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Sequential Stern Gerlach experiments are treated in papers or books as mathematical exercises involving matrices, but I have not actually found papers or books which report experiments confirming these mathematical predictions of sequential Stern Gerlach experiments. I will be interested to know whether people have done experiments to verify these mathematical prediction. If not, how can we trust these mathematical predictions? Or are these sequential Stern Gerlach experiments normally treated as thought experiments only?

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  • $\begingroup$ Although not a demonstration of sequential measurements, Porter, J., R. F. Pettifer, and D. R. Leadley. "Direct demonstration of the transverse Stern–Gerlach effect." American Journal of Physics 71.11 (2003): 1103-1108 goes in quite a lot of details. The authors made an experimental map of the spatial magnetic field and have compared quite extensively theory and experiment. You can appreciate that the physical size of the apparatus would make sequential measurements difficult to perform. Sequential measurements of polarization have been done: same math as spin but not the same altogether. $\endgroup$ Mar 4, 2018 at 15:37
  • $\begingroup$ @Mark Mitchison - The only answer given in the duplicate question was obviously deemed unsatisfactory by the questioner. $\endgroup$
    – freecharly
    Mar 4, 2018 at 19:36

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The experiment using a vapor beam of silver atoms has been performed and published in 1922 in the Zeitschrift für Physik by O. Stern and W. Gerlach, Zeitschrift f. Physik 9, 349, 1922.

Note: Several multi-stage Stern- Gerlach experiments have been performed starting in 1932 and 1933 following the suggestions of Einstein and of Heisenberg. See references in the recent Stern Gerlach experiments review.

PS: This question reflects a deplorable situation in much of contemporary physics courses. Original experiments are frequently not taught any longer and physics is in large part only described theoretically.

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    $\begingroup$ The OP is asking about sequential SG experiments. $\endgroup$ Mar 4, 2018 at 15:24
  • $\begingroup$ @MarkMitchison- This is a valid point! I overlooked the "sequential". $\endgroup$
    – freecharly
    Mar 4, 2018 at 15:26
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    $\begingroup$ I'm so tempted to decry the deplorable situation in reading comprehension classes these days :P :) $\endgroup$ Mar 4, 2018 at 15:27
  • $\begingroup$ @MarkMitchison - I have added a link to a recent paper describing the multi stage Stern Gerlach experiments in published in 1932 and 1933. $\endgroup$
    – freecharly
    Mar 4, 2018 at 15:48
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, the paper mentioned by Freecharly (not Mark Mitchison) gives a history of various experiments. I had in fact came across that paper a few days ago but it is more a history paper. It does point to some old German papers on multi-stage experiments. Still, those experiments appear unclear to me. I have a particular question in mind but I do not think they address that question. $\endgroup$
    – Damon
    Mar 5, 2018 at 17:26

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