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Daniel Bedingham (Oxford) “Time reversal symmetry and collapse models”

18 May 2015, 5:15 pm6:45 pm

Abstract: Collapse models are modifications of quantum theory where the wave function is treated as physically real and the collapse of the wave function is a physical process. This appears to introduce a time reversal asymmetry into the dynamics of the wave function since the collapses affect only the future state. We challenge this conclusion, showing that if the physically real part of the model can be reduced to the locations in space and time about which collapses occur, then such a model works both forward and backward in time, in each case satisfying the Born rule. Despite the apparent asymmetry of the collapse process, these models in fact have time reversal symmetry. Any physically observed time asymmetries that arise in such models are due to the asymmetric imposition of initial or final time boundary conditions, rather than from an inherent asymmetry in the dynamical law. This is the standard explanation of time asymmetric behaviour resulting from time symmetric laws.

Daniel Bedingham is a postdoctoral research associate at Oxford interested in information at the quantum physics/statistical mechanics nexus. He won the 2011 FQXi ‘Most Courageous Postdoc’ prize.


18 May 2015
5:15 pm – 6:45 pm
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Bryan W. Roberts


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