Chapter

The Quantum Mechanical State

David Hodgson

in The Mind Matters

Published in print February 1993 | ISBN: 9780198240686
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680236 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198240686.003.0012

Series: Clarendon Paperbacks

The Quantum Mechanical State

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In classical physics, the ‘state’ of a particle, at any particular time, is taken to involve a definite position in space and a definite motion; and the state of a system of particles is taken to involve a definite position in space and a definite motion for each of the particles. The situation in relation to quantum mechanics is completely different. As in classical physics, calculations can be made concerning the position and motion of a particle. However, this representation is not by means of symbols for scalar or vector quantities: it is by a more complex mathematical object. This quantum state does not indicate or represent position or motion in any direct way: what it does in substance is to enable calculation of the probability of the particle in question being found to have a position or momentum if an appropriate measurement is made.

Keywords: particle; wave function; state vector; elgenstates; spin; polarization

Chapter.  16678 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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