Foundations of Physics

, Volume 46, Issue 4, pp 458–472

No-Go Theorems Face Background-Based Theories for Quantum Mechanics


DOI: 10.1007/s10701-015-9973-7

Cite this article as:
Vervoort, L. Found Phys (2016) 46: 458. doi:10.1007/s10701-015-9973-7


Recent experiments have shown that certain fluid-mechanical systems, namely oil droplets bouncing on oil films, can mimic a wide range of quantum phenomena, including double-slit interference, quantization of angular momentum and Zeeman splitting. Here I investigate what can be learned from these systems concerning no-go theorems as those of Bell and Kochen-Specker. In particular, a model for the Bell experiment is proposed that includes variables describing a ‘background’ field or medium. This field mimics the surface wave that accompanies the droplets in the fluid-mechanical experiments. It appears that quite generally such a model can violate the Bell inequality and reproduce the quantum statistics, even if it is based on local dynamics only. The reason is that measurement independence is not valid in such models. This opens the door for local ‘background-based’ theories, describing the interaction of particles and analyzers with a background field, to complete quantum mechanics. Experiments to test these ideas are also proposed.


Bell’s theorem Fluid mechanics Hidden-variable theories Sub-quantum theories Nonlocality Measurement independence Background-based theories 

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    Copyright information

    © Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

    Authors and Affiliations

    1. 1.Institut National de Recherche Scientifique (INRS), and Minkowski InstituteMontrealCanada

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