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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In layman's terms, what is a quantum fluctuation?

What causes it and how does it occur? If you do post some mathematics, please explain what each term means too please.
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2answers
480 views

How exactly does applying the Equipartition Theorem to radiation leads to UV catastrophe?

I'm reading a book by George Gamow, "Thirty years that shook Physics" and have trouble understanding his way of describing the UV catastrophe. In a first part he points out that applying the ...
4
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1answer
130 views

How do we perform transverse measurements in a two level system?

In quantum mechanics any two level system can be mapped onto effective spin variables. If the system is defined by two energy levels, $|E_1\rangle$ and $|E_2\rangle$, the Hamiltonian is $$ H = ...
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1answer
131 views

Equivalence principle for test fields

My question is very simple. We all know that, for a test particle(classical) in a gravitational field, the motion is only determined by the geodesic lines(let's forget about the initial conditions for ...
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3answers
285 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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11answers
6k 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 ...
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5answers
7k views

What is the physical meaning of commutators in quantum mechanics?

This is a question I've been asked several times by students and I tend to have a hard time phrasing it in terms they can understand. This is a natural question to ask and it is not usually well ...
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6answers
4k views

Path integral vs. measure on infinite dimensional space

Coming from a mathematical background, I'm trying to get a handle on the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics. According to Feynman, if you want to figure out the probability amplitude for ...
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5answers
5k views

Does a photon interfere only with itself?

I sometimes hear statements like that: Quantum-mechanically, interference pattern occurs due to quantum interference of wavefunction of a photon. Wavefunction of a single photon only interferes ...
16
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1answer
322 views

Why exactly do sometimes universal covers, and sometimes central extensions feature in the application of a symmetry group to quantum physics?

There seem to be two different things one must consider when representing a symmetry group in quantum mechanics: The universal cover: For instance, when representing the rotation group ...
38
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4answers
1k views

Does quantum mechanics violate the equivalence principle?

I have a question about equivalence principle in quantum mechanics. Consider a Schroedinger equation under gravitional field $$\left[ - \frac{1}{2m_I} \nabla^2 + m_g \Phi_{\mathrm{grav}} \right]\psi ...
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3answers
17k 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 ...
14
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9answers
50k views

What's the standard “roadmap” to learning quantum physics? [closed]

I'm really interested in quantum physics and would like to learn more. However, I don't know where to start and in what order I should learn things. So, ideally I'm looking for some sort of roadmap of ...
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7answers
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Is (rest) mass quantized?

I learned today in class that photons and light are quantized. I also remember that electric charge is quantized as well. I was thinking about these implications, and I was wondering if (rest) mass ...
17
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3answers
4k views

Nature of gravity: gravitons, curvature of space-time or both?

General relativity tells us that what we perceive as gravity is curvature of space-time. On the other hand (as I understand it) gravity can be understood as a force between objects which are ...
19
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3answers
939 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 ...
18
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6answers
2k 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 ...
13
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3answers
7k 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 ...
8
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3answers
698 views

When does $\hbar \rightarrow 0$ provide a valid transition from quantum to classcial mechanics? When and why does it fail?

Lets look at the transition amplitude $U(x_{b},x_{a})$ for a free particle between two points $x_{a}$ and $x_{b}$ in the Feynman path integral formulation $U(x_{b},x_{a}) = \int_{x_{a}}^{x_{b}} ...
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2answers
3k views

Is the Schrödinger equation derived or postulated?

I'm an undergraduate mathematics student trying to understand some quantum mechanics, but I'm having a hard time understanding what is the status of the Schrödinger equation. In some places I've read ...
17
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5answers
1k 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 ...
13
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3answers
2k views

What does the ordering of creation/annihilation operators mean?

When a system is expressed in terms of creation and annihilation operators for bosonic/fermionic modes, what exactly is the physical meaning of the order in which the operators act? For example, for ...
15
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1answer
826 views

What is the conclusion from Aharonov-Bohm Effect?

What is the conclusion that we can draw from the Aharonov-Bohm effect? Does it simply suggest that the vector potential has measurable effects? Does it mean that it is a real observable in quantum ...
12
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1answer
2k views

3D Delta Potential Well

The 1D delta potential well $V(x) = -A\delta(x - a)$ always has exactly one bound state. The same is true for the 3D delta potential well $V(\vec{r}) = -A\delta(\vec{r}-\vec{a})$. I can show this for ...
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2answers
8k views

How does electron move around nucleus?

I need to get a nice picture about how electron moves around nucleus? I find concept of probability and orbitals quite difficult to understand?
8
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4answers
7k views

Is Dr Quantum's Double Slit Experiment video scientifically accurate?

I'm fascinated by the fundamental questions raised by the Double Slit Experiment at the quantum level. I found this "Dr Quantum" video clip which seems like a great explanation. But is it ...
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2answers
2k views

Weyl Ordering Rule

While studying Path Integrals in Quantum Mechanics I have found that [Srednicki: Eqn. no. 6.6] the quantum Hamiltonian $\hat{H}(\hat{P},\hat{Q})$ can be given in terms of the classical Hamiltonian ...
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1answer
514 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 ...
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1answer
938 views

Is all angular momentum quantized?

Angular momentum is definitely quantized in elementary particles and electrons in atoms. Molecules also have characteristic rotation spectra. Is it true that all angular momentum is quantized, ...
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3answers
3k views

Why is the light reflected at the same angle from mirror?

From the school physics I know that the material objects bounce from the plane surface at the same angle, losing some kinetic energy. In the same school I was taught that the light (and waves in ...
12
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2answers
3k views

Meaning of the anti-commutator term in the uncertainty principle

What is the meaning, mathematical or physical, of the anti-commutator term? $\langle ( \Delta A )^{2} \rangle \langle ( \Delta B )^{2} \rangle \geq \dfrac{1}{4} \vert \langle [ A,B ] \rangle \vert^{2} ...
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4answers
1k views

How does the momentum operator act on state kets?

I have been going through some problems in Sakurai's Modern QM and at one point have to calculate $\langle \alpha|\hat{p}|\alpha\rangle$ where all we know about the state $|\alpha\rangle$ is that ...
5
votes
1answer
598 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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3answers
4k views

Matrix elements of momentum operator in position representation

I have two related questions on the representation of the momentum operator in the position basis. The action of the momentum operator on a wave function is to derive it: $$\hat{p} ...
7
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7answers
843 views

What counts as “observation” in Schrödinger's Cat, and why are superpositions possible?

So if I understood correctly, Schrödinger's Cat is a thought experiment that puts a cat inside a box, and there's a mechanism that kills the cat with 50% probability based on a quantum process. The ...
5
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3answers
1k views

Didn't we mess up with the temperature?

The following passage has been extracted from the book "The Feynman Lectures on Physics-Vol l": The mean kinetic energy is a property only of the "temperature." Being a property of the ...
3
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2answers
304 views

Importance of Kronecker product in quantum computation

To get product state of two states $|\phi \rangle$ and $|\psi \rangle$, we use Kronecker product $|\phi \rangle \otimes |\psi \rangle$. Instead of Kronecker product $\otimes$, can we use Cartesian ...
3
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2answers
507 views

Is quantum uncertainty principle related to thermodynamics?

Would like to ask a question, but first i would like to say Hello Everybody in a way that plays the system, since some geniouses decided that one should not be able to say hello in a question. The ...
7
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5answers
670 views

How isolated must a system be for it's wave function to be considered not collapsed?

As an undergrad I was often confused over people's bafflement with Schodinger's cat thought experiment. It seemed obvious to me that the term "observation" referred to the Geiger counter, not the ...
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2answers
2k views

Popular books on QM

After some discussions with my friend about some "popular" aspects of quantum mechanics, my friend asked me whether there exist any books that could convey the basic ideas in a non-technical way (my ...
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5answers
7k views

Is it possible to transfer classical bits of information faster than light speed?

Is there any known, verifiable way to transfer classical information faster than light, using quantum entanglement or other phenomenon? Does quantum teleportation, or other known phenomenon, allow ...
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0answers
107 views

Do particles travel backward and forward in time? [duplicate]

All these classical ideas are pointless and obsolete today, because in quantum mechanics, the particles are completely different objects, defined by quantum motion of fields, not by the location of ...
4
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5answers
487 views

Local EPR-experiments with photons in vacuum?

The principle of non-locality states "that an object is influenced directly only by its immediate surroundings." (Wikipedia) When two entangled particles are measured in an EPR experiment, we ...
3
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1answer
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three-particle quantum entanglement

So I know that two particles can be entangled in a quantum way, but is it possible that more than two particles be entangled in a quantum way? Most descriptions provide with two-particles cases, so I ...
2
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3answers
3k views

Why is it difficult to differentiate between interference and diffraction?

Why is it difficult to differentiate between interference and diffraction? Is it because we don't clearly understand how both of these phenomenon takes place? My thoughts: From an answer to one of ...
1
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2answers
488 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 ...
23
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5answers
6k views

Why do people rule out local hidden variables?

I bet the automatic response to my question would be "Bell's theorem" and of course I am not disputing Bell's proof. I am however uncertain of one of his assumptions. The so called "no conspiracy" ...
22
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5answers
6k 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 ...
43
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5answers
4k 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 ...
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7answers
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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 ...