How does the wave function collapse and form objective reality?

Dalga-fonksiyonu-nasıl-çöker-ve-nesnel-gerçekliği-oluştururHow does the quantum probability wavefunction we know from Schrödinger’s cat collapse and form objective reality…or does it really collapse? Is the wave function objectively real, or is objective reality a statistical or subjective construct? Can we precisely measure the position of a particle, or is even what we know of position just momentum reduced to position?

In previous “Is there an objective reality” articles about whether the wave function collapses, the Copenhagen interpretation, multiple worlds and the pilot wave theory, and the holographic universe only exist in the holographic universe? We discussed the argument that there is a subjective reality. In this article, we will see a brand new and different approach: Objective collapse theories.

Wave function and objective collapse

Referring to Nobel Prize-winning physicist Roger Penrose, “For objective collapse theories” We will ask, “Is it gravity crashing the wave function?” In this context, we will look for an answer to the question of why we cannot combine gravity and quantum mechanics and develop a quantum theory of gravity that explains how the universe came into being, and yes: we will briefly touch on Schrödinger’s cat again. 🙂 Those who read my article on Philosophy of Existence will also love this subject. Ready, here we go!

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In the quantum world wave function

In the world of quantum mechanics, it is normal for particles to be in different states at the same time, to teleport between two places, or to affect each other faster than light, as if from afar, with a strange effect. These are superposition, quantum tunneling, and entanglement, respectively. Although these three properties in quantum mechanics are not as mysterious or counterintuitive as one might think, they are quite surprising. Fortunately, nature has compensated for this, and the “weirdnesses” of the quantum world are not usually seen in everyday life. In order to see them with the naked eye, we need to do some exotic experiments.

In any case, approaches such as the Copenhagen interpretation and parallel universes were originally developed to explain the transition from the quantum world to the world of objective reality in which we live. After all, in quantum mechanics, we can only calculate the behavior of a particle in terms of probabilities. We do this with Schrödinger’s probability wave function. Aside from questions like what the wave function is, whether it is real or not, the wave function does not tell us the future; however, it allows us to precisely calculate probabilities of what will happen in the future.

Still, the behavior of a particle (within the probabilities revealed by the wave function) depends on which property you measure or how the particle interacts with other particles. This is the basis of quantum interpretations like the Copenhagen school. Although it is generally accepted in the scientific world that physical interactions and measurements are the same thing, this is a very controversial issue. For details, you can search the blog with the word quantum and especially the articles on Heisenberg microscope, Quantum Darwinism and Quantum Bomb. Back to our topic:

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Why and how does the wave function collapse?

I said that the wave function only allows us to calculate probabilities regarding the future of a particle. However, among the countless possibilities, only certain possibilities occur in this universe. For example, in the real world we live in, in the world of objective reality, an electron goes either to the right or to the left. It doesn’t go both left and right. That’s why you need to update the probability wave function in the Schrödinger equation so that only one probability about the electron occurs when you make a measurement or when the electron interacts with other particles.

So how does that happen?

This is the most fundamental question in the quantum measurement problem.How would you say anyway? According to Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, it is impossible to make 100% accurate measurements, and it is also impossible to precisely control an electron. However, as I’ll come back to later in the article, the wave function is linear. Therefore, when you update the function, only one possibility occurs.

It’s as if the wave function “collapses” out of countless possibilities so that only one possibility occurs! Well, we don’t know if the wave function is any more real. So how does this happen? Will the wave function collapse? How does it crash if it crashes? All interpretations, arguments and theories of quantum mechanics, from the Copenhagen interpretation to parallel universes, arise to answer this question. In this article, we will look at objective collapse theories that ask whether the wave function collapses with gravity. Let’s take a quick look first, starting with the Schrödinger cat with which you are familiar with quantum interpretations:

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Wave function and Schrödinger’s cat

How does the wave function collapse when we say it collapses? If we compare it to the waves in the sea, we can say that the amplitude of the wave narrows like a rope, reflecting the only possibility that occurs, and the wave becomes thinner. The most famous example of this is the Schrodinger cat. You take a cute cat and put it in a box with a poison bottle. There is a hammer attached to the wire at the top of the bottle. If the wire breaks, the hammer falls, hitting the bottle, breaking it, releasing the poisonous gas, which kills the cat.

On the other hand, breaking the wire holding the hammer depends on a radioactive atom. Atoms undergo radioactive decay in accordance with the weak nuclear force. Meanwhile, by emitting a particle into the environment, it turns into a smaller, lighter, more stable and therefore less radioactive atom. It is not clear when the atom will decay by emitting particles. According to the wave function, for example, we know that half of 1 kg of uranium will decay into lead in 4.5 billion years, that’s all.

The quantum fate of a cat

We don’t know when the wire will break with radioactive decay. We do not know when he will break the bottle. In practice, the cat’s survival is left to chance. The atom decays with a 50 percent probability and the cat dies or does not decay and the cat lives for a while. The CAT IS IN SUPERPOSITION as long as you do not look inside the box, that is, do not interfere with this experimental system from the outside. It is both alive and dead… Well… actually, IT IS LIVE OR DEAD; because the cat, the box, and the experiment set are made up of trillions of atoms. Therefore, this system, which is large enough to be seen with the naked eye, does not fit the uncertainty in the quantum world.

The cat-loving Schrödinger had already designed it as a thought experiment. 😊 His aim was to conduct a frivolous experiment that showed bullshit that the quantum world does not operate in the visible world. Yes, we currently magnify the superposition by cooling macroscopic atomic clouds to absolute zero and entangling them, but this is not quite true either. In the real world, we cannot cool objects that much, and we can only see entanglement effects with detectors. Not with the naked eye. In summary, we should see how the quantum world transitions to objective reality with wave function collapse (?) :

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Wave function and uncertainty principle

Werner Heisenberg came up with the idea (based on the uncertainty principle) that the wave function collapsed. Heisenberg and Neils Bohr, the founder of modern atomic theory, believed that the wave function did indeed collapse. This was the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics. However, neither physicist knew when, how and where the wave collapsed. That’s why they made the famous breakthrough of “don’t mess it up” and told the scientists to be quiet and calculate.

However, even though we didn’t speak up, the collapse of the wave function was very confusing. After all, physical systems are made up of trillions of atoms, and they can be partially or fully entangled with each other. Over time, we solved this with the Quantum Darwinism conjuncture, but in the first half of the 20th century, we did not have this mechanism. So people began to think about the Copenhagen interpretation and to develop alternative interpretations.However, at that time, the question of which of us is more real among 7.8 billion people arose. On the other hand, there were those who said that the wave function does not collapse, just opposite the quantum consciousness interpretation. It was as if quantum mechanics had left the hands of physicists and passed into the hands of commentators. In response to this, object collapse theories for the wave function emerged, but before that pilot wave and parallel universes theory came:

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Wave function and parallel universes

Louis de Broglie and David Bohm’ The pilot wave theory developed by . is the easiest to understand; because it reduces quantum physics to classical physics. Accordingly, the probability wave function is actually a mechanical wave. Waves carry particles through space, and “local latent variables” deep down reduce quantum mechanics to classical physics, although we cannot measure the position and momentum of the particles precisely. The Bell inequality experiments have shown very conclusively that there are no local latent variables.

The other interpretation is the MULTI-WORLDS interpretation developed by Hugh Everett and currently advocated by Sean Carroll. Colloquially, we call this the theory of parallel universes. According to this, every possibility that does not happen in this world takes place in parallel universes where your different copies live alternative lives. Universes where you drink tea instead of coffee today, or stay single instead of marrying that man… From this perspective, parallel universes are even more objective in interpretations of quantum mechanics than the pilot wave theory, since they assign a separate universe to each possibility in the wave function!

You can answer the questions of parallel in 5 questions. You can read the titles by typing multi-worlds and parallel universes in the search box, starting with the “universes” article. I recommend you to read from old to new 😉 Yes, I have explained all these comments in related articles, but one subject was missing: Objective collapse theories. Especially the wave function collapses with gravity theory of Nobel Prize-winning physicist Roger Penrose: {2 }

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Objective collapse theories introduction

It all started in 1986 with three Italian physicists: Giancarlo Ghirardi, Alberto Rimini, and Tullio Weber, who, in an article they published that year, put forward the GRW theory of objective collapse, named after their initials. Marginal physicists loved it, and a whole bunch of GRW theories soon emerged. Let’s go back to the Schrodinger probability wave function equation, let’s understand this. This equation is linear. As a matter of fact, the sum of the two results in linear equations is also a valid result. This is where the whole superposition thing comes from.

This is why it is possible to calculate probabilities 100 percent precisely; because even if the wave function of our universe contains infinite possibilities, the sum of all of them will equal 1. In this respect, the Schrödinger equation is a semi-classical theory, especially in its normalized form. Think of the waves in the sea for this. On a summer day with a gentle breeze, the waves overlap like a rope but do not disappear. After tulsi creates patterns, it dissolves and goes its own way. The superposition of waves is superposition. Going its own way indicates the existence of parallel universes according to the multi-worlds interpretation.

What if time flows into the past?

The other feature of the Schrödinger equation is that it is symmetrical in time; that is, if we rewind time like a movie, the laws of physics would work exactly the same. On the other hand, only certain possibilities come true in this world. This happens when the wave function somehow collapses. Moreover, this is an irreversible event; that is, you cannot separate the crashing wave like waves overlapping in the sea. Parallel universes theory is compatible with this; because diverging waves create bifurcated probabilities, that is, alternative universes that derive from the root cause.

Interestingly, according to Bell’s inequality, there are no local latent variables, but the wave function collapses non-locally; that is, when you drink coffee instead of tea, the wave function is updated throughout the universe. As a matter of fact, I explained this in my article on superdeterminism and free will.As a result, once a probability has been realized, you cannot undo it.

Heisenberg and Bohr also developed the Copenhagen interpretation since the realized probabilities are no longer a part of the Schrödinger equation, and said that the wave function collapses. Thus, we have learned enough about the wave function. In particular, we learned what it means for a wave function to be linear. Now we can go into the details of the objective collapse GRW theories:

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The wave function is linear

Ghirardi, Rimini, and Weber added a nonlinear term to the equation for the objective collapse of the wave function. I’ll tell you another time what kind of a witch’s cauldron this boils down to in the world of science and philosophy of science; But if I say that if the wave function is not linear, it is possible to travel to the past and go faster than light, you understand the problem. 😊 However, in GRW theory, we do not make the wave function completely non-linear. We just add nonlinear terms to the equation. Do not confuse the two.

In any case, the term allowed the wave function to collapse objectively and move from the quantum system to objective reality. Do not confuse this with Quantum Darwinism. In that conjuncture, the wave function collapses statistically, not objectively and precisely. Therefore, GRW theories are separated from the generally accepted statistical interpretation of quantum mechanics as objective reality . Meanwhile, we see how the philosophy of science (as opposed to the American school, which disdains philosophy) plays a big role in science. So what’s the point of adding a term to the equation?

In classical quantum mechanics, the wave function collapses in an absolutely unmeasurable and 100 percent random way, just like radioactive decay. In GRW, on the other hand, the physical interactions between particles hit the wave function RANDOMLY, just like billiard balls colliding, but collapse the function with a precise physical interaction. Again, we cannot predict which probability will occur, but the GRW provides us with a precise mathematical mechanism to show how the wave collapses. This is the essence of OBJECTIVE COLLAPSE theories. So why do we do this in a non-linear term?

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{ 3} Dalga-fonksiyonu-nasıl-çöker-ve-nesnel-gerçekliği-oluşturur


Engineers will love this place

Physical systems in nature operate with nonlinear, that is, differential equations. In fact, we cannot calculate anything without differential equations. Even the Schrodinger equation cannot be calculated in its original linear form. To calculate probabilities it is necessary to “normalize” it, which Feynman diagrams provide an easy way to do. In this case, we can say that GRW adds a term to the Schrödinger equation and transforms it into a differential dynamic equation. Of course, I explained it with some simplification.

If you want technical definition: A nonlinear differential equation is a nonlinear differential equation of UNKNOWN FUNCTION AND DERIVATIVES. I’m not going to enter the discussion of what is a linear versus nonlinear equation here. Ask quantum physics professors. There is only one point where GRW and Quantum Darwinism are similar: The wave function in both collapses gradually. Look, this place is also very omelli. I mean, in the Copenhagen interpretation, the wave function mysteriously collapses instantly in the entire universe due to non-local hidden variables.

In the theories of quantum Darwinism and GRW objective collapse, it propagates at the speed of light and collapses gradually in the universe. I really should write a separate post for this relation to super determinism. I’m very curious as to whether non-local hidden variables support the Copenhagen interpretation or Quantum Darwinism. But I think I’ve at least given you a perspective on objective collapse theories. Now let’s see exactly how the nonlinear term in the Schrödinger equation works:

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Wave function and objectivity

will trigger wave function collapse for objective collapse theory to define reality objective (physical) particle “pulses” should rarely occur.The wavefunction seldom collapses when a single particle affects itself. Radioactive decay is also a low probability for a single particle, but high enough to be calculated for 1 kg of uranium.

The rest of the process is similar to Quantum Darwinism: The wave function gradually collapses. This is where the main difference between GRW theories and Quantum Darwinism emerges: in GRW, large objects are not intrinsically quantum. In the quantum Darwinist conjuncture, too, large objects are objective but essentially quantum. Only quantumness has been statistically suppressed in the big world.

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So how do we test objective collapse?

Yeah! This is science, not philosophy. This is not a matter of reasoning. It is necessary to test and show whether it is so in nature. GRW also makes predictions that can be tested as a scientific theory: According to this, pulses should occur with a frequency of 10-16 seconds per particle; that is, it would take 100 million years for a single particle’s function to collapse on its own. Whereas, if you have Avagadro’s number of particles (6 x 1023 particles), the wavefunction collapses in 10 billionths of a second. This shows why large objects are not quantum.

In fact, Continuous Improvisation Localization theories, which we popularized as Quantum Darwinism, were also inspired by GRW objective collapse theories. It is simply their adapted version of the statistical Copenhagen interpretation. If you wish, let’s abbreviate it as CSL for convenience. At CSL, physicists are inspired by Brown’s equation, which shows the mechanical interaction of molecules. As a matter of fact, we show how the pollen particles in the water fluctuate. So much so that we redefine the water surface, defined by Brownian motion in CSL, as a randomly vibrating quantum field (ie semi-classical) in phase space.

Thus, we explain the statistical gradual collapse of the wave function. There is one problem though: Neither CSL nor GRW explain the basic collapse mechanism of the wave function, contrary to what you might think at first glance. Since we do not have a quantum theory of gravity describing gravity, we can only represent collapse mechanisms semi-classically: statistically in CSL and objectively in GRW; however, even GRW cannot explain exactly by what mechanism a particle collapses the wavefunction.


Both assume that an unknown quantum field collapses the wavefunction. So what is this quantum field? After all, it must be very unusual. For example, we know that the electromagnetic field does not collapse the wave function. So what remains? This brings us to the newest theory among the GRW theories, the GRAVITY WAVE FUNCTION COLLAPSE THEORY advocated by Penrose:

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What about gravitational collapse?

First Lajos Diósi and then Roger Penrose into a new quantum field, that is, they thought that there was no need for a fifth physical force. Accordingly, we had a field that we have not used until now: Gravity. Since we could not quantify gravity, we did not think of using gravity in GRW. However, we have the Higgs field.

The Higgs field, which could not add mass to matter particles at high energies at the time of the big bang, experienced a phase transition in a very short time as a result of the expansion and cooling of the universe, and formed a Higgs mechanism that derived the mass. According to Diósi and Penrose, to do this, it is necessary to integrate Einstein’s general theory of relativity, which describes gravity, into the Higgs field.

Thus, two theoretical physicists tried to explain: 1. From the quantum world How is the transition to the classical world and 2. Why can’t we quantize Gravity like other forces? All collapse theories, including GRW, tried to explain the first question, but no one tried to explain the second question. According to them, the answer to the question was also simple… We cannot quantify gravity, we cannot develop a quantum theory of gravity; because the gravitational field is not a quantum field.So is this possible? Let’s explain this in the last part of our article:

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{ 3}Wave function and gravity

Diósi and Penrose said that gravity and the three quantum forces lie at the two extremes of physics. Quantum mechanics describes the little things and gravity describes the big world. For this, it is sufficient to add a sufficient number of massive particles to a certain region in space. Just as it was enough to add enough particles in GRW (a large object made up of trillions of atoms), so in Penrose’s theory it was enough to add enough MASS particles. In this context, neither the GRW nor the GOC say what a probability wave function is.

On the other hand, both argue that the wave function has physical reality. I give these details so that it is easy to understand; because physicists often tell the public their theories as if they were the only ones in the field. Then too, people would come up with a single quantum theory of gravity, string theory, objective collapse theory, etc. thinks there is. No. These are theory and conjuncture, that is, conjecture groups supported by mathematics.

Continuing from here:

For Penrose, gravity cannot quantize, but we can “customize” it by limiting quantum mechanics. If you ask how Penrose justifies this, it’s actually simple: He says that mass space actually bends spacetime. Whereas, according to quantum mechanics, a particle can be in two quantum states at the same time. There is even momentum uncertainty, as we cannot precisely measure the location of a particle according to Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. So much so that a single quantum particle can be in two places at the same time.

However, there cannot be two different spacetime geometries in one place and at the same time. This is impossible. It’s not like defending Penrose’s theory, but if we could actually quantize gravity, two different spacetime geometries would have to exist in a certain place and at the same time. We don’t see anything like this in nature. For example, gravitational waves that are locally derived from single objects, such as black hole mergers, are constantly propagating into space as a field of classical physics. So at least I agree with Penrose that it is impossible to quantize gravity. Well, we have given the context of the Diósi-Penrose theory of gravitational collapse and the reasons for its development. So how does this theory work?

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What is the difference between theory and interpretation?

According to Penrose, the gravitational field created by the mass creates a gravitational field in quantum mechanics that limits the position–momentum uncertainty to the subatomic distance. It customizes quantum mechanics, trapping it in a 3D lattice, almost at a microscopic scale, preventing its effects from spreading out into space, except for semi-classical and purely classical mechanisms. Moreover, whether you accept the GRW theories or the GOW theory, the interaction between quantum mechanics and the gravitational field or that unknown 5th quantum field destabilizes the wave function.

It destabilizes it by forcing it to collapse to realize only one of the possibilities it contains. We show this by adding a nonlinear term to the Schrödinger equation. Contrary to interpretations of lone pilot wave, Copenhagen, holographic universe, and multiple worlds, we can scientifically test all objective collapse theories, including gravitational collapse. So these are quantum theories, not interpretations of quantum mechanics. So let’s test it!

What is quantum entanglement?

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Let’s look at the wave function tests

To directly test the collapse models You take objects like cooled atomic clouds and put them in superposition. Then you look at how long it takes for superposition collapse.Looking at entangled clouds of atoms also allows you to get results in a fraction of a second instead of waiting billions of years to complete the experiment.

However, we have not yet succeeded in entangling atomic clouds large enough to test the gravitational collapse theory. That’s why we try to figure things out with approximate calculations by doing some tricks. We are obviously trying to implicitly understand how often the probability wavefunction collapses. In this context, photons that make up light have no mass, but mass bends space, and bent space deflects photons from its path. So, we can test objective collapse theories with photons that are carriers of electromagnetic force and electrons that carry electrical energy.

For example, gravitational field shakes electrons with mass and they give back the energy they gain by radiating heat. So we can test gravitational collapse theories. As a matter of fact, scientists in Trieste, Italy, measured this radiation effect. To do this, they took an eight-by-eight-centimeter germanium crystal, like a five-by-ten plank, put it in a cryostat and cooled it to absolute zero to see how much radiation it emitted. If there is gravitational collapse, they expected the crystal to emit more heat from random quantum oscillations due to Brownian motion. The temperature difference was so low that it was impossible for them to do this test in the university lab due to ambient noise (radiation). This is why they went underground:

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Afterword for the wave function for now

Fortunately, in the underground Gran Sasso lab, it was possible to reduce the effect of cosmic muons from outer space by 1 million times as the main source of radiation noise that would disrupt the experiment. Moreover, physicists have thoroughly insulated the germanium crystal by wrapping it with layers of copper and lead. In precise measurements made under these conditions, they were able to measure individual photons emitted from germanium. The result?

They measured 576 photons in two months. This number was not enough to prove or falsify Penrose’s theory of gravitational objective collapse. However, they determined quite precisely the range of radiation intensity required for the Diósi–Penrose model to be correct. They even managed to falsify Penrose’s original theory, so Penrose had to update his GOW theory. Also, objective non-gravitational collapse theories await testing.

I frankly find Penrose’s theory of gravitational collapse and the quantum theory of consciousness that he derived from it, together with professor of anesthesia Hameroff, ingenious. The idea of ​​quantum consciousness working with gravitational entanglement, even at the temperature of the human brain, without the need to cool objects to absolute zero to see quantum entanglement, arouses admiration. On the other hand, I think Penrose was wrong about quantum consciousness and possibly the gravitational collapse of the probability wavefunction in the Schrödinger equation.

Still, by scientifically testing the GRW theories, what is the wave function, is it physically real, and if it collapses, how does it collapse? It’s exciting to have the opportunity to put quantum mechanics on the table! We will return to the question of what is a wave function and gravitational collapse in future articles. It will also be awesome to understand how the random, ever-changing random quantum oscillations of the quantum world reveal the concrete objective reality we live in. See you on Starbasekozan live broadcast on Sunday at 9:30 pm, stay safe and well with science!

Schrödinger’s cat

1 Unified dynamics for microscopic and macroscopic systems
2On the Gravitization of Quantum Mechanics 1: Quantum State Reduction


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