Quantum thermodynamics

Faculty of Agriculture/Environment/Chemistry

Quantum thermodynamics

The orthodox interpretation of quantum mechanics (Copenhagen interpretation) [1, 2] and the quantum field theories based on it had and have many successes. Still today they are celebrated as theories which find numerous applications. Even though experimental facts increasingly contradict them, their fundamental difficulties and ambiguities are rarely addressed. The Copenhagen interpretation represents a probability interpretation which can be understood as a mathematical phenomenology. Already Planck, Einstein, Schrödinger, Ehrenfest and De Broglie doubted this interpretation, but recognized it as an “effective intermediate solution” presented by authorities such as Bohr, Born, Heisenberg, Jordan, Pauli and von Neumann. The “anti-realistic” [3] Copenhagen interpretation denies an objective reality of quanta independent of the observer, as described e.g. by Werner Heisenberg:

However, all opponents of quantum theory agree about one point. According to them, it would be desirable to return to a conception of reality of classical physics, or, more generally, to the ontology of materialism, i. e., to the conception of an objective, real world whose smallest parts exist objectively in the same way as stones and trees, whether we observe them or not. [4]

Quantum thermodynamics (QT) is currently a niche theory [5]. Contemporary approaches to QT attempt to fit thermodynamics, which is considered non-fundamental, into the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. Recent research [6-9] suggests another way: to link the realistic laws of thermodynamics, which are also valid at the quantum level, with realistic interpretations of quantum physics, as proposed by Louis De Broglie, David Bohm, Jean-Pierre Vigier and others [10-14]. Today, the acceptance of realistic interpretations is growing, but they are rarely taught in university courses. An actually realistic quantum physics can only be achieved by abandoning the relativistic concepts of mass and time, which contradict those of thermodynamics [9].

  1. W. Heisenberg: Anschaulicher Inhalt der quantenmechanischen Kinematik, Z. Phys. 43 (1927) 172–198.
  2. N. Bohr: The Quantum Postulate and the Recent Development of Atomic Theory, Nature 121 (1928) 580–590.
  3. L. Smolin: Einstein’s Unfinished Revolution, Penguin Books, 2019.
  4. W. Heisenberg: Physik und Philosophie, Ullstein, Frankfurt, 1959.
  5. D. Castelvecchi: New in Focus, Nature 543 (2017) 597.
  6. G. Kalies: Vom Energieinhalt ruhender Körper, De Gruyter, Berlin, 2019.
  7. G. Kalies: Matter-Energy Equivalence, Z. Phys. Chem. 234 (2020) 1567–1602.
  8. G. Kalies: A Solution of the Time Paradox of Physics, Z. Phys. Chem. (2021) 849–874.
  9. G. Kalies: Back to the roots: The concepts of force and energy, Z. Phys. Chem. 481–533 (2022).
  10. D. Bohm, J.-P. Vigier: Model of the Causal Interpretation of Quantum Theory in Terms of a Fluid with Irregular Fluctuations, Phys. Rev. 96 (1954) 208–216.
  11. L. de Broglie: Einführung in die Theorie der Elementarteilchen, Verlag G. Braun, Karlsruhe, 1965.
  12. D. Bohm, B.J. Hiley: The Undivided Universe, Routledge, London, New York, 1993.
  13. O. Passon: Bohmsche Mechanik, Harri Deutsch, Frankfurt am Main, 2004.
  14. X. Oriols, J. Mompard: Applied Bohmian Mechanics: From Nanoscale Systems to Cosmology, Jenny Stanford, 2019.