[ExI] PSI, PSI*, and Psi

The Avantguardian avantguardian2020 at yahoo.com
Thu Dec 9 13:17:20 UTC 2010


While I myself had, during my college classes, been indoctrinated into the "shut 
up and calculate" school of quantum mechanics, here is a description of an 
interpretation of quantum mechanics that does stimulate my imagination. I find 
it more parsimonious than the many worlds interpretation and it certainly is an 
improvement over the Copenhagen interpretation because it gives me a mental 
picture of what's going on without offending my credulity, the way MWI does.

It explains amongst other things, where the Born rule comes from and also 
explains what PSI* is. As I was educated by standard academia on the subject of 
QM,  PSI* was always explained simply as the complex conjugate of PSI, the wave 
equation, and we had to keep track of it because we used it to calculate the 
probability of a particular quantum state which was equal PSI X PSI*. Never did 
anyone explain why PSI* is important in the mathematical formalism of QM other 
than as a mathematical trick to convert a complex numbered probability amplitude 
into a real numbered probability.

In the transactional interpretation, PSI* is the equation of the "confirmation 
wave" which is a wave propagating backward in time (an advanced wave) from the 
absorber of a quantum of energy to the emitter of a quantum of energy. While the 
normal PSI is the "offer wave" propagating forward in time (a retarded wave) 
from the emitter to the absorber. If the phases of the offer wave and the 
conformation wave contructively interfere, you get a "transaction" that is an 
event where a quantum of energy is transfererred from the emitter to the 

It turns out that electromagnetic waves propagating backwards in time were part 
of the mathematical formalism of physics as far back as Maxwell's equations 
where the terms "advanced waves" and "retarded waves" were coined. It just so 
happened that physicists of Maxwell's era would simply discard the advanced 
waves as meaningless mathematical artifacts. While advanced waves don't show up 
in solutions to the standard Shrodinger's equation, which were largely time 
independant, they do show up in Dirac's relativistic QM equations.

I am still trying to wrap my head around this particular interpretation but it 
is noteworthy that the perception of advanced waves might be the 
elusive mechanism by which the paranormal phenomenon of Psi manifests itself. I 
mean, it wouldn't be the first time that the math knew more about what's going 
on than the physicist. Just think of the cosmological constant and Einstein's 
self-admitted biggest blunder.    
 Stuart LaForge 

"There is nothing wrong with America that faith, love of freedom, intelligence, 
and energy of her citizens cannot cure."- Dwight D. Eisenhower 


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