PQI Seminar: Dr. David Wallace

Dr. Dave Wallace from the University of Pittsburgh gave a talk titled "What is 'Orthodox' Quantum Mechanics?" in the Pittsburgh Quantum Institute Fall Seminar series on Nov. 12th, 2020.

Abstract: What is called "orthodox'' quantum mechanics, as presented in standard foundational discussions, relies on two substantive assumptions --- the projection postulate and the eigenvalue-eigenvector link --- that do not in fact play any part in practical applications of quantum mechanics. I argue for this conclusion on a number of grounds, but primarily on the grounds that the projection postulate fails correctly to account for repeated, continuous and unsharp measurements (all of which are standard in contemporary physics) and that the eigenvalue-eigenvector link implies that virtually all interesting properties are maximally indefinite pretty much always. I present an alternative way of conceptualizing quantum mechanics that does a better job of representing quantum mechanics as it is actually used, and in particular that eliminates use of either the projection postulate or the eigenvalue-eigenvector link, and I reformulate the quantum measurement problem within this new presentation of orthodoxy.