Posted by Arjendu on December 16, 2007
Meanwhile, back at the farm, another Referee report, this time not so positive, but not so negative either. This is a paper with my old friend — and recent colleague — Arik on an unusual or anomalous effect. It had been understood that some (perhaps many, perhaps most, depending on how you count) classical systems are chaotic and on the other hand, their quantum counterparts are NOT chaotic. This perspective has changed recently when considering so-called ‘open systems’, which accounts for local and random interactions with other nearby systems, termed environmental decoherence — in this case, the quantum system can be chaotic as well. What Arik and I show is the appearance of quantum chaos in a system where the classical system is NOT chaotic, which is a cool and unusual result; the stronger part of our claim is that quantum effects are responsible for the chaos.
The interesting thing about the current argument with the Referee is that no one’s denying that we are seeing chaos in the quantum system, and that the classical system is not chaotic. We are now in the middle of a technical discussion about the mechanism by which the chaos occurs, and whether or not quantum tunneling is involved, etc. And when I am not feeling grouchy about all the questions, I’m actually happy because, as always, answering the questions means we learn something more and something deeper about the physics.
Hey, wait, isn’t that what I just said about the writing assignment? Trying to persuade someone is indeed an excellent learning experience :-).