## On The Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics

Ever since quantum mathematics was first proposed in 1925-7, it has been interpreted as meaning
that individual quanta are probabilistic, that is that an individual quantum is in a superposition
of many states until it is 'measured', then the wave function defined by quantum math
'collapses' into one state. This approach led to innumerable difficulties such as the
EPR paradox, and others: the Measurement Problem.
In 1957, Hugh Everett proposed that the probabilistic nature of quantum mechanics could
be framed as a knowledge structure. Instead of a quantum being in superposed states,
each possible state could be viewed as a separate 'world' of existence; in each world
the state of the quantum was definite. Most importantly, he showed that equations
based on this structure could be mathematically identical to the wave formulation of
Erwin Schrödinger and to the particle formulation of Werner Heisenberg.

Then, in 1973, Hans Dehmelt and his students succeeded in trapping a single electron
for over a year, showing that single particles are as real as golf balls. He continued
this work by trapping a single ion of barium in an electrodynamic trap and showing
that the single quantum defining the orbit of the single outer electron was also
real and clear. I continued this work at Canada's National Research Council, and also
observed that this single quantum was real and precise, in strontium as well as barium.
Clearly, the 'fuzziness' of quantum mechanics was not in the individual quanta as had
been assumed for so long.

Everett's formulation provides the clue: the uncertainty of quantum mechanics lies
in the observer's perception, not in the individual quantum. (Remember that an observer
in quantum mechanics can be as small as a single observable; assemblages as complex
as humans are not required.) Schrödinger's Cat is in one state, it's us outside the cat's
closed box that are in two states. It even provides the framework for many different
views of the same quantum object, as I describe in The
Many Memories of Quantum Mechanics.

So, the most productive view of quantum mathematics is that each quantum is in one
state, it's the observers who are in multiple states. The math is correct, it's just that the
standard interpretation of it has been backward.

John Sankey

other notes on physics