The Quantum Zeno Effect

Discussion in 'Physics & Math' started by Magical Realist, Aug 9, 2023.

  1. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    16,704
    Does the Quantum Zeno Effect prove the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics is true? Namely that it is the mere event of observation that collapses the wavefunction? For an explanation of QZE, see below:

    https://www.thoughtco.com/quantum-zeno-effect-2699304

    "What’s unique about the Copenhagen interpretation is that it makes the outside observer responsible for the wave function’s ultimate fate. Almost magically, a quantum system, with all its possible states and probabilities, has no connection to the physical world until an observer interacts or measures the system. The measurement causes the wave function to collapse into one of its many states."--- https://www.forbes.com/sites/moorin...d-of-quantum-interpretations/?sh=503636e76192
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2023
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    10,399
    No, I don't think so.
    The same phenomenon would be observed within any interpretation, I believe. Just explanations for it might differ.
     
    Magical Realist likes this.
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    12,513
    I think that article rather misrepresents the Copenhagen interpretation, at least in its more modern forms.

    It is interaction of the quantum system that "collapses" the wave function, i.e. causes the system to manifest itself in one of its possible states. There is no necessary role for an "observer" i.e. a conscious entity becoming aware of a measurement. Interaction with the atoms of a detector, or any other quantum system, will do just as well.

    In Rovelli's relational interpretation, quantum entities have no real properties in between interactions, merely hazy potential properties, which manifest themselves as a a value within a probability distribution - described by the wave function - when an interaction takes place. He points out there is no reason why things need to have a continuous existence in between interactions with other systems, because by definition they are not affecting anything else in the universe in between, so might as well not be there! It suits us to think things have a continuous existence, since that's how they behave at the macro scale of everyday life, but the QM world is not so constrained.

    (The relational interpretation also has the feature that the wave function and the values manifested are only relative to the other system in the interaction. For instance in the Schrödinger's Cat case, the wave function is not the same for someone inside the box as for someone outside. Inside the box, you know whether the cat is alive or dead. It is only those outside for whom the cat is in a state of superposition. Inside and outside the box are different informational "frames of reference", if you like. So you can't properly speak of the "the wave function of the cat" unless you specify the informational frame of reference the wave function relates to. Hence the "relational" interpretation)

    But both Rovelli and Copenhagen (and other interpretations too) share the idea of values becoming defined only at the point of interaction. Because that is what experiment shows to be the case.

    I find the relational interpretation rather attractive. It seems to get rid of a number of problems of interpretation of QM. More about it here: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qm-relational/
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2023
    Magical Realist likes this.
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. Pinball1970 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,035
    An interpretation of QM cannot be proven.

    The values of the observables do not change depending on the interpretation, all are valid although some are favoured over others.


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interpretations_of_quantum_mechanics


    In terms of the zeno effect? This will be described in different ways depending on the interpretation but the observed values will not change.
     
  8. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    12,513
    Yes. To put it another way, QM predicts a quantum zeno effect and this is observed. It should not be thought that there are different versions of QM, some of which correctly predict it while others fail to do so.

    The problem that sometimes occurs in understanding here is the wrong idea that conscious "observers" come into the picture somehow, in the Copenhagen interpretation. "Observer" was terminology used historically by Bohr, Heisenberg et al, since the properties in question (position, momentum , energy etc) were termed "observables", thus making it natural to speak of an "observer". But "observation" or "measurement" is just any interaction of the quantum system with another that resolves the probability distribution implied by the wave function into a single value, as Pauli later pointed out.
     
    Pinball1970 and DaveC426913 like this.

Share This Page