sample2.shortdraft - A Quantum Mechanical Interpretation of...

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A Quantum Mechanical Interpretation of Reality and the EPR Paradox (draft received a grade of A-) The advent of quantum mechanics has led many physicists to begin questioning the physical reality of nature. There are three distinct viewpoints of reality and the effects that a quantum mechanical interpretation has on it: the realist, orthodox and agnostic. Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen addressed this division of interpretations and gave their own conclusions in 1935 with the now famous EPR paradox stated in their “Can Quantum-Mechanical Description of Physical Reality Be Considered Complete?”[1]. In the orthodox viewpoint, it is believed that the statistical distribution given by a system’s wave function defines the system. It is not until the act of measurement that the system attains a definite state. This is best described with the Schrodinger’s Cat thought experiment. A cat is placed in a box containing a radioactive sample, a Geiger counter connected to a hammer, and a vial of cyanide. If an atom in the sample decays, the Geiger counter will activate the hammer and smash open the vial of cyanide, not a good thing for the cat. A radioactive sample with a known decay rate is chosen. After a period of time where the sample is equally likely to have decayed as not, we look in the box and check the health of the cat. We will find that the cat is dead or is still alive. However, according to the orthodox view, the cat is both alive and dead until the box is checked. The system is in a superposition of equally likely states and will remain that way until a measurement is taken. It is the measurement that forces
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This note was uploaded on 06/13/2011 for the course PHYSICS 596 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at Ohio State.

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sample2.shortdraft - A Quantum Mechanical Interpretation of...

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