In quantum mechanics, a unitary operator satisfies U† U = UU† = I, where † denotes Hermitean conjugation; such operators then specify Hilbert space automorphisms and preserve state norms, so then probability amplitudes and hence probabilities. Use for conservation of probability questions under ...

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42
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6answers
10k views

Why is information indestructible?

I really can't understand what Leonard Susskind means when he says that information is indestructible. Is that information that is lost, through the increase of entropy really recoverable? He ...
104
votes
2answers
11k views

Why do we not have spin greater than 2?

It is commonly asserted that no consistent, interacting quantum field theory can be constructed with fields that have spin greater than 2 (possibly with some allusion to renormalization). I've also ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

Why are scattering matrices unitary?

In Griffith's QM book, he introduces scattering matrices as an end-of-the-chapter Problem 2.52. For a Dirac-Delta potential $V(x) = \alpha \delta (x - x_0)$, I've derived the scattering matrix and ...
7
votes
3answers
954 views

Does Wick rotation work for quantum gravity?

Does Wick rotation work for quantum gravity? The Euclidean Einstein-Hilbert action isn't bounded from below.
7
votes
1answer
346 views

Sign in front of QFT kinetic terms

I'd like to know if the sign in front of a kinetic term in QFT important. For the scalar field we conventionally write (in the $ + --- $ metric), \begin{equation} {\cal L} _{ kin} = \frac{1}{2} \...
9
votes
4answers
455 views

Where does the $i$ come from in the Schrödinger equation?

I am currently trying to follow Leonard Susskind's "Theoretical Minimum" lecture series on quantum mechanics. (I know a bit of linear algebra and calculus, so far it seems definitely enough to follow ...
8
votes
2answers
275 views

Why does the action have to be hermitian?

The hermiticity of operators of observables, e.g. the Hamiltonian, in QM is usually justified by saying that the eigenvalues must be real valued. I know that the Lagrangian is just a Legendre ...
4
votes
1answer
632 views

Clarifications needed on Gauge Fixing and Ghosts [closed]

The first time some kind of gauge fixing appears is during the Gupta-Bleuler procedure, which is used to be able to quantize the photon field: The basic gauge invariant Lagrangian leads to $\Pi_0=0$ ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

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 ...
3
votes
2answers
258 views

Thought experiment about no-cloning theorem and FTL information

The quantum no-cloning theorem states that one cannot "build" a perfect cloning device for arbitrary quantum systems. There also exists a famous thought experiment where Alice transmits information ...
33
votes
1answer
2k views

Is general relativity holonomic?

Is it meaningful to ask whether general relativity is holonomic or nonholonomic, and if so, which is it? If not, then does the question become meaningful if, rather than the full dynamics of the ...
9
votes
2answers
727 views

Why do Faddeev-Popov ghosts decouple in BRST?

Why do Faddeev-Popov ghosts decouple in BRST? What is the physical reason behind it? Not just the mathematical reason. If BRST quantization is specifically engineered to make the ghosts decouple, how ...
10
votes
1answer
643 views

Is it possible to derive Schrodinger equation in this way?

Let's have wave-function $\lvert \psi \rangle$. The full probability is equal to one: $$\langle \Psi\lvert\Psi \rangle = 1.\tag{1}$$ We need to introduce time evolution of $\Psi $; we know it in ...
7
votes
1answer
478 views

Basic question about the S-Matrix, Unitarity and Effective Field Theory

Consider scattering some particles in a state collectively denoted by $i$ to a final state denote by $f$. The scattering amplitude, S-matrix is then defined by: $S_{fi}\equiv \langle f|e^{-iHt}|i\...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is time evolution unitary?

Is the reason why the time evolution operator is unitary based on purely physical arguments, i.e. that the physical processes that an isolated system undergoes shouldn't depend on any particular ...
6
votes
1answer
398 views

Why is $R^2$ gravity not unitary?

I have often heard that $R^2$ gravity (as studied by Stelle) is renormalisable but not unitary. My question is: what is it that causes the theory to suffer from problems with unitarity? My naive ...
1
vote
1answer
264 views

Why does the state space contain states with negative norm and what would be an example?

My lecture script of Quantum Field Theory states that " the state space contains states with negative norm ". Why does it have to be like this and what would be an example fo such a state?
13
votes
1answer
2k views

Unitary quantum field theory

What do physicists mean when they refer to a quantum field theory being unitary? Does this mean that all the symmetry groups of the theory act via unitary representations? I would appreciate if one ...
4
votes
2answers
122 views

What exactly does No cloning mean, in the context of Quantum Computing?

I am trying to get an intuitive idea of how the No-Cloning theorem affects Quantum computation. My understanding is that given a qubit $Q$ in superposition $Q_0 \left| 0 \right> + Q_1 \left| 1 \...
2
votes
1answer
59 views

Norm preserving Unitary operators in Rigged Hilbert space

If we take the free particle Hamiltonian, the eigenvectors (or eigenfunctions), say in position representation, are like $e^{ikx}$. Now these eigenfunctions are non-normalisable,so they don't belong ...
5
votes
2answers
270 views

Proof of conservation of information [duplicate]

After listening of some lectures of Leonard Susskind about black holes, he mentioned that conservation of information is one of the foundations of physics. After searching the web I cannot seem to ...
2
votes
3answers
365 views

Shankar's Active/Passive Change of Basis

I'm working my way through Shankar's Quantum Mechanics (7th printing, and I'm doing it alone, so I apologize if I have core concepts completely wrong). He has a section on Active and Passive ...
1
vote
1answer
84 views

What sort of operations can be applied on a Hilbert spaces?

I was reading the paper No Universal Flipper for Quantum States. In this paper they have tried to prove by contradiction that a universal flipping machine cannot exist. By flipping I mean if I have a ...