Physics: John Cramer - EPR

John Cramer - Wave Structure of Matter (WSM) Explains Cramer's Transactional Interpretation of Quantum Theory and the Interconnection of Einstein, Podolsky, Rosen (EPR) Experiment.

Wave Structure of Matter (WSM) Explains Cramer's Transactional Interpretation of Quantum Theory and the Interconnection of Einstein, Podolsky, Rosen (EPR) Experiment


Hi Everyone,

Below is an abstract and conclusion from an important article written by John Cramer which discusses the Generalized Absorber Theory and the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox. Cramer's Transactional Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics correctly assumes real wave interactions, though he makes the error of also assuming the existence of discrete particles (as did Feynman)!
The importance of the article is the correct understanding of real wave interactions (rather than 'probability waves' of modern Quantum Theory). This wave interaction at a distance from the wave-center 'particle' seems to provide a sensible solution to the problems of the Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen (EPR) experiment. This is further explained by the Wave Structure of Matter article Wolff-Einstein-EPR-Experiment.

Geoff Haselhurst

Physics: EPR by John Cramer

PHYSICAL REVIEW D        VOLUME 22, NUMBER 2, PP. 362-376      15 JULY 1980
Generalized Absorber Theory and the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Paradox
John G. Cramer Department of Physics, FM-15, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195 (Received 27 February 1980)

A generalized form of Wheeler-Feynman absorber theory is used to explain the quantum-mechanical paradox proposed by Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen (EPR). The advanced solutions of the electromagnetic wave equation and of relativistic quantum-mechanical wave equations are shown to play the role of 'verifier' in quantum-mechanical 'transactions,' providing microscopic communication paths between detectors across spacelike intervals in violation of the EPR locality postulate. The principle of causality is discussed in the context of this approach, and possibilities for experimental tests of the theory are examined.


    The quantum-mechanical paradox proposed by Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen1 (EPR) in 1935 is essentially a demonstration that the results of quantum mechanics are logically inconsistent with the premise that a measurement made with one instrument cannot influence the measurement made by another instrument if the measurement events are separated by a spacelike interval.2 This is sometimes called the locality premise.

    In 1964 it was demonstrated by Bell3 in analyzing a Gedankenexperiment suggested by Bohm and Aharonov4 that locality implied inequalities in the measured probabilities of spin orientation experiments on certain physical systems. Recently, it has been shown that these Bell inequalities lead to experimental predictions which differ markedly from those of quantum mechanics.5,6 Thus it has become feasible to confront these two divergent views of reality, quantum mechanics and the EPR locality premise, with experimental tests.9 A number of such experimental tests have now been performed7,8,10-13 and the most reasonable interpretation of the experimental results is that the quantum-mechanical predictions have been confirmed. 9,10,14

    The implication of these experimental results is that, although the EPR locality premise seems eminently reasonable, it must be wrong. However, the locality premise is not easily relinquished, for if one measurement can alter the result of another measurement across a spacelike interval, then a suitable choice of inertial reference frames can make the 'effect,' i.e., the altered measurement, precede in time sequence the 'cause,' i.e., the altering measurement, in violation of the principle of causality. Clearly then, these experimental tests, while confirming the validity of quantum mechanics, have not clarified the EPR paradox, nor do they provide us with any new insights as to how the premise of locality (or causality) could be violated in quantum-mechanical systems. It is the purpose of this paper to attempt to clarify this situation.


    In the preceding discussion we have demonstrated that generalizing Wheeler-Feynman absorber theory to make it a quantum-mechanical theory applying to all particles and waves has provided a conceptual framework within which a number of quantum-mechanical paradoxes can be resolved. In particular the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox,1 the 'Schrodinger's Cat' paradox,34 and indeed all other quantum-mechanical paradoxes examined including Wheeler's delayed- choice experiments,36 can be understood by interpreting the lack of locality and the decomposition of the wave packet as arising from the action of advanced waves which verify the quantum-mechanical transactions. We have shown that the communication path between detectors in the Bell inequality experiments can span a spacelike interval and produce the quantum-mechanical result through the addition of two lightlike or timelike four-vectors having time components of opposite sign, thus accounting for the locality violations implied by the experimental results.

    Accepting quantum-mechanical absorber theory as a favored alternative to the usual field-theory approach to quantum-mechanical phenomena has some implications of interpretation that should be seriously considered. As has been pointed out by other authors18,19,27,29,31 absorber theory is basically an 'action-at-a-distance' formulation. It demotes the concept of a field from the status of a real entity with its own degrees of freedom to that of a mathematical convenience, a conceptual prop for thinking about transactions between emitters and absorbers. Whether this is acceptable must ultimately rest on the relative predictive-ness of the two alternative approaches.

    However, the absorber theory approach raises questions as well as settles them. In closing, therefore, we would like to enumerate three of the more troublesome questions raised by the generalized absorber theory presented here.

(1)  If only a single particle is emitted by a system and future absorbers provide more than one 'verification,' how is the conflict of multiple verifications resolved so that only a single 'transaction' is verified? (2)  If absorber theory is applied to very weakly absorbed particles such as neutrinos, how can the observed emission of such particles be reconciled with their low probability of future absorption, particularly in the open-universe models which are supported by some experimental evidence? (3)  How can the observed dominance of retarded radiation be accounted for in terms of absorber theory, when the big-bang model would imply at least as much as absorption in the past as in the future?

    Problem (1) above is worth understanding, for it decides whether the Wheeler-Feynman approach is a deterministic or a probabilistic theory. If the 'referee' which makes the decision in situations of multiple verifications acts strictly at random then the quantum theory described here, for all its verifications, transactions, and communication links is still a probabilistic theory, consistent with the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics.     Although problems (2) and (3) mentioned above do not currently have answers, we do not consider them to be without solution. In fact, their answers may be connected. In a subsequent publication51 we will seek to deal with them using the conceptual framework provided by the present work.

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