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Spacetime Quantum Mechanics: 20 Years On

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Paul Skrzypczyk.

In 1992 James Hartle delivered a series of lectures at the Les Houches summer school concerned, in part, with the problem of, “How to formulate quantum mechanics generally enough so that it can answer questions in any quantum theory of spacetime.” In these lectures Hartle proposed using the Consistent Histories approach to quantum theory to construct a theory where the observables concerned, not the state at a particular moment of time, but rather the probabilities for entering given regions of spacetime. Unfortunately this program never obtained its full potential due to the difficulties, conceptual and technical, associated with constructing concrete examples of these ‘spacetime observables’.

In this talk I will describe recent progress towards completing the program of constructing ‘spacetime quantum mechanics’. I will describe how recent work has demonstrated that the problems with this approach may be solved, and I will also show how the solutions shed new light on the quantum Zeno effect and the interpretation of time in quantum theory.

This talk is part of the CQIF Seminar series.

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