Beyond Spacetime

First talk of the year!

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• Wednesday 27 September 2017 at Geneva – Alexei Grinbaum (CEA-Saclay/LARSIM): How device-independent approaches change the meaning of physical theory

Abstract: Dirac sought an interpretation of mathematical formalism in terms of physical entities and Einstein insisted that physics should describe “the real states of the real systems”. While Bell inequalities put into question the reality of states, modern device-independent approaches do away with the idea of entities: physical theory may contain no physical systems. Focusing on the correlations between operationally defined inputs and outputs, device-independent methods promote a view more distant from the conventional one than Einstein’s `principle theories’ were from `constructive theories’. On the examples of indefinite causal orders and almost quantum correlations, we ask a puzzling question: if physical theory is not about systems, then what is it about? Device-independent models suggest that physical theory can be `about’ languages. This answer indicates a direction for moving beyond quantum theory. In terms of technical difficulty, this talk rates 4/5

 

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