Weekly Papers on Quantum Foundations (25)

Authors: Saurya DasMir Faizal

Many theories of quantum gravity live in higher dimensions, and their reduction to four dimensions via mechanisms such as Kaluza-Klein compactification or brane world models have associated problems. We propose a novel mechanism of dimensional reduction via spontaneous symmetry breaking of a higher dimensional local Lorentz group to one in lower dimensions. Working in the gauge theory formulation of gravity, we couple a scalar field to spin connections, include a potential for the field, and show that for a suitable choice of scalar vacuum, the local Lorentz symmetry of the action gets spontaneously reduced to one in a lower dimension. Thus effectively the dimension of spacetime gets reduced by one. This provides a viable mechanism for the dimensional reduction, and may have applications in theories of quantum gravity.

Authors: Romuald A. Janik

We derive a holographic description of the simplest quantum mechanical system, a 1d free particle. The dual formulation uses a couple of two-dimensional topological abelian BF theories with appropriate boundary conditions, interactions and constraints. The aim of this construction is not to use holography as a tool for quantum mechanics but rather to find the simplest possible setup in order to explore holography.

Authors: Erick Hinds MingoYelena GuryanovaPhilippe FaistDavid Jennings

In this chapter we address the topic of quantum thermodynamics in the presence of additional observables beyond the energy of the system. In particular we discuss the special role that the generalized Gibbs ensemble plays in this theory, and derive this state from the perspectives of a micro-canonical ensemble, dynamical typicality and a resource-theory formulation. A notable obstacle occurs when some of the observables do not commute, and so it is impossible for the observables to simultaneously take on sharp microscopic values. We show how this can be circumvented, discuss information-theoretic aspects of the setting, and explain how thermodynamic costs can be traded between the different observables. Finally, we discuss open problems and future directions for the topic.

Authors: Pierre Martin-DussaudCarlo RovelliFederico Zalamea

The term ‘locality’ is used in different contexts with different meanings. There have been claims that relational quantum mechanics is local, but it is not clear then how it accounts for the effects that go under the usual name of quantum non-locality. The present article shows that the failure of ‘locality’ in the sense of Bell, once interpreted in the relational framework, reduces to the existence of a common cause in an indeterministic context. In particular, there is no need to appeal to a mysterious space-like influence to understand it.

Authors: Stephen Boughn

I feel compelled to respond to the frequent references to spooky action at a distance that often accompany reports of experiments investigating entangled quantum mechanical states. Most, but not all, of these articles have appeared in the popular press. As an experimentalist I have great admiration for such experiments and the concomitant advances in quantum information and quantum computing, but accompanying claims of action at a distance are quite simply nonsense. Some physicists and philosophers of science have bought into the story by promoting the nonlocal nature of quantum mechanics. In 1964, John Bell proved that classical hidden variable theories cannot reproduce the predictions of quantum mechanics unless they employ some type of action at a distance. I have no problem with this conclusion. Unfortunately, Bell later expanded his analysis and mistakenly deduced that quantum mechanics and by implication nature herself are nonlocal. In addition, some of these articles present Einstein in caricature, a tragic figure who neither understood quantum mechanics nor believed it to be an accurate theory of nature. Consequently, the current experiments have proven him wrong. This is also nonsense.

Publication date: Available online 18 June 2018
Source:Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
Author(s): David Wallace
I give a fairly systematic and thorough presentation of the case for regarding black holes as thermodynamic systems in the fullest sense, aimed at readers with some familiarity with thermodynamics, quantum mechanics and general relativity but not presuming advanced knowledge of quantum gravity. I pay particular attention to (i) the availability in classical black hole thermodynamics of a well-defined notion of adiabatic intervention; (ii) the power of the membrane paradigm to make black hole thermodynamics precise and to extend it to local-equilibrium contexts; (iii) the central role of Hawking radiation in permitting black holes to be in thermal contact with one another; (iv) the wide range of routes by which Hawking radiation can be derived and its back-reaction on the black hole calculated; (v) the interpretation of Hawking radiation close to the black hole as a gravitationally bound thermal atmosphere. In an appendix I discuss recent criticisms of black hole thermodynamics by Dougherty and Callender. This paper confines its attention to the thermodynamics of black holes; a sequel will consider their statistical mechanics.

Publication date: Available online 22 June 2018
Source:Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
Author(s): Laura Felline
In his recent book Bananaworld. Quantum mechanics for primates, Jeff Bub revives and provides a mature version of his influential information-theoretic interpretation of Quantum Theory (QT). In this paper, I test Bub’s conjecture that QT should be interpreted as a theory about information, by examining whether his information-theoretic interpretation has the resources to explain (or explain away) quantum conundrums. The discussion of Bub’s theses will also serve to investigate, more in general, whether other approaches succeed in defending the claim that QT is about quantum information. First of all, I argue that Bub’s interpretation of QT as a principle theory fails to fully explain quantum non-locality. Secondly, I argue that a constructive interpretation, where the quantum state is interpreted ontically as information, also fails at providing a full explanation of quantum correlations. Finally, while epistemic interpretations might succeed in this respect, I argue that such a success comes at the price of rejecting some in between the most basic scientific standards of physical theories.

Publication date: Available online 15 June 2018
Source:Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
Author(s): Vincent Lam, Christian Wüthrich
Theories of quantum gravity generically presuppose or predict that the reality underlying relativistic spacetimes they are describing is significantly non-spatiotemporal. On pain of empirical incoherence, approaches to quantum gravity must establish how relativistic spacetime emerges from their non-spatiotemporal structures. We argue that in order to secure this emergence, it is sufficient to establish that only those features of relativistic spacetimes functionally relevant in producing empirical evidence must be recovered. In order to complete this task, an account must be given of how the more fundamental structures instantiate these functional roles. We illustrate the general idea in the context of causal set theory and loop quantum gravity, two prominent approaches to quantum gravity.

Author(s): Emmanuel Lassalle, Caroline Champenois, Brian Stout, Vincent Debierre, and Thomas Durt

Frequent measurements can modify the decay of an unstable quantum state with respect to the free dynamics given by Fermi’s golden rule. In a landmark article [A. G. Kofman and G. Kurizki, Nature (London) 405, 546 (2000)], Kofman and Kurizki concluded that in quantum decay processes, acceleration of …
[Phys. Rev. A 97, 062122] Published Fri Jun 22, 2018

Norton, John D. (2017) Maxwell’s Demon Does Not Compute. [Preprint]


In this article, we demonstrate a sense in which the one-particle quantum mechanics (OPQM) and the classical electromagnetic four-potential arise from the quantum field theory (QFT). In addition, the classical Maxwell equations are derived from the QFT scattering process, while both classical electromagnetic fields and potentials serve as mathematical tools to approximate the interactions among elementary particles described by QFT physics. Furthermore, a plausible interpretation of the Aharonov–Bohm (AB) effect is raised within the QFT framework. We provide a quantum treatment of the source of electromagnetic potentials and argue that the underlying mechanism in the AB effect can be understood via interactions among electrons described by QFT theory where the interactions are mediated by virtual photons.

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Author Correction: Quantum electrodynamics and the proton size

Author Correction: Quantum electrodynamics and the proton size, Published online: 20 June 2018; doi:10.1038/s41567-018-0211-z

Author Correction: Quantum electrodynamics and the proton size

It is currently believed that there is no experimental evidence on possibly quantum features of gravity or gravity-motivated modifications of quantum mechanics. Here we show that single-atom interference experiments achieving large spatial superpositions can rule out a framework where the Newtonian gravitational interaction is fundamentally classical in the information-theoretic sense: it cannot convey entanglement. Specifically, in this framework gravity acts pairwise between massive particles via classical channels, which effectively induce approximately Newtonian forces between the masses. The experiments indicate that if gravity does reduce to the pairwise Newtonian interaction between atoms at low energies, this interaction cannot arise from the exchange of just classical information, and in principle has the capacity to create entanglement. We clarify that, contrary to current belief, the classical-channel description of gravity differs from the model of Diosi and Penrose,…

Author(s): Eugenio Roldán, Johannes Kofler, and Carlos Navarrete-Benlloch

According to the world view of macrorealism, the properties of a given system exist prior to and independent of measurement, which is incompatible with quantum mechanics. Leggett and Garg put forward a practical criterion capable of identifying violations of macrorealism, and so far experiments perf…
[Phys. Rev. A 97, 062117] Published Mon Jun 18, 2018

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