This series consists of talks in the area of Foundations of Quantum Theory. Seminar and group meetings will alternate.
A very general way of describing the abstract structure of quantum theory is to say that the set of observables on a quantum system form a C*-algebra. A natural question is then, why should this be the case - why can observables be added and multiplied together to form any algebra, let alone of the special C* variety? I will present recent work with Markus Mueller and Howard Barnum, showing that the closest algebraic cousins to standard quantum theory, namely the Jordan-algebras, can be characterized by three principles having an informational ﬂavour, namely: (1) a generalized spectral de
It is certainly possible to express ordinary quantum mechanics in the framework of a real vector space: by adopting a suitable restriction on all operators--Stueckelberg’s rule--one can make the real-vector-space theory exactly equivalent to the standard complex theory. But can we achieve a similar effect without invoking such a restriction? In this talk I explore a model within real-vector-space quantum theory in which the role of the complex phase is played by a separate physical system called the ubit (for “universal rebit”). The ubit is a single binary real-vector-space quantum objec
The distinction between a realist interpretation of quantum theory that is psi-ontic and one that is psi-epistemic is whether or not a difference in the quantum state necessarily implies a difference in the underlying ontic state. Psi-ontologists believe that it does, psi-epistemicists that it does not. This talk will address the question of whether the PBR theorem should be interpreted as lending evidence against the psi-epistemic research program.
It is sometimes pointed out as a curiosity that the state space of quantum theory and actual physical space seem related in a surprising way: not only is space three-dimensional and Euclidean, but so is the Bloch ball which describes quantum two-level systems. In the talk, I report on joint work with Lluis Masanes, where we show how this observation can be turned into a mathematical result: suppose that physics takes place in d spatial dimensions, and that some events happen probabilistically (dropping quantum theory and complex amplitudes altogether).
One of the most important open problems in physics is to reconcile quantum mechanics with our classical intuition. In this talk we look at quantum foundations through the lens of mathematical foundations and uncover a deep connection between the two fields. We show that Cantorian set theory is based on classical concepts incompatible with quantum experiments. Specifically, we prove that Zermelo-Fraenkel axioms of set theory (and the background classical logic) imply a Bell-type inequality.
We establish a tight relationship between two key quantum theoretical notions: non-locality and complementarity. In particular, we establish a direct connection between Mermin-type non-locality scenarios, which we generalise to an arbitrary number of parties, using systems of arbitrary dimension, and performing arbitrary measurements, and a new stronger notion of complementarity which we introduce here. Our derivation of the fact that strong complementarity is a necessary condition for a Mermin scenario provides a crisp operational interpretation for strong complementarity.
I present our work on inferring causality in the classical world and encourage the audience to think about possible generalizations to the quantum world. Statistical dependences between observed quantities X and Y indicate a causal relation, but it is a priori not clear whether X caused Y or Y caused X or there is a common cause of both. It is widely believed that this can only be decided if either one is able to do interventions on the system, or if X and Y are part of a larger set of variables.
In the de Broglie-Bohm pilot-wave theory, an ensemble of fermions is not only described by a spinor, but also by a distribution of position beables. If the distribution of positions is different from the one predicted by the Born rule, the ensemble is said to be in quantum non-equilibrium. Such ensembles, which can lead to an experimental discrimination between the pilot-wave theory and standard quantum mechanics, are thought to quickly relax to quantum equilibrium in most cases.