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Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. A view of our Universe. In From Leonardo to Iter, Nonlinear and Coherence Aspects

Conference paper
Authors Ingvar Lindgren
Published in AIP Conference Proceedings
Volume 1177
Pages 10-17
Publication year 2009
Published at Department of Physics (GU)
Pages 10-17
Language en
Keywords Keywords: quantum mechanics, interpretation, many worlds, decoherence, anthropic principle
Subject categories Atomic physics, Cosmology


The interpretation of quantum mechanics has been disputed ever since the advent of the theory in the 1920’s. Famous are the discussions over long time between Einstein and Bohr. Einstein refused to accept the so-called Copenhagen interpretation, where the wave function collapses at a measurement and where the outcome of the measurement is essentially accidental ("God does not play dice"). Alternative interpretations have appeared, but the Copenhagen school has dominated the thoughts throughout the decades. One interesting interpretation was formulated in 1957 by Hugh Everett at Princeton, a student of John Wheeler, which abandons the wave-function collapse. In this model the universe is governed entirely by the Schrödinger equation, which does not allow for any collapse. In Everett’s model after a measurement the wave function is separated into different branches that do not interact. This model was left unnoticed for long time until Bryce DeWitt took it up in 1970 and termed it "Many-Worlds Interpretation", a term that in some sense is misleading. Everett’s model is incomplete, and it was later supplemented by the theory of decoherence, which explains how the different branches decouple as a result of the interaction with the environment. This extended model has in recent years gained increased respect, and some believe that it is the only model made available so far that is fully consistent with quantum mechanics. This interpretation can also shed some light on the development of the universe and, in particular, on the so-called Anthropic principle, which puts human beings at the center of the development.

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