COURSE GOALS: The objective of the course is to encourage students to ponder about philosophical problems of quantum mechanics. The course offers an overview of the most important interpretations of quantum mechanics and helps students in shaping their own attitude toward the nature of contemporary physics.
LEARNING OUTCOMES AT THE LEVEL OF THE PROGRAMME:
This course helps students to be able, upon completing the degree, to:
1. KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
1.2 demonstrate a thorough knowledge of advanced methods of theoretical physics including classical mechanics, classical electrodynamics, statistical physics and quantum physics
1.3 demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the most important physics theories (logical and mathematical structure, experimental support, described physical phenomena);
2. APPLYING KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
2.2 evaluate clearly the orders of magnitude in situations which are physically different, but show analogies, thus allowing the use of known solutions in new problems;
3. MAKING JUDGEMENTS
3.2 develop a personal sense of responsibility, given the free choice of elective/optional courses;
4. COMMUNICATION SKILLS
4.1 work in an interdisciplinary team
4.3 develop the written and oral English language communication skills that are essential for pursuing a career in physics
5. LEARNING SKILLS
5.1 search for and use physical and other technical literature, as well as any other sources of information relevant to research work and technical project development (good knowledge of technical English is required).
LEARNING OUTCOMES SPECIFIC FOR THE COURSE:
On completion of this course successful student will be able to outline and critically analyse:
- the main philosophical problems of physics;
- the main views on physical theories;
- the main views on physical experiments;
- the main interpretations of quantum mechanics.
- Introduction: the origin of quantum mechanics and the need for an interpretation. The problem of the nature of 'quanton'- theoretical and experimental aspects of the superposed quantum states and the uncertainty relations: neutron interferometry, the welcher Weg experiments.
- The quantization of the electromagnetic field and photons: semi-classical theories, Hanbury-Brown and Twiss experiment, one-photon interference, the delayed-choice experiment and the wholeness of quantum phenomena. Stationary states and quantum beats.
- Discussion of the presented experiments. Experiential level: quantum mechanics and technology. Theoretical level: pure states and mixtures. Interpretative level.
- Quantum-mechanical realism. Probability in quantum mechanics. Epistemic interpretation, ensembles and propensities.
- NIels Bohr and the Copenhagen interpretation.
- Bohm's mechanics and hidden variables.
- Einstein and statistical interpretation. Quantum logics.
- Quantum mechanics and classical physics: discussion between Einstein and Bohr on the nature of the theory, the problem of classical limit of quantum mechanics.
- The problem of time in quantum mechanics: experiments with time interference of neutrons and atoms, decay of unstable state, Franson's experiment and time uncertainty, the time-energy uncertainty relation.
- The superpositions of macroscopically distinguishable states and the measurement problem in quantum mechanics: von Neumann's description of the measurement - conditions and consequences, Schrödinger's cat paradox, search for the macroscopic superpositions.
- Solution of the measurement problem based on the alternative quantum mechanical dynamics: dual dynamics - reduction of the wave packet, matter and mind; unique dynamics - stochastic interpretations in general, programmes of the nonlinear stochastic modification of Schrödinger's equation.
- Solution of the measurement problem based on the alternative interpretation of experience; decoherence by environment, many worlds and many minds. Modal interpretations and decoherent histories.
- EPR dilemma, Bell's inequality and experiments.
- GHZ theorem. Quantum nonlocality and relativity theory. Nonseparability of the quantum phenomenon.
REQUIREMENTS FOR STUDENTS:
Students are required to regularly attend classes, read the weekly texts and prepare for the seminar discussion topics in advance and write a seminar paper.
GRADING AND ASSESSING THE WORK OF STUDENTS:
The exam is oral, at the end of the course. A student is evaluated on the basis of the knowledge demonstrated at the lecture and seminar discussions, knowledge demonstrated at the exam, and on the basis of the seminar paper grade.
- B. Kožnjak, Eksperiment i filozofija, Zagreb, 2013.
- T. Vukelja, Nesjedinljivo znanje, Zagreb, 2001.
- M. W. Dickson, Quantum Chance and Non-Locality, Cambridge, 1998.
- D. Home, Conceptual Foundations of Quantum Physics: An Overview from Modern Perspectives, New York, 1997.
- P. R. Holland, Quantum Theory of Motion: An Account of the de Broglie-Bohm Causal Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, Cambridge, 1995.
- M. Jammer: The Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics, New York, 1974.
- T. Maudlin: Quantum Non-Locality and Relativity: Metaphysical Intimations of Modern Physics, Oxford, 2002.
- M. P. Silverman, More Than One Mystery: Explorations in Quantum Interference, New York, 1994.