for projective measurements, protective measurements provide another, more direct connection between the wave function and results of measurements, which is not probabilistic but definite. It can be expected that a definite connection between the wave function and results of measurements is more important for understanding the meaning of the wave function and searching for the ontology of quantum mechanics. However, it seems that this connection provided by protective measurements is still less well known today, and its significance has not been fully realized by most researchers, either.

The first stop on my road is the reality of the wave function (Chapter 4). It is correct to say that protective measurements alone do not imply the reality of the wave function. An additional connection between the state of reality and results of measurements is needed.