On 7/11/2012 11:14 AM, Stephen P. King wrote:
On 7/11/2012 1:50 PM, John Clark wrote:
A new particle has certainly been found and in the unlikely event it is not the Higgs
the response of most physicists would not be "oh, no" but pure delight because then it
is something unexpected and even more exotic than the Higgs helping us find new
knowledge. If 15 years from now the LHC finds the Higgs and nothing else then they
would say "oh,no" because it would have only found what was expected to find, the
discovery that the Higgs did not exist would be much more exciting.
John K Clark
I profoundly disagree. What was found was a curve when the raw data was graphed in a
particular way. There is no proof that this curve is uniquely representational of some
"particle". The point of the "Oh, no!" is, IMHO, an illustration of the problem of a
bias toward a particular measurement basis. We simply are ignoring the fact that QM is
telling us that Nature does not have a preference for any particular measurement basis.
But it does. This is discussed extensively by Schlosshauer in his review
arXiv:quant-ph/0312059v4 <http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/0312059v4>. From page
2. Selection of quasiclassical properties
System-environment interaction Hamiltonians frequently
describe a scattering process of surrounding particles
(photons, air molecules, etc.) interacting with the
system under study. Since the force laws describing such
processes typically depend on some power of distance
(such as ? r-2 in Newton's or Coulomb's force law),
the interaction Hamiltonian will usually commute with
the position basis, such that, according the commutativity
requirement of Eq. (3.21), the preferred basis will be
in position space. The fact that position is frequently
the determinate property of our experience can then be
explained by referring to the dependence of most interactions
on distance (Zurek, 1981, 1982, 1991).
This holds, in particular, for mesoscopic and macroscopic
systems, as demonstrated, for instance, by the
pioneering study of Joos and Zeh (1985), in which sur14
rounding photons and air molecules are shown to continuously
"measure" the spatial structure of dust particles,
leading to rapid decoherence into an apparent (improper)
mixture of wave packets that are sharply peaked in position
space. Similar results sometimes even hold for microscopic
systems (usually found in energy eigenstates;
see below) when they occur in distinct spatial structures
that couple strongly to the surrounding medium.
For instance, chiral molecules such as sugar are always
observed to be in chirality eigenstates (left-handed and
right-handed) which are superpositions of different energy
eigenstates (Harris and Stodolsky, 1981; Zeh, 2000).
This is explained by the fact that the spatial structure
of these molecules is continuously "monitored" by the
environment, for example, through the scattering of air
molecules, which gives rise to a much stronger coupling
than could typically be achieved by a measuring device
that was intended to measure, say, parity or energy; furthermore,
any attempt to prepare such molecules in energy
eigenstates would lead to immediate decoherence
into environmentally stable ("dynamically robust") chirality
eigenstates, thus selecting position as the preferred
On the other hand, it is well known that many systems,
especially in the microsopic domain, are typically found
in energy eigenstates, even if the interaction Hamiltonian
depends on a different observable than energy, e.g., position.
Paz and Zurek (1999) have shown that this situation
arises when the predominant frequencies present in
the environment are significantly lower than the intrinsic
frequencies of the system, that is, when the separation
between the energy states of the system is greater than
the largest energies available in the environment. Then,
the environment will only be able to monitor quantities
that are constants of motion. In the case of nondegeneracy,
this will be energy, thus leading to the environmentinduced
superselection of energy eigenstates for the system.
We humans do indeed have a bias due to our over-dependence on our binocular vision when
it comes to our imaginations of the basic properties of our universe.
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