Mathematical Physics and Quantum Field Theory
Electron. J. Diff. Eqns., Conf. 04, 2000, pp. 215229.
Consistent histories: Description of a world with increasing entropy
C. H. Woo
Abstract:
A distinction is made between two kinds of consistent
histories: (1) robust histories consistent by virtue of decoherence, and (2)
verifiable histories consistent through the existence of accessible records. It is
events in verifiable histories which describe amplified quantum fluctuations. If the
consistenthistories formalism is to improve on the Copenhagen interpretation by
providing a selfcontained quantum representation of the quasiclassical world, the
appropriate quantum state must track closely all macroscopic phenomena, and the
von Neumann entropy of that quantum state ought to change in the same direction
as the statistical entropy of the macroworld. Since the von Neumann entropy
tends to decrease under successive branchings, the evolution of an
entropyincreasing quasiclassical world is not described by a process of
branchings only: mergings of previously separate histories must also occur. As a
consequence, the number of possible quasiclassical worlds does not have to grow
indefinitely as in the manyworld picture.
Published July 12, 2000.
Mathematics Subject Classifications: 81P05, 81P10, 81P15.
Key words: Consistent histories, entropy, second law.
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C. H. Woo
Physics Department
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
email: woo@umdhep.umd.edu 
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