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7:30 pm, Wednesday, April 09, 2014
Fairmont Lounge, St. John's College

2111 Lower Mall, UBC


Quantum measurements and the Many-Worlds Theory

David Wallace

University of Oxford

Quantum mechanics is the most successful scientific theory in history: it underpins practically all of modern physics, from elementary particles, through the transistors in our phones and computers, right up to the structures in the early Universe, and it has passed every test ever set it. But it seems to fail the most basic requirement of a scientific theory: that it give a plausible story about what the physical world is actually like. Indeed, it seems to give us a story that is plain crazy: atoms in two places at once, and cats alive and dead at the same time. This 'quantum measurement' problem still has no accepted solution, more than eighty years after quantum theory's creation. I will explain what the measurement problem is (and why we should care about it), and argue that its solution requires something equally crazy: the idea that the world is constantly branching into parallel copies. I will suggest that this Many-Worlds theory of quantum mechanics is actually a deeply conservative approach to quantum theory, and is the most natural way to make sense of its paradoxes.

To learn more please visit his webpage.

Additional resources for this talk: slides(not available yet) and video.