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Galilei invariance and the welcher Weg problem

Sen, Rathindra Nath (2013) Galilei invariance and the welcher Weg problem. In: UNSPECIFIED.

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Abstract

If it is possible to detect the path of an atom in a double-slit atom interferometer, then interference will not be observed even if path detection causes no change in the atom's momentum. This fact was explained by Scully et al and Duerr et al by using a principle ofcomplementarity that could not be formulated mathematically, together with a rather peculiar notion of entanglement. We provide an
explanation based on considerations of Galilei invariance, without recourse to any notion of complementarity or entanglement. However, we do have to assume that, under conditions of the experiment, composite systems such as atoms and molecules may be regarded as single particles. This assumption is the basis of modern atom and molecule
interferometry, but it lacks justification from the first principles of quantum mechanics. In our world-view the welcher Weg problem merely highlights this fact. The empirical validity of this assumption seems to reveal an aspect of quantum mechanics which can justly be termed anti-reductionist, and we conclude that use of unnecessarily
strong hypotheses to explain observed phenomena can hide important physical -- and occasionally philosophical -- problems.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Sen, Rathindra Nathrsen@cs.bgu.ac.il
Keywords: Galilei invariance, which-way problem, anti-reductionism
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: Rathindra Nath Sen
Date Deposited: 16 Jul 2013 07:37
Last Modified: 16 Jul 2013 07:37
Item ID: 9882
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Date: 18 July 2013
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/9882

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