The Quantum Dice

Fundamental Theories of Physics

Book 75
Springer Science & Business Media
Free sample

In spite of the impressive predictive power and strong mathematical structure of quantum mechanics, the theory has always suffered from important conceptual problems. Some of these have never been solved. Motivated by this state of affairs, a number of physicists have worked together for over thirty years to develop stochastic electrodynamics, a physical theory aimed at finding a conceptually satisfactory, realistic explanation of quantum phenomena.
This is the first book to present a comprehensive review of stochastic electrodynamics, from its origins to present-day developments. After a general introduction for the non-specialist, a critical discussion is presented of the main results of the theory as well as of the major problems encountered. A chapter on stochastic optics and some interesting consequences for local realism and the Bell inequalities is included. In the final chapters the authors propose and develop a new version of the theory that brings it in closer correspondence with quantum mechanics and sheds some light on the wave aspects of matter and the linkage with quantum electrodynamics.
Audience: The volume will be of interest to scholars and postgraduate students of theoretical and mathematical physics, foundations and philosophy of physics, and teachers of theoretical physics and quantum mechanics, electromagnetic theory, and statistical physics (stochastic processes).
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Additional Information

Publisher
Springer Science & Business Media
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Published on
Mar 9, 2013
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Pages
512
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ISBN
9789401587235
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Language
English
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Genres
Science / Philosophy & Social Aspects
Science / Physics / General
Science / Physics / Mathematical & Computational
Science / Physics / Quantum Theory
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This content is DRM protected.
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THE PRESENT STATUS OF THE QUANTUM THEORY OF LIGHT In August of 1995, a group of over 70 physicists met at York University for a three-day symposium in honour of Professor Jean-Pierre Vigier. The attendance included theoretical and experimental physicists, mathematicians, astronomers and colleagues concerned with issues in the philosophy of science. The symposium was entitled "The Present Status of the Quantum Theory of Light" in accordance with Professor Vigier's wishes but in fact encompassed many of the areas to which Professor Vigier has contributed over his long and distinguished career. These include stochastic interpretations of quantum mechanics, particle physics, and electromagnetic theory. The papers presented at the symposium have been arranged in this proceedings in the following approximate order: ideas about the nature of light and photons, electrodynamiCS, the formulation and interpretation of quantum mechanics, and aspects of relativity theory. Some of the papers presented deal with alternate interpretations of quantum phenomena in the tradition of Vigier, Bohm et al. These interpretations reject the account given in purely probabilistic terms and which deems individual quantum events to be acausal and not amenable to any analysis in space-time terms. As is well known, Einstein and others also rejected the purely statistical account of quantum mechanics. As stressed by Professor Vigier at the symposium, the current experimental situation now allows for the first time for individual quantum events to be studied, e. g.
We are often told that quantum phenomena demand radical revisions of our scientific world view and that no physical theory describing well defined objects, such as particles described by their positions, evolving in a well defined way, let alone deterministically, can account for such phenomena. The great majority of physicists continue to subscribe to this view, despite the fact that just such a deterministic theory, accounting for all of the phe nomena of nonrelativistic quantum mechanics, was proposed by David Bohm more than four decades ago and has arguably been around almost since the inception of quantum mechanics itself. Our purpose in asking colleagues to write the essays for this volume has not been to produce a Festschrift in honor of David Bohm (worthy an undertaking as that would have been) or to gather together a collection of papers simply stating uncritically Bohm's views on quantum mechanics. The central theme around which the essays in this volume are arranged is David Bohm's version of quantum mechanics. It has by now become fairly standard practice to refer to his theory as Bohmian mechanics and to the larger conceptual framework within which this is located as the causal quantum theory program. While it is true that one can have reservations about the appropriateness of these specific labels, both do elicit distinc tive images characteristic of the key concepts of these approaches and such terminology does serve effectively to contrast this class of theories with more standard formulations of quantum theory.
Scientists have always attempted to explain the world in terms of a few unifying principles. In the fifth century B.C. Democritus boldly claimed that reality is simply a collection of indivisible and eternal parts or atoms. Over the centuries his doctrine has remained a landmark, and much progress in physics is due to its distinction between subjective perception and objective reality. This book discusses theory reduction in physics, which states that the whole is nothing more than the sum of its parts: the properties of things are directly determined by their constituent parts. Reductionism deals with the relation between different theories that address different levels of reality, and uses extrapolations to apply that relation in different sciences. Reality shows a complex structure of connections, and the dream of a unified interpretation of all phenomena in several simple laws continues to attract anyone with genuine philosophical and scientific interests. If the most radical reductionist point of view is correct, the relationship between disciplines is strictly inclusive: chemistry becomes physics, biology becomes chemistry, and so on. Eventually, only one science, indeed just a single theory, would survive, with all others merging in the Theory of Everything. Is the current coexistence of different sciences a mere historical venture which will end when the Theory of Everything has been established? Can there be a unified description of nature?
Rather than an analysis of full reductionism, this book focuses on aspects of theory reduction in physics and stimulates reflection on related questions: is there any evidence of actual reduction? Are the examples used in the philosophy of science too simplistic? What has been endangered by the search for (the) ultimate truth? Has the dream of reductionist reason created any monsters? Is big science one such monster? What is the point of embedding science Y within science X, if predictions cannot be made on that basis?
There exist essentially two levels of investigation in theoretical physics. One is primarily descriptive, concentrating as it does on useful phenomenological approaches toward the most economical classifications of large classes of experimental data on particular phenomena. The other, whose thrust is explanatory, has as its aim the formulation of those underlying hypotheses and their mathematical representations that are capable of furnishing, via deductive analysis, predictions - constituting the particulars of universals (the asserted laws)- about the phenomena under consideration. The two principal disciplines of contemporary theoretical physics - quantum theory and the theory of relativity - fall basically into these respective categories. General Relativity and Matter represents a bold attempt by its author to formulate, in as transparent and complete a way as possible, a fundamental theory of matter rooted in the theory of relativity - where the latter is viewed as providing an explanatory level of understanding for probing the fundamental nature ofmatter indomainsranging all the way fromfermis and lessto light years and more. We hasten to add that this assertion is not meant to imply that the author pretends with his theory to encompass all ofphysics or even a tiny part of the complete objective understanding of our accessible universe. But he does adopt the philosophy that underlying all natural phenomena there is a common conceptualbasis,and then proceeds to investigate how far such a unified viewcan take us at its present stage of development.
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