Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been surveying people’s attitudes about foundational issues of quantum mechanics on mastodon.

The survery was completely unscientific, but I had fun, and I think others did as well!

I posted individual questions at scattered times. It’s almost certain that respondents varied from question-to-question. I was also limited by mastodon’s polling features [1]. Over the course of the survey, I explored ways of hacking some of these limitations. 

The population being surveyed was biased toward my mastodon followers (mostly people in quantum academia, quantum tech, and other quantum enthusiasts), people on the qubit-social.xyz server, and followers of followers/people who boosted the post, etc, according to the way mastodon distributes posts. 

The questions were taken from the 2016 article Surveying the Attitudes of Physicists Concerning Foundational Issues of Quantum Mechanics by Sivasundaram and Nielsen. Some questions were modified to account for mastadon’s poll limitations [1]. 

In this article, I’m going to present the results and compare them to the results of the original article, which sent the survey to 1234 physicists at various universities around the world (out of those, 149 did the survey). 

Q1: What is your opinion about the randomness of individual quantum events (such as the decay of a radioactive nuclei)?

Results for Q1 from my survey. Link to mastodon post here. Option 3 was clarified to mean “The randomness cannot be removed from any physical theory” here.

Let’s compare this with the original survey:

Results for Q1 from arXiv:1612.00676 [physics.hist-ph] 

Kinda creepy how similar these are, given that the second and third options roughly mean the same thing [2]. 

Q2: Do you believe that physical objects have their properties well defined prior to and independent of measurement?

Link to mastadon post here. What about the original survey?

Again, very similar distributions!

Q3: How would you respond to the question “Where exactly in the orbital of a hydrogen atom is the electron prior to a measurement?”

Q5: In your opinion the observer:

Results for Q5 from my mastodon survey (link to original toot).

Q6: How do you understand the measurement problem?

Mastodon only allows four options, so in this question, I skipped the fifth option that was available in the original survey. 

Results for Q6 from my mastodon survey (link to original toot).


[1] Mastadon poll limitations: only four options per poll, a short character limit per option, and inability to select multiple options.

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