Foundations of Chemistry

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 225–240 | Cite as

Isomerism and decoherence

  • Sebastian Fortin
  • Olimpia LombardiEmail author
  • Juan Camilo Martínez González


In the present paper we address the problem of optical isomerism embodied in the socalled “Hund’s paradox”, which points to the difficulty to account for chirality by means of quantum mechanics. In particular, we explain the answer to the problem proposed by the theory of decoherence. The purpose of this article is to challenge this answer on the basis of a conceptual analysis of the phenomenon of decoherence, that reveals the limitations of the theory of decoherence to solve the difficulties posed by optical isomerism and, in general, by quantum measurement.


Isomerism Chirality Hund’s paradox Quantum mechanics Decoherence 



We are very grateful to Eric Scerri for our discussions about the problem of isomerism. This publication was made possible through the support of grant 57919 from the John Templeton Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sebastian Fortin
    • 1
  • Olimpia Lombardi
    • 2
    Email author
  • Juan Camilo Martínez González
    • 1
  1. 1.CONICET –Universidad de Buenos AiresBuenos AiresArgentina
  2. 2.CONICET –Universidad de Buenos Aires-Theiss ResearchLa JollaUSA

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