Roberts, Bryan W. (2012) *Time, symmetry and structure: A study in the foundations of quantum theory.* Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh.

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## Abstract

This dissertation is about the sense in which the laws of quantum theory distinguish between the past and the future. I begin with an account of what it means for quantum theory to make such a distinction, by providing a novel derivation of the meaning of "time reversal." I then show that if Galilei invariant quantum theory does distinguish a preferred direction in time, then this has consequences for the ontology of the theory. In particular, it requires matter to admit "internal" degrees of freedom, in that the position observable generates a maximal abelian algebra. I proceed to show that this is not a purely quantum phenomenon, but can be expressed in classical mechanics as well. I then illustrate three routes for generating quantum systems that distinguish a preferred temporal direction in this way.

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## Details | |||||||||||||||||||

Item Type: | University of Pittsburgh ETD | ||||||||||||||||||
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Title: | Time, symmetry and structure: A study in the foundations of quantum theory | ||||||||||||||||||

Status: | Published | ||||||||||||||||||

Abstract: | This dissertation is about the sense in which the laws of quantum theory distinguish between the past and the future. I begin with an account of what it means for quantum theory to make such a distinction, by providing a novel derivation of the meaning of "time reversal." I then show that if Galilei invariant quantum theory does distinguish a preferred direction in time, then this has consequences for the ontology of the theory. In particular, it requires matter to admit "internal" degrees of freedom, in that the position observable generates a maximal abelian algebra. I proceed to show that this is not a purely quantum phenomenon, but can be expressed in classical mechanics as well. I then illustrate three routes for generating quantum systems that distinguish a preferred temporal direction in this way. | ||||||||||||||||||

Date: | 02 October 2012 | ||||||||||||||||||

Date Type: | Publication | ||||||||||||||||||

Defense Date: | 30 May 2012 | ||||||||||||||||||

Approval Date: | 02 October 2012 | ||||||||||||||||||

Submission Date: | 26 June 2012 | ||||||||||||||||||

Release Date: | 02 October 2012 | ||||||||||||||||||

Access Restriction: | No restriction; The work is available for access worldwide immediately. | ||||||||||||||||||

Patent pending: | No | ||||||||||||||||||

Number of Pages: | 122 | ||||||||||||||||||

Institution: | University of Pittsburgh | ||||||||||||||||||

Thesis Type: | Doctoral Dissertation | ||||||||||||||||||

Refereed: | Yes | ||||||||||||||||||

Degree: | PhD - Doctor of Philosophy | ||||||||||||||||||

Uncontrolled Keywords: | philosophy of physics, quantum theory, time, time reversal, T violation | ||||||||||||||||||

Schools and Programs: | Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > History and Philosophy of Science | ||||||||||||||||||

Date Deposited: | 02 Oct 2012 14:37 | ||||||||||||||||||

Last Modified: | 16 Jul 2014 17:02 |

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