I have arrived back in Waterloo to start my new hybrid University/Perimeter Institute position. It’s been quite a long break from posting, because – strangely enough – having two affiliations means I had to do twice the amount of paperwork to get myself set-up this time. As much as I loved being at PI, it is nice to be back in a university and to have some small role in educating the next generation of quantum mechanics.
Over the break, Andrew Thomas has left a few comments about the role of decoherence in interpretations of quantum theory in my Professional Jealousy post. There are some who think that understanding decoherence alone is enough to “solve” the conceptual difficulties with quantum theory. This is quite a popular opinion in some quarters of the physics community, where one often finds people mumbling something about decoherence when asked about the measurement problem. However, there are also many deep thinkers on foundations who have denied that decoherence completely solves the problems, and I tend to agree with them, so we’ll have a post on “What can decoherence do for us?” later on this week.
To clarify, I’m not going to argue that decoherence isn’t an important and real physical effect, nor am I going to say that it has no role at all in foundational studies, so please hold your fire until after the next post if you were thinking of commenting to that effect.