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Tag » Basil Hiley

On Jun 26, 2013, at 9:34 AM, Ruth Kastner <rekastner@hotmail.com> wrote:

"Thanks Basil for this clarification. It is true that Bohm's original motivation was a realist (as opposed to instrumentalist, Bohrian interpretation). I should have been more clear about that. But it rather quickly became a path to resolving the measurement problem -- if not for its original author(s), certainly for those who have championed it since then.
Also, regarding the quote ["What I felt to be particularly unsatisfactory was the fact that the quantum theory had no place in it for an adequate notion of an independent actuality-i.e. of an actual movement or activity by which one physical state could pass over into another".] This is a key component of the measurement problem.  Also, let me take the opportunity to note that it is not necessary to  identify a 'realist' view of qm with the existence of  'hidden variables'.  I have been proposing a realist view that does not involve hidden variables -- but it does involve an expansion of what we normally like to think of as 'real'. The usual tacit assumption is that
'real' = 'existing within spacetime'  (and that of course requires 'hidden variables' that tell us 'where' the entity lives in spacetime, or at least identifies some property compatible with spacetime existence)" (end-quote)

Me: We all seem to agree that the idea that "real" must be "local in spacetime" is false. Q is real, but it is generally not a local BIT field in 3D + 1 spacetime when there is entanglement. Oddly enough the macro-quantum coherent signal Q in spontaneous breakdown of ground state symmetry is local in 3D+1 but it is generally coupled to nonlocal micro-quantum "noise."

Ruth "In contrast, I think PTI provides us with a realist concept of an independent actuality -- a "movement or activity by which one physical state could pass over into another". "

Me: So does Bohm's ontological interpretation.

Ruth: "But that 'actuality' is rooted in potentiality, which is a natural view given the mathematical properties of quantum objects."

Me: Seems to me you are playing with nouns replacing one vague metaphysical notion with another. What is "potentiality"? Mathematically it's Bohm's Q - perhaps extended to Yakir Aharonov's weak measurements with advanced Wheeler-Feynman back from the future post selection in a post quantum theory with Antony Valentini's "signal nonlocality". Some think that violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics. However, since it only obtains in open systems that is not so. Furthermore our actual universe, the causal diamond bounded by both the past and future horizons is an open system out of thermal equilibrium.

Ruth: "So one can give a  realist, physical account, but it is indeterministic -- involving a kind of spontaneous symmetry breaking. Given that we already have spontaneous symmetry breaking elsewhere in physics, I think we should allow for it in QM.

Thanks again for the clarification --"


Jack Sarfatti
David Bohm, Albert Einstein, Louis De Broglie, Wolfgang Pauli, Richard Feynman
  • Jack Sarfatti On Jun 26, 2013, at 2:26 AM, Basil Hiley wrote:

    Ruth, may I make a correction to what you wrote below. Bohm '52 work was not 'originally undertaken to solve the measurement problem.' He had a different motive. I asked him to clarify, in writing, w
    ...See More
    This paper is dedicated to three great thinkers who have insisted that the world is not quite the straightforward affair that our successes in describing it mathematically may have seemed to suggest: Niels Bohr, whose analyses of the problem of explaining life play a central role in the following di...
  • Jack Sarfatti On Jun 26, 2013, at 10:08 AM, JACK SARFATTI <adastra1@me.com> wrote:

    Ruth wrote:

    "I don't rule out that some deeper theory might eventually be found, that could help answer ultimate questions in more specific terms. But it hasn't been demonstrated, to my knowledge, that one has to have violations of Born Rule in order to explain life." (end quote)

    To the contrary, it has been demonstrated in my opinion. First start with Brian's paper "On the biological utilization of nonlocality" with the Greek physicist whose name escapes me for the moment.

    Second: Lecture 8 of http://www.tcm.phy.cam.ac.uk/~mdt26/pilot_waves.html

    Specifically, how the Born rule depends on violation of the generalized action-reaction (relativity) principle that Q has no sources. Q pilots matter without direct back-reaction of matter on Q.

    In other words, orthodox quantum theory treats matter beables as test particles! - clearly an approximation.

    Obviously signal nonlocality violating no-signaling theorems has a Darwinian advantage. Indeed, without it, entanglement appears as static noise locally. Imagine that Alice and Bob's minds are represented each by a giant macroscopic coherent entangled quantum potential Q(A,B). It would obviously be a survival advantage for Alice and Bob to directly send messages to each other at a distance like the Austraiian aborigines do in the Outback. Now use scale invariance. It's obviously an advantage for separate nerve cells in our brains to do so. Also in terms of morphological development of the organisim - signal nonlocality is an obvious plus, which I think is part of Brian Josephson's message in that paper.


    Subquantum Information and Computation
    Antony Valentini
    (Submitted on 11 Mar 2002 (v1), last revised 12 Apr 2002 (this version, v2))
    It is argued that immense physical resources - for nonlocal communication, espionage, and exponentially-fast computation - are hidden from us by quantum noise, and that this noise is not fundamental but merely a property of an equilibrium state in which the universe happens to be at the present time. It is suggested that 'non-quantum' or nonequilibrium matter might exist today in the form of relic particles from the early universe. We describe how such matter could be detected and put to practical use. Nonequilibrium matter could be used to send instantaneous signals, to violate the uncertainty principle, to distinguish non-orthogonal quantum states without disturbing them, to eavesdrop on quantum key distribution, and to outpace quantum computation (solving NP-complete problems in polynomial time).
    Comments: 10 pages, Latex, no figures. To appear in 'Proceedings of the Second Winter Institute on Foundations of Quantum Theory and Quantum Optics: Quantum Information Processing', ed. R. Ghosh (Indian Academy of Science, Bangalore, 2002). Second version: shortened at editor's request; extra material on outpacing quantum computation (solving NP-complete problems in polynomial time)
    Subjects: Quantum Physics (quant-ph)
    Journal reference: Pramana - J. Phys. 59 (2002) 269-277
    DOI: 10.1007/s12043-002-0117-1
    Report number: Imperial/TP/1-02/15
    Cite as: arXiv:quant-ph/0203049
    (or arXiv:quant-ph/0203049v2 for this version)
On Jun 20, 2013, at 1:10 AM, Basil Hiley wrote:
On 19 Jun 2013, at 22:52, Ruth Kastner wrote:
OK, not sure what the 'yes' was in response to, but I should perhaps note that you probably need to choose between the Bohmian theory or the transactional picture, because they are mutually exclusive. There are no 'beables' in TI. But there is a clear solution to the measurement problem and no discontinuity between the relativistic and non-relativistic domains as there are in the Bohmian theory (which has to abandon particles as beables at the relativistic level).
This last statement is not correct. Bohmian theory can now be applied to the Dirac particle. You do not have to abandon the particle for Fermions at the relativistic level. There is a natural progression from Schrödinger → Pauli → Dirac. See Hiley and Callaghan, Clifford Algebras and the Dirac-Bohm Quantum Hamilton-Jacobi Equation. {em Foundations of Physics}, {f 42} (2012) 192-208. More details will be found in arXiv: 1011.4031 and arXiv: 1011.4033.
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  • Jack Sarfatti On Jun 21, 2013, at 3:54 AM, Basil Hiley <b.hiley@bbk.ac.uk> wrote:


    My work on the ideas that Bohm and I summarised in "The Undivided Universe" have moved on considerably over the last decade. But even in our book, we were suggesting that the particle could have a complex and subtle structure (UU p. 37) which could be represented as a point-like object only above the level of say 10^-8 cm. This comment, taken together with point 2 in our list of key points on p. 29 implies that we are not dealing with 'small billiard balls'. There could be an interesting and subtle structure that we have not explored-indeed we can't explore with the formalism in common use, i.e. the wave function and the Schrödinger equation. This is my reason for exploring a very different approach based on a process philosophy (See my paper arXiv: 1211.2098).

    In the case of the electron, we made a partial attempt to discuss the Dirac particle in our book (UU chapter 12). The presentation there (section12.2) only scratched the surface since we had no place for the quantum potential. However we showed in arXiv: 1011.4033 that if we explored the role of the Clifford algebra more throughly, we could provide a more detailed picture which included a quantum potential. We could then provide a relativistic version of what I call the Bohm model or, more recently, Bohmian non-commuting dynamics to distinguish it from a number of other variants of the model.

    In our approach all fermions could then be treated by one formalism which in the classical limit produced our 'rock-like' point classical particles. Bosons had to be treated differently, after all we do not have a 'rock-like' classical limit of a photon. Rather we have a coherent field. Massive bosons have to be treated in a differently way, but I won't go into that here.

    reference? I have been struggling with that in my dreams.

    We noted the difference between bosons and fermions in the UU and treated bosons as excited states of a field. In this case it was the field that became the beable and it was the field that was organised by what we called a 'super quantum potential'. In this picture the energy of say an emitted photon spread into the total field and did not exist as a localised entity. Yes, a rather different view from that usually accepted, but after all that was the way Planck himself pictured the situation. John Bell immediately asked, "What about the photon?" so we put an extra section in the UU (sec. 11.7). The photon concept arises because the level structure of the atom. It is the non-locality and non-linearity of the super quantum potential that sweeps the right amount of energy out of the field to excite the atom.

    Since the photon is no longer to be thought of as a particle, merely an excitation of the field, there is no difficulty with the coherent state. It is simply the state of the field whose energy does not consist of a definite number of a given hν. A high energy coherent field is the classical limit of the field, so there is no problem there either.

    All of this is discussed in detail in "The Undivided Universe".

    Hope this clarifies our take on these questions.

  • Jack Sarfatti The Brown-Wallace is an interesting paper, but I do not agree with its conclusions. Of course, this is exactly what you would expect me to say! What is needed is a careful response which I don't have time to go into here, so let me be brief. The sentence that rang alarm bells in their paper was "Our concern rather is with the fact that for Bohm it is the entered wave packet that determines the outcome; the role of the hidden variable, or apparatus corpuscle, is merely to pick or select from amongst all the other packets in the configuration space associated with the final state of the joint object-apparatus system." (See top of p. 5 of arXiv:quant-ph/0403094v1). As soon as I saw that sentence, I knew the conclusion they were going to reach. It gives the impression that it is the wave packet that is the essential real feature of the description and there need be nothing else. For us the 'wave packet' was merely short hand which was meant to signify the quantum potential that would be required to describe the subsequent behaviour of the particle. For us it was the quantum Hamilton-Jacobi equation that was THE dynamical equation. The Schrödinger equation was merely an part of an algorithm for calculating the probable outcomes of a given experimental arrangement. ( Yes it's Bohr!) But for us THERE IS an underlying dynamics which is a generalisation of the classical dynamics. Indeed my recent paper (arXiv 1211.2098) shows exactly how the classical HJ equation emerges from the richer quantum dynamics. The term 'wave packet' was merely short hand. There is no wave! This is why we introduced the notion of active information which is universally ignored.

    On Jun 20, 2013, at 5:21 AM, Ruth Kastner <rekastner@hotmail.com> wrote:

    Thank you Basil, but what about other particles? E.g. photons and quanta of other fields. -RK

    On Jun 20, 2013, at 9:19 AM, Ruth Kastner wrote:

    Well my main concern re photons is coherent states where there isn't a definite number of quanta. Perhaps this has
    been addressed in the Bohmian picture -- if so I'd be happy to see a reference. However I still think that TI provides
    a better account of measurement since it gives an exact physical basis for the Born Rule rather than a statistical one,
    and also the critique of Brown and Wallace that I mentioned earlier is a significant challenge for Bohmian approach. What
    B & W point out is that it is not at all clear that the presence of a particle in one 'channel' of a WF serves as an effective reason for collapse of the WF.


    From: adastra1@me.com
    Subject: Re: Reality of possibility
    Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2013 09:13:10 -0700
    To: rekastner

    Never a problem for boson fields just look at undivided universe book now online

    Sent from my iPhone

    Subject: Re: Reality of possibility
    From: b.hiley
    Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2013 09:10:39 +0100
    CC: adastra1@me.com

    On 19 Jun 2013, at 22:52, Ruth Kastner wrote:

    OK, not sure what the 'yes' was in response to, but I should perhaps note that you probably need to choose between the Bohmian theory or the transactional picture, because they are mutually exclusive. There are no 'beables' in TI. But there is a clear solution to the measurement problem and no discontinuity between the relativistic and non-relativistic domains as there are in the Bohmian theory (which has to abandon particles as beables at the relativistic level).

    Basil: This last statement is not correct. Bohmian theory can now be applied to the Dirac particle. You do not have to abandon the particle for Fermions at the relativistic level. There is a natural progression from Schrödinger → Pauli → Dirac. See Hiley and Callaghan, Clifford Algebras and the Dirac-Bohm Quantum Hamilton-Jacobi Equation. {em Foundations of Physics}, {f 42} (2012) 192-208. More details will be found in arXiv: 1011.4031 and arXiv: 1011.4033.



    > Subject: Reality of possibility
    > From: adastra1@me.com
    > Date: Wed, 19 Jun 2013 13:14:42 -0700
    > To: rekastne
    > Yes
    > That's what i mean when I say that Bohm's Q is physically real.
    > Sent from my iPhone

Begin forwarded message:

From: Ruth Elinor Kastner <rkastner@umd.edu>
Subject: Re: [ExoticPhysics] Basil Hiley's update on current state of work in Bohm's ontological picture of quantum theory
Date: November 25, 2012 12:36:53 PM PST
To: JACK SARFATTI <sarfatti@pacbell.net>, Exotic Physics <exoticphysics@mail.softcafe.net>
Reply-To: Jack Sarfatti's Workshop in Advanced Physics <exoticphysics@mail.softcafe.net>

In this approach I still don't see a clear answer to the question 'what is a particle,' unless it is that particles are projection operators.
In PTI a 'particle' is just a completed (actualized) transaction. PTI deals with both the non-rel and relativistic realms with the same basic model, which testifies to the power of that model. It is straightforwardly realist: quantum states describe subtle (non-classical) physical entities.
It seems to me that approaches dealing with conceptual problems in terms of abstract algebras are intrinsically non-realist or even anti-realist. Physics is the study of physical reality. Algebra is purely formal. Unless one wants to say that reality is purely formal,i.e. has no genuine physical content, I don't see how appealing to an abstract algebra as the fundamental content of quantum theory can provide interpretive insight into reality.
Put more simply, a physical theory may certainly contain formal elements, but those elements need to be understood as *referring to something in the real world* in order for us
to understand what the theory is describing or saying about the physical world. That is, it is the physical world that dictates what the theory's mathematical content and
structure should be, because of the contingent features of the physical world. Saying that a theory has a certain mathematical structure or certain formal components does not specify what the theory is saying about reality. I think an interpretation of a theory should be able to provide specific physical insight into what a theory is telling us about the domain it mathematically describes.


Begin forwarded message:

From: JACK SARFATTI <Sarfatti@PacBell.net>
Subject: [Starfleet Command] Basil Hiley's update on current state of work in Bohm's ontological picture of quantum theory
Date: November 25, 2012 11:58:26 AM PST
To: Exotic Physics <exoticphysics@mail.softcafe.net>
Reply-To: SarfattiScienceSeminars@yahoogroups.com

On Nov 25, 2012, at 2:55 AM, Basil Hiley <b.hiley@bbk.ac.uk> wrote:


As I dig deeper into the mathematical structure that contains the mathematical features that the Bohm uses, Bohm energy, Bohm momentum, quantum potential etc. are essential features, as you imply, of a non-commutative phase space; strictly a symplectic structure with a non-commutative multiplication (the Moyal-star product).  This product combines into two brackets, the Moyal bracket, (a*b-b*a)/hbar and the Baker bracket (a*b+b*a)/2.  The beauty of these brackets is to order hbar, Moyal becomes the Poisson and Baker becomes the ordinary product ab.

Time evolution requires two equations, simply because you have to distinguish between 'left' and 'right' translations.  These two equations are in fact the two Bohm equations produced from the Schrödinger equation under polar decomposition in disguised form.  There is no need to appeal to classical physics at any stage. Nevertheless these two equations reduce in the limit order hbar to the classical Liouville equation and the classical Hamilton-Jacobi equation respectively. This then shows that the quantum potential becomes negligible in the classical limit as we have maintained all along.  There are not two worlds, quantum and classical, there is just one world.  It was by using this algebraic structure that I was able to show that the Bohm model can be extended to the Pauli and Dirac particles, each with their own quantum potential.  However here not only do we have a non-commutative symplectic symmetry, but also a non-commutative orthogonal symmetry, hence my interests in symplectic and orthogonal Clifford algebras.

In this algebraic approach the wave function is not taken to be something fundamental, indeed there is no need to introduce the wave function at all!.  What is fundamental are the elements of the algebra, call it what you will, the Moyal algebra or the von Neumann algebra, they are exactly the same thing.  This is algebraic quantum mechanics that Haag discusses in his book "Local Quantum Physics, fields, particles and algebra".  Physicists used to call it matrix mechanics, but then it was unclear how it all hung together.  In the algebraic approach there is no collapse of the wave function, because you don't need the wave function.  All the information contained in the wave function is encoded in the algebra itself, in its left and right ideals which are intrinsic to the algebra itself.  Where are the particles in this approach?  For that we need Eddington's "The Philosophy of Science", a brilliant but neglected work.  Like a point in geometry, what is a particle?  Is it a hazy general brick-like entity out of which the world is constructed, or is it a quasi-local, semi-autonomous feature within the total structure-process?  Notice the change, not things-in-interaction, but structure-process in which any invariant feature takes its form and properties from the structure-process that gives it subsistence. If an algebra is used to describe this structure-process, then what is the element that subsists?  What is the element of existence?  The idempotent E^2=E has eigenvalues 0 or 1: it exists or it doesn't exist.  An entity exists in a structure-process if it continuously turns itself into itself.  The Boolean logic of the classical world turns existence into a permanent order: quantum logic turns existence into a partial order of non-commutative E_i!  Particles can be 'created' or 'annihilated' depending on the total overall process. Here there is an energy threshold, keep the energy low and it is the properties of the entity that are revealed through non-commutativity, these properties becoming commutativity to order hbar.  The Bohm model can be used to complement the standard approach below the creation/annihilation threshold.  Raise this threshold and then the field theoretic properties of the underlying algebras become apparent.

All this needs a different debate from the usual one that seems to go round and round in circles, seemingly resolving very little. Basil.

On 24 Nov 2012, at 19:10, JACK SARFATTI wrote:

What is the ontology of "possibility"? In Bohm's picture it is a physical field whose domain is phase space (Wigner density) and whose range is Hilbert space. They are physically real, but not classical material.

The basic problem is how can a non-physical something interact with a physical something? This is a contradiction in the informal language. Only like things interact with unlike things. Otherwise, it's "then a miracle happens" and we are back to magick's "collapse". We simply replace one mystery by another in that case.

On Nov 24, 2012, at 5:59 AM, Ruth Elinor Kastner <rkastner@umd.edu> wrote:

Yes. It serves as a probability distribution because it is an ontological descriptor of possibilities.

From: JACK SARFATTI [sarfatti@pacbell.net]
Sent: Saturday, November 24, 2012 1:56 AM
To: Jack Sarfatti's Workshop in Advanced Physics

Subject: Re: [ExoticPhysics] Asher Peres's Bohrian epistemological view of quantum theory opposes Einstein-Bohm's ontological view. Commentary #2

On Nov 23, 2012, at 9:24 PM, Paul Zielinski <iksnileiz@gmail.com<mailto:iksnileiz@gmail.com>> wrote:

Did it ever occur to anyone in this field that the quantum wave amplitude plays a dual role, first as an ontological descriptor,
and second as probability distribution?

This I think is consistent with Bohm's ideas. When there is sub-quantal thermal equilibrium (A. Valentini) the Born probability rule works, but not otherwise.

It seems reasonable to suppose that the wave interference phenomena of quantum physics reflect an underlying objective
ontology, while the probability distributions derived from such physical wave amplitudes reflect both that and also our state
of knowledge of a system.

That a classical probability distribution suddenly "collapses" when the information available to us changes is no mystery.

The appearance of collapse is explained clearly in Bohm & Hiley's Undivided Universe. See also Mike Towler's Cambridge Lectures. I will provide details later.

So the trick here I think is to disentangle the objective ontic components from the subjective state-of-knowledge-of-the-observer
components of the wave function and its associated probability density -- to "diagonalize" the conceptual matrix, so to speak.

However, other than Bohm it looks like no one in foundations of quantum physics has yet figured out a way to do that.


My favorite example is an apple orchard at harvest, the trees having fruit with stems of randomly varying strength. Let's suppose
there is an earthquake and a seismic wave propagates along the ground. The amount of shaking of the trees at any given time
and place will be proportional to the intensity of the seismic wave, given by the square of the wave amplitude, and therefore the
smoothed density of fallen apples left on the ground after the earthquake will naturally be derivable from the square seismic wave
amplitude (since that determines the energy available for shaking the trees). However, when we see that a particular apple has fallen,
the derived probability density (initially describing *both* the intensity of the seismic wave *and* our state of knowledge about the
likelihood of any particular apple falling to the ground) suddenly "collapses", but in this example such "collapse" is purely a function
of our state of knowledge about a particular apple, and does not have any bearing on the wave amplitude from which it was
initially derived. In this example, it is quite clear that the probability distribution applying to any particular apple can "collapse" due
to an observation being made of any particular apple, even while the wave amplitude from which it was initially derived is entirely
unaffected by the observation of the state of any particular apple.

My question is, why is wave mechanics any different? Isn't this also a "Born interpretation" of the seismic wave?

On Nov 23, 2012, at 10:25 PM, "Kafatos, Menas" <kafatos@chapman.edu<mailto:kafatos@chapman.edu>> wrote:

I disagree, if one insists on just one view (realism) being the only possibility. We have to ask what do we mean by "real"? What kind of "space" does that wave function reside in? What are its units if not in Hilbert space referring to the Born interpretation?

There are numerous attempts to ontologize the wave function (see Kafatos and Nadeau, "The Conscious Universe", Springer 2000). The hidden metaphysics is to assume axiomatically that an external reality exists independent of conscious observers. This ultimately leads to an increased number of theoretical constructs without closure of anything (e.g. the multiverse).

Moreover, in the matrix mechanics the wave function is not needed. If psi were real, shouldn't it have been discovered long ago? Unless one argues that the theory of QM didn't exist until the 20th century so we couldn't have "discovered" it which case it gets us back to a description of nature dependent on observers!

It is OK to ontologize anything but in that case, please follow the hidden metaphysics that is implied. And state this metaphysics.

In a practical way to conduct science, we should remember how specific scientific constructs were developed. It didn't happen that somehow scientists like Bohr, Schroedinger, Heisenberg, Born, etc. stumbled on a physical quantity called the wave function psi. It was developed as part of wave mechanics which was complementary to Heisenberg's matrix mechanics.

The other ontology is that consciousness is real. This one naturally follows from orthodox quantum theory and leads to a pragmatic view of the cosmos. Two ontologies, take your pick for specific science to do. One leads to many worlds interpretation and ultimately to, perhaps, an infinity of universes, one of a few (or only one?) that happens to be "right" one (including having something called the wave function) to have conscious observers; the other leads to one universe that is self-driven by itself.

Can the two views/ontologies be reconciled? Yes, in a generalized complementarity framework, although one would negate the other in specific applications. What is "real" in this view is generalized principles applying at all levels and whatever science one works with. One deals with an objective view of the universe. The other with a subjective view of the universe (which relies on qualia).

I won't go any further. See also a series of articles by Chopra, Tanzi and myself in the last several months in Huffington Post and San Francisco Chronicle.

Menas Kafatos

Sent from my iPhone

On Nov 24, 2012, at 1:53 PM, "JACK SARFATTI" <sarfatti@pacbell.net<mailto:sarfatti@pacbell.net><mailto:sarfatti@pacbell.net>> wrote:

Yes, I agree with Ruth. I think Peres is fundamentally mistaken. However, there are some important insights in his papers nevertheless.

On Nov 23, 2012, at 7:22 PM, Ruth Elinor Kastner <rkastner@umd.edu<mailto:rkastner@umd.edu><mailto:rkastner@umd.edu>> wrote:

Concerning this statement by Peres and Fuchs in what is quoted below:

"Here, we must be careful: a quantum jump (also called collapse) is something that happens in our description of the system, not to the system itself. "

How do they know that? That is just an anti-realist assumption; that is, it presupposes that quantum states and processes do not refer to entities in the world but only to our knowledge (i.e. that quantum states are epistemic). This view has come under increasing criticism (e.g. via the PBR theorem which disproves some types of 'epistemic' interpretations). I present a contrary, realist view in my new book on TI, in which measurements are clearly accounted for in physical terms and quantum states do refer to entities, not just our knowledge. Quantum 'jumps' can certainly be considered real and can be  understood as a kind of spontaneous symmetry breaking.

Details on that?

In my view, quantum theory is not just about knowledge or epistemic probability; it is about the real world. There is no need to give up realism re quantum theory. Prior realist interpretations simply have not been able to solve the measurement problem adequately, because they neglect the relativistic level in which absorption and emission are acknowledged as equally important physical processes.


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On Aug 11, 2012, at 1:41 AM, Basil Hiley <b.hiley@bbk.ac.uk> wrote:

On 27 Jul 2012, at 07:00, nick herbert wrote:

On Jul 26, 2012, at 9:50 AM, nick herbert <quanta@cruzio.com> wrote:

1. The oft-cited remark that non-relativistic Bohmian mechanics gives the same result as conventional QM for all conceivable experiments is plain wrong. The two theories possess radically different ontologies which lead to radically different consequences.

BH: How can it be wrong?  It uses exactly the same mathematics, without the addition or subtraction of any new mathematical structure.  Its predicted expectation values found in all experiments are identical to those found from the conventional rules.  If you want to criticise it, why not simply say "It adds no new experimental predictions, so why bother with it?"  Then you can get into arguments about which interpretation is better in your opinion.  Then it is a matter of opinion not experimental science.

JS: However, Antony Valentini's extension does add new predictions consistent with my own independent investigations and also Brian Josephson's which already has observational evidence in its favor (Libet, Radin, Bierman, Puthoff-Targ, Bem)

NH: What exists in QM is a wavefunction, spread out in configuration space (and this wavefunction is "real" according to PBR). For a given quantum state all systems represented by that state have the same ontology.

BH: The ontology gives meaning to the notion of a "quantum state".  What does it mean to say "For a given quantum state  all systems represented by that state have the same ontology"?

NH: What exists in BM is an actual particle which for S-states has the remarkable property that v=0. In BM all systems represented by the same state are different--their difference (in the S-state case) being the differing positions of the static electron. A Bohmian S-state consists of an ensemble of stationary electrons each in a different position whose position pattern is given by psi squared.

It is this v=0 property of BM S-wave electrons that is used to create counterexamples to the contention that BM and QM give the same predictions.

1. Muonic Hydrogen. Like t! he electron the muon in the BM picture is stationary. Hence the muon lifetime in BM is the just the natural lifetime. However in QM the muon has a velocity distribution so the lifetime is lengthened by relativity. BM and QM predict different lifetimes for the muonic atom. One may object
that I have introduced relativity into a non-rel situation. However the QM and BM states are still non-rel.
The lifetime of the muon can be seen as a measuring device probing the ontology of the muonic hydrogen.
The probe uses a relativity effect to measure a non-rel configuration.

BH: I recall having already answered this criticism some time ago.  Time dilation is a relativistic phenomenon so you must use the relativistic Dirac theory in this case. 
JS:: Yes, Nick's error here is obvious. He appeals to the wrong equation for the problem. It's a Red Herring.

BH: In the past there I have been entirely happy with the treatment of the Bohm model of the Dirac equation that we have given.  However Bob Callaghan and myself have now obtained a new complete treatment of the Dirac equation with which I am completely happy. It uses the Clifford algebra in a fundamental way as it must to link with the known successful spinor structure.  See Hiley and Callaghan:  Clifford Algebras and the Dirac-Bohm Quantum Hamilton-Jacobi Equation.  Foundations of Physics,  42 (2012) 192-208.
 DOI:  10.1007/s10701-011-9558-z and in more detail in The Clifford Algebra Approach to Quantum Mechanics B: The Dirac Particle and its relation to the Bohm Approach,  (2010)    aXriv: 1011.4033.
Our work shows that the Bohm charge velocity of the electron is, in fact, given by v= Psi alpha Psi,  where alpha is the Dirac 4x4 matrix, which is related to the Dirac gamma matrices. (See Bohm and Hiley The Undivided Universe, p. 272 for our original treatment which is confirmed by our latest work.)  If you now look at the wave function of the ground state of the Dirac hydrogen atom which you can find in Bjorken and Drell p. 55 you will find the electron is moving in the ground state.  What is interesting is that when you take this expression and go to the non-relativistic limit you find the velocity is zero, exactly the result that the Schrödinger equation gives.  Remember the energy levels calculated from  the Schrödinger hydrogen atom are only approximations to those calculated using the Dirac hydrogen atom.

Do you have a reference to the paper that measures the lifetime of the muon in muonic hydrogen?  I can't find a good reference to a clean experiment which shows exactly how to measure the time dilation you mention.  I have recently written up the details of the calculation that I have outlined above but I would like to add a better reference to the actual measurement.

2. Electron Capture decay. Certain radioactive elements (Beryllium 7, for instance) possess an excess positive charge and do not have enough energy to decay by positron emission. Instead they capture the S-state electron which transforms a nuclear proton into a neutron and neutrino (inverse beta decay). Electron Capture (EC) is a very delicate probe of the ontology of the S-state electron. QM ontology (all electrons the same) predicts a smooth exponential decay. After many half-lifes all the Be7 is gone.
BM ontology predicts a very different outcome: exponential decay for all electrons located inside the nucleus;
infinite li! fe for stationary Bohmian electrons located outside the nucleus.

BH: You must read past the simple Bohm model introduced in chapter three of our book, "The Undivided Universe".  The first ten chapters contain a discussion of the non-relativistic Bohm model.  There we show that if you want to apply the theory to problems where the particles interact either with other particle or with fields like the electro-magnetic field, you must introduce an appropriate interaction Hamiltonian.  In section 5.3 to 5.5 we show how to deal with a very simple example of two-particle interactions.  These sections were written simply to illustrate how the mathematics work and how you can explain the results using the Bohm interpretation. NB the interpretation is only applied after we have solved the Schrödinger equation containing the interaction Hamiltonian.  You can't solve these equations exactly so you have to use perturbation theory.  Remember the maths is the same as for the standard interpretation.  It is the interpretation that is different.

What happens if the interaction Hamiltonian involves the electromagnetic potentials?  To discuss interaction with the electromagnetic field you must go to a relativistic theory.  This means you must use the Dirac equation.  Chapter 12 of our book begins to show you how to do this.  The work of Bob Callaghan and myself mentioned above takes this further.  What we have done is to discuss the free Dirac electron for simplicity.  We simply wanted to show how it worked without introducing more realistic interaction Hamiltonians. 
Now let me try to answer your question as to how we deal with electron capture.  In order to describe this capture, we have to introduce the appropriate interaction Hamiltonian.  What is the appropriate interaction Hamiltonian in this case?  To find this we have to go to a review article like "Orbital electron capture by the nucleus" [Rev. Mod Phys. 49 (1977) 77-221].  You will see that the interaction Hamiltonian is a weak electron current-hadron current interaction.  You must now put that into the Dirac equation and calculate away.  Well the calculations are all done in the Rev. Mod. Phys. paper and all we need to do is to interpret the results according to the Bohm model.

Where your analysis goes wrong is that you assume (1) the non-relativistic theory and (2)  there is no interaction between the nucleus and the electron.  You can do that to a first approximation to explain the principle of the Bohm model to, say, a first year undergraduate, but you must not say that's all there is.  It is not a true reflection of the processes that are involved!  There is an interaction between the nucleon and the electron and you must take this into account even in the Bohm model if you want to understand the physics.

If your message is simply to say that the naive Bohm model based on the Schrödinger is inadequate to deal with these problems then I totally agree with you.  Bohm and I have always recognised that the '52 work was just a first step.  Let me quote from his Causality and Chance book p. 118

“It must be emphasized, however, that these criticisms are in no way directed at the logical consistency of the model, or at its ability to explain the essential characteristics of the quantum domain.  Rather they are based on broader criteria, which suggest that many features of the model are implausible and, more generally, that the interpretation proposed in section 4 [of the ‘52 paper] does not go deep enough.”

I thought that in our book, "The Undivided Universe", we made it clear that chapter 3 was a first step.  All the remaining chapters were to show how the model was to be developed to meet many different actual situations found in nature.  Finally in chapter 15, we outlined what was going to be developed in a second volume, which would probe a much deeper structure but unfortunately Bohm died just as we were finishing the first book.

NH: If these two counter-examples to the QM/BM experimental identity conjecture have been discussed in the literature,
I! am unaware of it. But they should be.

BH: You are quite right, these points should be discussed in the literature.  Unfortunately I have been too involved in developing the ideas outlined in chapter 15 and that means going deeper into what I think really underlies quantum phenomena.  You will find some of this work in the latest publications of mine which are accessible on the net.  A good place to find a comprehensive review of my latest efforts is in my paper Process, Distinction, Groupoids and Clifford Algebras: an Alternative View of the Quantum Formalism, in New Structures for Physics, ed Coecke, B., Lecture Notes in Physics, vol. 813, pp. 705-750, Springer (2011).  Unfortunately I don't think it is available on the net at present but if you are interested I can send you a copy.

Thank you for your interest in our work.


Nick Herbert

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