Limits of Coherence

Surprisingly, quantum mechanics (QM) does not apply to reality at our macroscopic level of existence, nor to the universe at large. Strangely, it does apply so well to the particle level.

More specifically, quantum behaviour such as superposition of location, is only evident in particles and some microscopic objects of pure composition, cooled to close to absolute zero temperature. Or in warmer objects (e.g. pure diamonds) but only for a tiny fraction of a second. QM suggests should it should be attainable in larger and warmer objects, but this has proved difficult to achieve. It is not clear where the boundary is between the quantum world of particles and the macroscopic world, and quantum mechanics itself cannot identify why there should be a boundary, nor where it would be. Hence one of the great mysteries of physics: why a theory that works so well at the tiny scale does not scale up to the large.

What causes quantum discoherence?  Where are the limits of coherence? What is coherence?

Clearly there is a discontinuity in the physics between the small and large scales of nature. Enter the cordus conjecture, which we have been using to determine where in the scale of things the transition occurs between coherence and discoherence, and why the limits are where they are.

The  results of our thinking are shown in the paper we’ve published here

Briefly, the reasons for discoherence are proposed to be internal shear velocity of the body, temperature phonons, and complexity of assembly (particularly purity of composition). The upper limit for coherence is expected to be at currently achieved levels of material complexity, or slightly beyond. However cordus rules out coherence for warm macroscopic objects and living creatures. 

If this is correct, and of course the cordus conjecture is only a conjecture, then there are some implications for physics. And also for philosophy.

For physics: The theory of QM has created an expectation that coherence is the norm and therefore should be found in macroscopic bodies. Cordus suggests that we should instead view discoherence as the normal state, and coherence as a special state of extended application of the strong force into bonding.

For philosophy:  There has been much philosophical speculation about the role of measurement, including human observation, on the future of behaviour of particles and coherent bodies.  See ‘Schrodinger’s Cat’. Cordus refutes those ideas, and instead suggests that in those rare cases where coherence of macroscopic objects is attainable, this does not mean that the object has two futures, only that it can have two locations. So cordus refutes the Many-Worlds interpretation and Parallel Universe theory.

It seems we only have one universe and only one of each of us in existence. No doppelgangers. Make the most of the time you have been given!


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  1. What really is time? « Cordus
  2. Physics and philosophy « Cordus

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