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Observer and Quantum State Reduction

Experiments show that the act of measurement by the experimenter will reduce the super position of state to one definite state. If we open the door of the Schrödinger box we find the cat either dead or alive and never both. Is it the act of measuring or the measurer who changes the overlapped different states to one single one? Evan Walker believes,

“…the system undergoes state vector collapse because of our mind. This effort to obtain an entirely practical interpretation of quantum mechanics … lead us to the incredible conclusion that mind, or consciousness, affects matter.” [7]

State reduction is not the only place where the measurer and the act of measuring influence the quantum mechanics. The observer also affects quantum entanglement. In entanglement two or more subatomic particles are connected to each other even if they are worlds apart. If the observer reduces the spin of one of them to a definite state, the spin of the other particles changes accordingly and immediately. Considering the history of particles in the world logically each particle should have countless entanglements with countless particles which it encountered in its past history.

Surprisingly, when a physicist begins the entanglement experiment between a pair of particles any pre-existing entanglement is eliminated and just the entanglement between two particles under experiment is observed. So we as experimenters are changing the world at the quantum level.

Explaining how human can affect fundamentals of the objective world is the gridlock. This is subject to many debates and controversies. One wonders, if the principle can be applied in everyday life. Can we change the world at our will? Many new school of thoughts are advocating the idea.

One of them believes that the history and the state of the world depend on our question. We see the answers, which are in line with what we are looking for. Others like Lee Smolin believe there is “one universe seen by many observers, rather than many universes, seen by one mythical observer outside the universe.”[8]


Bohr interpretation of state reduction

Neils Bohr, one of the founders of quantum mechanics expresses his opinion about state reduction as,
“We customarily think of the outside world as separate from ourselves, and the boundary between the two is the surface of our skin. However, think of a blind person who gets around with the assistance of a cane. In time that person will probably treat the cane as part of his or her body, and will think of the outside world as beginning just at the tip of the cane. Now imagine the blind man's sense of touch extending out of the tip of the cane and into the roadway itself. Imagine it extending further, down the block, into the countryside, to the whole world. There is no point where the blind man ends and the world begins. Similarly, we cannot say which is the system and which is us observing it.”


Therefore, he believed that our body is physically extended throughout the universe and we actually are the universe. According to him there is no boundary and we are the whole system. That is why we can affect the world and induce state reduction.
However, we do feel this isolation of the systems (like our body) inside space-time. Actually, the physical laws inside space-time are all evidences that systems are individually interacting with each other. The whole body interpretation ignores the physics of space-time. it doesn't clarify the role of consciousness in the equation either.
The other dilemma is when and where and in what level this transformation to a reduced state is happening. Please note that mathematics of superposition is continuous whereas reduction represents a discontinuity and change in the state vector. [9]

Walker, Evan Harris. The Physics of Consciousness. Perseus Publishing, 2000 
Smolin, Lee. Quantum Gravity. Basic Books, Perseus Books Group, 2001. 
Penrose, Roger. The Road to Reality. Jonathan Cape, London, 2004. 
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