Pilot wave theory and the Hydrodynamic Quantum Analogs movement
Organização:  CFCUL & CIUHCT
Ciências ULisboa
24 / 06 / 2022

In recent years there has been much interest in a Louis de Broglie proposal for quantum mechanics dynamics. At the celebrated fifth Solvay conference, in 1927, de Broglie suggested that a particle and its associated quantum wave would exist simultaneously, and that the motion of the former would be guided or piloted by the later. This became known as the Pilot wave theory approach to quantum mechanics. Given the conceptual problems of the pilot wave theory, mostly dealing with non-locality, and owing to the very strong idealistic position championed by Niels Bohr, the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics (QM) would prevail, becoming the standard paradigm. However, in 2005, the experimental work of Yves Couder and Emmanuel Fort at the University of Paris, once again sparked the old concerns in a part of the scientific community, about the lack of realism and intelligibility in QM. Couder and Fort discovered that it is possible to have a droplet bounce on a bath of oil, generating a wave field that in turn, guides the droplet trajectory, complying to de Broglie’s picture. Thus began the nascent field of Pilot-wave hydrodynamics, later evolving to the Hydrodynamic Quantum Analogs (HQA) movement, headed by John Bush group at the MIT. In this talk I wish to give notice of some of the pertinent research problems I think History and Philosophy of Science may address here. From an historical research stand, the HQA movement seems to open yet another chapter in the history of QM. A tension between realism and idealism seems once more to emerge, requiring further analysis. From a philosophical point of view, the analogical reasoning claims in HQA experimental cases, must be inspected and considered its possible consequences to the ontological ground on which QM presently stands.

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