The Quantum Mechanical Arrows of Time

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quantum mechanicsJames B. Hartle
The familiar textbook quantum mechanics of laboratory measurements incorporates a quantum mechanical arrow of time — the direction in time in which state vector reduction operates. This arrow is usually assumed to coincide with the direction of the thermodynamic arrow of the quasiclassical realm of everyday experience. But in the more general context of cosmology we seek an explanation of all observed arrows, and the relations between them, in terms of the conditions that specify our particular universe. This paper investigates quantum mechanical and thermodynamic arrows in a time-neutral formulation of quantum mechanics for a number of model cosmologies in fixed background spacetimes. We find that a general universe may not have well defined arrows of either kind. When arrows are emergent they need not point in the same direction over the whole of spacetime. Rather they may be local, pointing in different directions in different spacetime regions. Local arrows can therefore be consistent with global time symmetry….
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Written by physicsgg

January 19, 2013 at 2:23 pm


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