Thursday, August 18, 2011

Pilot Wave

A recent article in Nature:

A quantum take on certainty

Intriguingly, the trajectories closely match those predicted by an unconventional interpretation of quantum mechanics known as pilot-wave theory, in which each particle has a well-defined trajectory that takes it through one slit while the associated wave passes through both slits. The traditional interpretation of quantum mechanics, known as the Copenhagen interpretation, dismisses the notion of trajectories, and maintains that it is meaningless to ask what value a variable, such as momentum, has if that's not what is being measured.

Steinberg stresses that his group's work does not challenge the uncertainty principle, pointing out that the results could, in principle, be predicted with standard quantum mechanics. But, he says, "it is not necessary to interpret the uncertainty principle as rigidly as we are often taught to do", arguing that other interpretations of quantum mechanics, such as the pilot-wave theory, might "help us to think in new ways".