General Relativity and Gravitation

, Volume 28, Issue 5, pp 581–600

On Gravity's role in Quantum State Reduction

  • Roger Penrose

DOI: 10.1007/BF02105068

Cite this article as:
Penrose, R. Gen Relat Gravit (1996) 28: 581. doi:10.1007/BF02105068


The stability of a quantum superposition of two different stationary mass distributions is examined, where the perturbing effect of each distribution on the space-time structure is taken into account, in accordance with the principles of general relativity. It is argued that the definition of the time-translation operator for the superposed space-times involves an inherent ill-definedness, leading to an essential uncertainty in the energy of the superposed state which, in the Newtonian limit, is proportional to the gravitational self-energyEΔ of the difference between the two mass distributions. This is consistent with a suggested finite lifetime of the order of ħ/EΔ for the superposed state, in agreement with a certain proposal made by the author for a gravitationally induced spontaneous quantum state reduction, and with closely related earlier suggestions by Diósi and by Ghirardiet al.

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roger Penrose
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Mathematical InstituteUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  2. 2.Center for Gravitational Physics and GeometryPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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