Date of Award
Honors Thesis (Open Access)
Colby College. Physics and Astronomy Dept.
The first famous thought experiment of Einstein gives rise to his theories of relativity, the bedrock of modern astrophysics and cosmology. His second famous thought experiment begins the investigation into the foundations of quantum mechanics. It leads to a paradox, inspiring various 'no-go' theorems proven by Bell, Kochen, and Specker. Physicists and philosophers worldwide become increasingly dissatisfied with the probabilistic complementarity interpretation (Born-Bohr) and eventually offer their own accounts of the theory. By the end of the 20th century two alternative approaches stand out as the best candidates: Both the hidden variables interpretation (de Broglie-Bohm) and the many worlds interpretation (Everett-DeWitt) give compelling descriptions of what the true nature of quantum reality could be. In this paper, a chronological overview of all these events is given, followed by a philosophical analysis of the three aforementioned interpretations. Ultimately it is concluded that the many worlds interpretation should be adopted as the best understanding of the formalism of quantum mechanics and, therefore, should be used in the multiversity textbooks.
Recommended CitationJohnson, Cory, "Foundations and interpretations of quantum mechanics" (2008). Honors Theses. Paper 129.
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