Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Field Theory/Introduction

From Wikibooks, open books for an open world
Jump to: navigation, search

Misconceptions about the meaning of quantum mechanics have persisted from its beginning up until the present among laypeople and physicists alike. Most physics textbooks on quantum mechanics and quantum field theory focus primarily on the mathematical formalism and only spend a couple of pages, if any, on the interpretation of quantum mechanics. Even the limited discussion of the interpretation of quantum mechanics is often presented in a confused muddled way. By constrast, most popularizing books for laypeople tend to oversensationalize and hype the "mysticalness" of quantum mechanics in imprecise language, leading to more confusion and misconceptions. In practice, most working physicists adopt a purely formal utilatarian use of quantum mechanics. They work with it mathematically to obtain mathematical results which they compare to experiments without thinking much about the meaning of what they are doing.

This book intends to correct the confusion and misconceptions about quantum mechanics by presenting a detailed analysis of the pros and cons of various popular interpretations and thought experiments and leave it to the reader to decide which interpretation is the most appealing.

Prior to 1925/1926, there was much confusion about the meaning and implications of quantum mechanics, leading to many radical claims. Even when the mathematical details of quantum mechanics had been worked out, there was still much confusion. It took a couple of years and many philosophical debates before an "orthodoxy" called the Copenhagen interpretation developed. Over the decades since then, gradually, more and more concepts have been clarified and newer interpretations have cropped up.

This book intends to study "problems" like measurement, quantum entanglement, causality, determinism/probabilistic, etc.