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An Oral Qualifier Report as

Partial Fulfillment of Qualification for Ph. D. Candidacy.

Adviser: Dr. Robert Gilmore


How long does it take for a wave function to collapse? This question, asked by a skeptical undergraduate many years ago, was never properly answered by his unfortunate professor. And so, many years later, the question stands.

The goal of this report is to explore this question as modern theory might approach it. We will find that the subtext of the question, a profound skepticism about the postulate of wave-collapse, remains unanswered.

The theoretical program of decoherence can ``effectively'' replace the wave-collapse and even tell us how long the transition from the quantum realm to the classical realm will take. Though we are still left with a mystery, it is a mystery which has been pushed off the table in regards to experimental physics.

Is Quantum Decoherence the von Neumann Wave Collapse?

Timothy Jones

tim jones 2007-04-11