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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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 ...
12
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5answers
1k views

Good book on the history of Quantum Mechanics?

Can anyone recommend a good book on the history of Quantum Mechanics, preferably one that is technical and not afraid to explain the maths (I did a degree in Physics many years ago) and also that ...
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5answers
2k views

Why position is not quantized in quantum mechanics?

Usually in all the standard examples in quantum mechanics textbooks the spectrum of the position operator is continuous. Are there (nontrivial) examples where position is quantized? or position ...
4
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4answers
601 views

Are the physical laws scale-dependent?

If you read the article "More Is Different", by P.W. Anderson (Science, 4 August 1972), you will find a deep question: are the physical laws dependent of the size of the system under study? As an ...
12
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1answer
401 views

What really are superselection sectors and what are they used for?

When reading the term superselection sector, I always wrongly thought this must have something to do with supersymmetry ... DON'T laugh at me ... ;-) But now I have read in this answer, that for ...
12
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6answers
4k views

What is the world's biggest Schrodinger cat?

How big is it by a truly quantum measurement? I am thinking of comparing Science magazines "Breakthrough of the Year" (BYOT) with the Zeilinger buckyball. The BYOT is a piezoelectric mechanical ...
12
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5answers
2k views

What is the conserved quantity of a scale-invariant universe?

Consider that we have a system described by a wavefunction psi(x). We then make an exact copy of the system, and anything associated with it, (including the inner cogs and gears of the elementary ...
8
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5answers
9k 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 ...
7
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5answers
531 views

What is the path integral exactly?

I asked a question here about path integrals and QFT. I just want to confirm something. Is the path integral in quantum field theory a mathematical tool only? I thought the path integral meant that ...
6
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2answers
1k views

Galilean invariance of the Schrodinger equation

I am only asking this question so that I can write an answer myself with the content found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Likebox/Schrodinger#Galilean_invariance and here: ...
5
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2answers
648 views

Energy operator

Does the Hamiltonian always translate to the energy of a system? What about in QM? So by the Schrodinger equation, is it true then that $i\hbar{\partial\over\partial t}|\psi\rangle=H|\psi\rangle$ ...
10
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1answer
487 views

With what probability does nuclear fusion occur at energies far below the Coulomb barrier?

Even at the core of the sun, the temperature of $\sim 10^7$ K only results in $kT\sim1$ keV, which is about a thousand times less than the electrical potential energy of $\sim1$ MeV needed in order to ...
9
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4answers
719 views

Can quantum mechanics really be the same as underlying deterministic theory?

I am perplexed by recent papers by 't Hooft giving an explicit construction for an underlying deterministic theory based on integers that is indistinguishable from quantum mechanics at experimentally ...
6
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6answers
1k views

What constitutes an observation/measurement in QM?

Fundamental notions of QM have to do with observation, a major example being The Uncertainty Principle. What is the technical definition of an observation/measurement? If I look at a QM system, it ...
6
votes
3answers
753 views

How does one quantize the phase-space semiclassically?

Often, when people give talks about semiclassical theories they are very shady about how quantization actually works. Usually they start with talking about a partition of $\hbar$-cells then end up ...
6
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2answers
2k views

What is the definition of colour (the quantum state)?

I heard somewhere that quarks have a property called 'colour' - what does this mean?
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11answers
1k views

Negative probabilities in quantum physics

Negative probabilities are naturally found in the Wigner function (both the original one and its discrete variants), the Klein paradox (where it is an artifact of using a one-particle theory) and the ...
17
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6answers
714 views

Is the density operator a mathematical convenience or a 'fundamental' aspect of quantum mechanics?

In quantum mechanics, one makes the distinction between mixed states and pure states. A classic example of a mixed state is a beam of photons in which 50% have spin in the positive $z$-direction and ...
16
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2answers
594 views

Can bosons that are composed of several fermions occupy the same state?

It is generally assumed that there is no limit on how many bosons are allowed to occupy the same quantum mechanical state. However, almost every boson encountered in every-day physics is not a ...
8
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1answer
456 views

How are anyons possible?

If $|ψ\rangle$ is the state of a system of two indistinguishable particles, then we have an exchange operator P which switches the states of the two particles. Since the two particles are ...
8
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3answers
319 views

Supersymmetry in Quantum Mechanics

I was reading Supersymmetry in Quantum Mechanics and got stuck in the various mathematical terminology like "Graded-Lie Algebra", "Super Algebra". Is there any good lecture notes concerning these ...
7
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6answers
840 views

Maxim Raykin's “solution to the measurement problem” using infinitely many derivatives

Recently I was made aware of the following arXiv preprint by Maxim Raykin: Analytical Quantum Dynamics in Infinite Phase Space. As far as I understand it, Raykin's idea is to reinterpret quantum ...
7
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3answers
1k views

Once a quantum partition function is in path integral form, does it contain any operators?

Once a quantum partition function is in path integral form, does it contain any operators? I.e. The quantum partition function is $Z=tr(e^{-\beta H})$ where H is an operator, the Hamiltonian of the ...
6
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4answers
881 views

Intrinsic structure of electron

The electron contains finite negative charge.The same charges repel each other.What makes electron stable and why does it not burst? Is it a law of nature that the electron charge is the smallest ...
5
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4answers
583 views

Locality in Quantum Mechanics

We speak of locality or non-locality of an equation in QM, depending on whether it has no differential operators of order higher than two. My question is, how could one tell from looking at the ...
5
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2answers
1k views

What does a Field Theory mean?

What exactly is a field theory? How do we classify theories as field theories and non field theories? EDIT: After reading the answers I am under the impression that almost every theory is a ...
4
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10answers
1k views

What is the wavefunction of the observer himself?

I am aware about different interpretations of quantum mechanics out there but would mostly like to see an answer from the perspective of Copenhagen interpretation (or relative quantum mechanics if you ...
3
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1answer
307 views

Wavefunction in quantum mechanics and locality

Every wavefunction of a form $\Psi(x)$ can be described as a superposition of multiple free particle solutions. We can see the following Fourier transform: $$ \psi(x) = \int e^{ik\cdot x} \psi(k) dk ...
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3answers
865 views

Why do we use operators in quantum mechanics?

In classical mechanics, physical quantities, such as, e.g. the coordinates of position, velocity, momentum, energy, etc, are real numbers, but in quantum mechanics they become operators. Why is this ...
10
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2answers
344 views

Born rule for photons: it works, but it shouldn't?

We can observe double-slit diffraction with photons, with light of such low intensity that only one photon is ever in flight at one time. On a sensitive CCD, each photon is observed at exactly one ...
9
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2answers
976 views

What does John Conway and Simon Kochen's “Free Will” Theorem mean?

The way it is sometimes stated is that if we have a certain amount of "free will", then, subject to certain assumptions, so must some elementary particles."(Wikipedia) That is confusing to me, ...
8
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8answers
698 views

Given entanglement, why is it permissible to consider the quantum state of subsystems?

Quantum entanglement is the norm, is it not? All that exists in reality is the wave function of the whole universe, true? So how come we can blithely talk about the quantum state of subsystems if ...
7
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3answers
1k views

Concept of a point particle in quantum mechanics

A point particle is usually thought of as structureless and without dimension. However, given that Heisenberg's uncertainty principle prohibits us from knowing the position of a particle exactly, what ...
6
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5answers
4k views

Compton scattering vs. photoelectric effect

Say a photon hits some atom. What determines whether there will be a photoelectric effect (photon is absorbed, electron is released) or whether there will be a Compton scattering (the photon is ...
5
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2answers
133 views

fixed input qubit state to an arbirary pure state using two variable rotations and one fixed rotation

It is a theorem that any arbitrary unitary transformation in SU(2) can be factored into the following form: $ O = U_X(\theta) U_Y(\phi) U_X(\delta) $ Where $U_X$ is a Bloch sphere rotation. I ...
5
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2answers
273 views

Why doesn't a marble rolling on a table ever reflect back at the edge?

In light of the fact that when encountering a potential step there is a non-zero probability of a particle reflecting back, I was just wondering why it is that a marble doesn't "reflect" back from the ...
4
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3answers
312 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 ...
4
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1answer
514 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, ...
3
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3answers
297 views

Pauli principle for particles very far apart from each other

Can two electrons be in the same state, when they belong to two different atoms, which are "far enough" (whatever that means) apart from each other? With "same state" I mean that (as far as ...
3
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6answers
827 views

Is H=H* sloppy notation or really just incorrect, for Hermitian operators?

I saw it in this pdf, where they state that $P=P^\dagger$ and thus $P$ is hermitian. I find this notation confusing, because an operator A is Hermitian if $\langle \Psi | A \Psi \rangle=\langle A ...
3
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1answer
266 views

Quantization of Nambu–Goto action in multiples of Planck's constant?

Isn't it possible? Quantization of Nambu–Goto action $$\mathcal{S} ~=~ -\frac{1}{2\pi\alpha'} \int \mathrm{d}^2 \Sigma \sqrt{{\dot{X}} ^2 - {X'}^2}~=~nh\qquad n \in\mathbb{Z}.$$
3
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0answers
319 views

Isn't a single Quantum one single string? [duplicate]

In physics, a quantum (plural: quanta) is the minimum amount of any physical entity involved in an interaction. In Quantum Mechanics There is no difference between one Quantum to another one. ...
15
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7answers
2k views

Does Quantum Mechanics assume space and time are continuous?

I was confused when I was listening to a Quantum Mechanics lecture online. Are space and time assumed to be continuous or discrete in Quantum Mechanics? I can see the question is vague, but this is ...
13
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2answers
2k views

Definite Parity of Solutions to a Schrödinger Equation with even Potential?

I am reading up on the Schrödinger equation and I quote: Because the potential is symmetric under $x\to-x$, we expect that there will be solutions of definite parity. Could someone kindly ...
10
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3answers
2k views

Simple explanation of Quantum Zeno Effect

I'm a student and I had to give a talk on seminar about Quantum Zeno effect and Anti-Zeno effect to my colleagues (all listeners have had a course in quantum physics, but not a heavy one with all the ...
9
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2answers
451 views

Groups acting on physics - a clarification on electrons and spin

My first question is fairly basic, but I would like to clarify my understanding. The second question is to turn this into something worth answering. Consider a relativistic electron, described by a ...
8
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1answer
584 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 ...
8
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6answers
957 views

Energy conservation and quantum measurement

Consider a particle in a potential well. Let’s assume it’s a simple harmonic oscillator potential and the particle is in its ground state with energy E0 = (1/2) ℏω0. We measure its ...
7
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7answers
608 views

Is it wrong to talk about wave functions of macroscopic bodies?

Does a real macroscopic body, like table, human or a cup permits description as a wave function? When is it possible and when not? For example in the "Statistical Physics, Part I" by Landau & ...
6
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2answers
795 views

A question on the existence of Dirac points in graphene?

As we know, there are two distinct Dirac points for the free electrons in graphene. Which means that the energy spectrum of the 2$\times$2 Hermitian matrix $H(k_x,k_y)$ has two degenerate points $K$ ...