Decoherence and the modern measurement problem
Prof. David Wallace of Oxford University
Decoherence is widely felt to have something to do with the quantum measurement problem, but getting clear on just what is made difficult by the fact that the "measurement problem", as traditionally presented in foundational and philosophical discussions, has become somewhat disconnected from the conceptual problems posed by real physics. This, in turn, is because quantum mechanics as discussed in textbooks and in foundational discussions has become somewhat removed from scientific practice, especially where the analysis of measurement is concerned. I will try (i) to present an account of how quantum measurements are actually dealt with in modern physics (hint: it doesn't involve a collapse of the wavefunction) and to state the measurement problem from the perspective of that account; and (ii) to clarify what role decoherence plays in modern measurement theory and what effect it has on the various strategies that have been proposed to solve the measurement problem. (This talk is based on http://arxiv.org/pdf/1111.2187v1.pdf.)
Location: 184 Nieuwland Hall (NOTE LOCATION)
Time: 4:00 - 5:00 pm, Monday, March 26 --> TODAY!