Emergence and Quantum Theory
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Date: 03/30/2006 11:11
Link to this Comment: 18741

I remain confused about how entangled photons can provide the same readings just on the basis of how things are set up to record them. Okay, now I am getting closer. Check this out:

"In the beginning was the bit"

Where it states:

When, say, two electrons are entangled, it is impossible even in principle to describe one without the other. They have no independent existence. This seems bizarre until you use Zeilinger's principle. Concentrating on their spins, a two-electron system contains two bits. For example, they might be "The spins in the z direction are parallel," and "The spins in the x direction are antiparallel". The two bits are thereby used up, and the state is completely described--yet no statement is made about the direction of spin of one electron or the other. The entire description consists of relative statements, or correlations. This means that as soon as one spin is measured along a certain direction, the other one is fixed, even if it happens to be far away.

Zeilinger's single, simple principle leads to these three cornerstones of quantum mechanics: quantisation, uncertainty and entanglement. What, then, of the more formal elements of quantum mechanics such as wave functions and Schršdinger's equation--the bread and butter of atomic physicists? The road promises to be long and steep, but Zeilinger and his student Caslav Brukner, have now begun the ascent.

Wow. that is starting to make some sense. Not a lot but some.

Nice summaries of the zeilinger research are available at:

"Experiment and the foundations of modern physics"

"On the Interpretation and Philosophical Foundation of Quantum Mechanics"

"A Foundational Principle for Quantum Mechanics"

"Quantum Communication"

In the mean time, here are two interesting articles on how quantum theory is related to ideas of emergence:

(1) time as emergent from the quantum theory of gravity (where the emergence of time is entangled with the problem of time in the classical theory)--

J. Butterfield, "On the Emergence of Time in Quantum Gravity"

(2)emergence as emergent from a post-particle quantum metaphysics that creates the basis for imagining a non-linear, emergent causality (via lehigh university):

Mark H. Bickhard with Donald T. Campbell, "Emergence"

And then there is Robert Laughlin on emergence and quantum theory, though I gather not everyone likes his book:

A Different Universe: Reinventing Physics from the Bottom Down