Friday, May 30, 2008

Quantum mechanics: Could cosmic microwave background show that it is wrong?

Might quantum mechanics be just plain wrong? That would eliminate much angst and inconvenience for surviving Einstein supporters.

According to "Observations of the cosmic microwave background might deal blow to theory" by Zeeya Merali

The question of whether quantum mechanics is correct could soon be settled by observing the sky — and there are already tantalizing hints that the theory could be wrong.

Antony Valentini, a physicist at Imperial College, London, wanted to devise a test that could separate quantum mechanics from one of its closest rivals — a theory called bohmian mechanics.
The article is behind a paywall, but go here, here, and here for comments that give you the sense of it.

Basically, the hope is that, by analyzing the cosmic microwave background, researchers could see whether the hot and cold spots are distributed in the way quantum mechanics predicts or bohmian mechanics predicts.

Of course, even if quantum mechanics doesn't always hold, that doesn't show that it isn't usually correct.