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Category# Quantum foundations

Summary

Quantum foundations is a discipline of science that seeks to understand the most counter-intuitive aspects of quantum theory, reformulate it and even propose new generalizations thereof. Contrary to other physical theories, such as general relativity, the defining axioms of quantum theory are quite ad hoc, with no obvious physical intuition. While they lead to the right experimental predictions, they do not come with a mental picture of the world where they fit.
There exist different approaches to resolve this conceptual gap:
First, one can put quantum physics in contraposition with classical physics: by identifying scenarios, such as Bell experiments, where quantum theory radically deviates from classical predictions, one hopes to gain physical insights on the structure of quantum physics.
Second, one can attempt to find a re-derivation of the quantum formalism in terms of operational axioms.
Third, one can search for a full correspondence between the mathematical elements of the quantum framework and physical phenomena: any such correspondence is called an interpretation.
Fourth, one can renounce quantum theory altogether and propose a different model of the world.
Research in quantum foundations is structured along these roads.
Quantum nonlocality
Two or more separate parties conducting measurements over a quantum state can observe correlations which cannot be explained with any local hidden variable theory. Whether this should be regarded as proving that the physical world itself is "nonlocal" is a topic of debate, but the terminology of "quantum nonlocality" is commonplace. Nonlocality research efforts in quantum foundations focus on determining the exact limits that classical or quantum physics enforces on the correlations observed in a Bell experiment or more complex causal scenarios. This research program has so far provided a generalization of Bell's theorem that allows falsifying all classical theories with a superluminal, yet finite, hidden influence.
Quantum contextuality
Nonlocality can be understood as an instance of quantum contextuality.

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Related concepts (1)

Davisson–Germer experiment

The Davisson–Germer experiment was a 1923-27 experiment by Clinton Davisson and Lester Germer at Western Electric (later Bell Labs), in which electrons, scattered by the surface of a crystal of nickel metal, displayed a diffraction pattern. This confirmed the hypothesis, advanced by Louis de Broglie in 1924, of wave-particle duality, and also the wave mechanics approach of the Schrödinger equation. It was an experimental milestone in the creation of quantum mechanics.