Sunday, January 3, 2016

Esse est percipi: the "collapse of the wave-function"

Distinguishing discontinuous state-reduction (which he dubs R) -- i.e., the “collapse of the wave-function” upon “observation”  -- from linear evolution as per the Schrödinger equation,   a mathematician remarks:

I do not mean to imply that the experimenter deliberately sets up a ‘measurement’ to achieve this.  … Nature herself is continually enacting R-process effects,  without any deliberate intentions on the part of an experimenter or any intervention by a ‘conscious observer’.
-- Roger Penrose,  The Road to Reality (2004), p. 593

Thus achieving the esse of percipi  ‘naturally’ (vacuously).

[For the full post  to which the above is a footnote, click here:  ]


D’Abro (in The Rise of the New Physics (1939)) writes  less dramatically  of an act of measurement against a given parameter as triggering “instantaneous condensation” from the previous diffuse cloud of potential values.

In Are Universes Thicker than Blackberries? (2003), p. 4, Martin Gardner, a staunch foe of Science Porn, gives an even less catastrophic-sounding synonym of “collapse of the wave-function”:  rotation of the state vector.   He goes on to polemicize (very readably) against the Many Worlds Interpretation, ultimately concluding that “As far as we can tell, universes are not as plentiful as even two blackberries.”

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