Quantum mechanics without mysteries

Quantum physics tends to generate a sense of mystery,

  • perhaps for historical reasons,
  • perhaps to generate the interest of laymen in physics (''quantum teleportation'' simply sounds much more impressive than ''copying the state of a photon''),
  • perhaps because emphasis in layman accounts of quantum mechanics is put on thought experiments rather than real experiments,
  • perhaps because it is too often poorly explained.

    But there is nothing mysterious about quantum mechanics if it is understood in the way it is actually practiced -- rather than in the way it is customarily talked about.

    A very unmysterious derivation of the Born rule is given in Section 10.5 of my book

    Chapter 10 discusses the interpretation of quantum physics in terms of models and observables. The Bayesian (information-based) view of probabilities and its limitations is presented in Sections 7.6 and 7.7.

    See also Sections 3-5 of my slides A. Neumaier, Optical models for quantum mechanics, Slides of a lecture given on February 16, 2010 at the Institute for Theoretical Physics, University of Giessen.

    The above references define the already fully worked out part of the formal core of my thermal interpretation of quantum mechanics, outlined in my essay Foundations independent of measurements.

    Arnold Neumaier (Arnold.Neumaier@univie.ac.at)
    A theoretical physics FAQ