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Introduction and overview

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 March 2010

Stephen L. Adler
Affiliation:
Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey
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Summary

Quantum mechanics is our most successful physical theory. It underlies our very detailed understanding of atomic physics, chemistry, and nuclear physics, and the many technologies to which physical systems in these regimes give rise. Additionally, relativistic quantum mechanics is the basis for the standard model of elementary particles, which very successfully gives a partial unification of the forces operating at the atomic, nuclear, and subnuclear levels.

However, from its inception the probabilistic nature of quantum mechanics, and the fact that “quantum measurements” in the orthodox formulation appear to require the intervention of non-quantum mechanical “classical systems,” have led to speculations by many physicists, mathematicians, and philosophers of science that quantum mechanics may be incomplete. Among the Founding Fathers of quantum theory, Einstein and Schrödinger were both of the opinion that quantum mechanics is in some way unsatisfactory, and this view has been amplified in more recent profound work of John Bell, among others. In an opposing camp, many others in the physics, mathematics, and philosophy communities have attempted to provide an interpretational foundation in which quantum mechanics remains a complete and self-contained system. Among the Founding Fathers, Bohr, Born, and Heisenberg maintained that quantum mechanics is a complete system, and a number of recent proposals have been made to improve upon or to provide alternatives to their “Copenhagen Interpretation.” The debate continues, and has spawned an enormous literature.

Type
Chapter
Information
Quantum Theory as an Emergent Phenomenon
The Statistical Mechanics of Matrix Models as the Precursor of Quantum Field Theory
, pp. 1 - 20
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2004

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  • Introduction and overview
  • Stephen L. Adler, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey
  • Book: Quantum Theory as an Emergent Phenomenon
  • Online publication: 17 March 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511535277.001
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  • Introduction and overview
  • Stephen L. Adler, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey
  • Book: Quantum Theory as an Emergent Phenomenon
  • Online publication: 17 March 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511535277.001
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Introduction and overview
  • Stephen L. Adler, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey
  • Book: Quantum Theory as an Emergent Phenomenon
  • Online publication: 17 March 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511535277.001
Available formats
×