Physics News of the Week: a Possible Solution to the Measurement Problem and News from Particle Physics
This week we had a lot of important breakthroughs in the world of physics. So, as always, here’s a quick overview of the most important events. If you would like to receive these news, as well as other physics related material, straight to your email, consider registering for our email newsletter.
1. A Possible Solution to the Quantum Measurement Problem (July 17)
Despite the great success of quantum mechanics, there is a number of unsolved problems haunting the theory. One of the biggest current problems is the so called measurement problem. Long story short, the measurement causes the wavefunction to collapse and give a single value for the measurement out of all the possible values. The exact mechanism of this collapse is unknown. An example of such a collapse would be the famous Schrodinger’s cat paradox.
Many great scientists have studied the measurement problem in quantum mechanics and now Theo Nieuwenhuizen (Institute of Physics, UvA) and his colleagues attempted to solve the problem in their recent paper. The paper focuses on the Curie-Weiss model for quantum measurements and shows that the joint dynamics of a given system coupled to the measurement apparatus produces the results that explain the measurement postulates. More information here. The paper is also available at arXiv.
LHC: still tackling the big questions in particle physics
2. New Results From Particle Physicists (July 19)
For the first time physicists have recorded an extremely rare event, which might shed some light on the beginning of the universe. In particular, two teams of scientists at CERN have observed and recorded a decay of a “Bs” particle into muons. “This is a process that particle physicists have been trying to find for 25 years,” said Joe Incandela, leader of the second team involved in the research. Now the results were finally obtained among the data coming from the LHC once again demonstrating the success of the standard model of particle physics. More information here.
3. New Discovery About Neutrinos (July 19)
The recent results results obtained by scientists from UK and Japan confirm that neutrinos can change from one type to another, or oscillate, in a new way.
Different flavours of neutrinos can spontaneously change into each other, which is called neutrino oscillations. Observations have previously shown the possibility of a number of different types of oscillations. However, the new T2K results are the first discovery of the appearance of electron neutrinos in a beam of muon neutrinos. The importance of the discovery lies in the fact that neutrinos and anti-neutrinos might oscillate differently, which could possibly explain the mystery of the asymmetry of matter and antimatter in the universe. More information here.