Saturday 21 August 2010

A theory based on information solves the mysteries of quantum mechanics

OK, I know that is a little bit of a simplification! But it looks like information is at least part of the answer.

Amplify’d from

Is quantum theory weird enough for the real world?

That was all true until quantum theory arrived on the scene. Quantum theory is odd, not just because its weird predictions are a source of consternation for physicists and philosophers, but because its mathematical structures bear no obvious connection to the real world, as far as we can see. "We do not have a source for the mathematical formalism of quantum mechanics," says Časlav Brukner of the University of Vienna in Austria. "We do not have a nice physically plausible set of principles from which to derive it." Quantum physics might be quantum - but as far as we can tell it isn't physics.

Popescu and Rohrlich had shown that the principle of "relativistic causality" alone was not the answer: the cosmic speed limit set in Einstein's relativity can produce theories that allow greater correlation than quantum mechanics. That prompted Marek Zukowski of the University of Gdansk, Poland, and colleagues to suggest last year that a tighter variant of the principle might do the trick.

They call their idea "causality of information access". It states that if you send me a certain number of bits of information, the maximum amount of information I can access is that number of bits - a truism in both the classical and the quantum worlds. "Say I want to send you a part of my nine-digit home phone number in an encoded form," says Zukowski. "If I send you information about the first three digits, you can only decode the first three digits."


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