Articles & Reviews
Authored by RSF Research Staff
Spacetime geometry in quantum mechanics
How quantum gravity describes the inner workings of particle physics: the quantum geometry of entanglement – advances beyond the Copenhagen interpretation.
By William Brown
In a recent paper by the leading theoretical physicist Leonard Susskind, director of the Stanford Institute for Theoretical Physics, a major conundrum of Copenhagen quantum mechanics is addressed as Susskind takes head-on the elephant-in-the-room for the major model of particle physics. The study begins by identifying one of the major shortfalls of the Copenhagen Interpretation, namely that it requires a single external observer who is not a part of the system under study. This requirement has led to a fair amount of confusion and logical inconsistencies when trying to understand the relation between the multiplicity of observers and the system under observation. Obviously, the situation required by the Copenhagen Interpretation is untenable, as the universe is full of subsystems that can play the role of observer, and there is no true isolation of a system such that it can evolve independently of “measurements”.
In the research paper The Unified Spacememory Network published in the Journal of NeuroQauntology, physicist Nassim Haramein, biophysicist William Brown, and astrophysicist Amira Val Baker, elaborate on this point of the multiplicity of observers, or “subsystems”, to set-up the foundation for a discussion of an ontological model of the physics of consciousness, exposing some of the logical inconsistencies of Copenhagen quantum mechanics along the way.
In the USN manuscript Haramein et alia state:
An investigation of the nature of consciousness, as it turns out, is inextricably linked with the exploration of the nature of reality. This is epitomized in the centuries-old adage “if a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” To what degree and extent is objective reality dependent on the observer? Clearly, most of us would agree that of course it makes a sound, as sound is just mechanical vibrations propagating in air molecules.
Yet, this question has resurfaced in the form of Schrödinger’s cat, posed in part to demonstrate the non-physical nature of the Heisengberg-Bohr model of quantum theory, also known as the Copenhagen interpretation, which is the predominant quantum mechanical model. Such models arose from attempts to interpret the physical mechanisms of the famous double slit experiment, which were considered by some physicists to have no classical explanation. However recent experimental studies find a different interpretation of the double slit experiment, based on fluid dynamics in classical systems. The Copenhagen interpretation has led to the typical inference that the observer and the observed can be isolated from the system they are embedded in i.e. all other frames - in that their relationship defines the reduction of the probability amplitude (collapse of the wave function) into a definite event. In such a model, the wave function that describes the superposition of eigenvalues is taken to translate as a probability amplitude, and a particle has no real physical existence until it is somehow observed.
The concept that an observer generates the reality in which the event occurs, such as sound emission by the falling tree, assumes an isolation of the frame of reference relative to the event. That is, all interactions in the system, the air molecules for instance, the birds in the neighboring tree, the microbial life all around and in the tree and so on, can all be considered frames of reference - “observers” - experiencing the event from different perspectives. Is there a mechanism in which the relationship of reference frames generates a collective behavior that eventually evolves to a self-awareness state?
More recently Susskind has examined the Copenhagen Interpretation and states:
It is obvious that the Copenhagen Interpretation cannot be the last word. The universe is filled with subsystems, any one of which can play the role of observer. There is no place in the laws of quantum mechanics for wave function collapse; the only thing that happens is that the overall wave function evolves unitarily and becomes more and more entangled. The universe is an immensely complicated network of entangled subsystems, and only in some approximation can we single out a particular subsystem as THE OBSERVER.
– Leonard Susskind, Copenhagen vs Everett, Teleportation, and ER=EPR, 2016.
These recent advances, coming from Susskind, Haramein, and other prominent physicists, can be seen as a return to realism; because if there is no true isolation of a system from the myriad subsystems that can act as observer, then the Copenhagen Interpretation that particles do not exist until they are measured becomes obsolete. A particle is always, to one extent or another, entangled with another system. This constant interaction means that “measurements”, or observations, are always occurring, so there is no point at which a particle exist only as an abstract superposition, a purely mathematical waveform with no definite position or momentum.
In the papers Quantum Gravity and the Holographic Mass, and more recently The Electron and the Holographic Mass Solution, the century-old challenge to describe the solutions of a unified physics are found. In its simplest essence, the solution comes from the quantum structure and multiply-connected geometry of spacetime, where discrete energetic fluctuations at the smallest scales curve spacetime to such a high degree that quantum gravity binds them together into tiny black holes – which are the elementary particles comprising matter.
When calculated with the holographic ratio relationships of the discrete energetic oscillators of spacetime, fundamental parameters are outputted: a feat that is the first time in which elementary characters of physics are derived from first principles. Mass, charge, spin, electromagnetic and confinement forces are all manifestations of the Planck-scale wormhole network geometry and holographic ratio relationships of curved spacetime – the universe talking to itself. These factors are not added as free-parameters, with no explanation as to their source, and there is no need for separate and independent electromagnetic fields, Higgs fields, and color (QCD) fields – all domains are unified as the quantum geometry of multiply-connected spacetime; quantum gravity.
From this we already see how the quantum geometry of holographic spacetime is underlying many of the mechanics and properties of particle physics. The scene was now poised to tackle some of the most perplexing aspects of quantum theory, such as entanglement, superposition, and other nonlocal characteristics of quantum mechanics. In the Unified Spacememory Network paper, Haramein and his research team describe the extended geometry of the Planck-scale vacuum oscillators and it is seen how they are in fact micro-wormholes.
This planckian micro-wormholes network forms entanglement networks of all space and temporal frames, essentially binding spacetime together. In this approach, particles are revealed as discrete co-spinning configurations of spacetime at the Planck-scale, entangled by the planckian micro-wormhole networks exchanging information across scales. This revelatory understanding of the entangled nature of spacetime and its discrete particles was applied to understand the source of the remarkable coherency and unity that enables self-organizing systems, and drives them to grow in complexity and organizational synergy. It is important to note that although these concepts may seem extravagant and far-reaching, the resulting mathematics of such models is demonstrated by Haramein, et al., to predict extremely precisely fundamental forces and masses of particles.
Others are arriving at similar remarkable conclusions. In a 2013 paper Susskind and Juan Maldacena (see our article review Firewalls or Cool Horizons) spelled this out with the elegant and simple “equation”, ER = EPR. Where ER stands for Einstein-Rosen bridges (wormholes, or ERBs), and EPR stands for Einstein-Rosen-Podolsky correlations (quantum systems satisfying the Bell inequality… i.e. nonlocality). Essentially asserting that where there is quantum entanglement between two particle pairs, there is a planckian wormhole connecting them. Many have taken this idea to mean that spacetime geometry is the result of quantum entanglement, yet Susskind has been more bold than this and asserted that it may be that entanglement is the result of spacetime geometry, such that where there are wormholes, there is entanglement (an idea that is controversial among many physicists).
In the more recent paper, Susskind expounds further on the nature and the consequences of vacuum entanglement. It is demonstrated how the entire universe must be treated as a single entangled system, a description that is already present in the Everett Relative-State Formulation of quantum mechanics, in which there is no collapse of the wavefunction – a primary characteristic of the Copenhagen interpretation.
This imbues the particles of quantum mechanics with a new found realism, as they exist with an actual position and momentum before they are measured, just as in the de Broglie-Bohm Pilot Wave theory, which has been shown to describe nearly all quantum phenomena just as well as the Copenhagen interpretation, but with a clear understanding of the cause of the effects that are observed. This gained particular success in demonstrating the results of the famous double-slit experiment, in which a quantum hydrodynamic analog system can be shown to result in wave interference due to a “particle’s” interaction with its own pilot wave in a fluid medium.
In support of the importance of the quantum geometry of spacetime (ostensibly in addition to its hydrodynamic properties as demonstrated in Pilot Wave theory), Susskind demonstrates how nonlocal quantum mechanical phenomena other than just entanglement can be completely described by planckian micro-wormhole connections as well. Including the results of the double-slit experiment and quantum teleportation. A salient point of all of this, and one that Susskind himself has acknowledged, “is that there is no sharp separation between particles and black holes” (see the Q&A session of his lecture on ER=EPR, what’s behind the horizon of black holes?), albeit although particles are- small compared to their astrophysical counterparts.
As the quantum geometrical structure of spacetime is explored in ever greater detail, we begin to see how it is quite literally the Connected Universe, a vision Haramein has been fostering for over three decades.
More to Explore
Gravity and Entanglement, professor Mark van Raamsdonk
Entanglement and the Hooks that Hold Space Together, professor Leonard Susskind
Copenhagen vs Everett, Teleportation, and ER=EPR, professor Leonard Susskind
The Hawaii Institute for Unified Physics; publications
Firewalls or Cool Horizons? William Brown