When you do research and come up with something new (a reconciliation of the EPR paradox in my case, perhaps the oldest unsolved problem in quantum mechanics), there are two general things that may happen. First new ideas are usually very difficult for others to accept (so you are not believed), especially if it means a paradigm shift. Second the easiest person to fool is me, so maybe I am totally wrong.
I worked for 16 years on the EPR paradox, starting from being Moon Struck in India in 1997. In 2006 I had an idea that made physical sense and was mathematically sound so I wrote a few early naïve papers and posted them in quantum archives up until 2009. In that year the ArXiv blacklisted me, but no serious criticisms were made against my ideas. When no one has convinced you that you are wrong, it is natural to continue pushing your solution, and that is what I did. Undeterred I continued to study my model and more and more things fell into place. This built my confidence. When I did a simulation and could rationalize with the data I, again naively, believed I had finally nailed it down and my arguments were clear. I submitted the paper to Physical Review A, which I spent eight months carefully writing, only to have it rejected with reasons being it was poorly written as well as being wrong.
I am sure the reviewer is knowledgeable about the EPR paradox and the foundations of quantum mechanics but he missed or dismissed a departing point of my approach: quantum mechanics is a theory of measurement and I find states that exist only when not measured. These undetected states account for the quantum correlation usually attributed to non-locality. Although the reviewer’s comments are easily answered, I was not allowed a rebuttal:
- Claimed that all spin states can be simultaneously measured in spite of Heisenberg Uncertainty, but he was referring to a series of Stern Gerlach filters which is completely consistent with what I do.
- Claims that if my model has two axes of quantization per spin, then why not three? Well simply because two axes agree with experiment (in a local realistic way) while three do not.
- Claims that there is no reason why the results from two experiments rather than one, should be additive. Well the addition is mathematically sound, consistent with quantum mechanics being a linear theory.
- Finally claims that my work does not agree with experiment, because my model can only give half the correlation, and rejects my argument that counterfactual points exist that carry the other half of the correlation. No one can say that such points do not exist; likewise there is no way I can prove that they do exist—consistent with being below measurement.
Following this rejection, however, I still remained undeterred, although admittedly crestfallen. I decided to pull in my horns for a while and assess the situation. At the same time I was, and still am, involved in an email discussion group that has members on opposite sides, and others sitting on the wall of the EPR debate: generally stated, one side believes quantum is complete and the other believes it is incomplete. There are mathematicians, experimental physicists, computer scientists, etc. and me, a theoretical chemist. The discussions do get heated and sometimes a bit personal but they have been very helpful to me. In particular they gave me wider issues to think about and a better understanding of objections to my approach. However there also emerges a logical reason to re-examine the way the EPR data is counted. That will be my next topic.