Date of Award


Document Type



Computing, Mathematics, and Physics

First Advisor

Dr. Matt Farrar


Essay for PHYS 402 Quantum Mechanics

Like the popular Copenhagen Interpretation, the von Neumann-Wigner Interpretation of quantum mechanics posits that measurement causes a collapse of the wavefunction. Once observed, the wavefunction collapses from a superposition of various states to just one of the possibilities. While the Copenhagen Interpretation does not identify what constitutes a measurement, an observer, or an observation, the von Neumann-Wigner Interpretation specifies that consciousness is necessary for the measurement process to occur (we might say a reading of the measurement), and that it is consciousness itself that causes wavefunction collapse. In simple terms, the von Neumann-Wigner Interpretation may be thought of as a more detailed or specific variation of the widely-used Copenhagen Interpretation, but with much more explicit and detailed theological and philosophical ramifications.