Independent Study Proposal: Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics
I don't know much about "alternative" (non-Copenhagen) interpretations of quantum mechanics. I would like to spend some time learning more about a few of the more prominent ones, and through studying them, attempt to figure out what exactly has been troubling me about the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. This is a fairly broad area of study, and I expect that my focus will narrow as I learn more about the subject. I intend to start by studying the de Broglie-Bohm, many-worlds, and consistent-histories interpretations, as well as reading up on some "proofs" and conditions that interpretations of quantum mechanics must satisfy, such as the Bell inequality and von Neumann's "proof" of the impossibility of a deterministic hidden-variables interpretation. I expect to eventually come back to the Copenhagen interpretation and study it more closely as well. After that, it will probably be well after the point where I should have an idea of what my final paper will be about, and that should take up the rest of the semester.
Proposed reading list:
J. S. Bell, "On the impossible pilot wave." In Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics, Cambridge University Press, 1987. pp. 159-168.
J. S. Bell, "de Broglie, Bohm, delayed-choice double-slit experiment, and density matrix." In Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics, Cambridge University Press, 1987. pp. 111-116.
J. S. Bell, "Quantum mechanics for cosmologists." In Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics, Cambridge University Press, 1987. pp. 117-138.
Hugh Everett, "Relative State Formulation of Quantum Mechanics", Reviews of Modern Physics vol 29 (1957) 454-462.
J. S. Bell, "The measurement theory of Everett and de Broglie's pilot wave." In Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics, Cambridge University Press, 1987. pp. 93-99
Selections from Robert B. Griffiths, Consistent Quantum Theory, Cambridge University Press, 2003.
J. S. Bell, "On the Einstein Podolsky Rosen Paradox", Physics vol. 1 (1964) 195-200.
N. David Mermin, "Hidden variables and the two theorems of John Bell", Reviews of Modern Physics vol 65 (1993) 803-816
Copenhagen, for and against:
A. Einstein, B. Podolsky, and N. Rosen, "Can quantum-mechanical description of physical reality be considered complete?" Phys. Rev. vol. 47, 777-780 (1935).
Niels Bohr, "Can quantum-mechanical description of physical reality be considered complete?" Phys. Rev. vol. 48, 696-702 (1935).
Lecture notes and recordings from "Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics:
Current Status and Future Directions", a course offered jointly by the Perimeter Institute and the University of Waterloo in the winter of 2005. Notes and lecture recordings available at http://www.iqc.ca/~qipcourse/interpret/
Current Status: APPROVED