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