Linked Questions

8
votes
2answers
599 views

Is it possible to formulate the Schrödinger equation in a manner that excludes imaginary numbers? [duplicate]

In the most general sense, the Time Dependent Schrödinger Equation (TDSE) reads $$\hat{H} \Psi = i \hbar ~{{\mathrm d} \over {\mathrm dt}}\Psi $$ Is it possible to get rid of the $i$ entirely? Does ...
1
vote
4answers
130 views

Are Imaginary Numbers Really “Imaginary?” [duplicate]

I find the naming convention of “Imaginary” misleading, as it does give a sense that the quantity is merely an abstract construct used to mitigate the difficulties of performing some mathematical ...
0
votes
2answers
213 views

Why is $i$ used in the equations for quantum mechanics? [duplicate]

Coming from someone who knows a tiny bit about the subject but who really wants to learn. I know it's the square root of -1 but I would like some insight as to why it's used at all.
2
votes
1answer
429 views

Why is it necessary to use the imaginary number in QM? [duplicate]

My professor argues that one of the fundamentally unique properties of Quantum Mechanics is that the imaginary unit i is not removable (you can't avoid using it, unlike in other areas of physics like ...
1
vote
0answers
98 views

Does Quantum Mechanics need imaginary numbers? [duplicate]

In quantum mechanics, we assume wavefunctions are complex valued, and that probability amplitudes are given by the modulus of the wavefunction squared. This formalism can correctly explain ...
0
votes
0answers
80 views

Is there a way to explain quantum mechanics without invoking complex numbers? [duplicate]

"Every possible history starting from a particular state and ending at a particular state is assigned a complex number by some predefined rules in particular that the complex number is the product of ...
1
vote
0answers
54 views

The Field $\mathbb{F}$ of A Hilbert Space [duplicate]

Is it always necessary for the field of some arbitrary Hilbert space I define to describe a system be a field of complex numbers only? Is it possible to have a field of naturals, or reals? Since the ...
140
votes
10answers
14k views

What makes a theory “Quantum”?

Say you cook up a model about a physical system. Such a model consists of, say, a system of differential equations. What criterion decides whether the model is classical or quantum-mechanical? None ...
78
votes
14answers
30k views

About the complex nature of the wave function?

1. Why is the wave function complex? I've collected some layman explanations but they are incomplete and unsatisfactory. However in the book by Merzbacher in the initial few pages he provides an ...
62
votes
10answers
7k views

Quantum made easy: so what *is* quantum mechanics all about? [closed]

Being a physics grad student, I got used to the weird concepts behind quantum mechanics (used to doesn't mean I fully understand it though). What I mean is that I'm not surprised anymore by the fact ...
31
votes
11answers
9k views

Discreteness and Determinism in Superstrings?

So Gerard 't Hooft has a brand new paper (thanks to Mitchell Porter for making me aware of it) so this is somewhat of a expansion to the question I posed on this site a month or so ago regarding 't ...
34
votes
7answers
4k 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 ...
31
votes
7answers
3k views

Can one do the maths of physics without using $\sqrt{-1}$?

The use of imaginary and complex values comes up in many physics and engineering derivations. I have a question about that: Is the use of complex numbers simply to make the process of derivation ...
12
votes
7answers
8k views

What does imaginary number maps to physically?

I am taking undergraduate quantum mechanics currently, and the concept of an imaginary number had always troubled me. I always feel that complex numbers are more of a mathematical convenience, but ...
7
votes
5answers
3k views

Example of the time-independent Schrödinger equation having a complex solution?

We know $\Psi(x,t)$ is complex, but can $\Psi(x)$ be complex? I have seen particle in a box, well and harmonic oscillator. All have real solutions for time-independent Schrödinger equation. Hence, I ...

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