What If There's a Way to Explain Quantum Physics Without the Probabilistic Weirdness?This old idea is a crazy idea. It is based on a strange ideological prejudice against probabilities.
An old idea is back in vogue as physicists find support for "pilot wave theory," a competitor to quantum mechanics ...
According to modern notions of quantum physics, at the very smallest scales — in the realm of electrons and photons and quarks — the world is not obvious, direct and deterministic. Rather, the world is one of probabilities. Electrons seem to exist in a cloud of possibilities, inhabiting an area but no particular space. It isn't until you look that this aura of probability collapses and the electron inhabits a particular place.
For some people, such a probabilistic interpretation of the world is simply unnerving. For others, though, the probabilistic interpretation seems unnecessary from a scientific perspective. There might be another way to explain the weird behavior seen in the double-slit experiment that doesn't devolve into quantum mechanics' usual probabilistic weirdness, says Quanta Magazine.
Known as “pilot wave theory” this line of thinking goes that, rather than electrons and other things being both quasi-particles and quasi-waves, the electron is a discrete particle that is being carried along by a separate wave. What this wave is made of no one knows. But recent experimental research shows that, in the lab, particles being carried around by waves will exhibit many of the same weird behaviors that were thought to be exclusive to the domain of quantum mechanics (as seen in the video above).
Not being able to explain what the wave is is a problem, but so is the inherent randomness of modern quantum physics.
The concept of probability pervades modern science. It is often used on quantum mechanics, but no more so that any other branch of science. There is no reason to get of it. Nor is it possible, as any experimental attempt to confirm Bohmian mechanics or pilot wave theory will use the same statistics as with quantum mechanics.
Quantum mechanics does have some mysterious aspects to it, but probability is least of it.
The pilot wave theory approach is to try to nail down the electron as a particle, which it is not. So it becomes a particle attached to a pilot wave, which is a very strange entity that is more mysterious than anything in orthodox quantum mechanics.
So how is that better? There are philosophers who have a mystical belief in nonlocality. They would like to believe that their consciousness is at one with the universe. The Bohm pilot wave theory is nonlocal. So they like it.
Quanta Mag article also says:
Later, the Northern Irish physicist John Stewart Bell went on to prove a seminal theorem that many physicists today misinterpret as rendering hidden variables impossible. But Bell supported pilot-wave theory. He was the one who pointed out the flaws in von Neumann’s original proof. And in 1986 he wrote that pilot-wave theory “seems to me so natural and simple, to resolve the wave-particle dilemma in such a clear and ordinary way, that it is a great mystery to me that it was so generally ignored.”Neglect? I would not say "combined with Einstein's theory" because Einstein stubbornly refused to accept quantum mechanics. The textbooks do explain why he lost the Bohr–Einstein debates. In short, Bohr, Heisenberg, Schroedinger, von Neumann, and quantum mechanics were correct, and Bohm, Einstein, Bell, and hidden variables were wrong.
The neglect continues. A century down the line, the standard, probabilistic formulation of quantum mechanics has been combined with Einstein’s theory of special relativity and developed into the Standard Model, an elaborate and precise description of most of the particles and forces in the universe. Acclimating to the weirdness of quantum mechanics has become a physicists’ rite of passage. The old, deterministic alternative is not mentioned in most textbooks; most people in the field haven’t heard of it. Sheldon Goldstein, a professor of mathematics, physics and philosophy at Rutgers University and a supporter of pilot-wave theory, blames the “preposterous” neglect of the theory on “decades of indoctrination.” At this stage, Goldstein and several others noted, researchers risk their careers by questioning quantum orthodoxy.
Orthodox quantum mechanics has led to about a trillion dollar computer chip economy. Bohm, pilot waves, Bell, and hidden variables have led to nothing.
Update: Lumo piles on:
I've been overwhelmed by the sheer amount of idiocy about quantum mechanics that we may encounter in the would-be scientific mainstream media. A new wave of nonsense claiming that someone overthrew quantum mechanics is appearing on a daily basis. ...
I really can't understand what drives people to saying and even writing these breathtakingly childishly stupid things. If you have a slightly retarded 6-year-old baby, it may ask you why cars move. And you explain to her that there is an elephant inside the car. ...
Clearly, quantum mechanics was too hard and too new for some physicists from the beginning – including a revolutionary named Einstein – so these people clearly didn't belong among the "we" of the people who properly understood quantum mechanics. But even the people who effectively understood quantum mechanics would find some differences in their "interpretation" of quantum mechanics – and the most reasonable ones would point out that the very phrase "interpretation of quantum mechanics" is silly. Quantum mechanics is the new theory so once we describe its rules and axioms, we know them and there's nothing to interpret.