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# Questions tagged [observables]

A quantum observable is a measurable operator whose corresponding property of the state can be determined by some sequence of physical operations ("observation"), such as submitting the system to various electromagnetic fields and eventually reading a value. In systems governed by classical mechanics, any experimentally observable value can be shown to be given by a real-valued function on the set of all possible system states.

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### Why are Hermitian operators linked to observables?

In Quantum Mechanics, why is it that a self-adjoint operator is linked to an observable? What makes it measureable? And why isn't a non-Hermitian operator linked to an observable? Also, what type of ...
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### How does linearity of a measurement imply that the commutator of all measured observables are $c$-numbers?

I really don't understand with the linearity conditions I have where this comes from.
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### How functions become operators in quantum mechanics? [duplicate]

What used to be functions in the context of classical mechanics like position, linear momentum, angular momentum, etc in quantum mechanics are operators (these operators act on the state to get ...
2k views

### What are the Time Operators in Quantum Mechanics? [duplicate]

I don't understand at all what the time operators are in quantum mechanics. I thought that given a wave function, because it's a function of time, we could simple put in any time in the future to find ...
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### Why are orthogonal functions and eigenvalues/functions so important in quantum mechanics?

The mathematics and physics we have studied so far at university are heavily focused around the idea of orthogonal functions, orthogonality, sets of solutions, eigenvalues and eigenfunctions. Why ...
523 views

6k views

### What does the quantum state of a system tell us about itself?

In quantum mechanics, quantum state refers to the state of a quantum system. A quantum state is given as a vector in a vector space, called the state vector. The state vector theoretically ...
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### Intuitive meaning of Hilbert Space formalism

I am totally confused about the Hilbert Space formalism of Quantum Mechanics. Can somebody please elaborate on the following points: The observables are given by self-adjoint operators on the ...
2k views

### Eigenvalues of a quantum field?

Fields in classical mechanics are observables. For example, I can measure the value of the electric field at some (x,t). In quantum field theory, the classical field is promoted to an operator-valued ...
786 views

### Does every measurement correspond to an eigenstate of an observable?

In the postulates of quantum mechanics, physical observables are described by Hermitian matrices on the state space of a system. In another of my questions, the measurements of Rydberg-Ritz spectral ...
518 views

### What determines which observables are QM?

Spin, position, and velocity are observables which are QM for quantum particles. My question is, what determines whether an observable is QM or not? For example, why is electric charge not QM? That ...
442 views

### proof for $\langle q| p \rangle = e^{ipq}$

What would be the proof for $\langle q| p \rangle = e^{ipq}$? Is it derived from canonical commutation relation? ($|q \rangle$ represents the position eigenstate, while $|p \rangle$ represents the ...
720 views

### Why is $\int (dp/2\pi) |p \rangle\langle p| = 1$?

In quantum mechanics, why is $\int (dp/2\pi) |p \rangle\langle p| = 1$ where $|p \rangle$ represents momentum eigenstate?
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### Why do we use Hermitian operators in QM?

Position, momentum, energy and other observables yield real-valued measurements. The Hilbert-space formalism accounts for this physical fact by associating observables with Hermitian ('self-adjoint') ...
385 views

### Hamiltonian of oscillators quantized proof

https://docs.google.com/open?id=0BxrBcN1-BZWUOXNxR1l4S0l2MjQ http://www.2shared.com/complete/Qjy1_uzp/Quantum_Mechanics_in_Simple_Ma.html (I uploaded a pdf file that contains the parts of the ...
12k views

### Proof of Canonical Commutation Relation (CCR)

I am not sure how $QP-PQ =i\hbar$ where $P$ represent momentum and $Q$ represent position. $Q$ and $P$ are matrices. The question would be, how can $Q$ and $P$ be formulated as a matrix? Also, what is ...
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### Why does $i ( LK-KL )$ represent a real quantity?

According to my textbook, it says that $i( LK-KL )$ represents a real quantity when $K$ and $L$ represent a real quantity. $K$ and $L$ are matrices. It says that this is because of basic rules. ...
549 views

### How to express continuous values as a matrix

Usually a quantity of a matrix is defined as the eigenvalues of the matrix. If so, how can anyone express continuous values, as in Schrodinger picture, into a matrix?
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### If $L$ is a matrix that represents real physical quantity, why is $L^2$ non-negative real physical quantity?

In my textbook, it says that when $L$ is a matrix that represents real($\mathbb{R}$) physical quantity, $L^2$ represents non-negative real physical quantity. What would be the proof of this?
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### Commutability of two physical quantity matrices

Suppose that two matrices $A$ and $B$, representing real($\mathbb{R}$) physical quantity, can be multiplied commutatively with each other; i.e. $AB =BA$. However, each matrix cannot be multiplied ...
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### Is the expectation value always an eigenvalue?

Must the expectation value of an observable always be equal to an eigenvalue of the corresponding operator? I already know that 0 is not an eigenvalue, but are there any other examples?
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### Complete set of observables in classical mechanics

I'm reading "Symplectic geometry and geometric quantization" by Matthias Blau and he introduces a complete set of observables for the classical case: The functions $q^k$ and $p_l$ form a complete ...
692 views

### Symmetries, Generators, Commutators and Observables

I'm learning about generators and conservation laws and have derived the equation (1) $$[Q,A]=-i\hbar f(A)$$ which is satisfied by the observable generator $Q$ for a transformation group with ...
788 views

### Does spontanous symmetry breaking affect Noethers theorem?

Does spontanous symmetry breaking affect the existence of a conserved charge? And how does depend on whether we look at a classical or a quantum field theory (e.g. the weak interacting theory)? (In ...
347 views

### Are the only observables in string theory the S-matrix?

Is the S-matrix the only observable in string theory? What about time varying spacetime backgrounds, or thermal states then?
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### Conserved quantum observables from symmetries *with density matrix*

I’ve read Ballentine where he derives the conserved observable operators (momentum, energy, ...) from symmetries of space-time. Can I read up such a derivation in more detail somewhere else or even ...
758 views

### The difference between projection operators and field operators in QFT?

Is there a good reference for the distinction between projection operators in QFT, with an eigenvalue spectrum of $\{1,0\}$, representing yes/no measurements, the prototype of which is the Vacuum ...
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### Constructing a CP map with some decaying property

Given some observable $\mathcal O \in \mathcal H$ it is simple to construct a CP (completely positive) map $\Phi:\mathcal{H}\mapsto \mathcal{H}$ that conserves this quantity. All one has to observe is ...
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### Some questions on observables in QM

1-In QM every observable is described mathematically by a linear Hermitian operator. Does that mean every Hermitian linear operator can represent an observable? 2-What are the criteria to say whether ...
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### What Hermitian operators can be observables?

We can construct a Hermitian operator $O$ in the following general way: find a complete set of projectors $P_\lambda$ which commute, assign to each projector a unique real number $\lambda\in\mathbb R$...
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### Compatible Observables

My QM book says that when two observables are compatible, then the order in which we carry out measurements is irrelevant. When you carry out a measurement corresponding to an operator $A$, the ...
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### Is mass an observable in Quantum Mechanics?

One of the postulates of QM mechanics is that any observable is described mathematically by a hermitian linear operator. I suppose that an observable means a quantity that can be measured. The mass ...
4k views

### What exactly is the 'observer' in physics and/or quantum mechanics? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: nature of an observer For instance, in the double slit experiment, what is exactly defined as an observer? I remember from somewhere, light is also an observer?