Physics as Metaphysics - Roderich Tumulka, Rutgers University

November 20th, 2015 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm
The Building for Environmental Research and Technology (BERT), Room 015

Join us for the last lecture in Physics as Metaphysics entitled "The Metaphysics of Quantum Mechanics" featuring Roderich Tumulka of Rutgers University.  A reception will follow in the Corliss Bracket lounge, 45 Prospect St.


Most quantum physicists have long thought that questions about what really happens in a quantum experiment, that is, questions about reality---or the ontology, or the metaphysics---are meaningless or misguided. They thought that a good physicist, in order to avoid mistakes, should restrict herself to operational statements such as: "If we set up an experiment of the kind X, then the outcome will be Y." As I will elucidate, this positivistic attitude has not been helpful. On the contrary, attempts to devise a "realist" theory of quantum mechanics with a clear ontology, such as those of Bohm or Ghirardi-Rimini-Weber, have not only succeeded but have turned out to be superior to orthodox quantum mechanics in many ways. I will explain which ontology for quantum mechanics is suggested by these theories, and how having a clear ontology is relevant, if not essential, for doing physics---even for the math of proving theorems about quantum mechanics. Knowledge of advanced math will not be necessary for understanding this talk