# Questions tagged [probability]

For questions about probability, probability theory, probability distributions, expected values and related matters. Purely mathematical questions should be asked on Math.SE.

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### If I sliced the universe in half, would the slice go through a star?

This question is based on a discussion with a 10-year old. So if it is not clear how to interpret certain details, imagine how a 10-year old would interpret them. This 10-year old does not know about ...
5k views

### Why is the application of probability in QM fundamentally different from application of probability in other areas?

Why is the application of probability in quantum mechanics (QM) fundamentally different from its application in other areas? QM applies probability according to the same probability axioms as in other ...
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### How close does a particle-antiparticle pair need to be for annihilation to happen?

I've most often seen the statement that the annihilation of a particle and its antiparticle occurs when they 'collide' with one another. So in other words when they get very close to one another right?...
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### Why do all the atoms of a radioactive substance not decay at the same time?

Why does the substance decay at a rate which is proportional to the amount of the substance at that moment? As all atoms are in hurry to become a stable atom and as their decay do not depend on any ...
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### What is the probability for an electron of an atom on Earth to lie outside the galaxy?

In this youtube video it is claimed that electrons orbit their atom's nucleus not in well-known fixed orbits, but within "clouds of probability", i.e., spaces around the nucleus where they can lie ...
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### Why doesn't the nucleus have “nucleus-probability cloud”?

While deriving the wave function why don't we take into the account of the probability density of the nucleus? My intuition says that the nucleus is also composed of subatomic particles so it will ...
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### What is a wave function in simple language?

In my textbook it is given that 'The wave function describes the position and state of the electron and its square gives the probability density of electrons.' Can someone give me a very simple ...
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### Bell polytopes with nontrivial symmetries

Take $N$ parties, each of which receives an input $s_i \in {1, \dots, m_i}$ and produces an output $r_i \in {1, \dots, v_i}$, possibly in a nondeterministic manner. We are interested in joint ...
591 views

### Connections and applications of SLE in physics

In probability theory, the Schramm–Loewner evolution, also known as stochastic Loewner evolution or SLE, is a conformally invariant stochastic process. It is a family of random planar curves that are ...
2k views

### Why is a Hermitian operator a “quantum random variable”?

To me, as a stupid mathematician, a random variable is a measurable function from some probability space $(\Omega, \sigma, \mu)$ to $(\Bbb{R}, B(\Bbb{R}))$. This makes sense. You have outcomes, events,...
7k views

### Why was quantum mechanics regarded as a non-deterministic theory?

It seems to be a wide impression that quantum mechanics is not deterministic, e.g. the world is quantum-mechanical and not deterministic. I have a basic question about quantum mechanics itself. A ...
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### Derive Poisson distribution from probability per time of event

Suppose we have a probability per time $\lambda$ that something (e.g. nuclear decay, random walk takes a step, etc.) happens. It is a known result that the probability that $n$ events happen in a time ...
356 views

### Is there a condition of quantum mechanics that forbids Lorentzian distributions?

Imagine a particular potential that allows a superposition of eigenstates such that in space basis the probability density $|\psi(x)|^2$ is a lorentzian (Cauchy) distribution. The properties of the ...
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### What are the odds of finding an electron a long way from an atom? As in metres away? [closed]

Pretty self-explanatory, heard that there is a chance that you might find an electron on the other side of the universe, just wanted to know.
260 views

### Renormalisation and the Fisher-Rao metric

The renormalisation group (I'm talking about classical, statistical physics here, I'm not familiar with field theory too much) can be though of as a flux in a space of possible Hamiltonians for a ...
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### Earth still exists - does this fact tell us anything about LHC safety?

When LHC was about to be launched there were many fears that it would destroy the world. To counter them scientists tried to carefully examine all possibilities and concluded that there is nothing ...
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### What is the fundamental probabilistic interpretation of Quantum Fields?

In quantum mechanics, particles are described by wave functions, which describe probability amplitudes. In quantum field theory, particles are described by excitations of quantum fields. What is the ...
3k views

### Born's Rule, What is the Reason? [duplicate]

As far as I've read online, there isn't a good explanation for the Born Rule. Is this the case? Why does taking the square of the wave function give you the Probability? Naturally it removes negatives ...
6k views

### Is there actually a 0 probability of finding an electron in an orbital node?

I have recently read that an orbital node in an atom is a region where there is a 0 chance of finding an electron. However, I have also read that there is an above 0 chance of finding an electron ...
470 views

### Random Walk Randomly Reflected

Hi I am not specialist in probability so I will not be surprised if the answer for this question is just a simple consequence of well known results from the random walk theory. In this case, I will ...
396 views

### Probability measure implies quantum mechanics?

The article "Quantum Logic and Probability Theory," by Wilce, has the following in section 1.4: 1.4 The Reconstruction of QM From the single premise that the “experimental propositions” ...
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### Particle in a 1-D box and the correspondence principle

Consider the particle in a 1-d box, we know very well the solutions of it. I'd like to see how the correspondence principle will work out in this case, if we consider position probability density ...
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### Has Jaynes' argument for quantum mechanics as a possible theory of inference been debunked?

To my understanding, there is currently no scientific consensus on which interpretation of quantum physics is the correct one, if any. The most famous one, perhaps for historical reasons, is the ...
1k views

### Form of Schrödinger equation for the probability density

Is it possible to formulate the Schrödinger equation (SE) in terms of a differential equation involving only the probability density instead of the wave function? If not, why not? We can take the ...
5k views

### What is probability current in quantum mechanics?

What is probability current in quantum mechanics? Why define such a thing? I mean the meaning of probability current. I know the formula for it but I just don't get the idea of a flow of probability ...
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### Itô or Stratonovich calculus: which one is more relevant from the point of view of physics?

Langevin equation provides an example of a physical model which involves a differential equation with a stochastic term. Now, I wonder, how should one treat this? When I studied stochastic processes, ...
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### Quantum version of the Galton Board

If classical particles fall through a Galton Board they pile up in the limit of large numbers like a normal distribution, see e.g. http://mathworld.wolfram.com/GaltonBoard.html What kind of ...
516 views

### Motivation for Wigner phase space distribution

Most sources say that Wigner distribution acts like a joint phase-space distribution in quantum mechanics and this is justified by the formula \int_{\mathbb{R}^6}w(x,p)a(x,p)dxdp= \langle \psi|\...
881 views

### How to determine the probabilities for a cuboid die?

Imagine we take a cuboid with sides $a, b$ and $c$ and throw it like a usual die. Is there a way to determine the probabilities of the different outcomes $P_{ab}, P_{bc}$ and $P_{ac}$? With $ab$, $bc$...
1k views

### Interpretation of the Random Schrödinger Equation

I should preface this by admitting that my physics background is rather weak so I beg you to keep that in mind in your responses. I work in mathematics (specifically probability theory) and a paper ...
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### Is “entanglement” unique to quantum systems?

My text shows (sections 0.2 and 0.3) that the joint "state space" of a system composed of two subsystems with $k$ and $l$ "bits of information", respectively, requires $kl$ bits to fully describe it. ...
719 views

### How is conditional probability handled in quantum mechanics?

In ordinary probability theory the conditional probability/likelihood is defined in terms of the joint and marginal likelihoods. Specifically, if the joint probability of two variables is \$\mathcal{L}(...
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### Is it really impossible to calculate in advance the result of throwing dice?

Is it really impossible to calculate in advance the result of throwing dice? After all, the physics of dice throwing is in the world of classical mechanics, rather than quantum mechanics.
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### 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 ...
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### Is there a clear and intuitive meaning to the eigenvectors and eigenvalues of a density matrix?

Is there a clear and intuitive meaning to the eigenvectors and eigenvalues of a density matrix? Does a density matrix always have a a basis of eigenvectors?
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### How to work out the relation between the “mean relative speed” and the “mean speed”?

I'm a freshman and am taking the general physics course. I just learned intro thermodynamics. One problem that really puzzles me is the calculation of "collision mean-free path", where calculating the ...