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::: center home >> events >> lunchtime >> 2007-08 >> abstracts

Friday, 21 March 2008
Classical Random Fields as Models for Quantum Experiments
Peter Morgan, Yale University
12:05 pm, 817R Cathedral of Learning

Abstract:The literature on the relationship between quantum theory and classical physics has focused almost exclusively on the relationship between quantum mechanics and classical particle property models, but the standard no-go theorems have various unpleasant consequences for such discussions. In contrast, a classical random field approach that explicitly models quantum fluctuations follows John Bell's advocacy that models should be of complete experiments. To a first approximation, the preparation apparatus and the measurement apparatus act as a global boundary condition for the classical random field they contain, so that nonlocality and contextuality are natural for classical random fields (in a second approximation, quantum fluctuations of both the experimental apparatus and the field have to be taken into account). It is unfortunate that a classical field approach to quantum experiments has been discounted, apparently because of a general, but unfounded certainty that Bell's "The theory of local beables" is a robust argument against them. I will also visit briefly the Fine/Accardi argument that the violation of Bell inequalities forces us to introduce only contextuality, without nonlocality being directly at issue.

I can give the argument at a level that I believe is appropriate for a Philosophy of Physics audience. I attended Philosophy of Physics seminars at Oxford for seven years and I have presented my approach in various places in England, as detailed on my web-page, http://pantheon.yale.edu/~pwm22/, where also can be found abstracts and links for the above and a few other published papers. I am willing to come at my own expense, although I hope you might be willing to pay part of my expenses if I give satisfaction.

My paper " Bell inequalities for random fields" has sadly received no comment, neither positive nor critical, so I would very much welcome a conversation with people at the Center for Philosophy of Science. I believe that any discussion of Bell inequalities that deals purely with classical particle properties --- that is, almost all discussion of Bell inequalities --- is almost entirely off the pace, insofar as Physics moved on from particles to fields in the 19th Century, and quantum theory would not dream of restricting itself to non-field models.
Revised 3/13/08 - Copyright 2006