This is a list of this week's papers on quantum foundations published in the various journals or uploaded to the preprint servers such as arxiv.org and PhilSci Archive.

General relativity as a two-dimensional CFT. (arXiv:1505.05679v1 [gr-qc])

on 2015-5-22 4:22am GMT

Authors: Tim Adamo

The tree-level scattering amplitudes of general relativity encode the full non-linearity of the Einstein field equations. Yet remarkably compact expressions for these amplitudes have been found which seem unrelated to a perturbative expansion of the Einstein-Hilbert action. This suggests an entirely different description of GR which makes this on-shell simplicity manifest. Taking our cue from the tree-level amplitudes, we discuss how such a description can be found. The result is a formulation of GR in terms of a solvable two-dimensional CFT, with the Einstein equations emerging as quantum consistency conditions.

on 2015-5-22 4:22am GMT

Authors: S. M. Korotaev, V. O. Serdyuk, E. O. Kiktenko, N. M. Budnev, J. V. Gorohov

Although the general theory macroscopic quantum entanglement of is still in its infancy, consideration of the matter in the framework of action-at-a distance electrodynamics predicts for the random dissipative processes observability of the advanced nonlocal correlations. These correlations were really revealed in our previous experiments with some large-scale heliogeophysical processes as the source ones and the lab detectors as the probe ones. Recently a new experiment has been performing on the base of Baikal Deep Water Neutrino Observatory. The thick water layer is an excellent shield against any local impacts on the detectors. The first annual series 2012/2013 has demonstrated that detector signals respond to the heliogeophysical processes and causal connection of the signals directed downwards: from the Earth surface to the Baikal floor. But this nonlocal connection proved to be in reverse time. In addition advanced nonlocal correlation of the detector signal with the regional source-process: the random component of hydrological activity in the upper layer was revealed and the possibility of its forecast on nonlocal correlations was demonstrated. But the strongest macroscopic nonlocal correlations are observed at extremely low frequencies, that is at periods of several months. Therefore the above results should be verified in a longer experiment. We verify them by data of the second annual series 2013/2014 of the Baikal experiment. All the results have been confirmed, although some quantitative parameters of correlations and time reversal causal links turned out different due to nonstationarity of the source-processes. A new result is displaying of the advanced response of nonlocal correlation detector to the earthquake. This opens up the prospect of the earthquake forecast on the new physical principle, although further confirmation in the next events is certainly needed.

A self-interfering clock as a "which path" witness. (arXiv:1505.05765v1 [quant-ph])

on 2015-5-22 4:22am GMT

Authors: Yair Margalit, Zhifan Zhou, Shimon Machluf, Daniel Rohrlich, Yonathan Japha, Ron Folman

We experimentally demonstrate a new interferometry paradigm: a self-interfering clock. We split a clock into two spatially separated wave packets, and observe an interference pattern with a stable phase showing that the splitting was coherent, i.e., the clock was in two places simultaneously. We then make the clock wave packets "tick" at different rates to simulate a proper time lag. The entanglement between the clock's time and its path yields "which path" information, which affects the visibility of the clock's self-interference. By contrast, in standard interferometry, time cannot yield "which path" information. As a clock we use an atom prepared in a superposition of two spin states. This first proof-of-principle experiment may have far-reaching implications for the study of time and general relativity and their impact on fundamental quantum effects such as decoherence and wave packet collapse.

on 2015-5-22 4:22am GMT

Authors: Florin Moldoveanu

Products and tensor products are linked by a universal property. Imposing the invariance of the laws of Nature under tensor composition along with Leibniz identity determines quantum and classical mechanics algebraic structure through the interplay between products, coproducts, and the tensor product. Violations of Bell's inequalities distinguishes quantum from classical mechanics.

Klein's programme and Quantum Mechanics. (arXiv:1505.05530v1 [quant-ph])

on 2015-5-22 4:22am GMT

Authors: J. Clemente-Gallardo, G. Marmo

We review the geometrical formulation of Quantum Mechanics to identify, according to Klein's programme, the corresponding group of transformations. For closed systems, it is the unitary group. For open quantum systems, the semigroup of Kraus maps contains, as a maximal subgroup, the general linear group. The same group emerges as the exponentiation of the $C^{*}$--algebra associated with the quantum system, when thought of as a Lie algebra. Thus, open quantum systems seem to identify the general linear group as associated with quantum mechanics and moreover suggest to extend the Klein programme also to groupoids. The usual unitary group emerges as a maximal compact subgroup of the general linear group.

Yet another time about time. (arXiv:1505.05724v1 [physics.hist-ph])

physics.hist-ph updates on arXiv.org

on 2015-5-22 4:22am GMT

Authors: Plamen L. Simeonov

This paper presents yet another personal reflection on one the most important concepts in both science and the humanities: time. This elusive notion has been not only bothering philosophers since Plato and Aristotle and goes throughout human history embracing all analytical and creative (anthropocentric) disciplines from mathematics through physical and life sciences to philosophy, psychology, music and art, with a vast body of knowledge across different theories and categories concerning its nature (rational, irrational, arational), appearances/qualia, degrees, dimensions and scales of conceptualization (internal, external, rational, irrational, fractal, discrete, continuous, mechanical, quantum, local, global, etc.), duration ranges, resolutions, modes (present, now, past, future), variety of tenses (e.g. present perfect, present progressive, etc.) and some intuitive, but also fancy phenomenological characteristics such as arrow, stream, texture, width, depth, and perhaps the most distinct one of them, the absolute time constituting the flow of consciousness according to Husserl, the reflection of pure (human) nature without having the distinction between exo and endo.

Investigating Puzzling Aspects of the Quantum Theory by Means of Its Hydrodynamic Formulation

Latest Results for Foundations of Physics

on 2015-5-21 12:00am GMT

Abstract

Bohmian mechanics, a hydrodynamic formulation of the quantum theory, constitutes a useful tool to understand the role of the phase as the mechanism responsible for the dynamical evolution displayed by quantum systems. This role is analyzed and discussed here in the context of quantum interference, considering to this end two well-known scenarios, namely Young’s two-slit experiment and Wheeler’s delayed choice experiment. A numerical implementation of the first scenario is used to show how interference in a coherent superposition of two counter-propagating wave packets can be seen and explained in terms of an effective model consisting of a single wave packet scattered off an attractive hard wall. The outcomes from this model are then applied to the analysis of Wheeler’s delayed choice experiment, also recreated by means of a reliable realistic simulation. Both examples illustrate quite well how the Bohmian formulation helps to explain in a natural way (and therefore to demystify) aspects of the quantum theory typically regarded as paradoxical. In other words, they show that a proper understanding of quantum phase dynamics immediately removes any trace of unnecessary artificial wave-particle arguments.

Quantum physics: Squeezed ions in two places at once

Nature Physical Sciences Research

on 2015-5-20 12:00am GMT

Experiments on a trapped calcium ion have again exposed the strange nature of quantum phenomena, and could pave the way for sensitive techniques to explore the boundary between the quantum and classical worlds. See Letter p.336

Nature 521 295 doi: 10.1038/521295a

Quantum physics: What is really real?

on 2015-5-20 12:00am GMT

A wave of experiments is probing the root of quantum weirdness.

Nature 521 278 doi: 10.1038/521278a

What is Dynamics in Quantum Gravity?. (arXiv:1505.04730v1 [gr-qc])

on 2015-5-19 2:21am GMT

Authors: Przemyslaw Malkiewicz

Dynamics of general relativistic systems is given with respect to internal clocks. We investigate the extent to which the choice of internal clock in quantum description of the gravitational field determines the quantum dynamics. We develop our method by making use of the Hamilton-Jacobi theory, which is extended to include time coordinate transformations. Next, we apply our method to a quantum model of the flat Friedmann universe and compute some clock-induced deviations to semiclassical phase space portrait. Within a fixed quantization we find the abundance of possible semiclassical extensions to general relativity by switching between clocks. It follows that quantities like minimal volume, maximal curvature and even a number of quantum bounces, often used to describe quantum effects in gravity, are ill-defined.

Entanglement equilibrium and the Einstein equation. (arXiv:1505.04753v1 [gr-qc])

on 2015-5-19 2:21am GMT

Authors: Ted Jacobson

We show that the semiclassical Einstein equation holds if and only if the entanglement entropy in small causal diamonds is stationary at constant volume, when varied from a maximally symmetric vacuum state of geometry and quantum fields. The argument hinges on a conjecture about the variation of the conformal boost energy of quantum fields in small diamonds.

Quantum-Gravity Fluctuations and the Black-Hole Temperature. (arXiv:1505.04718v1 [gr-qc])

on 2015-5-19 2:21am GMT

Authors: Shahar Hod

Bekenstein has put forward the idea that, in a quantum theory of gravity, a black hole should have a discrete energy spectrum with concomitant discrete line emission. The quantized black-hole radiation spectrum is expected to be very different from Hawking's semi-classical prediction of a thermal black-hole radiation spectrum. One naturally wonders: Is it possible to reconcile the {\it discrete} quantum spectrum suggested by Bekenstein with the {\it continuous} semi-classical spectrum suggested by Hawking ? In order to address this fundamental question, in this essay we shall consider the zero-point quantum-gravity fluctuations of the black-hole spacetime. In a quantum theory of gravity, these spacetime fluctuations are closely related to the characteristic gravitational resonances of the corresponding black-hole spacetime. Assuming that the energy of the black-hole radiation stems from these zero-point quantum-gravity fluctuations of the black-hole spacetime, we derive the effective temperature of the quantized black-hole radiation spectrum. Remarkably, it is shown that this characteristic temperature of the {\it discrete} (quantized) black-hole radiation agrees with the well-known Hawking temperature of the {\it continuous} (semi-classical) black-hole spectrum.

Gravity as the breakdown of conformal invariance. (arXiv:1505.04649v1 [gr-qc])

on 2015-5-19 2:21am GMT

Authors: Giovanni Amelino-Camelia, Michele Arzano, Giulia Gubitosi, Joao Magueijo

We propose that at the beginning of the universe gravity existed in a limbo either because it was switched off or because it was only conformally coupled to all particles. This picture can be reverse-engineered from the requirement that the cosmological perturbations be (nearly) scale-invariant without the need for inflation. It also finds support in recent results in quantum gravity suggesting that spacetime becomes two-dimensional at super-Planckian energies. We advocate a novel top-down approach to cosmology based on the idea that gravity and the Big Bang Universe are relics from the mechanism responsible for breaking the fundamental conformal invariance. Such a mechanism should leave clear signatures in departures from scale-invariance in the primordial power spectrum and the level of gravity waves generated.

on 2015-5-19 2:21am GMT

Authors: T. Banks

I explain, in non-technical terms, the basic ideas of Holographic Space-time (HST) models of quantum gravity (QG). The key feature is that the degrees of freedom (DOF) of QG, localized in a finite causal diamond are restrictions of an algebra of asymptotic currents, describing flows of quantum numbers out to null infinity in Minkowski space, with zero energy density on the sphere at infinity. Finite energy density states are constrained states of these DOF and the resulting relation between asymptotic energy and the number of constraints, explains the relation between black hole entropy and energy, as well as the critical energy/impact parameter regime in which particle scattering leads to black hole formation. The results of a general class of models, implementing these principles, are described, and applied to understand the firewall paradox, and to construct a finite model of the early universe, which implements inflation with only the minimal fine tuning needed to obtain a universe containing localized excitations more complex than large black holes.

Non-locality in Quantum Field Theory due to General Relativity. (arXiv:1505.04517v1 [hep-th])

on 2015-5-19 2:21am GMT

Authors: Xavier Calmet, Djuna Croon, Christopher Fritz

We show that General Relativity coupled to a quantum field theory generically leads to non-local effects in the matter sector. These non-local effects can be described by non-local higher dimensional operators which remarkably have an approximate shift symmetry. When applied to inflationary models, our results imply that small non-Gaussianities are a generic feature of models based on General Relativity coupled to matter fields. However, these effects are too small to be observable in the Cosmic Microwave Background.

Proof of the Spin–Statistics Theorem

Latest Results for Foundations of Physics

on 2015-5-19 12:00am GMT

Abstract

The traditional standard quantum mechanics theory is unable to solve the spin–statistics problem, i.e. to justify the utterly important “Pauli Exclusion Principle”. A complete and straightforward solution of the spin–statistics problem is presented on the basis of the “conformal quantum geometrodynamics” theory. This theory provides a Weyl-gauge invariant formulation of the standard quantum mechanics and reproduces successfully all relevant quantum processes including the formulation of Dirac’s or Schrödinger’s equation, of Heisenberg’s uncertainty relations and of the nonlocal EPR correlations. When the conformal quantum geometrodynamics is applied to a system made of many identical particles with spin, an additional constant property of all elementary particles enters naturally into play: the “intrinsic helicity”. This property, not considered in the Standard Quantum Mechanics, determines the correct spin–statistics connection observed in Nature.

Information Theoretic Characterization of Physical Theories with Projective State Space

Latest Results for Foundations of Physics

on 2015-5-19 12:00am GMT

Abstract

Probabilistic theories are a natural framework to investigate the foundations of quantum theory and possible alternative or deeper theories. In a generic probabilistic theory, states of a physical system are represented as vectors of outcomes probabilities and state spaces are convex cones. In this picture the physics of a given theory is related to the geometric shape of the cone of states. In quantum theory, for instance, the shape of the cone of states corresponds to a projective space over complex numbers. In this paper we investigate geometric constraints on the state space of a generic theory imposed by the following information theoretic requirements: every non completely mixed state of a system is perfectly distinguishable from some other state in a single shot measurement; information capacity of physical systems is conserved under making mixtures of states. These assumptions guarantee that a generic physical system satisfies a natural principle asserting that the more a state of the system is mixed the less information can be stored in the system using that state as logical value. We show that all theories satisfying the above assumptions are such that the shape of their cones of states is that of a projective space over a generic field of numbers. Remarkably, these theories constitute generalizations of quantum theory where superposition principle holds with coefficients pertaining to a generic field of numbers in place of complex numbers. If the field of numbers is trivial and contains only one element we obtain classical theory. This result tells that superposition principle is quite common among probabilistic theories while its absence gives evidence of either classical theory or an implausible theory.

Integrated Information-Induced Quantum Collapse

Latest Results for Foundations of Physics

on 2015-5-19 12:00am GMT

Abstract

We present a novel spontaneous collapse model where size is no longer the property of a physical system which determines its rate of collapse. Instead, we argue that the rate of spontaneous localization should depend on a system’s quantum Integrated Information (QII), a novel physical property which describes a system’s capacity to act like a quantum observer. We introduce quantum Integrated Information, present our QII collapse model and briefly explain how it may be experimentally tested against quantum theory.

Wave–Particle Duality: An Information-Based Approach

Latest Results for Foundations of Physics

on 2015-5-19 12:00am GMT

Abstract

Recently, Bohr’s complementarity principle was assessed in setups involving delayed choices. These works argued in favor of a reformulation of the aforementioned principle so as to account for situations in which a quantum system would simultaneously behave as wave and particle. Here we defend a framework that, supported by well-known experimental results and consistent with the decoherence paradigm, allows us to interpret complementarity in terms of correlations between the system and an *informer*. Our proposal offers formal definition and operational interpretation for the dual behavior in terms of both nonlocal resources and the couple work-information. Most importantly, our results provide a generalized information-based trade-off for the wave–particle duality and a causal interpretation for delayed-choice experiments.

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