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Popper's experiment and the interpretation of quantum mechanics.

Zouros, Georgios (2007) Popper's experiment and the interpretation of quantum mechanics. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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Abstract

Popper invented a thought experiment that is alleged to test the Copenhagen interpretation of Quantum mechanics, though not the theory itself. In particular it is alleged to test the application of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle to indirect measurements. The experiment is similar to the EPR thought experiment, but it suffers from some technical flaws. These flaws are examined to see if they affect the validity of the argument; so long as they can be alleviated by technical means, the argument retains its force. The experiment has been recently instantiated, with some resolutions of these technical flaws. The results, on face value seem to vindicate Popper and to indicate a violation of the uncertainty principle. Nevertheless, Kim and Shih, who carried out the experiment, give their own interpretation that suggests that the principle should be considered intact but that the correct way to understand the results is to adopt a new metaphysics. Others suggest different reasons why the results do not amount to a violation of the uncertainty principle. Despite a variety of responses, which are carefully examined, the general point that an interpretation cannot alter the empirical basis of a theory is shown to be true. The importance of Rigolid's work in this connection is emphasized.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Philosophy of Science, Metaphysics
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/2141

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