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Beyond the Quantum |
A centenary
after Einstein's annus mirabilis it is timely to reconsider the foundations of
physical theories. Quantum mechanics, our best theory, works wherever it has
been applied, in fields ranging from the solid state and quantum chemistry to
high energy physics and the early Universe. Its most modern application is
Quantum String Theory. Despite all
the success, there remains the old question: what is this theory actually
standing for? On the foundational level, it has come hardly much further than
the Feynman's quote "nobody understands quantum mechanics". Up to
this date, quantum effects such as uncertainty, interference and entanglement
have become experimental facts, but their explanation remains puzzling. It was
Einstein's dream that one day quantum theory would appear to arise from physics
at a deeper level, more precisely, as the statistics of such a world. Indeed, none
of the present theories is capable to describe, even in principle, individual
measurements or individual events. Though it was long agreed that "such
questions should not be posed'' their relevance is getting more and more
acknowledged. In its July number Science mentions as one of the Top 25
questions that face scientific inquiry over the next quarter-century: Do Deeper
Principles Underlie Quantum Uncertainty and Nonlocality?, together with the probably related
questions What Is the Universe Made Of? and Can the Laws of Physics
Be Unified? In the last
years, there have appeared a number of diverse results, that support the
possibility of an underlying more deterministic structure: Various arguments in
favor of the statistical interpretation of quantum mechanics, deriving rather
than postulating the von Neumann collapse and the Born rule, loopholes in
non-locality arguments, quantum gravity approaches, demonstration of the
compatibility of quantum theory and contextual Kolmogorov probability theory,
Bohmian mechanics, Stochastic Electrodynamics, Collapse models, the Empiricist
interpretation of quantum mechanics, occurrence of entanglement in classical
physics. Stochastic optics has proposed a local and realistic explanation of
entanglement for experiments with photons. Intriguing ideas have been published
comparing over-extremal Kerr-Newman solutions in electrogravity with charged,
spinning elementary particles, which invites to consider topological features
of these solutions. Some of these
questions may lead to tests in quantum optics, where entangled Bell-pairs are
routinely made. A workshop
that puts together and compares these many different approaches is very timely.
Progress can be hoped for by combining the insights from the communities of the
quantum gravity and statistical/empirical interpretations of quantum mechanics
with the communities from Stochastic Electrodynamics, Stochastic Optics,
Stochastic Collapse and Bohm, to focus on questions such as: Problems and
paradoxes in ordinary quantum mechanics and quantum field theory, including
quantum state reduction in relativistic quantum theory; Is there experimental
evidence to go beyond the ordinary quantum theory? What we have learned from
quantum gravity and string theory for these problems? These questions will be
confronted to experimental, mathematical and philosophical insights. [Back] |