Advertisement

Foundations of Physics

, Volume 44, Issue 7, pp 709–724 | Cite as

On the Identification of the Parts of Compound Quantum Objects

  • Gregg Jaeger
Article

Abstract

A view of the constitution of quantum objects as reducible, in the sense of being decomposable to elementary particles, is outlined. On this view, parts of composite quantum systems are considered to be identified according to a recently introduced, specifically quantum notion of individuation (Jaeger, Found Phys 40:1396 2010). These parts can typically also be considered particles according to Wigner’s symmetry-based notion. Particles are considered elementary when they satisfy a condition of elementarity, newly introduced here, that improves on that provided by Newton and Wigner. In any given instance, the compound character of a physical object can be verified in principle by decomposition, ultimately to a set of such elementary parts, through appropriate precise quantum measurements during experimentation consistently with this principle of individuation.

Keywords

Quantum theory Reduction Composite system Object Particle 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was supported by the DARPA QUINESS program through U.S. Army Research Office Award No. W31P4Q-12-1-0015. I would also like to thank Brigitte Falkenburg for helpful comments.

References

  1. 1.
    Falkenburg, B.: Particle Metaphysics. Springer, Heidelberg (2007)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Wigner, E.P.: On unitary representations of the inhomogeneous Lorentz group. Ann. Math. 40, 149 (1939)CrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Jaeger, G.: Quantum Objects. Springer, Berlin (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bell, J.S.: On the Einstein–Podolsky–Rosen paradox. Physics 1, 195 (1964)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Clauser, J.F., Horne, M., Shimony, A., Holt, R.A.: Proposed experiments to test local hidden-variable theories. Phys. Rev. Lett. 23, 880 (1973)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Einstein, A.: Physics, philosophy, and scientific progress, Speech to the International Congress of Surgeons in Cleveland. Ohio; reprinted as Phys. Today 58(6), 46 (2012)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Stachel, J.: Einstein and the quantum: Fifty years of struggle. In: Colodny, R.G. (ed.) From Quarks to Quasars, p. 349. University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh (1986)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Reichenbach, H.: Philosophic Foundations of Quantum Mechanics. University of California Press, Berkeley (1944)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Feynman, R.P.: QED. Princeton University Press, Princeton (1985)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Miller, A.J., Nam, S.W., Martinis, J.M., Sergienko, A.V.: Demonstration of low-noise near-infrared photon counter with multiphoton discrimination. Appl. Phys. Lett. 83, 791 (2003)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Clifton, R.: The subtleties of entanglement and its role in quantum information theory. Phil. Sci. 69, S150 (2002)CrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Jaeger, G.: Potentiality and causation. AIP Conf. Proc. 1424, 387 (2012)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Newton, T.D., Wigner, E.: Localized states for elementary systems. Rev. Mod. Phys. 21, 400 (1949)ADSCrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Jaeger, G.: What in the (quantum) world is macroscopic? Am. J. Phys. (in press)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Wigner., E. P.: The subject of our discussions. In: Foundations of Quantum Mechanics. Proceedings of the International School of Physics “Enrico Fermi”, p. 7. Academic Press, London (1971)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Cushing, J.T.: Quantum Mechanics: Historical Contingency and the Copenhagen Hegemony. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago (1994)zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Birkhoff, G., von Neumann, J.: The logic of quantum mechanics. Ann. Math. 37, 823 (1936)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Heisenberg, W.: Physics and Philosophy. Harper and Row, New York (1958)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Busch, P., Jaeger, G.: Unsharp quantum reality. Found. Phys. 40, 1341 (2010)ADSCrossRefzbMATHMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Suppes, P.: A Probabilistic Theory of Causality. North-Holland Publishing Company, Amsterdam (1970)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Einstein, A., Podolsky, B., Rosen, N.: Can quantum-mechanical description of physical reality be considered complete? Phys. Rev. 47, 777 (1935)ADSCrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Jaeger, G.: Individuation in quantum mechanics and space-time. Found. Phys. 40, 1396 (2010)ADSCrossRefzbMATHMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Landau, L.: Das dämpfungsproblem in der wellenmechanik. Z. Phys. 45, 430 (1927)ADSCrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Maudlin, T.: Part and whole in quantum mechanics. In: Castellani, E. (ed.) Interpreting Bodies, Ch. 3. Princeton University Press, Princeton (1998)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Quantum Communication and Measurement Laboratory, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Division of Natural Science and MathematicsBoston UniversityBostonUSA

Personalised recommendations