Quantum decoherence and the approach to equilibrium (II)

Meir Hemmo, Orly Shenker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


In a previous paper [Hemmo, M & Shenker, O (2003). Quantum decoherence and the approach to equilibrium I. Philosophy of Science, 70, 330-358] we discussed a recent proposal by Albert [(2000). Time and chance. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Chapter 7] to recover thermodynamics on a purely dynamical basis, using the quantum theory of the collapse of the quantum state of [Ghirardi, G, Rimini, A and Weber, T., (1986). Unified dynamics for microscopic and macroscopic systems. Physical Review, D 34, 470-479]. We proposed an alternative way to explain thermodynamics within no collapse interpretations of quantum mechanics. In this paper some difficulties faced by both approaches are discussed and solved: the spin echo experiments, and the problem of extremely light gases. In these contexts, we point out several ways in which the above quantum mechanical approaches as well as some other classical approaches to the foundations of statistical mechanics may be distinguished experimentally.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)626-648
Number of pages23
JournalStudies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B - Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • GRW
  • Quantum decoherence
  • Spin echo
  • Statistical mechanics
  • Thermodynamics


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