Numbers of the form $\{z= x+ i\,y:\;x,\, y\in\mathbb{R}\}$ where $i^2 = -1$. Useful especially as quantum mechanics, where system states take complex vector values.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

0
votes
4answers
421 views

Why complex functions for explaining wave particle duality?

I have this very bad habit of going to the scratch, discarding all the developments of a theory and worldly knowledge, and ask some fundamental (mostly stupid and naive, as some may say) questions as ...
1
vote
0answers
45 views

Complex Fourier Particular Solution [closed]

I have found the complex Fourier series for my desired force. I now need to find the steady-state forced vibration of my oscillator as a Fourier Series. (The particular solution to the inhomogeneous ...
7
votes
3answers
378 views

Applications of analytic continuation to physics

I posted this on math.SE, but didn't get much response. It might fit better on this site. Holomorphic functions have the property that they can be uniquely analytically continued to (almost) the ...
18
votes
2answers
756 views

Why treat complex scalar field and its complex conjugate as two different fields?

I am new to QFT, so I may have some of the terminology incorrect. Many QFT books provide an example of deriving equations of motion for various free theories. One example is for a complex scalar ...
14
votes
6answers
1k views

Why are Only Real Things Measurable?

Why can't we measure imaginary numbers? I mean, we can take the projection of a complex wave to be the "viewable" part, so why are imaginary numbers given this immeasurable descriptor? Namely with ...
-1
votes
1answer
481 views

Why is the wave function complex? [duplicate]

Why should an equation (TDSE) in which first time derivative is related to second space derivative have a solution that contains $i$?The wave function is supposed to be complex, but I am unable to ...
4
votes
2answers
316 views

Real Part of the Wave Function

In Quantum Mechanics the square of the wave function is compared to a probability density. Is there no similar relation to waves in the sense that something meaningful can be ascribed to the real part ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

What does the complex electric field show?

We have a complex electric field. Is there any definition for absolute and imaginary part of a complex electric field? What do they stand for?
3
votes
2answers
501 views

Global phase symmetry for complex scalar field theory

I have started to study QFT. And I have some difficulties in such classical situation. Suppose i want to calculate $\frac{\partial \mathcal{L}}{\partial (\partial_\mu \phi)}\phi$ for lagrangian ...
3
votes
2answers
155 views

“Complex Variables Method” in Diff. Eq. - Justification and physical meaning?

A common method of simplifying calculations that involve differential equations - particularly involving oscillation - is to replace $\cos(\theta)$ with $e^{i \omega t}$, evaluate, and then take the ...
8
votes
6answers
641 views

What is Quantization?

In classical mechanics you construct an action (involving a Lagrangian in arbitrary generalized coordinates, a Hamiltonian in canonical coordinates [to make your EOM more "convenient & ...
8
votes
6answers
1k views

What does imaginary number maps to physically?

I am taking undergraduate quantum mechanics currently, and the concept of an imaginary number had always troubled me. I always feel that complex numbers are more of a mathematical convenience, but ...
4
votes
1answer
455 views

Finding Stagnation Points from the complex potential

I am trying to find the stagnation point of a fluid flow from a complex potential. The complex potential is given by $$\Omega(z) = Uz + \cfrac{m}{2\pi}\ln z.$$ From this I found the streamfunction to ...
5
votes
1answer
218 views

Are electrodynamics problems in the complex plane relevant to real life?

This is a question I asked in Maths SE, and it was suggested I ask it here. This is a direct copy of that question. I have been reading Tristan Needham's excellent Visual Complex Analysis. The end of ...
-1
votes
1answer
103 views

Some complex-number manipulation when calculating coefficients

I am going through Sakurai's quantum mechanics, and at one point the solution to a problem says: $(\sin(\beta)\cos(\alpha)-i\sin(\beta)\sin(\alpha))b+\cos(\beta)a=a$ ...
1
vote
1answer
71 views

Nonequilibrium themal QFT

Wick rotation to thermal of QFT in Minkowski space to thermal QFT, which is after this transformation analogue to statistical mechanics, does only describe equilibrium statistical mechanics. On page ...
7
votes
3answers
685 views

Born's Rule, What is the Reason?

As far as I've read online, there isn't a good explanation for the Born Rule. Is this the case? Why does taking the square of the wave function give you the Probability? Naturally it removes negatives ...
2
votes
3answers
250 views

States and observables in quantum mechanics

I'm beginning learn quantum mechanics. As I understand, state is a map $\phi$ from $L^2(\mathbb R)$ such that $|\phi|^2$ describes probability density of a particle's position. By integrating ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

Variational Derivation of Schrodinger Equation

In reading Weinstock's Calculus of Variations, on pages 261 - 262 he explains how Schrodinger apparently first derived the Schrodinger equation from variational principles. Unfortunately I don't ...
1
vote
0answers
77 views

Wick rotation and special relativity

CMIIW, but as I understand it, Wick rotation replaces the Minkowski basis (t,x,y,z) with the Euclidean basis (it,x,y,z). Suppose that $t_2=t_1 \cosh \beta+x_1 \sinh \beta$ and $x_2=t_1 \sinh \beta+x_1 ...
4
votes
1answer
108 views

Using angular momentum in complex coordinates

So given the angular momentum operator: $$L_{z} = - ih\biggl(x \frac{\mathrm{d}}{\mathrm{d}y} - y \frac{\mathrm{d}}{\mathrm{d}x}\biggr)$$ I know how to write these in terms of polar coordinates ...
4
votes
1answer
239 views

Imaginary masses

While watching this video, at around 5:00, the man mentions a certain type of particle having imaginary mass. He also says that these kind of particles can go faster then light. But how it is possible ...
0
votes
1answer
383 views

Formulas for kinetic energy

I was reading ABC of relativity from Bertrand Russell and some formulas about kinetic energy caused me some problems. Here is the extract : The kinetic energy is, in the usual form ...
2
votes
0answers
55 views

What is the relationship between complex time singularities and UV fixed points?

In this paper it is described how the turbulent kinetic energy spectrum and the flatness (a measure for intermittency) are governed by the position of the (dominant) singularities of the solutions of ...
0
votes
1answer
59 views

Phasor representation of voltage in frequency domain

In a text on application of electromagnetism in transmission line, there introduces a phasor for the voltage (in frequency domain) $$\tilde{V}(x) = V^+e^{-i\beta x} + V^-e^{i\beta x.}$$ Here $V^+$ ...
5
votes
2answers
558 views

What is a physical example of a Saddle-Node Bifurcation?

I am doing a presentation on bifurcations and would like physical examples to go along with each type of bifurcation but I am unable to find or think of any good example of a simple Saddle Node ...
0
votes
1answer
85 views

Work done by complex field on complex plane

A force field is given by $F = 3z+5$. Find the work done in moving an object in this force field along the parabola $z = t^2 + it$ from $z = 0$ to $z = 4+2i$. I don't understand why conjugate ...
5
votes
2answers
235 views

Is there a physical motivation to study finite fields?

Clearly finite groups are of immense value in physics and these are also substructures of fields. However I never came across any computations involving finite fields at university and so I never ...
2
votes
1answer
277 views

Usage of Schrödinger equation vs Madelung equations

It is well known that Madelung formulation is alternative to the Schrödinger Formulation, cf. this previous Madelung transformation Phys.SE post. I wanted to know what makes Schrödinger's formulation ...
2
votes
1answer
968 views

Deriving the Sommerfeld expansion by contour integration (Le Bellac p. 277)

In Le Bellac's statistical physics book he derives the Sommerfeld expansion by a contour integral. The idea is to expand integrals of the type $I(\beta)\equiv \int_{0}^{\infty}d\epsilon\, ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

Confused over complex representation of the wave

My quantum mechanics textbook says that the following is a representation of a wave traveling in the +$x$ direction:$$\Psi(x,t)=Ae^{i\left(kx-\omega t\right)}\tag1$$ I'm having trouble visualizing ...
6
votes
2answers
837 views

Amplitude of Probability amplitude. Which one is it?

QM begins with a Born's rule which states that probability $P$ is equal to a modulus square of probability amplitude $\psi$: $$P = \left|\psi\right|^2.$$ If I write down a wave function like this ...
2
votes
0answers
264 views

Probability and probability amplitude [duplicate]

What made scientists believe that we should calculate probability $P$ as the $P = \left|\psi\right|^2$ in quantum mechanics? Was it the double slit experiment? How? Is there anywhere in the ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

Solving the time independent Schrodinger equation: Does a complex solution make sense?

In my notes, I have the Time Independent Schrodinger equation for a free particle $$\frac{\partial^2 \psi}{\partial x^2}+\frac{p^2}{\hbar^2}\psi=0\tag1$$ The solution to this is given, in my notes, ...
6
votes
2answers
321 views

Complex coordinates in CFT

The Setup: Let's say we want to study a Euclidean $\mathrm{CFT}_2$ on $\mathbb R^2$ with coordinates $\sigma^1$ and $\sigma^2$ and metric $ds^2 = (d\sigma^1)^2+(d\sigma^2)^2$. It seems to me that ...
0
votes
1answer
205 views

Two similar questions related to analytic continuation of a complex variable and its conjugate

See the scan attached below. Brown, in his QFT book, argues a certain way to do an integral. I understand that 1.8.13 or equivalently 1.8.14 can be performed once analytic continuation is done. I ...
8
votes
2answers
397 views

Is the step of analytic continuation unavoidable or can you model around it?

One sometimes considers the analytic continuation of certain quantities in physics and take them seriously. More so than the direct or actual values, actually. For example if you use the procedure ...
2
votes
2answers
334 views

In classical mechanics, are complex numbers unphysical? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Physics math without $\sqrt{-1}$ When I produce a complex final solution to a problem that began without complex coefficients at all, I have so far (with my limited ...
2
votes
1answer
199 views

Why can you re-write the functional measure of a real-valued field $\phi(x)$ as $\mathcal{D}\phi=\prod_{k_n^0>0}dRe \phi(k_n) d Im \phi(k_n)$?

This happens in Peskin and Schroeder, An Introduction to QFT, on page 285. They set out to calculate correlation functions for the free real-valued Klein-Gordon field $\phi(x)\in \mathbb{R}$. They ...
15
votes
10answers
4k views

QM without complex numbers

I am trying to understand how complex numbers made their way into QM. Can we have a theory of the same physics without complex numbers? If so, is the theory using complex numbers easier?
0
votes
3answers
2k views

Absolute value sign when normalizing a wave function

I have solved the following problem from Griffiths "Introduction to Quantum Mechanics". Consider the wavefunction: $\Psi (x,t) = A e^{-\lambda |x|} e^{-i\omega t} $ Normalize $\Psi$. Now, we ...
2
votes
1answer
200 views

Newton's law of gravitation in complex form

In an ebook about elementary complex analysis I came across Newton's law of universal gravitation with a complex valued function in place of $r(t)$. Can somebody please explain the intuition about how ...
2
votes
1answer
260 views

Complex Potentials, Potentials and Fields

Suppose an electric field $E=-\nabla \psi$ where $\psi=-Q\ln r$ where $Q$ is just some constant and I have found its harmonic conjugate to be $-Q\theta+c$ where $c$ is some constant. What does it say ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

What does $\Psi^*$ mean in Schrodinger's formulation of Quantum Mechanics?

I am not a physics student. In one of my courses, some fundamental concepts of Quantum mechanics were needed, so I was going through them when I stumbled upon this. It says $$\text{probability} = ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

complex numbers in optics

I have recently studied optics. But I feel having missed something important: how can amplitudes of light waves be complex numbers? I suppose this is quite fundamental, but I do not find the answer ...
2
votes
3answers
400 views

What is the rationale behind representing a state function by a complex valued function in QM?

What is the rationale behind representing a state function of an electron with a complex valued function $\Psi$. If only the probabilistic argument was required then why not represent it with just a ...
1
vote
2answers
729 views

Inverted Harmonic oscillator

what are the energies of the inverted Harmonic oscillator? $$ H=p^{2}-\omega^{2}x^{2} $$ since the eigenfunctions of this operator do not belong to any $ L^{2}(R)$ space I believe that the spectrum ...
19
votes
6answers
1k views

Can one do the maths of physics without using $\sqrt{-1}$?

The use of imaginary and complex values comes up in many physics and engineering derivations. I have a question about that: Is the use of complex numbers simply to make the process of derivation ...
4
votes
6answers
1k views

Is there a direct physical interpretation for the complex wavefunction?

The Schrodinger equation in non-relativistic quantum mechanics yields the time-evolution of the so-called wavefunction corresponding to the system concerned under the action of the associated ...
26
votes
11answers
7k views

About the complex nature of the wave function?

1. Why is the wave function complex? I've collected some layman explanations but they are incomplete and unsatisfactory. However in the book by Merzbacher in the initial few pages he provides an ...