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2013 | 11 | 2 | 147-161
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Using simple elastic bands to explain quantum mechanics: a conceptual review of two of Aerts’ machine-models

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From the beginning of his research, the Belgian physicist Diederik Aerts has shown great creativity in inventing a number of concrete machine-models that have played an important role in the development of general mathematical and conceptual formalisms for the description of the physical reality. These models can also be used to demystify much of the strangeness in the behavior of quantum entities, by allowing to have a peek at what’s going on behind the “quantum scenes,” during a measurement. In this author’s view, the importance of these machine-models, and of the approaches they have originated, have been so far seriously underappreciated by the physics community, despite their success in clarifying many challenges of quantum physics. To fill this gap, and encourage a greater number of researchers to take cognizance of the important work of so-called Geneva-Brussels school, we describe and analyze in this paper two of Aerts’ historical machine-models, whose operations are based on simple breakable elastic bands. The first one, called the spin quantum-machine, is able to replicate the quantum probabilities associated with the spin measurement of a spin-1/2 entity. The second one, called the connected vessels of water model (of which we shall present here an alternative version based on elastics) is able to violate Bell’s inequality, as coincidence measurements on entangled states can do.

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