Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Bohmian Style

In the spirit of the season I have recently come across a “conventional quantum” explanation of Santa’s delivery of presents to children on Christmas morning and how this in a quantum sense could all be done in the space of one night. Below find this explanation written by Sean Smeltzer, Croydon, Surrey; published in the journal New Scientist, January 16, 1999:


I have recently received a number of distinctly unfestive emails pointing out the impossibility of Santa Claus delivering presents to all the children in the world in just one night.

We are all aware of the flaws in the conventional Santa Claus theory, but seem to accept it quite readily. Children are not quite so gullible and require a more rigorous proof of his existence. The answer to this problem lies in quantum theory.

Consider this: On Christmas night, Santa is in a superposition of quantum states, smeared out all the way around the planet, and each quantum state delivers presents to a single child. This explains why is is so important that children are asleep, because if just one child sees Santa, he immediately collapses into a single state, in accordance with Heisenberg. This would mean that no other children would receive presents that Christmas. This theory elegantly avoids all the flaws in the conventional theory. The only problem is that you will have to explain quantum theory to your children before you tell them about Santa.

After reading the above, I thought to myself; how could this all be looked at from a Bohmian’s perspective? I therfore offer the following:

A Bohmian’s Quantum Christmas

Santa delivering presents is a “quantum potential”, not merely just a possibility. A quantum potential is not realized, yet rather actualized without the need for observation. Many children accept this aspect of potential and thus it is actualized for them. I also would wager that children and others could more readily understand how all this works, as opposed to the quantum algorithm (lest I say fairytale)

As one can see this is by far a more straight forward and consistent explanation as opposed to the first and as I maintained could be actually understood. It also has the advantage that observation plays no role in the actualization of the event at all and better explains why, no single, or any child’s observation of Santa has ever spoiled Christmas:-)

No comments: