Hiram College

In Search of Quantum Reality or What Really Happened to Schrodinger's Cat?

INTD 364.30: In Search of (Quantum) Reality ... or ... What Really Happened to Schrodinger's Cat?

Spring (3) 2015

Instructor: Mark Taylor

Office: Gerstacker 118
Phone: 569-5241
email:   taylormp@hiram.edu

Office Hours:

MTRF 9:00-11:00, Wed. 9:00-6:00, Sun. 3:00-6:00 … or … just stop by.

Also, feel free to call me or send me email.

Meeting Times:

MTRF 1:00-4:00, Gerstacker 123


  1. “Quantum Reality” by Nick Herbert  (1985)
  2. “Nature Loves to Hide” by Shimon Malin (2012)
  3. “Where Does the Weirdness Go?” by David Lindley (1996)

Other short reading selections will be distributed throughout the course.

Moodle Site: https://online.hiram.edu/course/view.php?id=4064

Course Overview:

Quantum mechanics is a physical theory used to describe the structure of the microscopic world.  This theory is perhaps the most successful, and certainly the most quantitatively accurate description of nature ever constructed.  While no one disputes the success of quantum mechanics (no experiment has yet been performed which is found to be in violation of this theory) there has been an ongoing debate as to the meaning or interpretation of the theory since its initial formulation. In particular, quantum mechanics demands that we abandon some of our preconceived ideas about the very nature (or even existence) of “reality”.  This led Einstein to reject the theory as incomplete.  However, recent experiments have convincingly demonstrated that Einstein was wrong and thus we are forced to contend with a number of different “quantum realities” all of which are consistent with our knowledge of the microscopic world.  In this course we will examine just what it is that quantum mechanics has to say about the nature of reality.  In the process we will also try to understand how the microscopic world can be so weird while the macroscopic world continues to be so seemingly normal.  Finally, we’ll see what we can do about saving a poor feline from that terrible entangled fate of the simultaneous |live cat> + |dead cat> state.

Final Exam: 1:00 PM Wednesday, May 13

PreClass Questions:

Class 01 Class 05 Class 09
Class 02 Class 06 Class 10
Class 03 Class 07
Class 04 Class 08


Links to pdf files:

Course Information & Syllabus Quantum History


Paper #1  Paper #2  Paper #3