Archive for October, 2011

QC recommends: Emergent Quantum Mechanics

November 11, 2011 to November 13, 2011

The 5th International Heinz von Foerster Conference at the University of Vienna is an international conference about quantum mechanics based on a »deeper level theory«.

Emergent Quantum Mechanics

Heinz von Foerster conference

Keynote speakers:
Stephen L. Adler (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton)
Gerard ‘t Hooft (Spinoza Institute and Univ. Utrecht)
Lee Smolin (Perimeter Institute, Waterloo)

The theme of “emergent quantum mechanics” is, we believe, an appropriate present-day topic, which can both serve as an illustration of von Foerster’s intellectual heritage and, more generally, as a means to point towards promising future directions in physics. We intend to bring together many of those physicists who are interested in or work on attempts to understanding quantum mechanics as emerging from a suitable classical (or, more generally: deeper level) physics, i.e., without the sometimes tedious discussions in conferences on quantum foundations, where the possibility of an emergent quantum mechanics is not even considered as a serious research topic.

[The unresolved puzzles of quantum mechanics] “have inspired a large literature in physics and philosophy. There are two distinct approaches. One is to assume that quantum theory is exact, but that the interpretive postulates need modification, to eliminate apparent contradictions. Many worlds, decoherent histories, Bohmian mechanics, and quantum theory as information, all fall in this category. Although their underlying mathematical formulations differ, empirically they are indistinguishable, since they predict the same experimental results as does standard quantum theory.
The second approach is to assume that quantum mechanics is not exact, but instead is a very accurate approximation to a deeper level theory, which reconciles the deterministic and probabilistic aspects. This may seem radical, even heretical, but looking back in the history of physics, there are precedents. Newtonian mechanics was considered to be exact for several centuries, before being supplanted by relativity and quantum theory, to which classical physics is an approximation. But apart from this history, there is another important motivation for considering modifications of quantum theory. This is to give a quantitative meaning to experiments testing quantum theory, by having an alternative theory, making predictions that differ from those of standard quantum theory, to which these experiments can be compared.”
Stephen L. Adler and Angelo Bassi in Science (2009)

Organizing Institutions:
Heinz von Foerster Gesellschaft / Wien
ASC – American Society for Cybernetics
WISDOM – Wiener Institut für sozialwissenschaftliche Dokumentation und Methodik
Institut für Zeitgeschichte | Universität Wien
AINS – Austrian Institute for Nonlinear Studies

More information: