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On Gravity's Role In Quantum State Reduction

R. Penrose
Published 1996 · Physics

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The stability of a quantum superposition of two different stationary mass distributions is examined, where the perturbing effect of each distribution on the space-time structure is taken into account, in accordance with the principles of general relativity. It is argued that the definition of the time-translation operator for the superposed space-times involves an inherent ill-definedness, leading to an essential uncertainty in the energy of the superposed state which, in the Newtonian limit, is proportional to the gravitational self-energyEΔ of the difference between the two mass distributions. This is consistent with a suggested finite lifetime of the order of ħ/EΔ for the superposed state, in agreement with a certain proposal made by the author for a gravitationally induced spontaneous quantum state reduction, and with closely related earlier suggestions by Diósi and by Ghirardiet al.
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