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Dynamical reduction models. (English) Zbl 1034.81004
Summary: The report presents an exhaustive review of the recent attempt to overcome the difficulties that standard quantum mechanics meets in accounting for the measurement (or macro-objectification) problem, an attempt based on the consideration of nonlinear and stochastic modifications of the Schrödinger equation. The proposed new dynamics is characterized by the feature of not contradicting any known fact about microsystems and of accounting, on the basis of a unique, universal dynamical principle, for wavepacket reduction and for the classical behavior of macroscopic systems. We recall the motivations for the new approach and we briefly review the other proposals to circumvent the above mentioned difficulties which appeared in the literature. In this way we make clear the conceptual and historical context characterizing the new approach. After having reviewed the mathematical techniques (stochastic differential calculus) which are essential for the rigorous and precise formulation of the new dynamics, we discuss in great detail its implications and we stress its relevant conceptual achievements. The new proposal requires also to work out an appropriate interpretation; a procedure which leads us to a reconsideration of many important issues about the conceptual status of theories based on a genuinely Hilbert space description of natural processes. Attention is also paid to many problems which are naturally raised by the dynamical reduction program. In particular we discuss the possibility and the problems one meets in trying to develop an analogous formalism for the relativistic case. Finally we discuss the experimental implications of the new dynamics for various physical processes which should allow one, in principle, to test it against quantum mechanics. The review covers the work which has been done in the last 15 years by various scientists and the lively debate which has accompanied the elaboration of the new proposal.

MSC:
81P15 Quantum measurement theory, state operations, state preparations
81-02 Research exposition (monographs, survey articles) pertaining to quantum theory
35Q55 NLS equations (nonlinear Schrödinger equations)
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