Quantum Physics simplified?

Discussion in 'Physics & Math' started by Seattle, Aug 11, 2018.

  1. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    For those who have a good grasp on Quantum Physics maybe you can respond to this thread (I realize that others who don't have a good grasp, will respond as well).

    I've read intro books written for laymen on this subject. I can't do the math but I would like to learn more about the math without being able to solve the equations. There is the Schrodinger equation, terms like the Hamiltonian (total energy for the system), the Pauli exclusion, Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, Hilbert Space, and I think I roughly understand their uses.

    It seems to me that there is too much drama associated with Quantum Physics. The math makes accurate predictions and it deals in probabilities. It takes place in such a small world that any measurement affects the system (a photon's energy affects the system) so exact measurements aren't possible theoretically (not just practically).

    Most talk on this subject beyond that isn't really "scientific". All the "interpretations", of which there are several, are all based on the same set of data and none can be "proved" so this isn't science.

    The underlying math, that happens to work very well, is probability math so you aren't going to get specifics from such math. It may be possible that the quantum world could be described in such a definite way but it would take a new theory and it wouldn't be Quantum Physics and it may not be possible of course.

    Superpositions are useful descriptions for the probability math being used. There is no indication (?) that this is really occurring. The double slit experience is interesting as it suggests waves or fields that act as waves?

    I think quantum fields are maybe what is really fundamental and not so much the particles?

    Any comments that correct my thinking or grasp of this would be appreciated. I wish someone would put out a book leaving out all of the speculation and personal interpretations (even if it makes the book boring) and would put the terms and equations in context and nothing more.

    In other words maybe something like, "calculations that place in Hilpert space using the Schrodinger equation, define the Hamiltonian operator, QM makes no claims about the physical reality of the math and only of the predictions and anything else isn't currently scientific in origin".
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  3. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

    a diod for a dollar
    10 hertz either way
    quantum fields
    mathmatics wont yeild
    will they each go their own seperate way ?

    i have watched the odd youtube thing by QP folk who say explicitly they are not QM's & that while as a QP they can wonder into QM, generaly QM cant wonder into QP without losing some of its basic rules which is a thing that cant be avoided because of th ebadic rules/laws of mathamatics.
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  5. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    I think what you are asking for is encapsulated in the phrase that's become closely associated with QM:

    Shut up and calculate.

    To me, what this means is: the math is the model. No words can possibly describe QM in any accurate way since words must needs use concepts we can grasp in our real (macro) world - and there just isn't anything in our real world that can analogize QM. So just do the calculations: they model reality perfectly well.
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  7. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Yes, as far as the "interpretations" are concerned I think "shut up and calculate" is probably the most accurate.

    I think that QM is very accurate in some areas where it has been found to be most practical so far and that maybe it's potential scope and accuracy has been over sold in some other untested realms? I'm not even referring to all the "woo" out there, I just mean that mainstream theoretical physicist popularizers seem to go beyond the actual facts sometimes.

    The whole way that it is presented needlessly extenuates the "weirdness". The approach is similar to "Shark Week" on the Discovery channel. Scary music playing in the background, talking about what an odd world it is, stay tuned and we will amaze you further...

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    Instead of saying, it turns out we can't observe these things because they are too small and observing them changes them due to the energy of the photon used to observe them. We aren't really looking at cats. We are talking about things smaller than an atom.

    The superposition and everything that could happen does happen that could lead to "woo" is really just a way to describe the mathematics of probability rather than a literal reality, etc.

    None of the lectures, even at universities where the audience is the general public are presented this way. It always borders on "woo".
  8. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    The "weirdness" of QM is mainly due to the lack of information. It's not like after a 100 years (or whatever) of research, that we really have any practical examples of "weirdness". Maybe it's time to stop calling it "weird"?

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  9. NotEinstein Valued Senior Member

    I'm not too certain, but there are experiments out there that strongly suggest superpositions are real: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_superposition#Experiments_and_applications

    There are also experiments suggesting particles or field that act as particles; in QM, we thus have wave-particle duality: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wave–particle_duality

    In quantum field theory, this is indeed the case: particles are excitations of the fields.

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