Talk:Copenhagen interpretation

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Misinterpretation of the Bohrian view[edit]

I believe that this article incorrectly attributes a positivist slant to Bohrs interpretation. Although this is indeed the view taken by his student Heisenberg, and is often taken as being representative of the copenhagen interpretation, it is not true of Bohrs ideas (regardless of whether they make it into the definition of the cophenhagen interpretation). I myself still struggle to come to terms with Bohrs relationist notions of measurement and reality, but I am certain that it is unfortunately not as simple as a positivism.

Also with regards to whether interpretations of QM is a subject for physics or metaphysics, it is as much physics as Einsteins deriving of the lorentz transformations (ie. special relativity). Both attempt to clarify and extend an existing operationally adequete although conceptually incomplete theory by questioning what relation the theory has to reality.


Made a few corrections[edit]

Mainly POV things.

I removed the phrase

"Einstein's Relativity demonstrates that "instantaneous" has meaning only for observers sharing a single reference frame. No universal time reference exists so the "instantaneous wave function collapse" of the Copenhagen Interpretation is left undefined."

since it builds on the misunderstanding that the wave function collapse should be understood as a physical process (it should not). The "instantaneous wave function collapse" is not really a problem in quantum field theory or relativistic quantum mechanics, and in the various "delayed choice" experiments as well as in Einstein and Rosens article on the subject from 1931 we see that the shift involved in the observation/reduction of the wave function is so fundamental it actually stretches backwards in time.

Most taught interpretation?[edit]

In the introduction, there is currently a citation needed flag on the claim that the Copenhagen interpretation is one of the most commonly taught interpretations. As someone in the field, this fact seems self evident and not really requiring of a citation - nonetheless, I know that's not how wikipedia works. The citation added explicitly states it is the most commonly taught at the beginning of section 4.8 here (link opens pdf, but article citation leads to the meta page). Other possible support comes from this (link opens pdf) study on page 15, which in my opinion obliquely implies it is the most commonly taught (in that it is the most commonly held, and most people who hold it have not changed their preference in interpretation). Further this article explicitly claims it is often the first and only interpretation taught. I went with the original study as I felt it had more legitimacy. Fireballs619 (talk) 14:31, 26 March 2019 (UTC)

I suspect it is more commonly taught, though I am even more sure that Newtonian mechanics is taught more than QM. Newtonian mechanics is taught in high-school physics, and in the earlier years in college, where many will only take one or two years. On the other hand, measurement problem indicates probably still the most widely held interpretation of quantum mechanics (regarding CI) and there is discussion on that one. Like Newtonian mechanics, CI works much of the time, and people who use it (should) know when it works. Newtonian mechanics has been known to be wrong for over 100 years, yet they still teach it. CI has been questioned for a long time, with more and more experiments showing its problems. Gah4 (talk) 18:26, 26 March 2019 (UTC)
Most physicists were perfectly happy with the jumble of ideas that purportedly constituted the Copenhagen interpretation itself, since the question about the meaning of quantum physics had little bearing on their work.[1]

Feynman video and recent book.[edit]

here is a link to a Richard Feynman lecture at Cornell. He conveniently never mentions interpretations. More recently there is the book Through Two Doors at Once which, among others, explains the results of some more recent experiments. The rules of QM haven't changed much over the years. Experiments comparing interpretations, especially CI, against the known QM rules always seem to show the QM is right, and interpretations wrong. (Probably that should trace back to Schrodinger's cat.) Gah4 (talk) 18:42, 26 March 2019 (UTC)

As an interpretation, the CI does not conflict with any known observations of QM. I am not sure what you mean by the claim the "QM is right, and interpretations are wrong". Do you mean that the equations of QM correctly predict observation? Because interpretations concern themselves with what those equations *mean*, and do not propose their own equations as alternatives. Fireballs619 (talk) 19:20, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
The What is Real[1] book is pretty much a history and current state of interpretations of QM. Maybe it should be required reading for editors of this page. Otherwise, I am not sure I can say more about it. Gah4 (talk) 19:41, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
I have read that book, and maintain by claim that the CI does not conflict with any know experiment. Indeed, I am still not sure even what you mean that "QM is right, and interpretations are wrong". In any case, can you clarify what changes you are proposing by mentioning the Feynman video and book? Fireballs619 (talk) 16:05, 3 July 2019 (UTC)


  1. ^ a b Becker, Adam (2018). What is Real?. New York: Basic Books. p. 84. ISBN 9780465096053.