For questions about probability, probability theory, probability distributions, expected values and related matters. Purely mathematical questions should be asked on Math.SE.

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Construct bivariate symmetric (polynomial) Hilbert-Schmidt two-qubit volume functions over the unit square with certain properties

Construct bivariate symmetric polynomials (two-qubit volume functions) f(r,R) = f(R,r) >= 0 over [0,1]^2, with f(1,R) = f(r,1)=0, such that the univariate marginal (integrating over r or R) ...
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3answers
116 views

Performing the two slit experiment under a strong gravitational force

For elementary particles, are their associated De Broglie wavelengths affected by the spacetime curvature produced by large mass density values? I ask this as a newcomer to Q.M. so apologies if I ...
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1answer
190 views

Probability and double slit

if a beam of identical particles at random distances from each other (or exactly 1/2 lambda between each other) travelling with the same v towards a double sllit do not interfere with each others wave ...
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1answer
56 views

Any fractal physical model that generates time series which demonstrate heavy-tailed (non-Gaussian) behavior in some form?

I know that fractal structures have power-laws in various forms "hidden" in them. I am looking for the most simple fractal model that I can find that generates time series with, say, ...
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19 views

Can we say a certain yes to having probability independence for some events?

Mathematically it is just a question of assumption of proof to say that $P(A|B)=P(A)$ if A is independent from B. However, in real life is it possible to assume $P(A|B)=P(A)$ instead of ...
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Earth still exists - does this fact tell us anything about LHC safety?

When LHC was about to be launched there were many fears that it would destroy the world. To counter them scientists tried to carefully examine all possibilities and concluded that there is nothing ...
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3answers
247 views

Why does Hamiltonian follow the property $H^*_{ij} = H_{ji} $?

I was reading Feynman's Lectures III's Hamiltonian Matrix. There I found this property of Hamiltonian Matrix: The Hamiltonian has one property that can be deduced right away, namely, that ...
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2answers
351 views

What do “ℜe” and “A*” mean?

What do "$\mathfrak{Re}$" and "A*" mean in the following equation (taken from James Binney and David Skinner's QM lecture notes, equation 1.12), \begin{align} p(S\text{ or ...
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2answers
119 views

Why can the probability function for a particle in an infinite square well be larger than 1?

For a particle in a one dimensional infinite potential well of width $L$ the probability function is: $$P_n(x)=\left(\frac{2}{L}\right)\sin^2\left(\frac{n\pi x}{L}\right)$$ for $0\leq x\leq L$. The ...
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3answers
207 views

Wave Function concept

What do we mean when we say wave function of electron? Does it mean wave nature of electrons? I am really confused.Without clearing this confusion i cannot proceed to molecular orbital theory.I am ...
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1answer
141 views

Why electron can not be found at some node locations in the infinite potential well?

Consider electron in an infinite potential well, studied in quantum mechanics. Position probability density of the electron is $$ P_n(x)=\left(\frac{2}{L}\right)\sin^2\left(\frac{n\pi x}{L}\right)$$ ...
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Probability flux

I was reading a text on Quantum Mechanics in which it said that $$\int{d^3 x \, j(x,t)} = \frac{\langle p\rangle}{m},$$ where $\langle p\rangle$ is the expectation value of the momentum operator at ...
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Probability distribution of the decay of a single radioactive nucleus [duplicate]

A single radioactive nucleus has a constant probability to decay at any moment. Does this imply that the decay of the particle has a uniform probability distribution from the point in time of the ...
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1answer
66 views

Does Quantum mechanics predict (statistical) frequencies?

I began reading a book by Bricmont and Zwirn (Philosophie de la mécanique quantique, as yet not translated). In a note (page 4), Bricmont writes (translation mine): Probability is a theoretical ...
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2answers
280 views

Violation of unitarity: meaning and consequences

What is meant by unitarity and violation of unitarity of a QFT? For example, Fermi theory of beta decay is said to violate unitarity. How does violation of unitarity make a theory sick?
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1answer
45 views

What is the unit of information as defined by information theory?

It appears to be defined by probability; however, does it have some unit that indicates its 'information level' in terms of probability?
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2answers
143 views

Why is probability of finding the electron at a certain point when one of the slits is closed $|\Psi|^2 $ & not $|\Psi|^2 dx$?

Let in a given physical condition, the wave-function to a particle be assigned as $|\Psi (x_i,0,0,t)|^2 dx$. Now, at the double-slit experiment , the probability of finding the particle at any $x$ ...
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1answer
197 views

What do we mean by Unitary Dynamics in Quantum Computing?

In the afterword to the Tenth Anniversary Edition of the book Quantum Computation and Quantum Information the authors say: For many years, the conventional wisdom was that coherent ...
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3answers
87 views

Probability density for wavefunction given as infinite superposition of eigenstates

How do we find the probability density as a function of (x,t), if the wavefunction is expressed as an infinite superposition of eigenstates? When the wavefunction is expressed as a superpostion of ...
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1answer
303 views

Probability density for momentum in Quantum Mechanics

In a book i found the following equations: $$ \phi(k)=\frac{1}{\sqrt{2\pi}} \int_{-\infty}^\infty \Psi(x,0)e^{-ikx}dx $$ and $$ \Psi(x,t)=\frac{1}{\sqrt{2\pi}} \int_{-\infty}^\infty ...
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1answer
91 views

Problem with momentum values in a QM problem

I have the following equation of $Ψ$ around a ring (the particle is bound to move only on the ring): To visualize the state(it dies before L/2 if L=2πR): We can see from the first picture that ...
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1answer
102 views

Can binary sequences generated from ergodic maps be chaotic?

Briefly, the way symbols are generated is: Consider a one-dimensional chaotic map $T: [0,1]→[0,1]$ and a time series $\{x_n\}_{n=1}^N$ generated with this map. Define a threshold $A$ and a ...
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4answers
197 views

Importance of local conservation of probability

In almost every textbook of quantum mechanics we can find the derivation of the local conservation of probability. $$\nabla\cdot\vec{J}+\partial_t (\psi^*\psi)=0$$ where $\vec{J}$ is probabilty ...
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387 views

Physical experiments - False positives

How is it made sure that something has been discovered, and not just noise? Is one discovery of something that is predicted considered to be enough (Higgs-particle)? What are the probabilities of a ...
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3answers
1k views

Calculating the probability of a given energy

Given a normalised wavefunction say $$\psi(x) = A\sin(n\pi x),$$ (where $A$ is a normalisation constant) I can calculate the probability of finding the particle being between a position $x$ and $x + ...
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2answers
544 views

Why does the magnitude squared of the wave function give us the probability density? [duplicate]

My question doesn't go much beyond the title: Why does $$\left | \psi \left ( x,t \right ) \right |^{2}$$ give us the probability density of something appearing at a certain location? I understand ...
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1answer
64 views

Calculating average quantities in kinetic theory

Consider a volume $V$ with $5$ particles each of mass $m$ at positions $\mathbf{q}_i=(x_i,y_i,z_i) \in V$ and with velocities $\mathbf{v}_i=(u_i,v_i,w_i)$. The speeds of the particles are between $0$ ...
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2answers
67 views

Expansion of a ket-physical interpretation of coefficients

Consider I have a state represented by the Ket: $$|\psi\rangle=\sum_i a_i |\phi_i\rangle$$ What are the physical interpretations of the coefficients $a_i$? My guess is that $|a_k|^2$ represents the ...
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1answer
63 views

Cosmological fluctuations: what is gaussian?

When we are speaking about gaussianity and non-gaussianity in a cosmological context, what is gaussian or non-gaussian in the CMB? What would a non gaussian CMB look like compared to a gaussian one? ...
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5answers
4k views

Why do all the atoms of a radioactive substance not decay at the same time?

Why does the substance decay at a rate which is proportional to the amount of the substance at that moment? As all atoms are in hurry to become a stable atom and as their decay do not depend on any ...
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1answer
169 views

What is the definition of 'relative population' in context of partition function?

In statistical mechanics, what is the definition (or mathematical definition) when authors refer to relative population in the case of a classical particle system?
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1answer
61 views

is it necessarily true that the partition function $Z$ (with degeneracies) $ =1$?

The partition function with degnerate energies is $$\text{Z}=\sum _ig_ie^{{-E_i}/{k_BT}}.$$ Because the partition function Z is defined as the normalisation constant, does Z always = 1?
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1answer
149 views

Why is probabilty conserved under time evolution of a system in quantum mechanics?

I've studied quantum mechanics to a certain degree, but one question that I've never been able to get a fully satisfactory answer to is why probability is conserved (by this I mean that it has either ...
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2answers
219 views

Number of microstates compatible with two boxes

From my notes I have: From one point of view there are many more microstates compatible with the LHS than the RHS, in fact the relation between the number of microstates is ...
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2answers
203 views

Why do termite pellets fall in a perfect circle?

I was just wondering why termite pellets fall down from my bed in a perfect circle. You can see from the images that the follow down on the floor making a perfect geometric figure which is void in ...
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1answer
127 views

Probability of photon emission

If a photon of a given wavelength is absorbed by an electron (for simplicity, let's assume the electron has only one excited state), does the probability that the electron jumps to its excited state ...
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0answers
70 views

Applicability of perturbation theory

Consider some system in some initial state $|k^{(0)}\rangle$. The probability that such a state makes a transition to some other state $|m^{(0)}\rangle$ can be computed to various orders in time ...
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2answers
392 views

Probability current in scattering problems

This is a section from Wikipedia: In regions where a step potential or potential barrier occurs, the probability current is related to the transmission and reflection coefficients, respectively ...
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1answer
130 views

Generalizing a Gaussian distribution

Perhaps this a nonsensical question but hear me out. I have a random variable $x$ whose moments I can calculate. The first moment $<x>$ is zero and the second $<x^2> = X^2$ is something ...
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1answer
116 views

Distinguishing between prepared and unprepared states Stern-Gerlach experiment

$ \newcommand{\bra}[1]{\left\langle #1 \right|} \newcommand{\ket}[1]{\left| #1 \right\rangle} \newcommand{\braket}[2]{\left\langle #1 \middle| #2 \right\rangle}$I have a problem and am confused as to ...
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1answer
75 views

Reference about probability to study statistical mechanics

I've started studying statistical mechanics but I feel that I need to understand probability better. There are tons of books on probabilities out there, but some of them just talk too much, with tons ...
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2answers
97 views

Quantum measurement problem with eigenvectors (Dirac notation) [closed]

Ok so I've got two state vectors related to two other state vectors. $$|\alpha_1\rangle= (1/5)(3|\gamma_1\rangle+4|\gamma_2\rangle)$$ $$|\alpha_2\rangle= (1/5)(4|\gamma_1\rangle-3|\gamma_2\rangle)$$ ...
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2answers
114 views

Heisenberg uncertainty and probabilistic nature of QM

I am trying to understand whether the HUP and the probabilistic nature of QM are orthogonal or not. By that I mean that the HUP fundamentally derives from operators not commuting, which is the ...
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2answers
112 views

Probability from classical physics compared with quantum mechanics [closed]

$|\psi\rangle$=$\frac{1}{\sqrt5}|\uparrow_z\rangle+\frac{2}{\sqrt5}|\downarrow_z\rangle$ a)What is the probability of obtaining $+\frac{\hbar}{2}$ for $S_x$? b)If after obtaining ...
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411 views

Normalization of wave function meaning…?

I just have one question. I'm doing a problem where I'm told to normalize a wave function, which is split up into two regions, namely where $r \leq r_0$ and $r > r_0$. My question is, why am I ...
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1answer
85 views

Probability flux: spatial variation of the phase equal to momentum?

We can write any wave function as $$\psi(\vec x, t) = \sqrt{\rho(\vec x,t)}\exp{\left[\frac{iS(\vec x,t)}{\hbar}\right]}$$ for $S$ real and $\rho >0$. Here we interpret $\rho$ as the probability ...
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What can I expect to see in a oscillator exhibiting bifurcation?

I have a program which aims to simulate a Josephson Bifurcation Amplifier. I am currently trying to obtain a plot of the probability of bifurcation as a function of the ratio between the driving and ...
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5answers
489 views

Why do we need a wave function?

Assuming our only aim is to solve double slit experiment (or other problems that can be mapped into that). Knowing that electron does some strange thing not expected of a particle, we need a function ...
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3answers
222 views

How do probabilities emerge in the many-worlds interpretation?

My understanding is that at each quantized unit of time that a split occurs, every possible recombination of particles occurs in the 'objective' universe. If this is the case, what relevance to ...
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4answers
370 views

Does $\lvert\langle p\lvert\psi\rangle\rvert^2$ have any meaning at all?

I used to think $\lvert\langle p\lvert\psi\rangle\rvert^2$ had the meaning of some likelihood of the particle's momentum being $p$ (within some tolerance interval $\Delta p$). Now I'm just confused. ...