A NEW QUANTUM PARADOX FLAGS ERRORS IN OUR VIEW OF REALITY

WIRED | 12/9/2018 | Anil Ananthaswamy
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That quantum mechanics is a successful theory is not in dispute. It makes astonishingly accurate predictions about the nature of the world at microscopic scales. What has been in dispute for nearly a century is just what it’s telling us about what exists, what is real. There are myriad interpretations that offer their own take on the question, each requiring us to buy into certain as-yet-unverified claims—hence assumptions—about the nature of reality.

Original story reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine, an editorially independent publication of the Simons Foundation whose mission is to enhance public understanding of science by covering research developments and trends in mathematics and the physical and life sciences.

Experiment - Assumptions - Head-on - Foundations - Quantum

Now, a new thought experiment is confronting these assumptions head-on and shaking the foundations of quantum physics. The experiment is decidedly strange. For example, it requires making measurements that can erase any memory of an event that was just observed. While this isn’t possible with humans, quantum computers could be used to carry out this weird experiment and potentially discriminate between the different interpretations of quantum physics.

“Every now and then you get a paper which gets everybody thinking and discussing, and this is one of those cases,” said Matthew Leifer, a quantum physicist at Chapman University in Orange, California. “[This] is a thought experiment which is going to be added to the canon of weird things we think about in quantum foundations.”

Experiment - Daniela - Frauchiger - Renato - Renner

The experiment, designed by Daniela Frauchiger and Renato Renner, of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, involves a set of assumptions that on the face of it seem entirely reasonable. But the experiment leads to contradictions, suggesting that at least one of the assumptions is wrong. The choice of which assumption to give up has implications for our understanding of the quantum world and points to the possibility that...
(Excerpt) Read more at: WIRED
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