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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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
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How close does a particle-antiparticle pair need to be for annihilation to happen?

I've most often seen the statement that the annihilation of a particle and its antiparticle occurs when they 'collide' with one another. So in other words when they get very close to one another ...
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Why is the application of probability in QM fundamentally different from application of probability in other areas?

Why is the application of probability in quantum mechanics (QM) fundamentally different from its application in other areas? QM applies probability according to the same probability axioms as in other ...
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2answers
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Bell polytopes with nontrivial symmetries

Take $N$ parties, each of which receives an input $s_i \in {1, \dots, m_i}$ and produces an output $r_i \in {1, \dots, v_i}$, possibly in a nondeterministic manner. We are interested in joint ...
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Connections and applications of SLE in physics

In probability theory, the Schramm–Loewner evolution, also known as stochastic Loewner evolution or SLE, is a conformally invariant stochastic process. It is a family of random planar curves that are ...
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What is a wave function in simple language?

In my textbook it is given that 'The wave function describes the position and state of the electron and its square gives the probability density of electrons.' Can someone give me a very ...
14
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1answer
209 views

Monte Carlo integration over space of quantum states

I am currently facing the problem of calculating integrals that take the general form $\int_{R} P(\sigma)d\sigma$ where $P(\sigma)$ is a probability density over the space of mixed quantum states, ...
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6answers
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Why was quantum mechanics regarded as a non-deterministic theory?

It seems to be a wide impression that quantum mechanics is not deterministic, e.g. the world is quantum-mechanical and not deterministic. I have a basic question about quantum mechanics itself. A ...
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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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Random Walk Randomly Reflected

Hi I am not specialist in probability so I will not be surprised if the answer for this question is just a simple consequence of well known results from the random walk theory. In this case, I will ...
12
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1answer
554 views

The measure problem in the anthropic principle

The anthropic principle is based upon Bayesian reasoning applied to the ensemble of universes, or parts thereof, conditioned upon the existence of conscious observers. That still leaves us with the ...
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What is the fundamental probabilistic interpretation of Quantum Fields?

In quantum mechanics, particles are described by wave functions, which describe probability amplitudes. In quantum field theory, particles are described by excitations of quantum fields. What is the ...
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Connection between Hamiltonian version of the least action principle and probability amplitude in the Schrödinger equation

If I'm not mistaken, Schrödinger was influenced to look at wave equations because of de Broglie's assertion about particles having a wavelength. He started with the Hamiltonian equation which is ...
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What is probability current in quantum mechanics?

What is probability current in quantum mechanics? Why define such a thing? I mean the meaning of probability current. I know the formula for it but I just don't get the idea of a flow of probability ...
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Born rule and unitary evolution

Is the Born rule a fundamental postulate of quantum mechanics, or can it be inferred from unitary evolution?
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1answer
433 views

Quantum version of the Galton Board

If classical particles fall through a Galton Board they pile up in the limit of large numbers like a normal distribution, see e.g. http://mathworld.wolfram.com/GaltonBoard.html What kind of ...
9
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1answer
549 views

How to determine the probabilities for a cuboid die?

Imagine we take a cuboid with sides $a, b$ and $c$ and throw it like a usual die. Is there a way to determine the probabilities of the different outcomes $P_{ab}, P_{bc}$ and $P_{ac}$? With $ab$, ...
9
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1answer
927 views

Interpretation of the Random Schrödinger Equation

I should preface this by admitting that my physics background is rather weak so I beg you to keep that in mind in your responses. I work in mathematics (specifically probability theory) and a paper ...
9
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491 views

Is “entanglement” unique to quantum systems?

My text shows (sections 0.2 and 0.3) that the joint "state space" of a system composed of two subsystems with $k$ and $l$ "bits of information", respectively, requires $kl$ bits to fully describe it. ...
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What is the relationship between Maxwell–Boltzmann statistics and the grand canonical ensemble?

In the grand canonical ensemble one derives the expectation value $\langle \hat n_r\rangle^{\pm}$ for fermions and bosons of sort $r$: $$ \langle \hat n_r\rangle^{\pm} \ \propto \ ...
8
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Itô or Stratonovich calculus: which one is more relevant from the point of view of physics?

Langevin equation provides an example of a physical model which involves a differential equation with a stochastic term. Now, I wonder, how should one treat this? When I studied stochastic processes, ...
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Mathematically possible vs physically probable outcomes

A good buddy of mine and I have had a friendly debate about the origins of the current state of our universe (namely; Earth and life on Earth) and have fundamentally disagreed in our stances with ...
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3answers
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How to work out the relation between the “mean relative speed” and the “mean speed”?

I'm a freshman and am taking the general physics course. I just learned intro thermodynamics. One problem that really puzzles me is the calculation of "collision mean-free path", where calculating the ...
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Would one actually find their doppelgänger in a “Googolplex Universe”?

Related: Infinite universe - Jumping to pointless conclusions I've recently become a fan of Numberphile, and today I happened to watch their video regarding Googol and Googolplex. In the video, ...
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Infinite universe - Jumping to pointless conclusions

I watched an episode of thee BBC Horizon series titled 'To infinity and beyond'. In this program a number of respected physicists and mathematicians were talking about the nature of infinity and an ...
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How to design a deliberately biased coin?

For demonstrating basic probability concepts, it would be nice to have a coin-like object that lands heads/tails not in 50/50% ratio, but biased in a way that can be revealed in a short experiment. ...
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Determinism, classical probabilities, and/or quantum mechanics?

[I]f you want a universe with certain very generic properties, you seem forced to one of three choices: (1) determinism, (2) classical probabilities, or (3) quantum mechanics. [My emphasis.] ...
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Differences between probability density and expectation value of position

The expression $\int | \Psi\left(x\right)|^2dx$ gives the probability of finding a particle at a given position. If wave function gives the probabilities of positions, why do we calculate ...
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Probability amplitude in Layman's Terms

I am basically a Computer Programmer, but Physics has always fascinated and often baffled me. I have tried to understand probability density in Quantum Mechanics for many many years. What I ...
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3answers
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Relation between unitarity and conservation of probability

In a seminar, I heard that the unitary aspect of representations was important physically, because in quantum mechanics unitarity is closely tied to the conservation of probability. Could someone ...
7
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397 views

Are probabilities really tangible physical real numbers?

Probabilities are usually considered to be a real number between 0 and 1. A real number has an infinite decimal expansion. Are probabilities really real numbers? Is the infinite decimal expansion ...
7
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435 views

Interpretation: probability form probability amplitude (free particle)

If you compute the probability amplitude of a free 1D non-relativistic particle with mass $m$, located at position $x_0$ at time $t_0$, for beeing detected at some other point $x_N$ at time $t_N$ you ...
7
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2answers
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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 ...
7
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1answer
236 views

Motivation for Wigner phase space distribution

Most sources say that Wigner distribution acts like a joint phase-space distribution in quantum mechanics and this is justified by the formula $$\int_{\mathbb{R}^6}w(x,p)a(x,p)dxdp= \langle ...
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1answer
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Is there a mathematical basis for Born rule?

Wave function determines complex amplitudes to possible measurement outcomes. The Born Rule states that the probability of obtaining some measurement outcome is equal to the square of the ...
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Born's Rule, What is the Reason? [duplicate]

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 ...
6
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4answers
677 views

What is the difference between + and - signs in superpositions of quantum states?

What is the difference between states $$ \frac1{\sqrt{2}} |11\rangle+\frac1{\sqrt{2}} |00\rangle $$ and $$ \frac1{\sqrt{2}} |11\rangle- \frac1{\sqrt{2}} |00\rangle~? $$ They will all eventually ...
6
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3answers
763 views

Why, in spin sums, we sum over final spin states and average over initial states?

I am reading Halzen's book about quarks and leptons and on page 120 he talks about spin sums. He says that in order to calculate the amplitude between unpolarized states we have to sum over FINAL ...
6
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3answers
589 views

Could quantum mechanics work without the Born rule?

Slightly inspired by this question about the historical origins of the Born rule, I wondered whether quantum mechanics could still work without the Born rule. I realize it's one of the most ...
6
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2answers
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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 ...
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2answers
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Why is quantum mechanics based on probability theory? [duplicate]

What makes us formulate quantum mechanics based on probability theory? Isn't the real quantum world based on unknown laws to us? Is it possible that results of an experiment will be measurable in ...
6
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1answer
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Allowed states vis-a-vis allowed dynamics in generalized probabilistic theories (GPTs)

In his work on information processing in GPTs http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/0508211 Barrett speculates that the trade-off between allowed states and the allowed dynamics in a GPT is optimal in quantum ...
6
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2answers
335 views

Mathematical probabilistic interepretation of probability amplitude

As a warning, I come from an "applied math" background with next to no knowledge of physics. That said, here's my question: I'm looking at the possibility of using probability amplitude functions to ...
6
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1answer
141 views

Random walks on resistive network

I have been referring to a paper http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0405135 to determine the effective resistance using random walks for an infinite square resistive lattice Though the author seems to ...
6
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1answer
214 views

Is there an equivalent of a Galton box for a converging probability?

This is a question about probability. The Galton box (or quincunx) uses the physical process of shot moving down a pin-board, to demonstrate central limit theorem, eg: So I am interested in events ...
5
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2answers
572 views

Is it really impossible to calculate in advance the result of throwing dice?

Is it really impossible to calculate in advance the result of throwing dice? After all, the physics of dice throwing is in the world of classical mechanics, rather than quantum mechanics.
5
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4answers
265 views

Does entropy alter the probability of independent events?

So I have taken an introductory level quantum physics and am currently taking an introductory level probability class. Then this simple scenario came up: Given a fair coin that has been tossed 100 ...
5
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3answers
480 views

Probability and probability amplitude

The equation: $$P = |A|^2$$ appears in many books and lectures, where $P$ is a "probability" and $A$ is an "amplitude" or "probability amplitude". What led physicists to believe that the square of ...
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Is it true that quantum mechanics technically allows anything to happen?

Maybe this is a silly question (I think it is), but it's a question I'm arguing with some of my friends for a long time. The ultimate question is: Is everything (in our Universe) possible ? I've ...
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What is the probability density function over time for a 1-D random walk on a line with boundaries?

If a single particle sits on an infinite line and undergoes a 1-D random walk, the probability density of its spatio-temporal evolution is captured by a 1-D gaussian distribution. \begin{align} ...