3
   

What does Quantum Physics mean when it states 'Observe'?

 
 
Reply Mon 30 Aug, 2010 12:46 am
What does the Schrodinger's Cat thought experiment define Observe as? How would you define it? Are we lone eyes of the storm in conscious, surrounded by a hurricane of waves of probabilities? Or is the idea of conscious useless after the moment of it's creation, as we are feeling the slight gravitational pulls from the most distant of objects, and feeling slight changes in the universes temperature as space itself expands?
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Question • Score: 3 • Views: 4,297 • Replies: 12
No top replies

 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Aug, 2010 09:56 am
@Sentience,
Yikes, a philosophical question posed from the shifting foundation of quantum uncertainty. This is going to be a tricky Wink

But here goes... I think the Schrodinger's Cat thought experiment pretty much defines the observer as a fundamental reference point from which everything else can be measured. However, it also implies that *each* observer has the same significance. A bit of a paradox, much like quantum uncertainty itself.

My own perspective is that there are no true paradoxes and that the apparent paradoxes which result from Quantum uncertainty are instead indications that we don't yet have an accurate model of "reality" in our minds. I suspect that we are incapable of perceiving (or conceiving) of the true depth (and nature) of dimensionality which really governs quantum interactions. We are too caught up in the flow of time and the space around us for our brains to model the dimensions which are buried within it (and the effects they have in the quantum world).
Sentience
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Sep, 2010 10:44 am
@rosborne979,
Isn't the idea that the act of observing chooses between the possible realities (Cat dead, Cat alive)? My question is what are the criteria for an object of situation to be considered 'observed?' Also, does the experiment only create a paradox on paper, or does it actually affect the world around us, as (I believe) quantum decoherence to be physically impossible in reality.

I agree with you that there are no physical paradox's, and the only real paradox's are linguistic.
0 Replies
 
melonkali
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Jun, 2011 09:00 pm
@Sentience,
Perhaps a more science-savvy person can clarify my fumbling reply: I once read something about "observation" meaning a "closed system" interacting with another (any other) "system"? For example, Schroedinger's "cat in the box" theoretically is a closed system until the lid is opened?
0 Replies
 
Zarathustra
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Jul, 2011 04:03 pm
@Sentience,
Well I can give you an answer but you will probably not be satisfied by it. First let’s disregard the “Cat” and consciousness; the “Cat” because it will only confuse and consciousness because it is not needed.

An observation occurs when the Unitary Evolution (and the [deterministic] equations that make it up) must be abandoned in favor of State Vector Reduction) and the [non-deterministic] equations that make it up). This does not require consciousness; a photon detector can trigger collapse of the wave function.

In QM there is really nothing “physical” to describe the interaction -- it is a mathematical construct. And just so you see that giving a “physical” explanation doesn’t add any meaningful details: a physical explanation would be -- when a quantum of information is exchanged between the observer and the observed state vector reduction occurs. Some scientists have tried to define this as at least one graviton in quantity. The only trouble is that we don’t know what a graviton is, what “quantity” it would be or if there really is such a thing as a graviton. Some have tried to relate the difference to the possibility of reversal (which is possible in Unitary Evolution) and non-reversibility (which is not possible in Vector State Reduction). Which is of no help -- to me at least.

I am afraid if you want a more classical physics type answer you will never find it. Quantum Mechanics requires a change in your world view. It can never be fitted to the classical world view no matter how much mental gymnastics you expend.

In some sense some might relate it to a woman; you may be able to appreciate it but never to really understand it.
0 Replies
 
shanemcd3
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Jul, 2011 06:25 pm
schrodingers cat is meant as an analogy, and an observer need not be a conscience one, to be honest i think it was a poor choice of word, which seems to happen quite often in science
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Jul, 2011 07:54 am
@shanemcd3,
I happen to think the word was richly well chosen...the problem is not with the word but with the poor interpretation most have of it...
0 Replies
 
shanemcd3
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Jul, 2011 10:01 am
I am thinking about the lay person when i say i think it was a poor choice of word, sure, the scientific community understands it, but to the lay person the word "observe" gives rise to a much maligned interpretation, do you not think so? In fact some have even taken it as far as to mean a human observer, which has in turn led to a lot of quantum mysticism. Scientists should put more thought into the language they use to explain these things, some would even say they should stick to a pure instrumentalist approach, by the way, which interpretation of quantum mechanics do you subscribe to? Copenhagen? Many worlds? Or another?
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Jul, 2011 10:07 am
@shanemcd3,
Agreed... and that is precisely the reason I believe the lay man should be playing playstation with their kids at home...knowledge is not for everybody, although "democracy" sells it cheaply...the result is what you see...
(...there´s only so much water to fill each glass...)
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Jul, 2011 10:11 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
Besides observing means acquiring information...the moon does it concerning earth gravity effect upon "her"...we do exactly the same, only in a more complex multiple different level and layer process, involving thoughts reasoning and data in a bio chemical say "roller coaster"...there´s no true structural fundamental difference at all...only more or less complexity with more or less interventionists or variables...again, the layer changes the complexity changes but the rules and the name of the game keep very much being the same...
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Jul, 2011 10:23 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
...what you are talking about and I agree with you is that most people have a mystified poor perception on what observation is all about...they assume is inherently human, or further, almost has a divine attribute...in sum a laugh !
0 Replies
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Jul, 2011 10:42 am
In fact I deeply believe Quantum Physics is desperately in need of Philosophers (with a Scientific background of course ) if to ever disentangle itself from the conceptual mess it dive into...it comes to me as an irony...that much I concede...

...now again, we must well distinguish between having a degree in philosophy and being a philosopher...Philosophers have no school nor meeting point...you just cannot tagged them or caged them...and that is precisely the reason why the middle class "staff" hates them so much...

...there´s no successful "Tony Blair" in this world who would ever fit with a true Philosopher...
0 Replies
 
shanemcd3
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Jul, 2011 09:09 pm
i mean what interpretation of quantum physics do you believe is right? there are about 5 or 6 as far as i know, you should look it up. many worlds is an interesting one, and a high percentage of scientists think it is true, such as stephen hawking. it states that every time the wavelength collapses, all possibilities are realised, the universe branches off into many different universes, and it follows that there must be an almost infinite amount of these universe, and an infinite amount of you, all doin different things, how mad is that?!
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

Evolution 101 - Discussion by gungasnake
Typing Equations on a PC - Discussion by Brandon9000
The Future of Artificial Intelligence - Discussion by Brandon9000
The well known Mind vs Brain. - Discussion by crayon851
Scientists Offer Proof of 'Dark Matter' - Discussion by oralloy
Blue Saturn - Discussion by oralloy
Bald Eagle-DDT Myth Still Flying High - Discussion by gungasnake
DDT: A Weapon of Mass Survival - Discussion by gungasnake
 
  1. Forums
  2. » What does Quantum Physics mean when it states 'Observe'?
Copyright © 2018 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 09/25/2018 at 08:33:47