Chapter

The Development of the Quantum 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/9780198240686.003.0013

Series: Clarendon Paperbacks

The Development of the Quantum State

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One way in which the quantum mechanical state of a particle can change is by measurement According to the quantum theory, when an observable of a particle is precisely measured, the state of that particle will change to an eigenstate of that observabl. Quantum theory also postulates a second way in which the quantum mechanical state of a particle can change, namely by development over time in the absence of measurement: this process is entirely deterministic, taking place in accordance with ‘equations of motion’ analogous to those of classical physics. This includes Schrödinger equation and Ehrenfest's equations. If one knows the state vector at one time and about the forces acting on the system, one can calculate the state vector at a later time, and thereby ascertain the probabilities of the results of various measurements, should they be made at such later time.

Keywords: Schrödinger equation; Heisenberg; Ehrenfest's equations; quantum theory; motion equations

Chapter.  5286 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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