Articles & Reviews
Authored by RSF Research Staff
Quantum Weirdness Replaced by Classical Fluid Dynamics
A French team of scientists, led by Physicists Yves Couder and Emmanuel Fort, investigated alternative possibilities in the wave-particle duality interpretation of the double slit experiment by observing bouncing droplets in a vibrating oil bath. The remarkable results have caught the attention of the public eye as this approach may resolve some of the weirdest behaviors of particles at the quantum scale. Couder and Fort demonstrate in a simple experiment that fluid dynamics may be the classical underlying mechanism of quantum particles apparent strange behaviors without resorting to the need for a mysterious and seemingly magical interpretation of modern quantum theory.
It is my firm belief that the last seven decades of the twentieth century will be characterized in history as the dark ages of theoretical physics. Carver Mead – from his book Collective Electrodynamics
I no longer regard this [statistical] interpretation as a finally satisfactory one, even if it proves useful in practice. To me it seems to mean a renunciation, much too fundamental in principle, of all attempt to understand the individual process. Erwin Schrödinger
Enter quantum weirdness: wave-particle duality, nonlocality, quantum tunneling, multiple worlds, retrocausality, quantum teleportation, entanglement, indeterminism, and observer-dependent results. It’s no wonder physicists have been driven half-insane over the last 70 years, since the development of the Copenhagen Interpretation - by Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg – in an attempt to describe the results of the Thomas Young double-slit experiment. While today this model is certainly the consensus paradigm, Albert Einstein strongly contested this interpretation of quantum mechanics. However, in a famous debate in 1929 it was largely perceived that Bohr bested Einstein in his ability to explain the phenomena being observed in quantum experimentations with the Copenhagen Interpretation. In hindsight, it is apparent that Einstein was not bested, just too far ahead of his time – for there were several significant discoveries that would not be made for another 20 – 30 years that would have offered Einstein and his theoretical position strong empirical support, such as:
1933 Persistent Current in Superconducting Ring
1933 Expulsion of Magnetic Field by Superconductor
1960 Atomic Laser
1961 Quantized Flux in Superconducting Ring
1962 Semiconductor Laser
1964 Superconducting Quantum Interference Device
1980 Integer Quantum Hall Effect
1981 Fractional Quantum Hall Effect
1996 Bose–Einstein Condensate
2001 Macroscopic Entanglement
Each of these discoveries has made a profound difference in the way we view the physical world. Each represents a coherent, collective state of matter. Each embodies a fundamental quantum principle, which is exhibited on a macroscopic scale. Each has been investigated exclusively by electromagnetic means. There have been, however, alternative explanations for quantum phenomena, which unlike the Copenhagen Interpretation, maintain determinism and realism where events at the quantum scale are not inherently stochastic, or probabilistic, and are not entirely contingent on the act of observation - the observer only influences experiments by virtue of themselves being a macroscopic quantum assembly. One such explanation, with strong theoretical and empirical support, is the Pilot Wave Theory, developed by Louis de Broglie in 1927, and later developed into the De Broglie-Bohm causal interpretation of quantum mechanics. The pilot-wave theory contains the normal wavefunction associated with quantum mechanics (a probability amplitude that describes all possible configurations over space, which is seen as purely a mathematical abstraction) but an actual wavefunction configuration in space as well, that exists independently of whether or not it is being observed, i.e. it’s real.
Interestingly, there have recently been experiments performed that show that this interpretation of quantum mechanics may have empirical support. Physicists Yves Couder and Emmanuel Fort have reproduced many of the effects seen in quantum experiments, however they have done so using a macroscopic system. By rapidly vibrating an oil bath, Couder and Fort were able to bounce silicon droplets on the surface, and instead of sinking into the fluid, the droplets produce waves through the medium as they “walked” along the surface. The researchers effectively produced a macroscopic pilot-wave system capable of reproducing all of the features previously considered to be exclusive to the quantum scale, such as: single-particle diffraction, tunneling, quantized orbits, and orbital level splitting. Now such systems are known as hydrodynamic quantum analogs. Despite the success of these experiments, and the seeming restoration of sanity they provide, many physicists are still skeptical about the ability of pilot-wave theories to accurately explain all quantum phenomena. One such area of contention, is in the issue of nonlocality. In the de Broglie-Bohm Interpretation, quantum events are inherently nonlocal: because the vector of any one particle is a function of the pilot-wave, which depends on the global configuration of the entire universe. The problem arises as many physicists claim that the fluid dynamics of hydrodynamic quantum analogs, such as Couder’s and Emmanuel’s system, cannot explain nonlocality. Now enter physicist Nassim Haramein, who has described how nonlocality can occur in a hydrodynamic system analogy to spacetime. For years Haramein has claimed that the double-slit experiment and the Copenhagen interpretation could be reinterpreted in fluid dynamics, where the fluid is the structure of spacetime and at the quantum level is composed of little electromagnetic oscillators of the Planck size, also known as zero-point vacuum energy in quantum field theory. In his early papers with Dr. Rauscher, he described the fluid dynamics of spacetime by incorporating torque and Coriolis effects into Einstein’s field equations, showing that the structure of spacetime is not merely curved to produce gravity but as well curled, like water spinning down the drain. In his latest paper, Quantum Gravity and the Holographic Mass, Haramein demonstrates that by calculating the ratio relationship of surface to volume vacuum Planck oscillators (in the water analogy those would be the atoms of the water molecules that make up the fluid), one could obtain the exact value for the gravitational mass of black holes, typically obtained utilizing Einstein’s general relativity. He applies the same technique to the quantum level of protons and gets the correct answer as well for the mass of the proton and it’s radius, unifying gravitational theory with the quantum world, or quantum gravity. During his holographic mass calculations, Haramein found that all the information of all the other protons in the universe was equivalent, in terms of energy, to all the little Planck vacuum fluctuations inside one proton volume, as if they were all connected through this fundamental “fluid” field by a network of micro-wormhole “eddies”, which he discussed in public talks and at the CASYS ’11 conference in Belgium.
To understand this, we look further than what is directly obvious, we go beyond the surface area of what is seen, and into the depths below to obtain the insights into how nonlocality may be working in a hydrodynamic system. While it is true that on the surface, as the silicon droplet bounce along producing waves, we do not see any obvious connection between the vortices and eddies that are created, if we could look below the surface we may see something quite surprising. In fluid dynamics, it has been observed that two vortices, or eddies, when produced simultaneously (such as in entanglement experiments) actually remain connected below the surface via a vortexing tunnel – like a wormhole! This vortexing tunnel beneath the surface, would allow for a seemingly hidden connection between the “particles-waves”, and allow for them to be correlated even over time and space. Such wormholes were described by Einstein and Rosenberg (ER bridges) and later John Wheeler as a logical consequence of geometrodynamics – the topological description of spacetime. Could they now be used to describe the quantum realm as well? In his latest paper, acclaimed physicist Leonard Susskind, contributor to the holographic principle, demonstrated that the entanglement between particles may be due to wormhole networks in the structure of spacetime. From all of this, a completely new picture of the quantum world is now developing where particle to particle interactions and behavior that were previously in the realm of the magical quantum weirdness are now being found to be grounded in very clear mechanisms of the structure of spacetime itself. As we continue to investigate our physical universe in ever more clever ways, we may begin to come back to a sense of unification – leaving the quantum and relativistic dichotomous worldview behind – and finding more and more that there is a great coherence, resonance, and oneness to our reality.
By: William Brown