The Nature of Consciousness

Piero Scaruffi

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These are excerpts and elaborations from my book "The Nature of Consciousness"

Spontaneous collapse

In the continuing quest to remove randomness from Quantum Theory, the Italian physicist Giancarlo Ghirardi ("Unified Dynamics For Microscopic And Macroscopic Systems", 1986) proposed yet another way to "complete" Quantum Theory and explain the collapse of the wave function. He argued that the actual measurement on a particle forces it to interact with the measuring equipment, and the collapse happens spontaneously.

The US physicist Philip Pearle ("Combining stochastic dynamical state-vector reduction with spontaneous localization", 1989) refined that model with "continuous spontaneous localization" due to fluctuations in a ubiquitous field that varies across time and space. Ghirardi's theory, however, was not compatible with Relativity.

Roderich Tumulka ("A Relativistic Version of the Ghirardi-Rimini-Weber Model", 2006) devised a way to make it merge with the spacetime geometry of Relativity and to account for John Bell's "entanglement" (an apparent violation of Relativity's postulate that nothing can travel faster than light). The price to pay was that the future state of a system would depend on past states as well as the present state (nonlocality not only in space but also in time). Later the British physicist and investment banker Daniel Bedingham ("Relativistic State Reduction Dynamics", 2010) found another way to harmonize spontaneous localization and Relativity (by introducing a mediating field).

Their ideas are expressed mathematically as a nonlinear stochastic term that is added to the linear Schroedinger equation. The Schroedinger equation is a special case of Lindblad equations, which describe a more general universe. Thus expanded, the wavefunction becomes unstable. The bigger the system, the more unstable the equantion. A system made of just a handful of particles is not particularly affected by the nonlinear term, but a system made of many particles is forced to spontaneously collapse immediately.

Thus Schroedinger's cat is both dead and alive for just a split second.


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