Wavefunction Collapse and Conservation Laws

Research paper by Philip Pearle

Indexed on: 01 Aug '00Published on: 01 Aug '00Published in: Foundations of Physics


It is emphasized that the collapse postulate of standard quantum theory can violate conservation of energy-momentum and there is no indication from where the energy-momentum comes or to where it goes. Likewise, in the Continuous Spontaneous Localization (CSL) dynamical collapse model, particles gain energy on average. In CSL, the usual Schrödinger dynamics is altered so that a randomly fluctuating classical field interacts with quantized particles to cause wavefunction collapse. In this paper it is shown how to define energy for the classical field so that the average value of the energy of the field plus the quantum system is conserved for the ensemble of collapsing wavefunctions. While conservation of just the first moment of energy is, of course, much less than complete conservation of energy, this does support the idea that the field could provide the conservation law balance when events occur.