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23
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5answers
2k views

Is mass an observable in Quantum Mechanics?

One of the postulates of QM mechanics is that any observable is described mathematically by a hermitian linear operator. I suppose that an observable means a quantity that can be measured. The mass ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

How does non-commutativity lead to uncertainty?

I read that the non-commutativity of the quantum operators leads to the uncertainty principle. What I don't understand is how both things hang together. Is it that when you measure one thing first ...
17
votes
4answers
450 views

Is every quantum measurement reducible to measurements of position and time?

I am currently studying Path Integrals and was unable to resolve the following problem. In the famous book Quantum Mechanics and Path Integrals, written by Feynman and Hibbs, it says (at the beginning ...
15
votes
1answer
683 views

Intuitive meaning of Hilbert Space formalism

I am totally confused about the Hilbert Space formalism of Quantum Mechanics. Can somebody please elaborate on the following points: The observables are given by self-adjoint operators on the ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

Time as a Hermitian operator in QM?

In non-relativistic QM, on one hand we have the following relations: $$\langle x | P | \psi \rangle ~=~ -i \hbar \frac{\partial}{\partial x} \psi(x),$$ $$\langle p | X | \psi \rangle ~=~ i \hbar ...
14
votes
3answers
845 views

In what sense is a scalar field observable in QFT?

Consider a QFT consisting of a single, hermitian scalar field $\Phi$ on spacetime (say $\mathbb R^{3,1}$ for simplicity). At each point $x$ in spacetime, $\Phi(x)$ is an observable in the sense that ...
11
votes
3answers
421 views

Is it possible to define a “it went through two slits” observable?

This concerns the famous two-slit experiment. Electrons or photons or your favorite particle, doesn't matter. As we all know, the attempt to detect which slit the quanta pass through leads to loss ...
9
votes
5answers
11k views

What is the Physical Meaning of Commutation of Two Operators?

I understand the mathematics of commutation relations and anti-commutation relations, but what does it physically mean for an observable (self-adjoint operator) to commute with another observable ...
8
votes
2answers
275 views

Observables with transcendental eigenvalues

Are there any "natural" physical observables which have non-empty point spectrum which consists of numbers which are not algebraic numbers?
8
votes
1answer
724 views

“An operator is hermitian”. Implications?

Alastair Rae states that there are 4 postulates of Quantum Mechanics in his text on the subject matter. The first part of his second postulate can be stated as: Every dynamical variable may be ...
7
votes
6answers
1k views

What is an observer in quantum mechanics?

My question is not about (pseudo) philosophical debate; it concerns mathematical operations and experimental facts. What is an observer? What are the conditions required to be qualified of observer, ...
6
votes
2answers
566 views

Eigenvalues of a quantum field?

Fields in classical mechanics are observables. For example, I can measure the value of the electric field at some (x,t). In quantum field theory, the classical field is promoted to an operator-valued ...
6
votes
2answers
776 views

Is the expectation value always an eigenvalue?

Does the expectation value of an observable must be equal to an eigenvalue of the corresponding operator? I already know that 0 is not an eigenvalue, but is there any other examples?
6
votes
2answers
567 views

Particle in a 1-D box and the correspondence principle

Consider the particle in a 1-d box, we know very well the solutions of it. I'd like to see how the correspondence principle will work out in this case, if we consider position probability density ...
6
votes
8answers
1k views

What exactly is the 'observer' in physics and/or quantum mechanics? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: nature of an observer For instance, in the double slit experiment, what is exactly defined as an observer? I remember from somewhere, light is also an observer?
5
votes
3answers
378 views

Some questions on observables in QM

1-In QM every observable is described mathematically by a linear Hermitian operator. Does that mean every Hermitian linear operator can represent an observable? 2-What are the criteria to say whether ...
5
votes
2answers
123 views

Inexact measurement and wavefunction collapse

As is usually said, measurement of an observable $q$ leads to collapse of wavefunction to an eigenstate of the corresponding operator $\hat q$. That is, now the wavefunction in $q$ representation is ...
5
votes
4answers
177 views

Why is Spin Less Classical than Position?

It is often repeated that "the spin observable is purely quantum and has no classical counterpart". What is actually meant by that? I see no principle difference between the set of spin observables ...
5
votes
3answers
36 views

Constructing a CP map with some decaying property

Given some observable $\mathcal O \in \mathcal H$ it is simple to construct a CP (completely positive) map $\Phi:\mathcal{H}\mapsto \mathcal{H}$ that conserves this quantity. All one has to observe is ...
5
votes
2answers
148 views

Basic Interpretation of Compostion of Observables and their Measurement

Given two (or more) observables $A, B$ which commute one can construct a third observable $C= A \circ B$. If $\psi$ is a common eigenvector of $A, B$ with eigenvalues $\lambda_1, \lambda_2$ then it is ...
5
votes
1answer
124 views

Eigenstate of field operator in QFT

Why don't people discuss the eigenstate of the field operator? For example, the real scalar field the field operator is Hermitian, so its eigenstate is an observable quantity.
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Why do we use Hermitian operators in QM?

Position, momentum, energy and other observables yield real-valued measurements. The Hilbert-space formalism accounts for this physical fact by associating observables with Hermitian ('self-adjoint') ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

Proof of Canonical Commutation Relation (CCR)

I am not sure how $QP-PQ =i\hbar$ where $P$ represent momentum and $Q$ represent position. $Q$ and $P$ are matrices. The question would be, how can $Q$ and $P$ be formulated as a matrix? Also, what is ...
4
votes
4answers
569 views

Is the wave function objective or subjective?

Here is a question I am curious about. Is the wave function objective or subjective, or is such a question meaningless? Conventionally, subjectivity is as follows: if a quantity is subjective then ...
4
votes
5answers
580 views

Eigenvalue Postulate and Experiment Outcomes in QM

In Nielsen and Chuang's text on Quantum Information and Computation, the measurement postulate is stated by using a collection of measurement operators and the outcomes are the indices of the ...
4
votes
2answers
227 views

Uniqueness of eigenvector representation in a complete set of compatible observables [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Uniqueness of eigenvector representation in a complete set of compatible observables Sakurai states that if we have a complete, maximal set of compatible observables, ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Compatible Observables

My QM book says that when two observables are compatible, then the order in which we carry out measurements is irrelevant. When you carry out a measurement corresponding to an operator $A$, the ...
4
votes
1answer
192 views

The difference between projection operators and field operators in QFT?

Is there a good reference for the distinction between projection operators in QFT, with an eigenvalue spectrum of $\{1,0\}$, representing yes/no measurements, the prototype of which is the Vacuum ...
4
votes
1answer
200 views

Is $\hat{\phi}^{-}\hat{\phi}^{+}$ a well defined observable in the Quantum field theory of a scalar field?

Is the Hermitian operator $\hat{\mathcal{O}}=\hat{\phi}^{-}(x)\hat{\phi}^{+}(x)$, where $\hat{\phi}^{+}(x)$ is positive frequency part of the scalar field operator, a well defined observable in QFT? ...
4
votes
2answers
396 views

Diff(M) and requirements on GR observables

This question is kind of inspired in this one: Diff(M) as a gauge group and local observables in theories with gravity The conundrum i'm trying to understand is how is derived the (quite) ...
3
votes
3answers
223 views

Is commutation relation an equivalence relation?

I'm now learning quantum mechanics with Liboff. In the book it deals with "a compete set of mutually compatible observables" in order to make a state maximally informative. How can one find such set? ...
3
votes
2answers
390 views

Uniqueness of eigenvector representation in a complete set of compatible observables

Sakurai states that if we have a complete, maximal set of compatible observables, say $A,B,C...$ Then, an eigenvector represented by $|a,b,c....>$, where $a,b,c...$ are respective eigenvalues, is ...
3
votes
2answers
137 views

Understanding Well Defined States

I am self-studying from a text in QM. Well defined states are mentioned several times. By and large these are consistent and seem to be readily apparent: states of well defined energy are basis ...
3
votes
2answers
264 views

Why does $i ( LK-KL )$ represent a real quantity?

According to my textbook, it says that $i( LK-KL )$ represents a real quantity when $K$ and $L$ represent a real quantity. $K$ and $L$ are matrices. It says that this is because of basic rules. ...
3
votes
4answers
365 views

Complete set of observables in classical mechanics

I'm reading "Symplectic geometry and geometric quantization" by Matthias Blau and he introduces a complete set of observables for the classical case: The functions $q^k$ and $p_l$ form a complete ...
3
votes
3answers
224 views

What determines which observables are QM?

Spin, position, and velocity are observables which are QM for quantum particles. My question is, what determines whether an observable is QM or not? For example, why is electric charge not QM? That ...
3
votes
2answers
110 views

Observable Operator on a Superposition?

I'm probably missing something obvious and basic here but I can't make sense of certain usages of Observables as present in basic treatments of Quantum Mechanics that i've come across. $$ ...
3
votes
2answers
363 views

Hamiltonian of oscillators quantized proof

https://docs.google.com/open?id=0BxrBcN1-BZWUOXNxR1l4S0l2MjQ http://www.2shared.com/complete/Qjy1_uzp/Quantum_Mechanics_in_Simple_Ma.html (I uploaded a pdf file that contains the parts of the ...
3
votes
1answer
227 views

Does spontanous symmetry breaking affect Noethers theorem?

Does spontanous symmetry breaking affect the existence of a conserved charge? And how does depend on whether we look at a classical or a quantum field theory (e.g. the weak interacting theory)? ...
3
votes
2answers
229 views

How to express continuous values as a matrix

Usually a quantity of a matrix is defined as the eigenvalues of the matrix. If so, how can anyone express continuous values, as in Schrodinger picture, into a matrix?
2
votes
3answers
171 views

If $L$ is a matrix that represents real physical quantity, why is $L^2$ non-negative real physical quantity?

In my textbook, it says that when $L$ is a matrix that represents real($\mathbb{R}$) physical quantity, $L^2$ represents non-negative real physical quantity. What would be the proof of this?
2
votes
1answer
455 views

Why are orthogonal functions and eigenvalues/functions so important in quantum mechanics?

The mathematics and physics we have studied so far at university are heavily focused around the idea of orthogonal functions, orthogonality, sets of solutions, eigenvalues and eigenfunctions. Why ...
2
votes
1answer
169 views

What are the Time Operators in Quantum Mechanics? [duplicate]

I don't understand at all what the time operators are in quantum mechanics. I thought that given a wave function, because it's a function of time, we could simple put in any time in the future to find ...
2
votes
1answer
95 views

Observables - what are they?

I often read in books that an observable is represented by an Hermitean operator. But it is deceiving as operator isn't the observable. As far as I've read the observable is denoted like $\langle ...
2
votes
2answers
312 views

Does every measurement correspond to an eigenstate of an observable?

In the postulates of quantum mechanics, physical observables are described by Hermitian matrices on the state space of a system. In another of my questions, the measurements of Rydberg-Ritz spectral ...
2
votes
2answers
167 views

Are the only observables in string theory the S-matrix?

Is the S-matrix the only observable in string theory? What about time varying spacetime backgrounds, or thermal states then?
2
votes
2answers
113 views

Why does a picture of a person seem to be looking in the same direction irrespective of the angle of observation? [closed]

If you observe a picture of a person hanging on a wall who seems to be looking directly towards you always seems to be looking at you even though you change your angle of observation to the extremes. ...
2
votes
2answers
264 views

Do eigenvectors of quantum operators span the whole Hilbert Space?

I am trying to solve an exercise in Shankar's QM book (concretely 4.2.1), and I am asked the probability of each possible value for the operator $L_x$ when the particle is in a certain eigenstate of ...
2
votes
1answer
257 views

proof for $\langle q| p \rangle = e^{ipq}$

What would be the proof for $\langle q| p \rangle = e^{ipq}$? Is it derived from canonical commutation relation? ($|q \rangle $ represents the position eigenstate, while $|p \rangle$ represents the ...
2
votes
1answer
54 views

Probability of measuring two observables in a mixed state

Lets say i have density Matrix on the usual base $$ \rho = \left( \begin{array}{cccc} \frac{3}{14} & \frac{3}{14} & 0 & 0 \\ \frac{3}{14} & \frac{3}{14} & 0 & 0 \\ 0 & ...