Rekindling of de Broglie–Bohm pilot wave theory in the late twentieth century: a personal account

Christopher Dewdney*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

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David Bohm published his “Suggested Interpretation of Quantum Theory in Terms of Hidden Variables” some twenty five years after Louis de Broglie first presented his similar Pilot Wave theory of quantum mechanics. In the following 30 years what became known as the de Broglie–Bohm approach to quantum theory was to a large extent ignored within the physics community. Even David Bohm himself became somewhat disillusioned with the lack of impact of his interpretation of quantum theory and he directed his interest elsewhere. But some 27 years after Bohm had published his interpretation of quantum theory, interest was rekindled in part by new, detailed calculations that demonstrated clearly and graphically, exactly how his interpretation explained quantum phenomena in terms of well defined individual particle trajectories. These computations encompassed two-slit interference, quantum tunnelling, neutron interferometry, Wheeler’s delayed choice experiment, orbital and intrinsic angular momentum, quantum measurement and Einstein–Podolsky–Rosen nonlocal correlations for orbital angular momentum, intrinsic angular momentum and correlated particle interferometry. Since then, the acceptance of the validity of de Broglie–Bohm theory has steadily grown, as has the interest in the consequences of the approach. For my contribution to the current celebratory volume I was asked to provide a personal review specifically of this novel work within its historical context of the last quarter of the twentieth century.

Original languageEnglish
Article number24
Number of pages34
JournalFoundations of Physics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2023


  • quantum measurement
  • quantum potential
  • quantum trajectories
  • tunnelling

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