Physics

Reality Does Not Depend on the Measurer According to New Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics

Abstract Fractal Design

For 100 years scientists have disagreed on how to interpret quantum mechanics. A recent study by Jussi Lindgren and Jukka Liukkonen supports an interpretation that is close to classical scientific principles.

Quantum mechanics arose in the 1920s – and since then scientists have disagreed on how best to interpret it. Many interpretations, including the Copenhagen interpretation presented by Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg and in particular von Neumann-Wigner interpretation, state that the consciousness of the person conducting the test affects its result. On the other hand, Karl Popper and Albert Einstein thought that an objective reality exists. Erwin Schrödinger put forward the famous thought experiment involving the fate of an unfortunate cat that aimed to describe the imperfections of quantum mechanics.

Photo: Jukka Liukkonen (left) and Jussi Lindgren (right) describe Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. Credit: Aalto University

In their most recent article, Finnish civil servants Jussi Lindgren and Jukka Liukkonen, who study quantum mechanics in their free time, take a look at the uncertainty principle that was developed by Heisenberg in 1927. According to the traditional interpretation of the principle, location and momentum cannot be determined simultaneously to an arbitrary degree of precision, as the person conducting the measurement always affects the values.

However, in their study Lindgren and Liukkonen concluded that the correlation between a location and momentum, i.e. their relationship, is fixed. In other words, reality is an object that does not depend on the person measuring it. Lindgren and Liukkonen utilized stochastic dynamic optimization in their study.  In their theory’s frame of reference, Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle is a manifestation of thermodynamic equilibrium, in which correlations of random variables do not vanish.

“But is an explanation really an explanation, if it’s a vague one?” — Jussi Lindgren

“The results suggest that there is no logical reason for the results to be dependent on the person conducting the measurement. According to our study, there is nothing that suggests that the consciousness of the person would disturb the results or create a certain result or reality,” says Jussi Lindgren.

This interpretation supports such interpretations of quantum mechanics that support classical scientific principles.

“The interpretation is objective and realistic, and at the same time as simple as possible. We like clarity and prefer to remove all mysticism,” says Liukkonen.

The researchers published their last article in December 2019, which also utilized mathematical analysis as a tool to explain quantum mechanics. The method they used was stochastic optimal control theory, which has been used to solve such challenges as how to send a rocket from the Earth to the Moon.

Following Occam’s razor, the law of parsimony named after William of Ockham, the researchers have now chosen the simplest explanation from those that fit.

“We study quantum mechanics as a statistical theory. The mathematical tool is clear, but some might think it is a boring one. But is an explanation really an explanation, if it’s a vague one?” asks Lindgren.

Physics is a great hobby for a civil servant

In addition to the study of quantum mechanics, Lindgren and Liukkonen have many other things in common: they were both members of the same maths club at Kuopio Lyceum High School, they both have done post-graduate research, and both have careers as civil servants. Liukkonen has already finished his PhD dissertation on endoscopic ultrasound on joints and now works as an inspector at Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority.

“Physics is a great hobby for a civil servant. Together we have agonized over how the interpretations of quantum mechanics make no sense,” says Liukkonen.

Lindgren’s dissertation currently consists of various mathematical articles trying to explain quantum mechanics. He works full-time as a ministerial adviser at Prime Minister’s Office where he has been negotiating such issues as the EU’s recovery plan. A decade ago, he also participated in negotiations on Greece’s loan guarantees, as a junior official.

Lindgren and Liukkonen’s idea of a paradise is a festival conference that would combine short films with lectures on quantum physics.

“Physicists and artists could find new ways to work together — after all, both areas are manifestations of creativity,” says Lindgren.

Reference: “The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle as an Endogenous Equilibrium Property of Stochastic Optimal Control Systems in Quantum Mechanics” by Jussi Lindgren and Jukka Liukkonen, 17 September 2020, Symmetry.
DOI: 10.3390/sym12091533

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  • Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle is not really the issue here, thus they really haven't proven anything to help with what is known as the measurement problem of quantum mechanics.

    In quantum mechanics, the measurement problem considers how, or whether, wave function collapse occurs. The inability to observe such a collapse directly has given rise to different interpretations of quantum mechanics and poses a key set of questions that each interpretation must answer.

    The wave function in quantum mechanics evolves deterministically according to the Schrödinger equation as a linear superposition of different states. However, actual measurements always find the physical system in a definite state. Any future evolution of the wave function is based on the state the system was discovered to be in when the measurement was made, meaning that the measurement "did something" to the system that is not obviously a consequence of Schrödinger evolution. The measurement problem is describing what that "something" is, how a superposition of many possible values becomes a single measured value.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Measurement_problem

  • I think to prefer Copenhagen Interpretation for "spooky action" and Schopenhauer's sake vs "civil servants studying QM in their free time"

  • Schrodinger's cat, like all of us, are alive and dead at the same time all of Times. "If you ain't busy being born, your busy dying." --Bob Dylan

  • Regarding Mr. Bateman's comment on which authority he prefers, I recall another "civil servant" who managed to make a bit of a splash in his field -- Einstein

  • Ah, look, the realists have a new plaything to prop their dogma on...how cute!

    I guess it did not occur to them that their own beliefs and expectations provided the results they were hoping to get.

  • I wonder how would they interpret the double slit experiment - quantum eraser in their model...

  • This can be a good explanation for an individual atom with all ratios fixed either by measurement or labeling with reference to some basic constant like 1 of this equals 2 of that. But it was known that size of atom depends on varying energy levels, and gets effected by it's surrounding field constantly. It's also impérative to know that when a measurement is done it's a field measurement and that will show stochastic effects in averages rather than whole quantities, so the issue remains unsolved how do you measure momentum when distance is fluctuating and how do you measure charge when it's just a measure of threshold, quantum mechanics demystified the classics and explained how large quantities evolve. There are some concepts like gravity need to be understood but QM has more base, for example the mediation of forces is yet to be explained fully at QM level and that hold the key to understand gravity and other large phenomenas. When Neutrons were theorized by rutherford he did not experimentally prove them, but with that suggestion the birth of nuclear force became possible. I think gravity is just extension of a freed atomic structure a collection of vaccuums that are left in absence of nothing and that is what lack of mass would mean in space since actual space-time is not empty.In any case quantum values are not very predictable but more of something to use and create a prediction that can help to set course for any sort of calculation within set boundaries of values.

  • I dont think Bohr or Heisenberg said a consciousness was required, just that something is done that would ALLOW a measurement to be taken.

  • it is a simple matter :
    one can be a "participant observer";
    one can be a "perceipient observer";
    the former may affect the system observed, whereas the latter may not.

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Aalto University

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