Quantum Future Project      

History and Credits

by Arkadiusz Jadczyk

This document is about the people whom I met, and the places that I have visited in the past, and ideas that I have encountered that have influenced my way of thinking and being. I will also mention some milestone events along the way towards the Quantum Future Project. This credits story ends in 1990 when the Quantum Future Project was launched.

*People and Places

I learned about quantum field theory from Jan Lopuszanski. He was the advisor of my PhD Thesis ( [jad69a], [jad69b])). He did not advise me much. His main advice was: you must think for yourself. And I thank him for that. For many years he directed The Institute of Theoretical Physics of the University of Wroclaw, and it is from him that I learned not only about mathematical physics, but also about life and scientific ethics.

Early in the 70's, from Roman Ingarden, I learned about Information as prior to Probability, about Open Systems and about the role of enthusiasm in research. I also learned from him about his strong version of First Things First Principle (Cf. [cov-ac]) : When something really interests you - make it not only your first thing, but make it also the only thing.

Roman invited me several times to give seminars in the home town of Nicholas Copernicus: Torun. It is there that I learned from Andrzej Kossakowski that there are Dissipative Semigroups, and how important they are. This later happened to be one of the main mathematical concepts that enabled the Quantum Future Project to make a start.

My PhD Thesis was about the algebraic approach to quantum field theory and statistical mechanics. There were several pioneers of this idea, but I will mention only those who influenced me the most. These were Huzichiro Araki, Hans Jorg Borchers, Rudolph Haag, and Daniel Kastler.

In the late 60's I started studying fresh preprints of H.J. Borchers and Lecture Notes of H. Araki (they were in German - so I had to learn some German).

In 1970 I spent three months at CPT CNRS Marseille, where I met Daniel Kastler for the first time.

In 1972 I spent a splendid three months in Rome, where I learned more about algebraic approaches from Sergio Doplicher.

In 1975 I had an opportunity to discuss with C.N. Yang during my three month visit to SUNY. It's a pity I did not exploit this chance as I should have. Instead I spent most of this time in the SUNY University Library hunting for papers and books about the paranormal.

In 1975 I was granted a Humboldt Fellowship and I went to Hamburg to study with Rudolph Haag about the foundations of quantum theory. Somehow it turned out that, instead of learning these foundations, I spent all of that year learning about fibre bundles and all kinds of geometric ideas that might be useful for physics. I also learned from Haag, during a very important lecture, that mathematical structures that are used in theoretical physics must not make us their slaves. We must be prepared to abandon a mathematical structure - even if it is most beautiful and "natural" from a pure mathematical standpoint - when it can no longer accommodate the needs of physics; when it does not account for the experienced reality. It is also from Haag that I learned the idea of events and the idea that algebras of observables need not be simple (and that they need not even be algebras).

In the following years I visited Rudolph in Hamburg many times, learning more and more, discussing for long hours - but I never accomplished a paper there. There was so much to learn, so much to discuss, so much to think about, and there was no urgency to write at that time. When I think back about these experiences, I have a feeling that the only thing that I accomplished there in Hamburg was not for me - that perhaps I added my epsilon of persuasion to convince Rudolph that he should write his book about the algebraic approach. The persuading power of other friendly spirits was even greater than mine, so Rudolph gave in, and now we have his Local Quantum Theory [haag92] in our libraries and on our desks. (note: Second Edition with an added chapter on Quantum Measurement should appear in 1996)

In 1982 I spent 10 months in Göttingen, where I benefited from discussions with Borchers. I also discussed general aspects of theories of gravitation with Hubert Goenner.

Although this credits page is about science - not about the multiple facets of life - I want to make one exception. During Christmas of 1981, shocked by the Marshall Law that was supposed to put an end to Solidarity and to the Polish dream of freedom; separated from my family and from my home country, I developed pneumonia that was resistant to antibiotics and did not heal. If not for the exceptional care of Hansjoerg and Ursula Roos - I could easily have died. They offered me their home and - most important - their hearts. I can never give them enough thanks.

From Göttingen I went for three months to CERN, where I met Robert Coquereaux, and we discovered that we were dreaming similar dreams. It was the beginning of our long collaboration. We discussed extra dimensions beyond those four of space and time. Later on I visited him several times at CPT CNRS Marseille and we wrote several papers on multidimensional universes and a book about Kaluza-Klein theories.

Still later Coquereaux and I discussed conformal group and the possibility (that was neglected as uninteresting by Roger Penrose), that of our space-time being the Shilov boundary of a more fundamental conformal phase space. From these discussions we came to the conclusion that truly interesting things happen always on the boundary. The term boundary is meant here as a topological or differential geometric concept, but I like to extend this view beyond this domain. I believe that there are most interesting phenomena that take place on the boundary of physics. As with the Shilov boundary - which is a part of the topological boundary - not all what is on the boundary is interesting, but there is a part of the boundary that is important. I like to say that: it is the boundary that shapes the inside domain. Robert was also the first person that I exposed to my early ideas of QF. He read, he criticized, he listened and he asked for explanations. His comments acted as an important catalyst.

In Marseille I was also exposed to Daniel Kastler's enthusiasm about non-commutative geometry in general, and about Alain Connes and his work in particular. I could not resist, and I spent quite some time playing with abstract mathematical structures and forgetting completely about physics. Now I believe that I have awakened from this alluring dream.

I am convinced now that real progress in physics must come from new physical ideas and not from mathematical structures - whatever power and beauty they offer. Mathematical structures are, for a physicist, what Sirens were for Odysseus. You should listen to them as they offer you the standards of beauty; but you should never stay with them too long. In fact, I think that it is also not good for Mathematics if the sharpest minds of mathematicians become hypnotized by the idea that their work may solve physical problems. This may bring short-term benefits but, I believe, at the cost of long-term progress. When wings of mathematicians become heavy, they fly at lower altitudes than they would fly otherwise. I would like to see them flying high in the sky - higher than my eye can see. Of course there is also applied mathematics. And that is most useful - but that is not what I am talking about.

In the spring of 1988 I spent a month with Marco Modugno in Florence. He asked me about quantum mechanics - can it be explained in the language of differential geometry and connections? In response, I babbled something about geometrical quantization - but soon I had to stop telling him things that I did not fully understood myself. We went to work. That collaboration of ours continues to this day in a peculiar way: Marco will ask a question and I do not know what to answer. He is not a guy who will buy cheap slogans. So I start to think. We discuss. Some idea emerges from this discussion, sooner or later. I write a sketch what it would mean in his beloved language of connections. Then he goes to work to convert these not quite clear drafts into a rigorous mathematics. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. Anyhow, while Marco is busy checking, I am free to think about quantum future and about enhancing quantum theory - until again he asks a new question - and then I find again that I do not understand even the most simple things about ordinary textbook quantum theory.

It was in Florence, in 1990, that the idea of the Quantum Future project appeared clearly in my mind. I wrote its main skeleton while waiting long hours to submit my form for a visa at the French Consulate there. Then I went to Marseille and there, the still fragile idea began to solidify. I remembered discussions that I had with Philippe Blanchard in 1988 in Bielefeld, and I wrote to him proposing a joint venture. And so the idea got its name and emerged from the world of dreams to the world of facts. But Philippe is another story. He does not belong to this page. He is not of the past. He belongs to the present, and to the Future.

And so my list of credits stops here. Later credits can be found in the papers listed on Publications Page.

*Authors and Ideas

I want to list the Authors whose writings left a noticeable trace on my own thinking even if I have not always agreed with them. Sometimes I became fascinated by some idea, but later on understood that it leads in a direction which is at cross purposes to my own. Nevertheless, I want to list the name or the idea, because, even if it was discarded as a viable direction, it was only in this way that I became more aware of what is my direction.

First of all, I have read everything what I could from John Archibald Wheeler. I never completely understood what he had in mind, but I was sure it must be something Big.

I read David Finkelstein, first about Kinks, later about Space Time Code. I was fascinated not only by the originality of his ideas, but also by his way of writing about them.

I read David Bohm - but the more I read, the more I knew that I must find my own way.

I read everything from Henry P. Stapp, when he started to write about foundations of physics. I agreed with everything he wrote, and I thought - "this is the way!" It is from Stapp that I first read about events, learned that light is at the foundation of being, that classical and quantum must be unified. Perhaps I was not a careful reader, or perhaps I was jumping to conclusions before reading to the end. But I think that the Quantum Future project is a particularly nice and effective realization of his ideas. Nevertheless I am afraid that he might be of a different opinion.

In the 70's I started to read Karl Popper, trying to derive from his writings whatever could relate to physics. Later on I read the book that he wrote with John Eccles. It was extremely important. I corresponded with Popper and he must have liked what I said because he sent me an autographed copy of his book with good wishes for Quantum Future. But then, when I finally had achieved something he may truly have liked - it was unfortunately too late.

Now I want to acknowledge my more esoteric readings. As I already mentioned, at some point I tried to read all that was written about paranormal phenomena. But then I stopped. Probably it was when John Klauder told me that these are certainly very interesting things, but one should not spend thinking about them more than 15 minutes a day, otherwise there is danger of losing objectivity. I knew he was right. But I also knew that one day I must return to these subjects.

When I was in Geneve in 1982, I found a very good British Bookshop there. I browsed it regularly and thoroughly. Whenever I was in CERN - I visited this bookshop. There was not much about paranormal subjects, but I discovered P.D. Ouspensky and G.I. Gurdjieff there. They were using a language that I could understand and accept. They were also writing about things from the realm of physics and psychology that I felt could be right. At the same time, there were also a lot of things that were beyond my comprehension - even with my best efforts at understanding. But when I read from Ospensky that time is 3-dimensional - I liked it. And when I read from Gurdjieff that the Universe is open - otherwise it would disappear too soon after its creation - then I remembered Popper's ideas along this line and I liked this idea too. There I also read that time is exceptional, in the sense that it does not exist in the same objective sense as other phenomena. I felt that this must be true. The idea was also presented that that knowledge is not an abstract concept, that it is `material' - and I felt this must be true too. There were more things that I thought must be true - but they concerned psychology rather than physics and philosophy, so I will not mention them on these pages. Later on I followed this path as far as I could, but the more I read the more I became convinced that these are really only `fragments of an unknown teaching', and that the real truth is not to be found in these books - that it waits to be either discovered or created by us.

Note added (December 10, 2006): As of today, several things have changed. It appears that Philippe Blanchard is no more actively interested in the Quantum Future project. Philippe has changed his mind and went back to the standard way of rescuing quantum theory through "decoherence" - which I consider to be a step back. The same happened to my mathematically brilliant ex-Phd student Robert Olkiewicz (a link to his personal list of publications is at the bottom of my own publications list). At the same time other physicists are making their way into still undiscovered possibilities, close to my own views. For instance, in September 2005 there was a conference "QUANTUM MECHANICS: Are There Quantum Jumps? - and On the Present Status of Quantum Mechanics" held at ITCP Trieste and Mali Losinj, Croatia. I discovered there that the Quantum Future way of thinking of quantum events has been re-phrased as the theory of "flashes". More and more physicists and philosophers are asking the same questions I was asking already some twenty years ago: what are tables and chairs made of? In a recent paper, entitled: "Comment on 'The Free Will Theorem'" Roderich Tumulka of the University of Tübingen writes this about the defenders of the orthodox approach:

... How could such outstanding scientists make such a blatant mistake? Because they uncritically accepted a widespread but inadequate understanding of Bell's theorem, according to which the upshot of Bell's argument is that either locality or hidden variables have to be abandoned.

My own contribution to this conference can be found at the arxiv.org site.

Are there quantum jumps?

Conference "QUANTUM MECHANICS: Are There Quantum Jumps? - and On the Present Status of Quantum Mechanics". ITCP Trieste, Italy, and Mali Losinj, Croatia. September 2005. Session by Roger Penrose  Oxford University, Oxford, United Kingdom: "Relativistic Quantum Realism and Minimalistic Quantum State Reduction"

During the last five or so years I have discovered new ways of using the EEQT formalism that stemmed form the Quantum Future project so as to understand better the content of the Heisenberg's uncertainty principle and how simultaneous monitoring of several non-commeasurable physical quantities lead to quantum fractals. Here is the Abstract of my recent paper on this subject:

Using the Clifford algebra formalism we extend the quantum jumps algorithm of the Event Enhanced Quantum Theory (EEQT) to convex state figures other than those stemming from convex hulls of complex projective spaces that form the basis for the standard quantum theory. We study quantum jumps on n-dimensional spheres, jumps that are induced by symmetric configurations of non-commuting state monitoring detectors. The detectors cause quantum jumps via geometrically induced conformal maps (Mobius transformations) and realize iterated function systems (IFS) with fractal attractors located on n-dimensional spheres. We also extend the formalism to mixed states, represented by "density matrices". As a numerical illustration we study quantum fractals on the circle, two--sphere (octahedron), and on three-dimensional sphere (hypercube-tesseract, 24 cell, 600 cell,and 120 cell). The invariant measure on the attractor is approximated by the powers of the Markov operator. In the appendices we calculate the Radon-Nikodym derivative of the SO(n+1) invariant measure on S^n under SO(1,n+1) transformations and discuss the Hamilton's "icossian calculus" as well as its application to quaternionic realization of the binary icosahedral group that is at the basis of the 600 cell and its dual, the 120 cell. As a by-product of this work we obtain several Clifford algebraic results, such as a characterization of positive elements in a Clifford algebra Cl(n+1) as generalized Lorentz boosts, and their action as Moebius transformation on n-sphere, and a decomposition of any element of Spin^+(1,n+1) into a boost and a rotation, including the explicit formula for the pullback of the O(n+1) invariant Riemannian metric with respect to the associated Mobius transformation.


[haag92] R. Haag, Local Quantum Physics, Springer Verlag, Berlin 1992.
[cov-ac] S.R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Audio Casette, Simon&Schuster 68796-4

Links to other QF pages:

* Physics

* Extracts from Bielefelder Universitätszeitung

*Bioelektronika w oczach fizyka teoretyka (in Polish)

Quantum Future History was written in Kyoto, April 23, 1995
Last modified on: December 3, 1999.