This series consists of talks in the area of Foundations of Quantum Theory. Seminar and group meetings will alternate.
The mathematical formalism of quantum theory has many features whose physical origin remains obscure. In this paper, we attempt to systematically investigate the possibility that the concept of information may play a key role in understanding some of these features. We formulate a set of assumptions, based on generalizations of experimental facts that are representative of quantum phenomena and physically comprehensible theoretical ideas and principles, and show that it is possible to deduce the finite-dimensional quantum formalism from these assumptions.
Collapse models are one of the most promising attempts to overcome the measurement problem of quanum mechanics: they descibe, within one single framework, both the quantum properties of microscopic systems and the classical properties of macroscopic objects, and in particular they explain why measurements always have definite outcomes, distributed according to the Born probability rule.
We will postulate a novel notion of probability; this will involve introducing an extra axiom of probability that seems natural from a Bayesian perspective. We will then provide an analogue of Gleason's theorem for these probabilities. We will also discuss why this approach may be useful for generalizations of quantum theory such as quantum gravity theories; this will involve discussing an analogy between Bayesian approaches and relational approaches.
The problem of associating beables (hidden variables) to QFT, in the spirit of what Bohm did for nonrelativistic QM, is not trivial. In 1984, John Bell suggested a way of solving the problem, according to which the beables are the positions of fermions, in a discretized version of QFT, and obey a stochastic evolution that simulates all predictions of QFT. In the continuum limit, it will be shown that the Bell model becomes deterministic and that it is related to the choice of the charge density as a beable. Moreover, the charge superselection rule is a consequence of the Bell model.
Natural critical phenomena are characterized by laminar periods separated by events where bursts of activity take place, and by the interrelated self-similarity of space-time scales and of the event sizes. One example are earthquakes: for this case a new approach to quantify correlations between events reveals new phenomenology. By linking correlated earthquakes one creates a scale-free network of events, which can have applications in hazard assessment.