Perspectives on the measurement problem --- Perspectives from the measurement problem

Staff - Faculty of Informatics

Date: / -

You are cordially invited to attend the PhD Dissertation Defense of Arne Hansen on Tuesday June 23rd, 2020 at 14:30.
Please note that given the updated Covid-19 restrictions, the Dissertation Defense will be held online.
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Abstract:
In quantum mechanics, the measurement problem is commonly regarded as reason for deep concern. How are do we commensurate superposition and unitary time evolution with definite measurement results? It seems that, either, the problem can be solved and there is hope for quantum mechanics, or the theory better be left behind in search of another one. We investigate the prospect of finding a solution to the measurement problem. To this end, we examine what characterizes theories---also beyond quantum mechanics---that are susceptible to a measurement problem. We find that the measurement problem is not restricted to quantum theory but rather constitutes a conflict of epistemological stances that might be present in other theories as well. This observation leads us to turn around the perspective and investigate further assumptions necessary to the common framing of the problem. Drawing from the philosophy of language, we critically review the idea of exhaustively describing a measurement. In this context, we examine the notion of a system in physics, specifically with regards to reference and identity. In light of these considerations, we suggest to regard the measurement problem less as a problem in need of a solution and rather as a starting point for philosophic reflections on fundamental concepts and assumptions in physics.

Dissertation Committee:
- Prof. Stefan Wolf, Università della Svizzera italiana, Switzerland (Research Advisor)
- Prof. Antonio Carzaniga, Università della Svizzera italiana, Switzerland (Internal Member)
- Prof. Igor Pivkin, Università della Svizzera italiana, Switzerland (Internal Member)
- Prof. Caslav Brukner, University of Vienna, Austria (External Member)
- Prof. Christian Wüthrich, Université de Genève, Switzerland (External Member)