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Philip Pearle

A book about continuous spontaneous localization (CSL) by Professor of Physics Emeritus Philip Pearle was recently published by Oxford University Press.

Philip Pearle - Introduction to Dynamical Wave Function Collapse book coverIn Introduction to Dynamical Wave Function Collapse, Pearle discusses the continuous spontaneous localization theory he created more than 30 years ago, saying it “changes quantum theory.”

According to Pearle, when an experiment is performed, the apparatus registers one of a number of possible results. A repetition of the experiment will likely give another result. Each result occurs randomly, he said, and many repetitions of the same experiment reveal that each result has a definite probability of occurring.

Though quantum theory allows one to predict the probability of occurrence for each result, Pearle said it does not describe what actually happens – the occurrence of an individual result. He says his CSL theory is an alteration of quantum theory that not only describes the occurrence of an individual result, but also explains that occurrence.

Pearle notes that CSL is a different theory than quantum theory, so there are certain situations in which its predictions differ from those of quantum theory.

The book includes a discussion of some of the experiments conducted over the last 30 years to test CSL. “The experiments have succeeded in narrowing the possible values of two parameters that characterize CSL,” Pearle said, noting that “the present experimental situation is consistent with the validity of both quantum theory and CSL.”

Cambridge University’s Jeremy Butterfield, one of the referees who approved publication of the manuscript, said, “Pearle is the master of this material and writes with beautiful clarity and well-judged occasional witticisms and side-remarks. His experience as teacher, as well as researcher, shows in the vivid explanations, and the careful and consistent level of detail in the exposition.”

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