Quantum Physics


Problems of Quantum Mechanics (UET7B)

Authors: H. J. Spencer

This paper re-opens the debate on the failure of quantum mechanics to provide an understandable view of micro-reality. A critique is offered of the commonly accepted ‘Copenhagen Interpretation’ of a theory that is only a mathematical approach to the level of reality characterized by atoms and electrons. This critique is based on the oldest approach to thinking about nature for over 2500 years, known as Natural Philosophy. Quantum mechanics (QM) was developed over the first quarter of the 20th Century, when scientists were enthralled by a new philosophy known as Positivism, whose foundations were based on the assumption that material objects exist only when measured by humans – this central assumption conflates epistemology (knowledge) with ontology (existence). The present critique rejects this human-centered view of reality by assuming material reality has existed long before (and will persist long after) human beings (“Realism”). The defensive view that the micro-world is too different to understand using regular thinking (and only a mathematical approach is possible) is rejected totally. At least 12 earlier QM interpretations are critically analyzed, indicating the broad interest in “what does QM mean?” The standard theory of quantum mechanics is thus constructed on only how the micro-world appears to macro measurements - as such, it cannot offer any view of how the foundations of the world are acting when humans are not observing it - this has generated almost 100 years of confusion and contradiction at the very heart of physics. Significantly, we live in a world that is not being measured by scientists but is interacting with itself and with us. QM has failed to provide explanations: only recipes (meaningless equations), not insights. Physics has returned to the pre-Newtonian world of Ptolemaic phenomenology: only verifiable numbers without real understanding. The focus needs to be on an explicit linkage between the micro-world, when left to itself, and our mental models of this sphere of material reality, via the mechanism of measurement. This limits the role of measurement to confirming our mental models of reality but never confusing these with a direct image of ‘the thing in itself’. This implies a deep divide between reality and appearances, as Kant suggested. This paper includes an original analysis of several major assumptions that have been implicit in Classical Mechanics (CM) that were acceptable in the macroscopic domain of reality, demonstrated by its proven successes. Unfortunately, only a few of these assumptions were challenged by the developers of QM. We now show that these other assumptions are still generating confusions in the interpretation of QM and blocking further progress in the understanding of the microscopic domain. Several of these flawed assumptions were introduced by Newton to support the use of continuum mathematics as a model of nature. This paper proposes that it is the attempt to preserve continuum mathematics (especially calculus), which drives much of the mystery and confusion behind all attempts at understanding quantum mechanics. The introduction of discrete mathematics is proposed to help analyze the discrete interactions between the quintessential quantum objects: the electrons and their novel properties. A related paper demonstrates that it is possible to create a point-particle theory of electrons that explains all their peculiar (and ‘paradoxical’) behavior using only physical hypotheses and discrete mathematics without introducing the continuum mathematical ideas of fields or waves. Another (related) paper proves that all the known results for the hydrogen atom can also be exactly calculated from this new perspective with the discrete mathematics. * Surrey, B.C. Canada (604) 542-2299 spsi99@telus.net Version 2.015 08-05-2017 Begun 23-06-2008 {pp. 82, 70.2 Kw; 800 KB}

Comments: 82 Pages. A milestone paper in the author's research programme.

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[v1] 2017-05-08 18:10:41

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