Quantum vs. Classical Chance in Physics
by Scott Teresi
By contrast, events within the quantum physical world are often governed by different principles. Chance takes on a different meaning. For instance, if a particle emits two electrons, they must travel away from the particle in opposite directions in order to obey conservation of energy. Until their position is actually measured, however, the electrons head away from the particle according to the formula for a wave. One electrons position could be anywhere; it is up to this different type of chance to "decide." Yet, when one electrons position is measured, its companion electron will always be measured in the opposite direction. Both electrons paths seem to have been predestined. What events could have led up to this arbitrary yet coordinated decision? Quantum chance decided where they would end up, and yet they were still opposite each other. No theory can yet provide a definitive reason for this. Might there be hidden variables? This extra complication seems very unlikely. This manner must be the result of the nature of particles in the quantum world. The properties of quantum particlesobeying the wave equationresult in this bizarre behavior, a different kind of chance.
Sklar, Lawrence. Philosophy of Physics. San Francisco: Westview Press, Inc., 1992.
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