Departmental Seminar

What’s wrong (and right) with these elements of reality?

Professor Margaret Reid
Swinburne University of Technology

Abstract: Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen (EPR) presented an argument that quantum mechanics is an incomplete theory. However, the argument assumes local realism which is falsifiable by Bell’s theorem. Here, we re-examine the argument, by presenting a mapping between microscopic and macroscopic Bell tests.  The macroscopic tests involve qubits based on two macroscopically-distinct coherent states and suitable unitary interactions. This compels us to address how the macro-Bell tests can be compatible with the important concept of macroscopic realism. We show that deterministic macroscopic realism is falsified by the macro-Bell tests, and therefore define the weaker assumption that we call “weak macroscopic realism”, which takes into account the dynamics associated with the choice of measurement setting. We show consistency of weak macroscopic realism with the Bell violations, as well as macroscopic versions of Greenberger-Horne-Zeilinger, Wigner’s friend and delayed-choice experiments. This brings us to deduce a macroscopic version of the EPR paradox based on weak macroscopic realism, thereby re-opening the question of the incompleteness of quantum mechanics. We then examine the measurement problem by proposing a model for measurement using simultaneous forward- and backward-propagating equations in time, derived from Q function dynamics. We demonstrate a causal consistency, and distinguish measurable from unobservable variables, which leads to models of realism and causal relations involving loops. We show that the new model supports weak macroscopic realism and explain how consistency with EPR-Bell correlations can be achieved. 

Professor Margaret Reid FAA is Director of the Centre for Quantum Science and Technology Theory at Swinburne University of Technology. She is recognised for her pioneering work in new fundamental tests of quantum theory, including teleportation and cryptography.  

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Date & time

Thu 15 Sep 2022, 1–2pm



Members of RSPE welcome