The Institute for Mathematical Behavioral Sciences Colloquium Series presents
“Quantum Theory From One Simple Symmetry”
with Chris Fields, Independent Scientist, Sonoma, CA
Thursday, December 4
Social Science Plaza A, Room 2112
Fields shows that the mathematical apparatus of quantum theory, including the no-signaling condition, the existence of a quantum of action, unitarity, detailed balance, Bell's theorem, the Hilbert-space representation of physical states and the Born rule all follow from a single symmetry: the invariance of physical dynamics under changes in the way that reality is described by observers. As classical physics shares this invariance of physical dynamics, this result shows that classical physics, when stated in a way that is strictly mathematically consistent, is quantum theory. Quantum theory is, therefore, a completely general theory that applies to all entities at all scales; hence it is unsurprising that quantum statistics should be applicable in cognitive science. Enforcing the invariance of physical dynamics under changes in description within the formalism of physics yields two theorems of immediate interest to cognitive science. First, nothing in physical reality can be considered to be a clock; hence time is strictly observer-relative. Second, nothing in physical reality can function as a memory. "Remembering" something is fully equivalent to making a de novo observation. Fields will discuss the physical meaning of these two theorems and how they accurately describe the situation of any observer.
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