Quantum mechanics describes the microscopic properties of nature in a regime where classical mechanics no longer applies. It explains phenomena such as the wave-particle duality, quantization of energy and the uncertainty principle and is generally used in single body systems. Use the ...

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Is the uncertainty principle just saying something about what an observer can know or is it a fundamental property of nature?

I ask this question because I have read two different quotes on the uncertainty principle that don't seem to match very well. There are similar questions around here but I would like an explanation ...
5
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1answer
248 views

Normalizing Propagators (Path Integrals)

In the context of quantum mechanics via path integrals the normalization of the propagator as $\left | \int d x K(x,t;x_0,t_0) \right |^2 = 1$ is incorrect. But why? It gives the correct ...
3
votes
1answer
444 views

Why is the value of spin +/- 1/2?

I understand how spin is defined in analogy with orbital angular momentum. But why must electron spin have magnetic quantum numbers $m_s=\pm \frac{1}{2}$ ? Sure, it has to have two values in ...
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1answer
534 views

Why path integral approach may suffer from operator ordering problem?

In Assa Auerbach's book (Ref. 1), he gave an argument saying that in the normal process of path integral, we lose information about ordering of operators by ignoring the discontinuous path. What did ...
5
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4answers
859 views

Does entanglement not immediately contradict the theory of special relativity?

Does entanglement not immediately contradict the theory of special relativity? Why are people still so convinced nothing can travel faster than light when we are perfectly aware of something that ...
4
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1answer
275 views

Hilbert space of a free particle: Countable or Uncountable?

This is obviously a follow on question to the Phys.SE post Hilbert space of harmonic oscillator: Countable vs uncountable? So I thought that the Hilbert space of a bound electron is countable, but ...
3
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2answers
359 views

How to prove that $i\hbar\frac{\partial}{\partial \mathbf{p}}$ is the operator of $\mathbf{x}$ in momentum space?

How to prove that $i\hbar\frac{\partial}{\partial \mathbf{p}}$ is the operator of $\mathbf{x}$ in momentum space?
3
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1answer
356 views

Why are eigenfunctions which correspond to discrete/continuous eigenvalue spectra guaranteed to be normalizable/non-normalizable?

These facts are taken for granted in a QM text I read. The purportedly guaranteed non-normalizability of eigenfunctions which correspond to a continuous eigenvalue spectrum is only partly justified by ...
3
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4answers
1k views

Are quantum mechanics calculations useful for engineering?

I heard it's is pretty tough to get results for more than a few quantum particles. Are quantum mechanical calculations useful at all for any technology that is being sold? Or do they use ...
0
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2answers
595 views

EPR-type experiments and faster-than-light communication using interference effects as signaling mechanism

I understand that faster-than-light communication is impossible when making single measurements, because the outcome of each measurement is random. However, shouldn't measurement on one side collapse ...
0
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2answers
654 views

Operators Uncertainty

$\hat A$ is an operator. The uncertainty on $\hat{A}$, $\Delta A$ is defined by: $$\Delta A=\sqrt{\langle\hat A^2\rangle - \langle\hat A\rangle^2}$$ what is difference between $\langle\hat ...
6
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6answers
824 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, ...
4
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1answer
325 views

Quantum Zeno effect and unstable particles

Is it possible to increase indefinitely the lifetime of unstable particles by applying the quantum Zeno effect? Is there a bound from theoretical principles about the maximum extension one can get in ...
3
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2answers
1k views

Group Velocity and Phase Velocity of Matter Wave?

In quantum mechanics, what is the difference between group velocity and phase velocity of matter wave? How can it also be that phase velocity of matter wave always exceeds the speed of light?
3
votes
2answers
500 views

Is there an observable of time? [duplicate]

In Quantum Mechanics, position is an observable, but time may be not. I think that time is simply a classical parameter associated with the act of measurement, but is there an observable of time? And ...
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vote
3answers
179 views

Does entanglement have a speed or is it instantaneous

The phenomenon of observing one entangled particle and noticing the other take on corresponding values... Does this take a finite speed at all or is it instantaneous?
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2answers
386 views

Is energy exchange quantized?

In the photoelectric effect there is a threshold frequency that must be exceeded, to observe any electron emission, I have two questions about this. I) Lower than threshold: What happen with lesser ...
25
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10answers
2k views

What is spontaneous symmetry breaking in QUANTUM systems?

Most descriptions of spontaneous symmetry breaking, even for spontaneous symmetry breaking in quantum systems, actually only give a classical picture. According to the classical picture, spontaneous ...
21
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5answers
3k views

What is the usefulness of the Wigner-Eckart theorem?

I am doing some self-study in between undergrad and grad school and I came across the beastly Wigner-Eckart theorem in Sakurai's Modern Quantum Mechanics. I was wondering if someone could tell me why ...
17
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5answers
3k views

What does it mean for a Hamiltonian or system to be gapped or gapless?

I've read some papers recently that talk about gapped Hamiltonians or gapless systems, but what does it mean? Edit: Is an XX spin chain in a magnetic field gapped? Why or why not?
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3answers
682 views

A “Hermitian” operator with imaginary eigenvalues

Let $${\bf H}=\hat{x}^3\hat{p}+\hat{p}\hat{x}^3$$ where $\hat{p}=-id/dx$. Clearly ${\bf H}^{\dagger}={\bf H}$, because ${\bf H}={\bf T} + {\bf T}^{\dagger}$, where ${\bf T}=\hat{x}^3\hat{p}$. In this ...
24
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10answers
6k views

Discreteness and Determinism in Superstrings?

So Gerard 't Hooft has a brand new paper (thanks to Mitchell Porter for making me aware of it) so this is somewhat of a expansion to the question I posed on this site a month or so ago regarding 't ...
27
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3answers
12k views

Maximum theoretical data density

Our ability to store data on or in physical media continues to grow, with the maximum amount a data you can store in a given volume increasing exponentially from year to year. Storage devices continue ...
30
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4answers
2k views

Trace of a commutator is zero - but what about the commutator of $x$ and $p$?

Operators can be cyclically interchanged inside a trace: $${\rm Tr} (AB)~=~{\rm Tr} (BA).$$ This means the trace of a commutator of any two operators is zero: $${\rm Tr} ([A,B])~=~0.$$ But what about ...
21
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5answers
2k views

Is Stephen Wolfram's NKS, an attempt to explain the universe with cellular automata, in conflict with Bell's Theorem?

Stephen Wolfram's A New Kind of Science (NKS) hit the bookstores in 2002 with maximum hype. His thesis is that the laws of physics can be generated by various cellular automata--simple programs ...
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3answers
1k views

Is the universe a quantum computer - is light speed barrier a computational constraint

There is currently a debate ongoing on leading maths blog Gödel’s Lost Letter, between Gil Kalai and Aram Harrow, with the former arguing that building a quantum computer may not be possible due to ...
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2answers
1k views

Definitions: 'locality' vs 'causality'

I'm having trouble unambiguously interpreting many answers here due to the fact that the terms locality and causality are sometimes used interchangeably, while other times seem to mean very different ...
18
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1answer
2k views

In 't Hooft beable models, do measurements keep states classical?

This is a questions on 't Hooft's beable models (see here: Discreteness and Determinism in Superstrings?) for quantum mechanics, and the goal is to understand to what extent these succeed in ...
17
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6answers
879 views

Is there a difference between observing a particle and hitting it with another particle?

First, let me state that I'm a lot less experienced with physics than most people here. Quantum mechanics was as far as I got and that was about 9 years ago, with no use in the meantime. A lot of ...
13
votes
3answers
741 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
684 views

Is edge state of topological insulator really robust?

I am a little confused! Some people are arguing that the gapless edge state of Topological insulator is robust as long as the time reversal symmetry is not broken,while other people say that it is ...
6
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4answers
2k views

Chemical potential

This is something probably very basic but I was led back to this issue while listening to a recent seminar by Allan Adams on holographic superconductors. He seemed very worried to have a theory at ...
13
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6answers
2k views

Is the Planck length Lorentz invariant?

The planck length is defined as $l_P = \sqrt{\frac{\hbar G}{c^3}}$. So it is a combination of the constants $c, h, G$ which I believe are all Lorentz invariants. So I think the Planck length should ...
11
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1answer
449 views

How is quantum mechanics compatible with the speed of light limit?

Consider a free electron in space. Let us suppose we measure its position to be at point A with a high degree of accuracy at time 0. If I recall my QM correctly, as time passes the wave function ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Noether theorem, gauge symmetry and conservation of charge

I'm trying to understand Noether's theorem, and it's application to gauge symmetry. Below what I've done so far. First, the global gauge symmetry. I'm starting with the Lagragian ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

A book on quantum mechanics supported by the high-level mathematics

I'm interested in quantum mechanics book that uses high level mathematics (not only the usual functional analysis and the theory of generalised functions but the theory of pseudodifferential operators ...
12
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2answers
2k views

Adding 3 electron spins

I've learned how to add two 1/2-spins, which you can do with C-G-coefficients. There are 4 states (one singlet, three triplet states). States are symmetric or antisymmetric and the quantum numbers ...
12
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1answer
545 views

Entanglement in time

Quantum entanglement links particles through time, according to this study that received some publicity last year: New Type Of Entanglement Allows 'Teleportation in Time,' Say Physicists at The ...
11
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5answers
1k views

The Many Body problem

(This is a simple question, with likely a rather involved answer.) What are the primary obstacles to solve the many-body problem in quantum mechanics? Specifically, if we have a Hamiltonian for a ...
8
votes
3answers
517 views

Why does spin have a discrete spectrum?

Why is it that unlike other quantum properties such as momentum and velocity, which usually are given through (probabilistic) continuous values, spin has a (probabilistic) discrete spectrum?
8
votes
2answers
5k views

How does quantum trapping with diamagnets work?

I just saw this demonstration by someone from a Tel Aviv University lab. What they achieved there is mind blowing. I myself own a levitron that uses the Hall effect to levitate a magnet, the problem ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the relation between position and momentum wavefunctions in quantum physics?

I have read in a couple of places that $\psi(p)$ and $\psi(q)$ are Fourier transforms of one another (e.g. Penrose). But isn't a Fourier transform simply a decomposition of a function into a sum or ...
4
votes
5answers
860 views

Can Planck's constant be derived from Maxwell's equations?

Can mathematics (including statistics, dynamical systems,...) combined with classical electromagnetism (using only the constants appearing in chargefree Maxwell equations) be used to derive the Planck ...
14
votes
6answers
442 views

Is there a theorem that says that QFT reduces to QM in a suitable limit? A theorem similar to Ehrenfest's theorem?

Is there a theorem that says that QFT reduces to QM in a suitable limit? Of course, it should be, as QFT is relativisitc quantum mechanics. But, is there a more manifest one? such as Ehrenfest's ...
13
votes
4answers
908 views

Linearity of quantum mechanics and nonlinearity of macroscopic physics

We live in a world where almost all macroscopic physical phenomena are non-linear, while the description of microscopic phenomena is based on quantum mechanics which is linear by definition. What are ...
10
votes
3answers
542 views

Hawking radiation and reversibility

It's often said that, as long as the information that fell into a black hole comes out eventually in the Hawking radiation (by whatever means), pure states remain pure rather than evolving into mixed ...
7
votes
2answers
751 views

Recent breakthroughs in quantum computing?

Can anyone explain to me why we have had no major breakthroughs in the theory of quantum computation in the past 15 years? Shor's algorithm set the standard, since then we've had Grover's algorithm ...
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6answers
7k views

Simple explanation of quantum mechanics

Can you please describe quantum mechanics in simple words? When ever I read this word (quantum computers, quantum mechanics, quantum physics, quantum gravity etc) I feel like fantasy, myth and ...
14
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5answers
2k views

The transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics

John Cramer’s transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics (TIQM) is billed as resolving the fuzzy agnosticism of the Copenhagen interpretation while avoiding the alleged ontological excesses of ...
11
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2answers
578 views

What Hermitian operators can be observables?

We can construct a Hermitian operator $O$ in the following general way: find a complete set of projectors $P_\lambda$ which commute, assign to each projector a unique real number $\lambda\in\mathbb ...