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Does observation change the quantum state?

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avatarUdut, Kenneth -- on Jul. 18 2008, from Golden Gate Estates, Naples, FL
Founder of this Naples site of NeighborHelp Referrals.

This always bothered me about quantum theory. Observation, Wave function collapse, many worlds theory, probabilitity, etc.

I never liked this whole thing in quantum physics that "the act of observation changes the state". In other words, simply looking at subatomic particles fixes their place in space and they can no longer behave like a wave.

Now, I'm a pretty smart guy. But for years I thought "observation" means When a human looks at it". How can the human consciousness affect reality? We're not that important!

I was even taught that it was human observation in college by a professor.

At the time it was one of those "Wow man, we control reality". And you see lots and lots of references to that idea in popular culture and in a lot of Atlantian styled subcultures.

i searched the internet this morning, after having been inspired by a Science channel show just called "Atom", and my favorite oriental physicist was talking about observation fixing the state -- and he said one line I hadn't ever heard before, "when a photon strikes, it fixes the state and the direction can no longer be measured".

Ahhhh!!!! a PHOTON -- well, how come nobody ever told ME that before? They just used the term "observation", which means measuring, whether by human eyes or by scientific experiment.

Man, I think the quantum physicists really really need to hammer down this point so that people will stop coming up with weird notions of reality and sticking the word "quantum" to it to make it seem valid.

PART of the problem I see that everybody seems to be missing is this: the idea of an object being 'FIXED' in space.

We're NOT fixed in space. We're doing these quantum experiments on a PLANET that's rotating, moving around a sun, in a galaxy moving around other galaxies, etc etc. You CAN'T fix anything in space because EVERYTHING IS ALWAYS MOVING.

of course, they're talking about the SMALL SCALE -- how things work at tiny distances which IN THEORY isn't affected by the rotation of the planet or anything else around it. But there has to be SOME effect, at least gravity. [and I believe gravity to be divits in the next higher physical dimension).

Anyhow, besides that, there's another annoying thing about quantum stuff:

The supposedly inherent paradox within all matter.

I don't see it as a paradox at all. I see it as catching a ball. The ball stops moving when you catch it. By measuring, you've caught the ball and it's no longer a moving ball (well, it's moving but right along with us on the planet).

The whole "many worlds" idea is silly, that every thing that COULD have existed, DOES exist. Great for science fiction, bad for science.

I think things are particles + waves simultaneously. When you measure them as if they are a wave, they act like waves. When you measure (observe) them as particles, they calculate like particles.

But the trouble isn't reality itself, it's our math. The FUNCTIONS fall apart.


Sam on Jan. 4 2009 edit · delete
Apparently observation does affect quantum state

Quantum Theory Demonstrated: Observation Affects Reality

I'm no expert but I think scientists have factored in the earth's influence on quantum state. In fact, as far as I know quantum theories evolved when scientists discovered that subatomic particles do not follow newton's laws of motion.

I can understand not being comfortable with these concepts, but who said science or truth was going to make us comfortable
Charles on Aug. 19 2011 edit · delete
Maybe you are looking too deeply to see that you do have control over your reality and to the extent that you do personally, you do over reality in general in a small way. Certainly with the mind it is shown that one can control, heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and more. In fact the human body does emit light (photons) although very weak.(See Masaki Kobayashi, Japan)So if you consider the size of a cell in our body (trillions of them) and than the many trillions of molecules in each cell and then the size of those subatomic particles - it seems that even the weak photon a human projects just might be able to have an affect. But then I am an optimist and I have proven to myself that I do have the power to affect reality with my thoughts.
  • Aug 19, 2011

Does observation change the quantum state? This always bothered me about quantum theory. Observation, Wave function collapse, many worlds theory, probabilitity, etc.