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School of Physics Colloquium: Dr. Larry Schulman of Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY
As experiments probe quantum phenomena ever more deeply, it becomes difficult to believe that there is anything other than pure, unitary, quantum time evolution. Without wave-function collapse, the physicist is left with the many-worlds interpretation as the source of quantum indeterminism. (I say "physicist" because I can't defend against all philosophical contortions.)
However, if one is willing to take a radical view of statistical mechanics, it is possible to have only unitary time evolution, and still have a single "world." I will explain just what that radical departure is and how one achieves quantum determinism. A basic assumption/explanation with be "special" microscopic states. Finally, I will describe an experimental test of these ideas that is well within the realm of feasibility.