A new application of the modal-Hamiltonian interpretation of quantum mechanics: the problem of optical isomerism

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Fortin, Sebastian; Lombardi, Olimpia; Martínez González, Juan Camilo
preprint description
The modal-Hamiltonian interpretation belongs to the modal family of interpretations of quantum mechanics. By endowing the Hamiltonian with the role of selecting the subset of the definite-valued observables of the system, it accounts for ideal and non-ideal measurements, and also supplies a criterion to distinguish between reliable and non-reliable measurements in the non-ideal case. It can be reformulated in an explicitly invariant form, in terms of the Casimir operators of the Galilean group, and the compatibility of the MHI with the theory of decoherence has been proved. Nevertheless, perhaps its main advantage in the eyes of a scientist is given by its several applications to well-known physical situations, leading to results compatible with experimental evidence. The purpose of this paper is to add a new application to the list: the case of optical isomerism, which is a central issue for the philosophy of physics and of chemistry since it points to the core of the problem of the relationship between physics and chemistry. Here it will be shown that the MHI supplies a direct and physically natural solution to the problem, a solution that does not require putting classical assumptions in “by hand.”