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Laura Templeman

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what causes collapse of quantum superposition?

It is my understanding that quantum particles exist in a state of superposition until measured.

Question 1: Does this mean the same thing as: quantum particles collapse out of superposition when they interact with another particle?

Question 2: Further if quantum particles in the real world are constantly interacting with other subatomic particles, how would they ever have the chance to be in the probabilistic state of superposition?

Question 2 asked in another way: I understand the Copenhagen Interpretation vs the many worlds. My question is more fundamental than that. Regardless of what happens when the wave collapses into one event, how does a subatomic particle ever stay in superposition except in a vacuum? (Or is that the only place where it actually does happen?)

Thank you to anyone who can answer this. I teach Philosophy 101 and this question came up and I am unsure how to answer it.

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    Oct 24 2013: Thank you, Fritzie, for an excellent answer, and advice on posting to a science board as well. Your answer demystified things.
    Thanks to the other answers as well.
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      Oct 24 2013: Best wishes with this. As I wrote, the answer I posted was not my own but that of someone who knows this field as well as anyone in the world.

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