Visiting Scholar: Dr. Vikram Athalye

Date: November 15, 2019, 11 a.m. - 12 p.m., BN-4000

Title: Quantum Physics and its applications in fields outside of its natural remit: a brief survey of its uses in the humanities and the social sciences


In this talk, I will explore what I would call ‘inseparable links’ between Quantum Physics and the fields of the Humanities and the Social sciences. The talk will consist of four parts.

In the first part, I will provide a brief overview of the quantum formalism. Then, I will discuss some of the leading interpretations of the ‘wave function’ and will point out some conceptual problems associated with the formalism [1, 2].

In the second part, I will provide a survey on the use of Quantum Mathematics to develop phenomenological models in the contexts of economics and finance by reviewing some of the important contributions in the last couple of decades [3].

In the third part of the talk, I will consider some of the main issues that arise when the emergent and supposed-to-be-universal worldview provided by the quantum formalism is deeply explored and investigated. These will be discussed in relation to Bohr’s idea of ‘The Undivided Wholeness’ and Schrödinger’s ‘Principle of Objectivation’ [4].

In the last part, the implications of these inquiries for the development of new physics and possibly, new mathematics will be investigated. This will be done in the light of David Bohm's worldview that takes us from the Cartesian order of ‘Causal Spacetime’ to the Implicate order of ‘Non-local Wholeness’ and attempts to provide a basis to investigate the mind-matter problem [5].

The talk will be concluded by pointing out some novel ways in which the idea of ‘Non-local Wholeness’ could be applied to better comprehend the financial market microstructure and dynamics in terms of the models of decision making involving the heterogeneities and interactions among conscious agents.

  1. Investigation of the Leggett-Garg Inequality for Precessing Nuclear Spins, Physical Review Letters, 107, 130402 (2011) Vikram Athalye, Soumya Singha Roy and T. S. Mahesh
  2. Decoherence of superposition of molecular chiral states due to Rayleigh scattering, Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics 39, 2633 (2006) Vikram Athalye and Arvind Kumar
  3. Physics of Complex Systems: Applications to Decision-Making in Finance, Talk presented at SWAYAM 2014, Pune, India (2014) Vikram Athalye
  4. Spacetime: pre-existing classical label vs. acquired quantum observable, Talk presented at ‘The Time Machine Factory’ conference, held at the University of Turin, Italy (2015) Vikram Athalye
  5. De Broglie — Bohm Theory and the Problem of Time, Talk presented at ‘Quantum Information Revolution - Impact to Foundations’ conference, held at the Linnaeus University, Sweden (2019) Vikram Athalye

Dr. Vikram Athalye is an associate professor of Physics, Cummins College, Pune, India.


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