Posts Tagged ‘EPR experiment’


September 10, 2010



Warning: Although no equations are brandished, this is as advanced as theory goes. Except for the few parts mentioning TOW, most of the essay is about very serious (albeit edgy) physics, and the information therein is generally accepted by those capable of debating it.


Main Idea: The conventional interpretations of Quantum Mechanics render not just determinism, but the very concept of history non applicable. I have a more philosophically acceptable alternative, Totally Objective Wave, TOW.


Abstract: 1) Confronting the semantics of Einstein’s physics and conventional interpretations of Quantum Physics prevents history to be completely causal. Initial conditions are never completely initial. (Nota Bene: This is not a contradiction with Feynman’s “Sum Over Histories”.)

That history, as conventionally interpreted, is not fully causal anymore is standard physics (nowadays), a variation on the famous EPR paradox. It’s a different perspective on the blatant observation that Quantum Mechanics uses (implicitly) absolute time, which pierces through Einstein’s local time, thus lethally wounding the later as an absolute (!) foundation.

2) I consider conventional alternatives, trashing in passing the popular, but philosophically grotesque, multiverse hypothesis, a case of collapsing the baby with the bath. De Broglie’s hypotheses made in 1923, are the essential core of Quantum Theory (including Quantum Field Theory, QFT, and its variants: String Theory, Supersymmetry, etc.). Can’t we do better? That is: can we do better than prince De Broglie, initially a medieval historian?

3) The conventional picture given by the unhealthy mix of conventional Quantum Theory and Relativity is very confusing, as it puts in doubt all the (metaphysical) fundaments of physics: not just the very notion of beginning (even locally), but also space, time, causality, and even the very notion of vacuum.

The desperate, completely ridiculous theory, the multiverse, or Multi World Interpretation, MWI, was constructed to answer some problems posed by Quantum Mechanics by throwing reality and common sense overboard. It’s sheer madness (thus, very fashionable, since it prevents thinking!)

Instead I propose triage among the important concepts: discarding those founded mostly on wishful thinking, doing away with some of Einstein’s (meta)physics while extending the Quantum Hypothesis so as to save causality. My personal theory, Totally Objective Wave, TOW, is evoked as an extension of De Broglie’s hypotheses. If one supposes more (and one is right!), one can do more.

TOW has the advantage of reintroducing intuition to an otherwise very confusing Quantum theoretical landscape, by reorganizing the theory transparently, with a meaningful hierarchy (TOW has drastic consequences for QFT and the structure of the vacuum; for example the vacuum is mostly empty, whereas in QFT, in a feat of remarkable absurdity, it is extravagantly full, all the way down to Planck length, resulting in the most grotesque previsions in physics, ever.)




At least that is what conventional Quantum Mechanics say. It is a direct consequence of the conventional structure of the “vacuum”. I insist on the adjective conventional, because my own vision of the vacuum is completely different (see Note).

That history does not really exist in conventional Quantum Theory is a straightforward consequence of confronting conventional Quantum Mechanics with conventional Special Relativity. What is meant by history of observer A? Well, according to conventional theory of Special Relativity, anything which happened within the past light cone of A.

Indeed, in Special Relativity, there is only local time, and thus all and any communication proceeds at most at the speed of light. Conventional thinkers, led by Einstein, asked themselves: if telecommunications could go faster, what would be the rationale for a speed limit? So why should there be a speed limit? And if there was no speed limit, then instantaneous telecommunications would allow to establish a global time, as found in Newton’s mechanics, demolishing Einstein’s (meta)physics that only local time is possible.

I went over this explicitly, because it is implicit in physics Special Relativity textbooks, but never made explicit, since it is outside of the theory itself, in a meta position relative to it. Thus this metalogic is not useful to teach ardent Special Relativity believers.

Now, for trouble. As the light cone advances according to proper time, it may engulf at some point a particle X which is an entangled part of a pair the other element of which, Y, is still outside the light cone. Since there are no (theoretical) reasons to prevent them, in conventional QFT, space is stuffed with such entangled pairs. Such pairs are ruled by the laws of Quantum Theory. In Quantum Theory, local time, Einstein’s great intuition, entirely fails.

Indeed Quantum Mechanics welcome time only as an evolution operator. There is NO LOCAL time in Quantum Mechanics. This means in practice that, if an entangled pair made of X and Y is created, a measurement on Y will immediately reveal the state of X that corresponds to the state of Y which was revealed. Since X and Y can be a light year away, there seems to be a number of problems related to this, and different ways to solve some of these problems (and other problems) have led to the different interpretations of Quantum Mechanics.



When dealing with the state of the distant member of an entangled pair, a major problem is whether the concept “REVEAL” ought to be used, or not. There is indeed another possibility: that the state of the distant member of the pair would be CREATED. That would have made Einstein scream, or at least, depress him deeply. In a way Einstein’s deepest contribution to physics was to impose on all of physics the speed limit discovered in electro-magnetism (by Maxwell and Fresnel).

Physicists who prefer to avoid thinking about these deep problems have long argued as if “REVEAL” was the concept to be used, and then, naturally, they see no problem. Of course, there would be none, if it were what happened. But it is not.



Let X and Y be an entangled photon pair from the Betelgeuse system, 640 light years away. Then a little green man out there, 1280 light year away, torture the photon Y somehow, and the photon X happens in some state in the solar system. So far, so good. Stuff happens: photon shows up.

The real question is whether the nature of the experiment on Y made by the sadistic little green monster has a bearing on the state in which X is. And the answer is yes. It is the famous Aspect experiment. (Alain Aspect got the Wolf Prize for it in 2010.)

The experiment showed that Albert Einstein, Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen’s reductio ad absurdum of Quantum Mechanics, trying to make fun of it with a “ghostly action at a distance” did in fact appear to be WHAT REALLY HAPPENED when two particles were separated by an arbitrarily large distance.

The polarization of Y was measured in a particular direction. This measurement on Y freezes the polarization of X along that same direction, AT A DISTANCE. A correlation between their wave functions remained, as long as the wave-function of the pair was not disturbed by the measurement of one of the child particles.

(The experiment was carried in the last two years at separation distances of 18 kilometers, while varying the polarizations haphazardly, using quantum processes to do so, thus it really behaves like the proverbial action-at-a-distance.)

This shocking result has no be digested yet. Indeed, in the EPR essay, the main argumentative line was that all along, “elements of reality” have got to have been been carried along, attached to X, and that Quantum Theory was incomplete, due to the absence therein of said elements.

However the Aspect experiment shows that ELEMENTS OF REALITY ARE NOT CARRIED ALONG, THEY ARE SENT AWAY. And, maybe very very far away. The EPR paradox gets resolved in the worst possible way, as far as Einstein would have been concerned.

Of course there is a slight problem about what polarization “direction” means between here, and out there 1280 light years away… this requires the notion of parallel transport, because everybody agrees that gravitation affects local space, and local time, and thus a sense of direction. Parallel transport was developed by Levi Civita in 1917, precisely for use in the Theory of Gravitation, aka General Relativity (in those times when Einstein knew of only two forces).

This brings the question of which kind of space polarization direction information would be carried along according to EPR (I do not know of anybody who asked that question, prior). Indeed the geometry of space-time is intrinsic in the theory of gravitation, but, if we viewed space-time just as a topology, maybe the EPR effects could parallel transport according to another, larger (so to speak) geometry (think of the geometry of S2, the 2-sphere, which is intrinsic, but S2 can also be viewed as embedded in R3, conventional three dimensional space…)



OK, let’s channel past great interpretations, and some, less great. Observing that the concept of history stops making sense is a slight change of perspective from the Einstein-Podolski-Rosen paradox (“EPR”). Whereas the EPR thought experiment uses the conventional language and formulation of Quantum Mechanics, it simply arrives to the exact same picture that TOW gives an intuitive explanation for.

Feynman’s Sum Over Histories is actually an implementation of de Broglie’s hypotheses, formulated in 1923. Feynman pushed the symbolism, way out there, hoping that it somehow makes predictions, and thus makes sense. Although Dirac famously did this with the electron, supposing a space (spinor space) to get the simplest relativistic wave equation for the electron, it is truly de Broglie who started this wild approach (although De Broglie’s hypotheses were simple and luminous, one cannot say the same all the way down the line, as now QFT is encumbered with absurdities, a bit like Medieval theology or Ptolemaic astronomy). Planck had supposed the quantum, but that was to explain a curve (the blackbody spectrum). Planck was explaining experimental reality, he was starting from, not constructing it from theoretical scratch.

Ever since physicists have been trying to hand wave through mathematics formally symbolizing the idea, as Feynman’s hieroglyph lends itself to symbol manipulation (hopefully representing something that makes some sense, it has long been hoped, and experimental particle physics has offered some confirmation that there is something there in some sense valid.) However, as Feynman himself pointed out, methods of discovery from the past do not have to work in the future, because history shows they tend to change… This is to be kept in mind, as QFT has been exploiting the same method since its inception, which was very smart initially, but may be deeply erroneous now.



The notorious “Collapse Of the Wave Packet” is an unobserved, (and unobservable according to itself) crucial part of the Copenhagen interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.

The Many-Worlds Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics (MWI) do away with the collapse. It also does away with reality. MWI is an interpretation highly popular nowadays, perhaps because of that very reason.

MWI is philosophically absurd, and common physicists are not friendly to philosophy, apparently because it is not stuffed with mathematical entertainment. MWI assumes that the universe splits as many times as there are eigenvectors in a Quantum Process. In other words, there are as many universes as the largest imaginable large cardinal, and then probably infinitely more than that. Thus MWI fans explain existence with ceaseless infinity (I guess it goes with the territory of a vacuum having 10 to the power 120 times the energy of the observed universe! When one is already completely crazy, what does ten thousands times more completely crazy mean?)

MWI lovers argue that their theory is simpler, because there is no collapse of the wave function. Indeed a theory which explains the same with less is sometimes superior. But not always; to explain continental drift with god is not superior to explaining it with plate tectonics.

Is it logically simpler to argue that at every split fraction of the smallest piece of time imaginable more than the more than the largest infinity of universes have been greater, all of them with zero energy? It would be simpler to say Quantum mechanics is as it is, because god made it so. Counting the angels on the head of a pin, or maybe even to celebrate the creep who wanted to cut his son’s throat because what he called god told him to, sounds less absurd.

There are other theories which do without the collapse of the wave packet, but they are also mistaken, and, typically, passéist (I will not go into it here). So it looks as if the wave packet collapse is here to stay. This has become a practical matter in building a quantum computer.



There is something like a dozen interpretations of Quantum Mechanics. I have my own interpretation. Penrose’s interpretation originated with some Italians. That interpretation uses gravity to collapse the wave packets. It is mired in the following difficulties: it should be inertial mass, not gravity that gives rise to the collapse. And that interpretation cannot handle so called configuration space, in which most of Quantum Mechanics unfolds. My interpretation (which is older, although not made public conventionally) circumvents both problems drastically.

My own interpretation of Quantum Mechanics is an extension of De Broglie PILOT WAVE theory. De Broglie suggested the later around 1930, but it fell on deaf ears, because the approach at the time was as said above, and it turned out spectacularly successful, at the time, as it brought the concepts of spin, anti-matter, and many other goodies.

Actually, there are two De Broglie’s models; decades later, he introduced the “Double Solution“. Meanwhile David Bohm (a great American born physicist chased out of the USA because he was a thinker) had tweaked De Broglie first model, introducing the concept of a “Quantum Potential”.

All these models tried to find out what reality was. Meanwhile the QFT theorists keep on plodding through their mathematics that they invented on the fly. Never mind if much did not make any sense; some did. At least in math. Trying to find out what was really going does not seem to have bothered them too much (as they addressed essentially high energies, whereas most of the universe is low energy).

The result could well be that, in its broadest strokes, its largest context, QFT, Quantum Field Theory, is COMPLETELY FALSE. For example, it makes the most erroneous predictions in the entire history of physics, ever since there are primates, and they think. (Hint for the outraged professionals: it has to do with the structure of the vacuum. Even a chimp in her forest understands that what is empty is empty, and infinite does not describe the vacuum well, but apparently QFT physicists do not!)



This hypothesis, that delocalization is the essence of progress, is no lousy joke in plutocratic economy, but serious physics. It is new when explicitly expressed. It is implicit, sort of, in De Broglie initial hypothesis (and certainly more so in his “Double Solution”), and so it is in QFT. Actually delocalization was clear ever since Young’s Double Slit experiment (circa 1800 CE). However, ever since Born, the waves are supposed to be probability waves, and nothing more. The probability wave interpretation does not chase reality, just tells us where and (sort of) when, it shows up.

Pushed to its logical extremity, the delocalization principle means that PROPAGATING PARTICLES ARE NOT LOCALIZED. This is one of my little additions to the three de Broglie hypotheses: an unobserved particle is not a particle. Why? There are no reason to suppose they are, besides excessive respect for long defunct Greek philosophers, with their “atomic” theory.

Greek philosophers knew nothing of waves, which is rather ironical, considering the fact Greece was a thalassocracy. As I just said “particles” behaving as waves when they propagate, it’s only natural to believe that they are waves. When they propagate. It is also known, since Bohr’s, that electron in orbit spread out in phase with themselves, as if they were snakes eating their own tails. thus it looks as if the waves were the rule, and particle effects more like particular impacts.

Since the expression “my interpretation of Quantum Mechanics”, could grow to be irritating, especially among the 10,000 living professional geniuses who have no doubt pondered, or disregarded the question, worldwide, I will use the expression TOTALLY OBJECTIVE WAVE (Mechanics): TOW.

Another hypothesis of TOW gives an explicit mechanism for the “collapse of the wave packet“. The delocalized wave packets, non linearly collapse at a finite, but immense speed (TAU), into singular effects known as particles.

The reasons for this hypothesis are multiple. One has to do with what one ought to call the philosophy of non linear differential equations and soliton. A soliton is an indefinitely propagating wave. They are a fact of the physical universe. On the seas, some are called “rogue waves” (not all rogue waves are solitons, but some are).

A soliton is a balance between dispersion, which tends to occur to all waves, and non linear self amplification. The TAU wave, somewhat analogous De Broglie’s “pilot wave”, is not a soliton, far from it: it disperses at TAU. It is also a real matter wave: and this explains the cases when it has a real effect, although in the conventional, Born-Dirac interpretation of quantum Mechanics, there is nothing there. such examples are found in experiments when one can see without photons, or in one photon at a time, two independent lasers interference experiments.

But then the TAU wave is just the leading edge of a whole, the whole being called “the particle”. The particle appears when self amplification overwhelms dispersion, after interfering with another piece of matter field. I will not bother with further details; at this point the theory is somewhat similar to the one of the gravitationally induced collapse, except that collapse can be induced by any encounter with a matter field. Also, as I mentioned before, the finiteness of TAU implies that any field will get tired over the eons… even gravitation 9and this results in the accelerated expansion of the universe apparently observed).

In this global picture, special Relativity is just an approximation related to the fact that TAU, the Quantum Collapse Speed is immensely faster than c, the speed of light. Thus the later seems independent of uniform motion.



Once an entangled pair X-Y has been created, neither X nor Y is in particle state, but, according to TOW, they are both in DELOCALIZED STATES.

According to TOW, if an interaction with another matter field happens to Y serious enough to singularize it (that is become a definite particle in a particular Quantum state according to conventional Quantum Mechanics), X will also singularize in the complementary QM state. This what the Aspect experiment shows: creating a state at Y creates in turn a state at X. And this what Einstein did not expect anymore than Napoleon expected von Blücher at Waterloo.



Something will always happen, or may be supposed to have happened, in the past light cone of the observer which originated outside of said light cone. The notion of history as defined by Special Relativity is not valid, or more exactly, not complete in the classical sense, just fragmentary. Astute observers could point out that this is exactly what is observed, as the decay of a radioactive nuclide is not predictable, although it may be so, if one controlled all entangled pairs (or if there were none, as in a long secluded part of the cosmos; preparing such states is now a flourishing part of very practical physics, and many Nobel prizes were distributed).

In my theory, TOW, non-deterministic events, such as the apparently random decay of a radioactive atom, occur because of events outside of the observable history cone. There is full determinism again. Its origin just hiding out there, may be well all the way outside of the Andromeda galaxy.


Patrice Ayme


Non vacuous note on the vacuum: The indeterminacy relations of Quantum Mechanics originate from particles “as” waves, plus De Broglie’s hypothesis tying up the wave’s frequency and the momentum.

This indeterminacy shows up as an impossibility of observing high energy states which blossom for only a short time. It allows to consider that entangled pairs of particle-antiparticles can occur ephemerally, all over. Those pairs are not directly observable (except when falling in a putative black hole), but they change fields and masses, leading to different numbers in field strength, and the necessity of “renormalizing“.

Conventional QFT specialists assume that this process goes down to Planck length (a number without much signification). But TOW does not agree with this, and would give a natural limit to normalization, beyond which QFT totally breaks down. TOW would thus limit the energy of the vacuum. Another consequence is that TOW predicts the (observed, and otherwise baffling) accelerating expansion of the universe.


Note on NUCLEAR DECAY: Some hold that nuclear decay is dependent upon solar flares (the effect is not clearly demonstrated yet). This would fit TOW perfectly well.

Why would nuclear decay depends upon solar flares? Well decay, as all and any singularizing event, in my picture, depends upon a matter wave A encountering another matter wave, B. Actually there are two types of B; big time B, which is another full bodied matter wave, or little B, b, which is a loose piece torn off from a main matter wave B during matter wave collapse.

This is the second effect that would explain why nuclear decay depends upon solar flares. Solar flares would basically augment the number of torn little pieces of matter waves b, augmenting the probability that a nuclear decay singularization would happen.