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A Private View of Quantum Reality

Quantum theorist Christopher Fuchs explains how to solve the paradoxes of quantum mechanics. His price: physics gets personal.

A quantum particle can be in a range of possible states. When an observer makes a measurement, she instantaneously “collapses” the wave function into one possible state. QBism argues that this collapse isn’t mysterious. It just reflects the updated knowledge of the observer. She didn’t know where the particle was before the measurement. Now she does.

A quantum particle can be in a range of possible states. When an observer makes a measurement, she instantaneously “collapses” the wave function into one possible state. QBism argues that this collapse isn’t mysterious. It just reflects the updated knowledge of the observer. She didn’t know where the particle was before the measurement. Now she does.

If the wave function describes an observer, does the observer have to be human? Does that observer have to have consciousness? Could it be a dog? (“Dogs don’t use wave functions,” Fuchs said. “Heck, I didn’t collapse a wave function until I was 34.”) If my wave function doesn’t have to align with yours, do we live in the same universe? And if quantum mechanics doesn’t describe an external reality, what does?
Read more at www.quantamagazine.org

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