This tag is for Heisenberg's quantum mechanical uncertainty principle. DO NOT USE THIS TAG for uncertainty in a non-quantum measurement.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

3
votes
1answer
59 views

Heisenberg Uncertainty Relation and Relativity

It's well known that in QM the position and momentum of a particle cannot be known simultaneously. It's also well known that in special relativity the idea of simultaneity loses its meaning. Would it ...
3
votes
1answer
81 views

Holding an electron

Heisenberg has said that the position and velocity of a small object cannot be known 100% accurate. Now, suppose I take a big metal box within which there is only one electron (somehow). I don't know ...
3
votes
1answer
97 views

Is the Uncertainty Principle a logical consequence from the Wave-Particle duality?

I always thought of the Uncertainty Principle as a logical consequence that follows from the Wave-Particle duality, or more precise, from the fact that all particles behave as waves as long as they do ...
3
votes
1answer
69 views

Does there exist a state for which $\Delta\sigma_x^2=\Delta\sigma_y^2=0$? If not, how does one prove it?

I just realized that the uncertainty principle says that $$\Delta\sigma_x^2 \Delta\sigma_y^2 \ge \left(\overline{\hat\sigma_z}\right)^2,$$ where ...
3
votes
1answer
324 views

The Physical Meaning behind a Commutator [duplicate]

I've just been introduced to the idea of commutators and I'm aware that it's not a trivial thing if two operators $A$ and $B$ commute, i.e. if two Hermitian operators commute then the eigenvalues of ...
3
votes
2answers
244 views

electron orbits

Is there an upper limit to the number of orbits an electron can have around say a proton? Arent there states that are unstable(for n!=1) with corresponding mean/half lives and therefore uncertainty in ...
3
votes
1answer
106 views

Why doesn't $σ_xσ_p$ change with the width of the well in the infinite square well problem (intuition)?

I calculated that the product of the uncertainty in position $\sigma_x$ for the ground state of an infinite square well of width $L$ with the uncertainty in the momentum $\sigma_p$ for the same state, ...
3
votes
2answers
333 views

'The size of an atom' using Uncertainty Principle

Suppose we have a hydrogen atom, and measure the position of the electron; we must not be able to predict exactly where the electron will be, or the momentum spread will then turn out to be ...
3
votes
1answer
197 views

The Uncertainty Principle and Energy Nonconservation

The uncertainty principle is listed in most textbooks and articles as $$ \Delta E \Delta t \geq \frac{\hbar}{2}.$$ This can be derived in many ways in many different settings, most of them involving ...
3
votes
1answer
499 views

Estimating minimum energy with uncertainty principle

I'm currently trying to solve a problem that involves estimating the minimum energy of a particle in the potential: $$ V(x) = \frac{-V_0a}{|{x}|} $$ I'm quite confused about how to handle the ...
3
votes
1answer
216 views

In QM, does random data “come from anywhere”? Also, what are the properties of the data?

I have only taken a basic quantum mechanics course (this book, so you know where I'm coming from), but I've been wondering about something. If we set up a quantum system in a known state and take a ...
3
votes
1answer
128 views

Determining the spin of wavefunction

We all know that by uncertainty principle, location of a wave-particle is perfectly determined when uncertainty of momentum becomes infinite. (I also heard that in reality, it is almost impossible to ...
3
votes
1answer
327 views

How do you determine the degree of localization of a wavefunction?

Suppose that there is a wavefunction $\Psi (x,0)$ where 0 is referring to $t$. Let us also say that $a(k) = \frac{C\alpha}{\sqrt{\pi}}\exp(-\alpha^2k^2)$ is the spectral contents (spectral amplitudes) ...
3
votes
0answers
20 views

Gaussian Minimizes Uncertainty - Statement Qualification [duplicate]

On the last page of this paper, the following statements are made (I'll jump right to around the point of interest): Example: Consider $A=p_x$, $B=x$. Then $$\langle A\rangle=\langle ...
3
votes
0answers
62 views

Simultaneous measurement of non-commuting observables without uncertainty

A pair of non-commuting Observables $\hat{X}$ and $\hat{P}$ does not have a common set of eigenfunctions, i.e., it can not be measured simultaneously. Let us for the sake of simplicity assume that ...
3
votes
0answers
78 views

Heisenberg uncertainty in Bose Einstein condensate

What happens to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, when a system reaches the Bose-Einstein condensed state? In our statistical mechanics lecture, we derived the following formula for the fraction ...
3
votes
0answers
60 views

Would quantum fluctuations cause problems for scalar-field inflation?

Wheeler once said that spacetime would be highly curved at very small scales because of the uncertainty principle for energy-momentum. In which case the spacetime becomes very bumpy and not smooth ...
3
votes
0answers
162 views

Quantum mechanics,and how the law $ΔxΔp≥ℏ/2$ explains the paradox regarding atoms [duplicate]

In Chapter 2-3,Vol I of the Feynman lectures, Feynman talks about a rule in quantum mechanics that says that one cannot know both where something is and how fast it is moving. That the uncertainty of ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Absolute zero and Heisenberg uncertainty principle

I got to read Feynman vol I and there was written that at absolute zero, molecular motion doesn't cease at all, because if so happens, we will be able to make precise determination of position and ...
2
votes
4answers
511 views

Are “uncertainties” in Heisenberg Uncertainity just standard deviations? [closed]

Can someone confirm that the uncertainties in Heisenberg's uncertainty relation are really just standard deviations based on the expectation values? For example, the $\Delta x$ can be computed by ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Observation of violation of the uncertainty principle?

I stumbled upon this piece of news in the BBC's website http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19489385, discussing this paper http://prl.aps.org/abstract/PRL/v109/i10/e100404, which reports ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Causality and Quantum uncertainty [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: Why quantum entanglement is considered to be active link between particles? Why can't the outcome of a QM measurement be calculated a-priori? Why do some (the majority ...
2
votes
3answers
3k views

Why can't we know the speed, $\vec{v}(t)$, and position, $\vec{r}(t)$, of an electron (the two) at the same time $t$?

I've read something about this and I conclude that it happens because of the uncertainty principle. But I don't understand very well the meaning of that. I mean, it's very abstract that the speed, ...
2
votes
2answers
150 views

Does the uncertainty principle imply the existence of particles that exceed the speed of light?

The uncertainty principle allows for the creation of virtual particles (with non-zero mass) that exist for very short durations. This allows empty space to have particle pairs that pop into existence ...
2
votes
1answer
262 views

Why does the uncertainty principle relate position and momentum when mass is always certain?

Why do physicists relate $x$ and $p$, instead of $x$ and $v$ since mass is well known and is not uncertain?
2
votes
5answers
311 views

Which way will the pencil fall?

Let's say you had a perfect pencil, with a point which was just that one point (see this question). The pencil's mass was perfectly distributed, and there are no flaws in the craftsmanship. Let's say ...
2
votes
5answers
5k views

Reason for the Gaussian wave packet spreading

I have recently read how the Gaussian wave packet spreads while propagating. see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wave_packet#Gaussian_wavepackets_in_quantum_mechanics Though I understand the ...
2
votes
1answer
241 views

Will photon's energy be exactly same after million years?

If photon will travel for million years without collisions, what subtle effects can be accumulated ? Gravity fields affect trajectory, but is energy completely intact after fly by ? Photon has its ...
2
votes
1answer
98 views

Is the wavelet transform utilized at all in QM?

Excuse any ignorance, but something was on my mind today and my professor didn't give me a very clear answer... Obviously the Fourier Transform is used pretty constantly in QM. What about the wavelet ...
2
votes
2answers
185 views

Uncertainty principle

Think of a particle known to be trapped in a box of size $\Delta x$ and cooled down to near absolute zero. I know that attempting to measure the momentum of this particle repeatedly will give a random ...
2
votes
1answer
371 views

Why doesn't gravity act as a measurement?

I think this must be a very basic question but I couldn't find the answers anywhere. I was starting reading about Quantum Mechanics and these questions came in mind: As I understand the quantum ...
2
votes
3answers
240 views

Uncertainty principle and multiple observers

My understanding is that an observer can measure the precise location of a particle so long as the corresponding uncertainty in momentum measurement is not an issue and vice-versa. Say there is ...
2
votes
2answers
12k views

Minimum possible Kinetic Energy of a confined electron

The problem is this: Consider an electron confined in a region of nuclear dimensions (about 5 fm). Find its minimum possible kinetic energy in MeV. Treat this problem as one-dimensional, and ...
2
votes
2answers
945 views

Who first realized the uncertainty principle allows for virtual particle pair production?

For all I've read about Quantum Field Theory I've never seen the concept of the living vacuum accredited to someone in particular. Given the importance of this very application of the uncertainty ...
2
votes
2answers
169 views

Why is Heisenberg uncertainty principle not valid in waves in string?

We know from high school physics that when the incident wave is traveling from a low density region (high wave speed) region towards a high density (low wave speed) region on a string, the width of ...
2
votes
3answers
321 views

Measuring position and momentum at the same time?

In a non-relativistic quantum mechanical system in an infinite potential well. I try to measure the energy and the position of the system simultaneously. Since, the respective operators do commute ...
2
votes
2answers
515 views

Is it only the ground state of the quantum harmonic oscillator that has the minimum uncertainty product?

We know that the uncertainty product of general states is bounded by the inequality described by Heisenberg's uncertainty relation. And the ground state of the quantum harmonic oscillator falls under ...
2
votes
1answer
138 views

Theoretical Upper Bound on Processor Speed?

Barring aside considerations such as heat dissipation, capacitance, etc... (aka any sort of technological issue) what is the fastest speed of a processor? I am told that at distances of 1 planck ...
2
votes
2answers
163 views

Physical meaning of uncertainty principle + question on symmetry

A question on the Uncertainty principle. So we know that it says (for position and momentum) that: $$ \Delta x \Delta p \ge \hbar/2 $$. Where $\Delta p = \sqrt {<p^2> - <p>^2 }$ and ...
2
votes
2answers
121 views

Quantum uncertainty in cell functions

In class today (philosophy of the mind) we discussed the ideas of Richard Lewontin. He stated that in determining the phenotype of a gene we must take into account the environment but also quantum ...
2
votes
2answers
192 views

Uncertainty in path integral formulation

In Feynman's path integral formulation, in order to calculate the probability amplitude, we sum up all the possible trajectories of the particle between the points $A$ and $B$. Since we know ...
2
votes
1answer
203 views

Proof of quantum mechanical position uncertainty

How can you prove the uncertainty for position is: $$\Delta{x} =\sqrt{\langle x^2\rangle-\langle x\rangle^2}$$ $\Delta{x}$, taken to be the root mean square of x. $$\Delta{x} =\sqrt{\langle ...
2
votes
2answers
766 views

Why is $\Delta x \Delta k \approx 1$ in any pulse?

In my physics textbook, it says that for any pulse, if $\Delta x$ becomes smaller, $\Delta k$ becomes larger where $k$ refers to $2\pi/\lambda$ and $x$ is x-axis displacement, as described by $\Delta ...
2
votes
2answers
246 views

Why does temperature have no uncertainity?

Background My understanding is that temperature is not a quantum mechanical operator. Hence, thereby it should not have any uncertainty. However, any instrument that tries to take the measurement of ...
2
votes
4answers
689 views

Heisenberg uncertainty principle clarification

I found these two examples in a books which demonstrate Heiseberg's uncertainty relation: 1) It shows that when we try to locate a moving electron,we transferred momentum via the photon that we ...
2
votes
1answer
61 views

Uncertainty relation and instrumental errors

I was puzzled recently by what I've read in the internets about Heisenberg's uncertainty principle (one probably should never do this). It claimed that in the usual relation $$ ...
2
votes
2answers
62 views

Does measuring the exact position of a ball destroy the ball

If you have a macroscopic ball (say, a tennis ball) and you (hypothetically) try to measure the exact position of the center of that ball by measuring the exact positions of the atoms making up the ...
2
votes
2answers
466 views

Question on the uncertainty principle

The problem statement: Measurement detects a position of a proton with accuracy of $\pm10pm$. How much is the position uncertainty $1s$ later? Assume the speed of a proton $v\ll c$. What i ...
2
votes
3answers
325 views

Zero Point Fluctuations

The total energy of a mode in a quantum mechanical resonator is given by $E_n ~=~ (n+ 1/2)hf$ where $n$ is the number of modes. So when there are no modes or vibrations, i.e. $n=0$, the energy is ...
2
votes
3answers
821 views

Energy-time uncertainty and pair creation

Usually, the energy-time analogue of the position-momentum uncertainty relation is quoted as $\Delta E \Delta t \geq \frac{h}{4 \pi}$. This has interpretational issues and such. But, with a suitable ...