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Heinz von Foerster 100
Organizing Institutions:
Heinz von Foerster Gesellschaft / Wien
ASC – American Society for Cybernetics
WISDOM – Wiener Institut für
  sozialwissenschaftliche Dokumentation und Methodik

Institut für Zeitgeschichte | Universität Wien
AINS – Austrian Institute for Nonlinear Studies

Stephen L. Adler

Quantum Theory as an Emergent Phenomenon: Foundations and Phenomenology

Institute for Advanced Study Princeton, USA

Abstract: I review the proposal made in my 2004 book, that quantum theory is an emergent theory arising from a deeper level of dynamics. The dynamics at this deeper level is taken to be an extension of classical dynamics to non-commuting matrix variables, with cyclic permutation inside a trace used as the basic calculational tool. With plausible assumptions, quantum theory is shown to emerge as the statistical thermodynamics of this underlying theory, with the canonical commutation-anticommutation relations derived from a generalized equipartition theorem. Brownian motion corrections to this thermodynamics are argued to lead to state vector reduction and to the probabilistic interpretation of quantum theory, making contact with phenomenological proposals for stochastic modifications to Schroedinger dynamics.



Personal Information:

Born in New York City, November 30, 1939
A.B. Harvard University, 1961
Ph.D. Princeton University, 1964
Field: Elementary Particles, Quantum Field Theory, Quantum Foundations
Married; three children by a previous marriage


Junior Fellow, Society of Fellows, Harvard University, 1964-66.
The Institute for Advanced Study:
Member, 1966-69;
Professor of Theoretical Physics, 1969-2010 ;
New Jersey Albert Einstein Professor, 1979-2003;
Professor Emeritus, 2010- .
Visiting Lecturer with rank of Professor, Princeton University 1969- .
Fellow, American Physical Society.
Member, National Academy of Sciences, 1975- .
Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1974- .
Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1987- .

Committee Memberships, Offices Held & Consultantships (* currently active):

Visiting Committee, Brookhaven National Laboratory.
Program Committee, Brookhaven National Laboratory.
Program Advisory Committee, SLAC.
Program Advisory Committee, LAMPF.
Program Advisory Committee, Fermilab.
Theory Steering Committee, Fermilab.
Trustee and Vice-President, and Honorary General Member*,
Aspen Center for Physics.
Consultant, Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory.
Consultant, Fermilab.
Division of Particles and Fields Advisory Committee
for Physical Review and Physical Review Letters.
Editorial Board, Physical Review D.
Divisional Associate Editor for Particles and Fields
for Physical Review Letters.
Chairman, Division of Particles
and Fields of the American Physical Society.
Panel on Public Affairs (POPA), American Physical Society.
Editorial Board, Journal of Mathematical Physics.
Member, NRC Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics,
and Applications.
Physics Section Council Delegate, American Association for the Advancement of
Editorial Board, Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and General
Divisional Associate Editor for Foundations of Quantum Mechanics
for Physical Review Letters*


J.J. Sakurai Prize, American Physical Society, 1988
Second Award (1997) and Fourth Award (2001) in the Gravity
Research Foundation Essay Contest
Dirac Medal of the Abdus Salam International Centre for
Theoretical Physics, 1998