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-------------------------

-------------------------

http://www.mat.univie.ac.at/~neum/physfaq/physics-faq.html.

-------------------------

(St. Paul, 1 Thess. 5:21)

the FAQ contains 148 topics, grouped into 20 chapters, and ﬁlling over

of about 220 pages. Starng in 2004, the topics were edited from my

newsgroup de.sci.physik).

If you like the FAQ and/or found it useful, please link to it from

sci.physics.research (http://www.lns.cornell.edu/spr)!

If you found this FAQ useful you are likely to benefit also from

http://www.mat.univie.ac.at/~neum/papers/physpapers.html#QML

hp://de.arxiv.org/abs/0810.1019

This doesn't mean that they are poor but probably that they are

not perfect. Many topics are discussed quite in detail, but this is

sense.

consensus,

always the mainstream view, although I tend to discuss that view, too.

Happy Reading!

Arnold Neumaier

University of Vienna

http://www.mat.univie.ac.at/~neum/

-----------------

Table of Contents

-----------------

The 21 topics in the inial version, posted there on April 28, 2004,

will be added and old answers regrouped. So, to quote part of the FAQ,

Abbreviations:

relations,

S1j. Classical and quantum tunneling

not?

Chapter 3 (6 secons)

Chapter 5 (9 secons)

S5b. Inequivalent representaons of the CCR/CAR

Chapter 6 (8 secons)

Chapter 7 (3 secons)

Chapter 8 (9 secons)

Chapter 9 (6 secons)

S10d. Renormalizaon in quantum gravity

Chapter 11 (7 secons)

Chapter 12 (6 secons)

S12d. Stochasc quantum mechanics

Chapter 14 (4 secons)

Chapter 15 (5 secons)

S15b. Why bother about rigor in physics?

Chapter 17 (8 secons)

S17d. How to sell your revolutionary idea

Chapter 18 (5 secons)

Chapter 19 (1 secon)

Chapter 20 (1 secon)

S20a. Acknowledgments

http://www.mat.univie.ac.at/~neum/physik-faq.txt

where I describe some more topics which I have not translated.

----------------------------

----------------------------

In the language of linear algebra, kets |psi> are just column vectors

psi (for systems with finitely many levels only; each component gives

bras <psi| are the complex conjugated transposed row vectors psi^*.

For the basis bra <k|, the unit vector with a single entry 1 at

<k|psi> = psi_k.

In infinite dimensions, the sum becomes an integral, and we get

and for the basis bra <x|, which is a delta distribution centered at x,

we have

psi(x) = <x|psi>.

functions from some nice function space, and bras are linear

functionals on the dual space. The dual space is larger and also

contains distributions.

gives the conventional Hilbert space, and together with the dual

less smooth functions and even distributions, so that every bra has

a corresponding ket. Thus they use the ket |x> although this is not a

This allows them to write not only psi(x) = <x|psi>, but also

The price to be paid is that inner products are no longer well-defined

confusing

the inner product of a momentum bra <p| and a position ket |x>

the variables!

About the pitfalls when not using the required care, I recommend

reading

F. Gieres,

mechanics,

quant-ph/9907069

and

Self-adjoint extensions of operators and the teaching of quantum

mechanics,

quant-ph/0103153

----------------------------------------------

----------------------------------------------

Projective geometry means that one works with rays instead of vectors

the floor a little upwards into the air (the same amount at every

point), one may think of each point as being represented by the ray

(Actually, instead of the ray one should consider the whole line;

number planes.)

Similarly, lines are now 2-spaces through the origin. This gives

in

But now one also has some additional points, corresponding to rays

parallel to the affine plane. These points form the 'line at infinity'

A slightly closer look reveals that the geometry has become more

complete: Now not only every two points have a unique connecting

line

but also any two lines have a unique intersections - what were before

parallels are now lines intersecting 'at infinity'. Imagine two long,

geometry

can

phase (even when normalized), they correspond uniquely to rays

is

intrinsically projective.

------------------------------------------------------------

------------------------------------------------------------

functions

temperature,

temperature.)

<f> = trace (rho f)

The fact that the constant 1 must have expectaon 1 leads to the

restriction that

details.) For small systems, all such density matrices can indeed be

like

<f(H)> = trace (rho f(H)) = sum_k <k|rho f(H)|k>

we get

Usually one does not look at off-diagonal elements at all, but they

isolated systems), quantum state have the property that all columns

psi^*psi=1.

(In Dirac language, this says <psi|psi>=1; see the FAQ entry for bras

(or, in infinite dimensions, the wave function) of the state.

in which all columns of the density matrix are exactly parallel to some

nonzero wave vector psi. (Such matrices are called rank 1 matrices;

Then the k-th column is a multiple c_k psi of psi. The fact that rho

find

we end up with

p_k = |<k|psi>|^2.

Thus one sees that the traditional wave vector calculus is just a

systems close to zero absolute temperature. For the study of ordinary

by density matrices.

Everything that is done with wave vectors can also be done with

quantum

--------------------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------------------

subject of the foundations of quantum mechanics; it is addressed

the special case of this setting where all states are assumed to be

pure.)

A2. A parcular system (e.g., 'the ion in the ion trap on this

as _observables_.

L^a

and the _spin_vector_ (or Bloch vector) sigma^a of the particle with

label a. If u is a 3-vector of unit length then u dot p^a, u dot L^a

monotone

defined by

nature of the state), and hence says that Axioms A1-A5 are complete.

The description of a particular closed system is therefore given by

accepted.

identical

(particular) systems closed for times t<t_l, all in the same state

results are statistically consistent with independent realizations

what 'measuring' is, nor what 'measurement results' are and what

understands by reality.

Interpretational axioms necessarily have this form, since they must

background.)

Although much of traditional quantum mechanics is phrased in terms

of

the systems are open and the states are mixed states. Pure states

Hamiltonian in which the first excited state has a large energy gap.

with 1 only for the k corresponding to the states with least energy

This implies that for low enough temperatures, the equilibrium state

is approximately pure. The larger the gap to the second smallest

approximation is good.

larger energy than the ground state. Dissipation then brings the

rho(t) = psi(t)psi(t)^*.

above axioms, this property persists with time (only) if the system

is closed, and the state vector satisfies the Schroedinger equation

is discrete,

_probabilities_.

Moreover, associated with the p_k are eigenspaces K_k such that

and K is the direct sum of the K_k. Therefore, every state vector psi

A short calculaon using axiom A5 now reveals that for a pure state

so-called _Born_rule_

Deriving the Born rule (*) from axioms A1-A5 makes it completely

-------------------------

-------------------------

measurements,

Thus between two consecutive measurements at times t' and t''>t',

equation

so that

(In the interacon picture, H=0 and psi remains constant between

measurements.)

probability p_s by

and

p_s=|P_s\psi(t-0)|^2 (4)

outcomes,

sums by integrals.)

nature, the P_s at these times are the same (or different).

considered

uncertainty) are not modelled by von-Neumann measurements, but

rather

explained in

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/POVM

Quantum measurement,

---------------------------------

---------------------------------

of it,

H Grabert,

Statistical Mechanics,

in Grabert's book.

--------------------------------

--------------------------------

Quantum mechanics and classical mechanics are very close relatives.

Observable f:

\def\lp{\mbox{\Large$\,_\urcorner\,$}}

f \lp g = - g \lp f

Invariant measure:

integral f \lp g = 0.

State rho:

--------------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------------

Quantum mechanics does not demand that all states are realizable.

For a number of tiny systems with a few levels, all states are

realizable with reasonable precision. However, the larger the system

--------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------

asserted;

intensity.

The Maxwell-Fock space is obtained by 'second quantization' of the

mode

this analogy and calling A(x) a wave function leads to confusion later

paral^2 A(x)=0, whence the Fourier transform of A(x) has the form

condition

p dot Ahat(p) = 0.

where

operator

a(A)^*.

polynomial H_k, |A,psi> is an eigenstate of the photon number

operator

the |A,psi> together (and indeed, already the closure of the space

beam only with a grain of salt, since a plane wave is not normalized.

Beams of thermal light (such as that from the sun) and pairs of

matrix rho in a single-mode Fock space, while k light beams are

space.

In many treatments, the modes are left implicit, so that one works

only in the k-mode Fock space. This simplifies the presentation, but

For a thorough study of the latter, see the bible on quantum optics,

------------------------------------

------------------------------------

In practice, however, the classical, deterministic setting is an

Thus it moves away from the origin and will sooner or later reach

A. Neumaier,

protein structure,

http://www.mat.univie.ac.at/~neum/papers/physpapers.html#protei

n

tunneling.

Thus a positive potential drives a particle in the long run off to

(stochastic) tunneling.

Of course, a golf ball sitting on top of a flat hill will not move

----------------------------------------------

----------------------------------------------

Textbook quantization rules assume (often silently, without warning)

wrong results.

To proceed, one must quantize a symplectic (or a Poisson) manifold

significant literature.

------------------------

------------------------

theory.

annihilation operators a(x) whith their adjoints, the creation

[a(x),a(y)]=[a^*(x),a^*(y)]=0,

[a^(x),a^*(y)]=delta(x-y).

psi(x_1:N)psi^*(y_1:N)a^*(x_1:N)|vac><vac|a(y_1:N).

whatever

(f psi)(x_1:N)

the formula

quantization is

Also, one can do the same in momentum space rather than position

space,

-----------------------------------

-----------------------------------

asymptotic

The approximations made are better and better the larger the object.

One can place the barrier anywhere; if one puts it too low, the

user has when choosing the description level and the accuracy level.

thermodynamic limit. It makes the term 'macroscopic'

limits, one can give the following definition (which reflects the

expectation

---------------------------------------

---------------------------------------

hypothesis (assuming that every phase space trajectory comes

arbitrarily close to every phase space point with the same values of

make

variables

to be thermodynamically described.

This is the case for fluids near the critical point, for finite objects

But this does not invalidate thermodynamics - the latter only requires

Probably the ergodic hypothesis, restricted to a limited piece of a

distinguished

of distinguished observables.

by axiomatic decree.

Moreover, there are many classical systems which are chaotic only in

part of their phase space - they are probably not ergodic, as the

one

is.

to

description. (At which distance from the critical point should one

here.)

----------------------------------------------------

----------------------------------------------------

physics say (see many other entries in this FAQ). Thus statistical

single

success of the thermodynamical description by ergodicity.

L. Sklar,

but it does not present a solution. Other sources are not better in

this respect.

http://www.mat.univie.ac.at/~neum/papers/physpapers.html#QML

arXiv:0810.1019

A. Neumaier,

http://www.mat.univie.ac.at/~neum/papers/physpapers.html#lightsli

des

and

A. Neumaier,

http://www.mat.univie.ac.at/~neum/papers/physpapers.html#optslid

es

http://www.mat.univie.ac.at/~neum/physik-faq.txt

interpretation

separates them neatly and thus gets rid of most of the confusing

-----------------------------------------

-----------------------------------------

order form

F(q,q')=0

E = (m q'^2 + k q^2)/2

The same holds for various other representations for the damped

MacGraw-Hill, Boston 1953

it.''

equation.

the diffusion equation is the particular case of a Fokker-Planck

are directly modeled on the Lindblad level, where the terms have an

useful Lagrangian formulation does not exist - unless one extends the

indeed be substantiated.

If one models the dissipative environment explicitly, on gets a

but it does not describe the dissipative system alone. When one

framework.

with functions F(t) (the noise caused by the environment) and G(s)

and G(s) are extremely oscillating, even for intervals short compared

on

their size and become negligible after some relaxation time tau << T.

int_0^t G(s) x(t-s) ds approx = dk x(t) - c x'(t) + dm x''(t)

expressions for G(s) from which one can deduce that c>0, recovering

the

H Grabert,

Statistical Mechanics,

There are cases where one needs to model the memory to capture the

the

memory,

damped

memory

terms. In cases where one really needs to model the memory, the

system

Its analysis is very simple, and compared to that any more detailed

description is unwieldy.

In practice, the dissipative formulation therefore stands by itself

conservative description).

from

a Lagrangian. Indeed, such derivations have been given, but only for

---------------------------------------------------------------------

not?

---------------------------------------------------------------------

So - is quantum mechanics deterministic or stochastic?

deterministic

do not.

Thus, in both cases, probabilities are deterministic ''observables''

----------------------------------------

----------------------------------------

has a discrete part, catering for its bound states. According to the

idealized textbook measurement theory, a measurement of the energy

the exact values (which they should according to Born's rule) but only

measurement

is done (an aspect that does not figure at all in Born's rule).

that result in recording decisions of finite information content.

copied

case

arXiv:0810.1019

---------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------

tiny or if M is large.

expectations.

the ground state needs density matrices, since pure states are very

difficult to create and propagate unless a system is in the ground

approximation.

system

of a classical system. In both cases, if the system is nice enough that

then)

does not happen, since these are decidedly non-classical, but quantum

Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras

hp://de.arxiv.org/abs/0810.1019

--------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------

is

momenta.

short mes. For example, for the 2-body problem with a 1/r^2

dynamics.

systems with the large dynamical symmetry group SO(2,4).)

has coherent states phi_N (labelled by the same classical phase space

phi_N^*psi_N=(phi^*psi) N

and for N --> inf, one gets a good classical limit. For the Heisenberg

to replacing hbar by hbar/N. Thus one gets the standard classical limit.

A. M. Perelomov,

L. Yaffe,

hp://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/0810.1019

of

online sources

hp://www.projecteuclid.org/Dienst/Repository/1.0/Disseminate/euc

lid.cmp/1103859040/body/pdf

http://www.univie.ac.at/nuhag-

php/bibtex/open_ﬁles/si80_SIMON!!!.pdf

http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/9504016

http://arxiv.org/pdf/math-ph/9807027

--------------------------------

--------------------------------

ISO(3)

and

'Rigid' means that the distances between marked points on the ball

distances',

One can repeat the same transformation several times, or two

different

one

of 1+2=3 meters in the same direcon. In this case, the distances add,

iso(3) [same leers but in lower case]. The elements of the Lie algebra

General Lie groups and Lie algebras extend these notions to to more

symmetries'.

For example, physical laws are invariant under rotations and

translations, and hence unter all rigid motions. But not only these:

motion.

Much more on Lie groups and Lie algebras from the perspective of

http://www.mat.univie.ac.at/~neum/papers/physpapers.html#QML

arXiv:0810.1019

-----------------------------------------------------------

-----------------------------------------------------------

in which all motions are very slow compared to the speed of light.

and therefore has found many applications far beyond that for which

it was originally developed.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------------------

On the other hand, not all irreducible unitary reps of the Poincare

group qualify. Associated with the rep must be a consistent and causal

quantum field theory, this restricts the rep further to those with

Weinberg's book on QFT argues for gauge invariance from

the 4-vector one can make from them does not transform correctly

massless, they must either have spin <=1/2 or have gauge behavior.

There are some assumptions in the derivation, which one can find

on 'Feynman rules for any spin' and some related questions, which

D.N. Williams,

http://www-personal.umich.edu/~williams/papers/diracalgebra.pdf

spin >2. See the tables of the parcle data group, e.g., Delta(2950)

R.L. Ingraham,

hp://ptp.ipap.jp/link?PTP/51/249/

H Shi-Zhong et al.,

hp://www.springerlink.com/content/ww61351722118853/

-----------------------------------

-----------------------------------

and there are no-go theorems that imply that the most plausible

solutions. The no-go theorems thus show that one needs to be careful

formal framework.

To pose the problem, one needs to distinguish between kinematical

question "What are the general form and properties of objects that

features of solutions.

available

in closed form, one can discuss their detailed properties and devise

convention,

representation,

Since something which is up to the choice of the person describing

computations.

the point form, and the fromt form. They are distinguished by

dynamical quantities.

boosts)

who has knowledge about all information at some time t (the present),

Because of causality (the finite bound of c on the speed of material

The Lorentz transformations, as symmetries of the hyperboloid,

are now kinematical and take the role that space translations and

rotations had in the instant form. On the other hand, _all_ space and

time translations are now dynamical, since they affect the position

of the here-and-now.

footing.

propagated

components

In principle, there are many other forms of relativistic dynamics:

wants

instant form, and the Lorentz group SO(1,3), leading to the point form,

transformations preserving algebraic operations and the Poisson

bracket,

algebraic operations and hence the commutator. This means that any

forms.

Preferences are therefore given to one form over the other depending

this was taken by mainstream physics as an indication that the

and the theorem had the same fate as von Neumann's proof that

admitted that different observers see the same world but represented

translate the views of any observer into that of any other observer.

point observer to observe particle trajectories in its past hyperboloid.

However, the present space (or the past hyperboloid) of two different

observer.

description.

Newton-Wigner position operator, which has three commuting

coordinates

but is observer-dependent.

-------------------------------------------------------------

-------------------------------------------------------------

In his QFT book, Weinberg says no, arguing that there is no way to

www.physics.uiowa.edu/~wpolyzou/papers/rev.pdf

that covered everything known at that time. This survey was quoted

hp://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/ﬁnd/hep?c=ANUPB,20,225

looking these up will bring you close to the state of the art

on this.

renormalization.

or

some field theory. (Actually many-body dynamics also works, but the

http://www.physics.uiowa.edu/~wklink/

http://www.physics.uiowa.edu/~wpolyzou/

http://physik.uni-graz.at/~ank/dissertation-f.html

(Other work in this direction includes Dirac's many-time quantum

theory, with a separate time coordinate for each particle; see, e.g.,

and references there. Related multi-time work was done under the

Thus the whole theory has a single time only, whose dynamics is

group.

and this action extends to the bundle by means of the representation

----------------------

----------------------

state vectors, one for each n. If only the 0-photon term contributes,

we have the dark state, usually called the vacuum; if only the

A single photon has the same degrees of freedom as a classical vacuum

expressing the zero mass and the transversality of photons. Thus for

the same. For a photon in the normalized state |A>, the observable

<\E(x)> = <A|\E(x)|A>

and

Here \x (fat x) and x_0 are the space part and the me part of a

the same \E(x) and \B(x) are equivalent and related by a gauge

choice),

A^(+)(x), and by adding its complex conjugate one gets the real

next entry in this FAQ. One could regard the 4-potential A(x) as

[

and

Here psi(A) is the most general state vector in Fock space; for a

<p_k> = integral dx psi(x)^* p_k psi(x),

monochromatic

which

A(\p) is usually written (in the gauge with vanishing time component)

as

eps^-(p) for circularly polarized light (corresponding to helicies +1

is the 3x3 identy matrix. (This is used in sums over helicities for

eps^+(p) = u(p)/p_0

u_3(p) = p'

with

p' = p_1+ip_2,

p''= p_3+p_0.

[what is eps^-(p)?]

These formulas become singular along the negave p_3-axis,

into narrow beams. If one also ignores the directions (which are

and the 1-photon part of the beam behaves like a 2-level quantum

the two helicity degrees of freedom. This is the basis for most

mechanics.

where |A> is a one-photon state. Thus coherent states also have the

Indeed, light in coherent states behaves classically in most respects.

On the other hand, true single photon states are very hard to produce

see also

http://www.qis.ucalgary.ca/quantech/fock.html

hp://www.lns.cornell.edu/spr/2000-02/msg0022377.html

But this does not tell the whole story. An interesting collection of

http://www.osa-opn.org/Content/ViewFile.aspx?Id=3185

recover the details.] The wording suggests that one should resist the

detects only classical light! This follows from the standard analysis

a 2-photon state, etc, with squared amplitudes given by a Poisson

There are even people like the Nobel prize winner Willis E. Lamb

(the discoverer of the Lamb shift) who maintain that photons don't

hp://web.archive.org/web/20040203032630/www.aro.army.mil/phy

s/proceed.htm

Anti-Photon,

Applied Physics B 60 (1995), 77--84

reprinted

in

contribution.

make

detector).

A nonclassical description of the electromagnetic field where states of

light other than coherent states are required is necessary mainly for

U. Leonhardt,

Cambridge, 1997.

such as the Lamb shift, which very accurately confirm the quantum

photon states, but only virtual photon states, hence they are unrelated

is never onshell.)

-------------------------------------------------

-------------------------------------------------

rho(x) := psi(x)^*psi(x)

relations

p = -i hbar partial_x,

psi_m(x) := <x,m|psi>.

i.e., objects represented by an irreducible representation of the

vectors

q := i hbar partial_p,

time direction,

p_0 := sqrt(m^2+|p|^2),

J := q x p + S,

the vector space C^d of complex vectors of length d, with the same

commutation relations as J.

This is a unitary representation of the Poincare algebra;

are uniquely determined by mass and spin, we see that in the massive

in the formula

T.F. Jordan

the fact that the above construction is not invariant under Lorentz

boosts (which give rise to equivalent but different representations).

Note also that in case of the Dirac equation, the position operator is

Foldy-Wouthuysen transformation.

Limit,

The Hilbert space H_0^d (deﬁned as before but now with m=0 and with

M_0 in place of M)

vectors

carries a natural massless representation of the Poincare algebra,

defined by

J := q x p + S,

K := (p_0 q + q p_0)/2 + n x S,

lambda := n dot S

diﬀerenable funcon t of p_0 preserves all commutaon relaons,

position operator.)

commutes

x = q - f'(p_0) n.

In particular,

x x p = q x p.

J - x x p = J - q x p = S.

Thus the (p-independent) operators from the spin so(3) act on H.

are uniquely determined by mass and spin, and for s>1/2, the spin s

Theorem.

if and only if either m>0 or m=0 and s<=1/2 (but s=0 if only

A. S. Wightman,

Rev. Mod. Phys. 34 (1962), 845-872.

See also

T.F. Jordan

and

For spin 1, the case relevant for photons, we have d=3, and the

It is not difficult to see that one can identify the wave functions

As a consequence of our discussion, photons (m=0, s=1) and gravitons

(m=0, s=2) cannot be given natural probabilies for being in any given

bounded region of space. Chiral spin 1/2 parcles also do not have

also do.)

e.g.,

M. Toller,

P. Busch, M. Grabowski, P. J. Lahti,

position.

The POVM does not allow one to talk about the position of a photon

but only about the measured position: The photon is somewhere near

the

Papers related to position operators:

M.H.L. Pryce,

lines)

L.L. Foldy,

I. Bialynicki-Birula,

http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/0508202

See also the entry ''Localization and position operators'' in this FAQ.

http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/0101011

hp://arxiv.org/abs/0711.0112v1

hp://lanl.arxiv.org/pdf/0804.3773v2,

http://groups.google.at/group/sci.physics.research/browse_thread/th

read/815435df4bf2ea93?hl=en#

starting with

M.H.L. Pryce,

----------------------------------------

----------------------------------------

mechanics.

boost generators \K) one can make up (in massive representations)

that together with the space part \p of the 4-momentum has canonical

coordinate

That the time coordinate has to be fixed means that the position

into its personal me (in direcon of its total 4-momentum) and

time

the 0-component. Most papers on the subject work in the latter

setting.

down.

This is related to the fact that massless parcles with spin >1/2

which makes them being always spread out, and hence not completely

arXiv:hep-ph/9503416

transformation

T. D. Newton, E. P. Wigner,

* The original paper on localization

Limit,

name

L. L. Foldy,

of a Dirac electron (which generally is considered to be a pointlike

A. S. Wightman,

T. O. Philips,

V. S. Varadarajan,

Optical Coherence and Quantum Optics,

G.N. Fleming,

http://philsci-archive.pi.edu/archive/00000649/

------------------------------------------------------------

------------------------------------------------------------

operator vector.

This poses the question of whether there is a position operator in

relativistic quantum field theory. Many people think that there is none.

components,

These play exactly the same role as the position and momentum

------------------------------------------

------------------------------------------

at me t_0 and switched oﬀ again at me t_1. The me T:=t_1-t_0

states. If one tests the photon contents at the end of the beam by a

an

times where a particle is present. This leaves a single particle state.

of single-particle systems.

is not a mean photon number, but a mean rate - the mean intensity.

More precisely, each coherent state has a mode A=A(p); the modes are

in

state by

with a complex amplitude z. and satisfies

a(A)|z,A>> = z|z,A>>.

hence

Nbar = |z|^2,

The events are the clicks, and there is exactly one click per event

in a weak signal (for strong signals, one cannot separate the events).

eps.

considered at a fixed time! Also, the fact that the weak coherent

means that N-parcle state with N>1 are here completely irrelevant.

Clearly, the number of observable photons (in the sense

clicks;

state

proportional to the intensity of the incident beam. But the fact that

observations are bounded in space and time does not change the

results

of this analysis.

state but a state with an indefinite number of photons (i.e., not an

(which is usually not done). This can be seen from the diverging

http://www.osa-opn.org/Content/ViewFile.aspx?Id=3185

Wolfgang P. Schleich)

In QED, a ''one-photon state'' is a well-defined object, but ''one

be). The relation between the two is quite indirect, and there is no

1. that clicks have nothing at all to do with photons, they are just

field

3. It is the ﬁeld of the incident beam that counts; the talk about

photons in the incoming beam is not very meaningful and only blurs

model the detector responds by clicking randomly according to a

Poisson

statement 1.

No maer which view one takes with regard to statement 1., the

http://www.mat.univie.ac.at/~neum/ms/lightslides.pdf

http://www.mat.univie.ac.at/~neum/ms/optslides.pdf

one finds that no clear answer can be given to this question, but

The practice seems to be that one silently ignores the vacuum

a state

are superposition with the vacuum, and still people speak of photons.

This also holds for other systems than simple laser light. For example,

which differ from coherent states only in that they have instead

of (*) a representation

one finds that they actually produce states of the form (**)

the only way of reliably creating single photons was for a long time

to use a source in a state of the form (**), where the photon pairs

are entangled pairs of photons with different momentum vectors

(hence

left beam with a detector, and knows from general principles that at

the same time a photon is underway in the other beam. Thus one can

know

yet.

This interpretation again explains away the vacuum part of the state

ignoring the times where nothing but the vacuum part is observed, and

focuses on the times when something - and then by the form of (**)

Then one observes the part of the 2-photon system in one beam, to

know

this is the way talked about the situation, in reality one still has

the superposition with the vacuum, except that one chooses to ignore

---------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------

and the currents by form factors. As the name says, the latter define

The dressed object is the renormalized, physical object,

had in mind when they invented the notions of bare and dressed

particles.

On the other hand, virtual particles don't have this nice attribute

since the relativistic Hamiltonian H from field theory contains

space (though that is not quite true since there is no good Hilbert

or http://www.geocities.com/meopemuk/

------------------------------------------------

------------------------------------------------

The standard model is a theory defined in terms of a Lagrangian.

only the sum of all terms of a given order can be given - after

--------------------------------------

--------------------------------------

In their treatise on QED, Landau and Lifshitz discuss virtual particles

in Secon 79. They start at the outset with the remark that things

have disappeared from the formulas by the time the calculations lead

virtual particles can be faster than light (since they may have

imaginary mass)...

models (in which case they don't apply to reality itself but only to

a model of reality).

perturbation theory.

them

Virtual particles must not be considered real since they arise only in

renormalization group enhances perturbation theory, etc.) that

reality.

calculate

initialization was good enough and our theory is good enough, the final

on

lifetime of the objects involved before and after the event. Therefore,

use a multiparticle (statistical mechanics) setting, but this is never

done since it does not give better information and the added

time) before they scatter and observe them long enough afterwards,

The figurative virtual objects in QFT are there only because of the

setting they wouldn't occur at all. This can be seen by comparing with

QM. One could also do nonrelativistic QM with virtual objects but

logarithm in many other ways, it is ridiculous to attach to

to the Taylor series shows that it's best not to look at them

hp://groups.google.com/groups?selm=3EBBE37C.4D771C4B%40univi

e.ac.at

for

momentum (\p; the backslash indicates 'boldface') is conserved,

do not sasfy the equaon p^2 = p_0^2 - \p^2 = m^2 for physical

(mass m_e) absorbs a photon (mass 0). One cannot keep the incoming

There one keeps all particles on-shell, and instead has energy and

additional

'spurion').

Clearly concepts such as virtual particles that depend so much

had no relevance at all. One can argue with virtual particles to get an

hp://www.lns.cornell.edu/spr/2003-06/msg0051674.html

also

hp://www.lns.cornell.edu/spr/1999-02/msg0014762.html

hp://www.lns.cornell.edu/spr/2003-05/msg0051023.html

is also of interest.

that I do _not_ share but rather find misleading, see

http://www.desy.de/user/projects/Physics/Quantum/virtual_particles

.html]

-------------------------------------------------------

-------------------------------------------------------

'virtual'.

(formal) bare mass and (physical) dressed mass; the above is valid

only for the dressed mass. Moreover, the mass shell loses its meaning

appears.

----------------------------------------------

----------------------------------------------

virtual photons faster than the speed of light, with imaginary masses.

Strictly speaking,

that it must influence already the tree level. By a hand waving

nonrelativistic correspondence.

equation,

have spacelike momenta and hence would proceed faster than light

if there were any reality to them. But there cannot be; one'd need

exactly

-----------------------------------------------------------

-----------------------------------------------------------

On the other hand, a very broad resonance has a very short lifetime

particle is the fact that the stable particle has a real rest mass,

Note that states with complex masses can be handled well in a rigged

Hilbert space (= Gelfand triple) formulation of quantum mechanics.

Theory of Resonances,

K. Maurin,

Topological Groups,

equations

and the like for the approximate calculations of bound states and

a virtual particle. In perturbation theory, unstable elementary

this equation.

There are also some unstable elementary particles like the weak

gauge bosons are virtual. But at high energy = very short scales,

one can in principle observe the gauge bosons and make them real.

This means that they now appear as external lines in the corresponding

In any case, from a mathematical point of view, one must choose the

framework. Either one works in a Hilbert space, then masses are real

and there are no unstable particles (since these 'are' poles on the

Or one works in a rigged Hilbert space and deform the inner product;

this makes part of the 'unphysical' sheet visible; then the gauge

appropriate.

------------------------------------------

------------------------------------------

Today, images of single atoms and molecules can be routinely

produced.

http://prola.aps.org/pdf/PRB/v68/i4/e045301

hp://www.dfg.de/aktuelles_presse/preise/leibniz_preis/2008/

among others for the achievement that, for the first time, he made

The Leibniz prize is the highest German academic prize, endowed with

sciences.

The orbitals one can look at in physics and chemistry books

The actual shape of the wave function of each electron is some linear

the

nucleus)

vector x, where

O_1(f) = integral f(x) a^*(x) a(x)

differs more and more from the atom center, the atom looks like a

that we are in a thermal setting where the spin directions average out.

all nuclei involved, and there is no longer any reason to have more

geometry

among all other positions (or at least a local minimum from which a

complex

A. Neumaier,

protein structure,

http://www.mat.univie.ac.at/~neum/papers/physpapers.html#protei

n

(STM)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_force_microscope

amounts to scanning the response of the 3-dimensional charge density

http://www.physics.purdue.edu/nanophys/images.html

http://www.almaden.ibm.com/vis/stm/gallery.html

hp://www.hypography.com/arcle.cfm?id=34288

encyclopedic article

R.F.W. Bader

Atoms in Molecules

hp://59.77.33.35/non-

cgi/usrd8wqiernb/5/20/Atoms20in20Molec_1193580192.pdf

hp://www.chemistry.mcmaster.ca/faculty/bader/aim/aim_0.html

Nature 401 (1999), 49-52.

hp://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v401/n6748/pdf/401049a0.p

df

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v401/n6748/pdf/401021a0.p

df

http://www.public.asu.edu/~jspence/NewsViews.pdf

hp://web.missouri.edu/~glaserr/412f99/synopsis_nv1.pdf

http://philsci-

archive.pi.edu/archive/00000228/00/Orbital_Observed.pdf

https://jchemed.chem.wisc.edu/HS/Journal/Issues/2001/Jul/abs877_2

.html

http://philsci-archive.pi.edu/archive/00001077/00/Jenkins.doc

http://wwwcsi.unian.it/educa/inglese/halfacen.html

hp://jjap.ipap.jp/link?JJAP/46/L161/

hp://prola.aps.org/pdf/PRB/v68/i4/e045301

orbital to refer to a charge distribution corresponding to a particular

http://philsci-

archive.pitt.edu/archive/00000228/00/Orbital_Observed.pdf

and then cites two books and a review article. A more recent review

J.M. Zuo

--------------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------------

(the position and momentum of all its particles, or, in the customary

fluid mechanics approximation, its mass density field and its velocity

field).

What seems strange at first sight is that the above applies already to

assumes that the particle is pointlike - which we know is the case only

for unphysical, bare particles, but not for the physical, renormalized

elsewhere in this FAQ.) Once one realizes that physical particles are

extended (although they are indivisible), there is enough room to

Thus the only quantum paradox that remains is that particles with

a fundamental symmetry.

-------------------------------------------

-------------------------------------------

model.

Dirac equation, which has a degenerate spectrum. But the real electron

is described by a modified Dirac equation, resulting in an anomalous

of

The relations between form factors for spin 1/2 parcles and

L. L. Foldy

their localization

(See also this FAQ about localization, and Foldy's papers quoted there.)

give finite results in QFT. The form factor measures the deviation

exactly the the Dirac equation. The form factor can be measured

indirectly, through the anomalous magnetic moment and the Lamb

shift.

shift

In his book

S. Weinberg,

charge radii. For proton and neutron form factors, see hep-ph/0204239

and hep-ph/030305. Neutrons have a negave mean squared charge

radius.

This looks strange but is not since the measure for the mean is

S. Kopecky et al

''The charge radius of the neutron <r_n^2> or the mean squared charge

cloud outside.

value of <r_n^2>.''

The paper

L.L. Foldy,

Neutron-electron interaction,

discusses the extendedness of the electron in a phenomenological

way.

On the numerical side, I only found values for the charge radius

The values are about 4-6 10^-14 cm for the three neutrino species.

http://adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/nph-bib_query?1992PhDT.......130L

computed from it.

In Foldy's paper, the form factors are encoded in the infinite sum

represents

and

R. G. Sachs

recent years. [...] The Lamb shift and the hyperfine splitting also

(proton or neutron) includes all of the effects of the internal

structure. [...] The nucleon charge-current density must have the form

The funcons F_1 and F_2 are relavisc generalizaons of the form

experiments, [...]''

is coded in the wave function or density matrix, which (at any given

charge radius at rest is probably (in view of the above partial

environment.

-------------------------------------------

-------------------------------------------

an infinite amount of information.

since they can hardly remember even 20 decimal digits seen only once.

accuracy.

Thus they simplify things to the point that all they want to know about

of decimal places.

This is only a few bits. But if you want to tell someone else exactly

where the electron is that you are referring to, you have an

infinitely more difficult task. Of course, any human 'else' will not

estimate consistent with the uncertainty relation. But this is not the

its complete wave function. You can do it only if you force the

processing.

For an N-state system, one needs N^2-1 independent pieces of

matrix

many

------------------------------------

------------------------------------

entropy?

More precisely, in the statistical interpretation, the state belongs

A. Neumaier,

arXiv:0705.3790

hp://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/0705.3790

this gives

also, since <1>=1 and rho is posive semideﬁnite,

quantum mechanics.

For a pure state psi, rho has rank 1, and the sum extends only over

the single index k with |k> = psi. Thus in this case, p_k = 1 and

For more along these lines, and in particular for a way to avoid

A. Neumaier,

arXiv:0705.3790

hp://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/0705.3790

But how does the infinite amount of information in a pure state (wave

function) square with the finiteness of entropy?

infinite precision.

infinite precision.

they are known exactly, while knowing well that one knows them only

approximately.

entropy

is no longer a number but a field - and specifying the entropy density

tractable.

depends

In general, describing the probabilistic state of an ensemble exactly

particular realization.

-----------------------------------

-----------------------------------

Suppose that the particle is in the pure state represented by the wave

m(x)=m|psi(x)|^2

e(x)=e|psi(x)|^2

systems:

This reduces for n=1 to the above, and is consistent with the

These formulas are the common starting point for the derivation from

first principles of the semiconductor equations in solid state physics.

GAUSSIAN (commercial)

http://www.gaussian.com/

MOLPRO (commercial)

http://www.molpro.net/

http://www.msg.ameslab.gov/GAMESS/pcgamess.shtml

to violate the central tenet of relativity that information cannot

degrees of freedom. Thus one observes only a tiny little bit about

believed that they make up most of the matter in our universe.

is harmless.

On the other hand, one can probe the state of particles in detail

(to make sure that they have the same state). These are usually

created

good.

returns

In this sense one can say that the state of a single particle is

----------------------------------

----------------------------------

The paths in the Feynman picture of QM should not be regarded as

real.

All possible paths are about as real as all possible books that can

state is realized, not all conceivable ones; all others are just there

The paths are just calculational devices that stop to exist once a

---------------------------------------

---------------------------------------

In the old relavisc QM (e.g., in Volume 1 of Bjorken and Drell)

with this view, but more sophisticated stuff requires the QFT picture

(Only 'virtual' particles may have unrestricted momenta; but these are

The need for antiparticles is in QFT instead revealed by the fact that

(anti)commutation

Thus talking about particles traveling backward in time, the Dirac sea,

-------------------------------------------------------

-------------------------------------------------------

rest mass (negave m^2), and hence can never be brought to rest

(or below the speed of light); unlike ordinary particles, they speed

has

when fast particles enter a dense medium in which the speed of light

Neutrinos are uncharged and have a squared mass of zero or very close

Recently observed neutrino oscillations confirmed a small

This does not yet sele the sign of m^2 for any species.

clear that the QFT of tachyons would be very different from standard

publications

hp://pdg.lbl.gov/2004/reviews/contents_sports.html#hyppartetc

that the square of the mass (pole of the S-matrix) of some physical

particle would cross zero, the old physical vacuum becomes unstable

and

(Of course, the exact mechanism is not known since it would require a

state

expectation)

formally produces a bare tachyon. This does not contradict the above

one

information,

unless one has a system that actually _is_ close such an unstable state

(as perhaps the very early universe). But in that case there are no

The physical Higgs field is far away from the unstable maximum, and

its

particle excitations have a positive real mass, hence are not tachyons.

* G. Feinberg,

M. Glueck,

D. G. Boulware,

* B. Schroer,

G. Feinberg

C. Schwartz

* L. W. Jones

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tachyon

gives some more explanations.

http://www.weeklyscientist.com/ws/articles/tachyons.htm

-----------------------------

-----------------------------

only interacting ones. This holds both for photons and for other

approximately free. Again, this holds for both photons and other

particles.

asymptotic states of photons, electrons, quarks, etc. are free.

Thus, in this sense, free photons exist just as much (or just as

------------------------------------

------------------------------------

same canonical commutation rules

Wightman

psi(t) := exp(-itH)psi

The Feynman path integral is related to the other pictures via the

mechanics.

The latter can be treated with the so-called closed time path (CPT)

------------------------------------------------

------------------------------------------------

If the creation and annihilation operators are those in the action

physical relevance.

the coherent states) infinitely many modes are excited (although the

account for the big difference between quantum field theory and

The Stone-von Neumann theorem, which guarantees that the

canonical

of freedom.

The reason for this is that the natural representation space for

a*(l)|n1,....,n_l,...> = sqrt(1+n_l)|n1,....,1+n_l,...>.

This allows many choices; the choice usually discussed in QFT treatises

with finitely many particles are allowed, and these basis vectors are

sum psi(n1,n2,n3,...,n_k) |n1,n2,n3,...,n_k>

In general, this Hilbert space has only the null vector (_not_ the

vacuum) in common with the Fock space, even for the simplest

limit), if the bare a(k) and b(k) satisfy CCR then do the dressed

annihilation operators

A(k)^2 - B(k)^2 = 1,

|vac> := G|>,

alp and bet act naturally. The dressed states were simply be

Unfortunately, if there are infinitely many modes, G can no

representation exists.

limit form.

The canonical anticommutation rules (CAR) also have the form (1),

the most important one being that occupation numbers are now

place of 1+n_l.

North Holland 1982.

--------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------

Hamiltonian, etc.

the 2D Poincare group ISO(1,1). See the book

field theory.

tight enough bounds for the analytic estimates needed. These are

there are contradictions, and the practice of QFT suggests that there

the book

M Salmhofer,

Renormalization: An Introduction,

(i.e., give functions instead of formal power series),

--------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------

the classical fields one meets there are not fields occurring

'classical'.

(described by a Poisson manifold), which has much wider applicability.

necessary to account for the fact that all our experiments are done

particles (clusters).

(modulo fine print involving contact terms) at least perturbatively

ensure the latter. But there are covariant N-particle models with

www.physics.uiowa.edu/~wpolyzou/papers/rev.pdf

phenomenological models.)

point, without asking why. Weinberg's treatise is about the only book

systems made of more than two unconfined particles. For details see

the survey by Keister and Polyzou mentioned above,

the

whole edifice of physics, thus losing connections that may be

important

prominent

their scattering or breaking up, since that is where one can see the

--------------------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------------------

quantum case.

In a k derivave theory with k>1, one can always introduce new fields

for the k-1 ﬁrst derivaves, and add terms to the acon that give

as variation their defining equations. Thus one can reduce any theory

to an equivalent one with only first derivatives in the action.

theories.

-------------------------

-------------------------

corresponding Fock space, its adjoint isn't. But both are densely

space) to its dual space H^* (which properly contains H), while

the inner product is defined). Thus Hermitian sesquilinear forms are

:a(p)a(p)^*: = +-a^(p)*a(p)

:f(p)f(q): = +-a^*(p)a^*(q)a(q)a(p)

form only).

which has all its creation terms to the left of all its annihilation

product of the two vectors A|phi> and B|psi> obtained from phi and

psi

for which the inner product is always defined.

Normal ordering just permutes arbitrary products to put them into the

normally ordered and hence well-defined form (and adds a minus sign

different; there a(p) and a^*(p) are indeed operators on Fock space

(and the index p ranges over finitely many items only). Thus all

then one can do all the formal manipulations rigorously. Upon passing

avoids any infinities.

---------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------

independently,

Phi_a(\x,t) here (at \x) and fields Phi_b(\y,t) there (at \y)

pair (x,y) with (x-y)^2<0 can be transformed into an equal me pair.

Thus locality is a property of distinguished fields satisfying (*),

states fixed once and for all, and all spacetime dependence in

and apart from the Lagrangian of the standard model plus gravitation,

Since there are many such subsystems of interest, and all these

------------------------------------------------

------------------------------------------------

basis states

|x_1:N> = |x_1,...,x_N>

is not in the Hilbert Fock space, for the same reason for which

distribution.

with finite

a^*(x) maps the vacuum state |vac> (with psi_0=1, other psi_N=0)

into a^*(x)|vac> = |x>, which is not in the Hilbert Fock space.

More generally, for every nonzero Hilbert Fock space vector psi,

the vector

and H^* its dual space (containing among others very singular states

and states with very poor behavior at infintity). Observables (in the

weak sense) are bilinear forms, or, which is the same, linear mappings

adjoints a^*(x)) are observables in this weak sense, although they are

analytic concept, unless ignoring it brings them into trouble.

can be made rigorous in the rigged Hilbert space, so they fare right

rigged Hilbert space; although most of them just don't know and

don't care.

--------------------------

--------------------------

and

time, and are often figurately treated as such. But in fact they

that virtual particles are somehow also real. See the entries about

Although it is nowhere said explicitly, Feynman diagrams are just

tensors.

The form of the lines defines the value of the coefficient function

in such a product, and the sum over Feynman diagrams simply means

that

of one

of

these tensors.

Indeed, for this reason, they are also used in classical statistical

---------------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------

appeals

Examples are:

equation,

called the NRQED expansion),

resumming

'perturbative'

information

validity.

only, one can get highly accurate approximations for quantities like the

Lamb shift. However, the Lamb shift is a nonperturbative

---------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------

On a purely formal level (i.e., with power series in place of actual

is immaterial (apart from a sign for fermions), the same must be the

case for the path integral itself, which explains why the fields

at all arguments).

commonly ascribed to the path integral.)

valid only in the free case, and no one knows how they should

---------------------------------------------------------------

S6c. Funconal integrals, Wightman funcons, and rigorous QFT

---------------------------------------------------------------

W(x_1,...,x_n)=<0|Phi(x_1)...Phi(x_n)|0>.

But the right hand side makes no rigorous sense in traditional QFT

as found in most text books, except for free fields. Axiomatic QFT

directly such that they have the properties needed to get an S-matrix

This can be done successfully for many 2D theories and for some 3D

mathematically

To compare it to something simpler: In mathematics one constructs

the

some kind of limit, and later the solution of an initial value problem

theorem. This shows that each (nice enough) initial value problem is

the first person who finds such a proof will become famous - it means

intractable problem.

The 'only' problem is that the latter behaves much more poorly from

a rigorous point of view than ordinary integration.

positive

reason for

this is that a Wick theorem holds both in the commutative and the

noncommutative case.

meaning when the action is not quadratic. Instead, one only keeps

the notion that an integral is a linear functional, and

functions.

The art and difficulty is to find well-defined functionals

A.S. Wightman,

edited by F. Browder,

---------------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------

In spite of many attempts (and though numerous uncontrolled

defined.

http://groups.google.com/groups?q=Unsolved+problems+in+QED

http://groups.google.com/groups?q=What+is+well-defined+in+QED

why the mass spectrum for compact Yang Mills QFT begins at a positive

beginning at 0.

{0} union [E_1,inf]. The largest E_1 with this property deﬁnes

For a relativistic theory one has to read between the lines and

The state of the art at the time the problem was crowned by

a prize is given in

www.claymath.org/Millennium_Prize_Problems/Yang-

Mills_Theory/_objects/Official_Problem_Description.pdf

http://www.claymath.org/millennium/Yang-Mills_Theory/ym2.pdf

But QED has certain problems (the Landau pole, see below) that are

see, e.g.,

Quantum Physics: A Functional Integral Point of View,

matter is in

hp://www.wspc.com/books/physics/4678.html

calculations

are possible.

dimensions.

The deeper reason for the observaon that dimension d=2 is special

seems to be that in 2D the line cone is just a pair of lines.

variables

Thus, while 2D solvable models pave the way to get some rigorous

------------------------------

------------------------------

known

is the book by

V. Rivasseau

http://lanl.arxiv.org/pdf/math-ph/0006017

First one needs to understand that the construction breaks the Lorentz

in

irreducible Poincare representations, one can construct only three

(i.e. it in place of t), and shows that one gets an SO(4) symmetric

field theory, one can choose a direction as Euclidean time and obtain

(which

7

but proved much later in the book - the forward references in Glimm

resulting theory is Lorentz invariant.

problems that have not been overcome so far. But neither has it been

proved that any of the 4D ﬁeld theories cannot exist. There are some

construction

or a no-go theorem.

--------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------

The classical limit of a quantum field theory is the

so only the tree diagrams are left in the expansion, which correspond

Psi terms commute with each other, hence have a direct classical

a second hbar appears, a remnant of second quantization. If one

information.

-----------------------------------

-----------------------------------

know what happens in-between at finite times. In nonrelativistic QM,

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

time operator would be defined.

The full dynamics can be defined only indirectly, via CTP (closed

Poincare group) and

While the Hilbert space and the Hamiltonian depend on the choice of

---------------------------------------

---------------------------------------

and

The first book treats exactly solvable theories, the second book

treats general polynomial interactions. The methods are completely

different in the two cases, and the two books are essentially disjoint.

analysis.

Hamiltonian,

Chapter 3 deﬁnes a rigorous version of the path integral for ordinary

quantum mechanics, or rather for the Euclidean version of it, with the

since the heat kernel is positive and hence the measures needed to

make the path integral rigorous are positive Wiener measures, with a

in which one can generalize the path integral and perform the

free fields.

Chapters 7-12 and 19 then deﬁne the machinery needed to show how

everything works.

--------------------------

--------------------------

Lambda p

cone (because of causality), characterized by a mass m=>0.

p^2=m^2, p_0>0.

where the orbit consists of the future light cone with 0 excluded.

values of m, which defines the mass spectrum of the theory. The mass

The only state with zero momentum is the ground state, usually called

gap. The largest value of m>0 for which m^2 is such a lower bound

defines the precise value of the mass gap. Usually there is a state

The continuous spectrum starts when there is the possiblity of

scattering. which means that the energy is large enough that two

spatial momentum.

There may be bound states with mass m_b<2m, forming the discrete

with mass m_b>2m embedded in the connuous spectrum, but these

are

possible only if there are selection rules that forbid the decay into

above discussion.

-------------------------------------------------------

-------------------------------------------------------

Because of E=mc^2, the mass shows up as energy, i.e., as eigenstate

of the Hamiltonian.

Now a bound state at rest defines the rest energy, and by giving

of kinetic energy. The rest energy (and hence the rest mass), on the

For forces that decay with distance, a bound state necessarily has

a mass that is less than the sum of the masses of the constituents.

For particles involving quarks, this does not apply since the strong

force increases with distance. Hence the rest mass of a bound state of

------------------------------------------------------

------------------------------------------------------

obtained approximately from resumming infinite families of

summation.)

Weinberg states in his QFT book (Vol. I) repeatedly that bound state

problems (and this includes the Lamb shift) are still very poorly

On p.560, he writes,

entirely satisfactory shape.'

problems,

or hep-ph/0308280.

side.

-------------------------

-------------------------

charges) that sound like real properties, while they are in fact

from the coefficients of a Hamiltonian, but they are just parameters

is

in

R. Jackiw,

rigorously

Hilbert space.

For exactly the same reason it is needed in relativistic QFT, since

well-understood.

a cutoff goes to infinity does not exist. At any finite value of the

for which they got the Nobel prize, was that they discovered how to

produce a well-defined limiting theory for cutoff to infinity

-----------------------------------------

-----------------------------------------

quantum mechanics, since renormalization is a much more general

complex and often less symmetric situations. This limit is the only

by summing the even and odd contributions u_N and v_N separately.

The limit N to inf is well-deﬁned for s>0, but can be obtained only

lim sqrt(n^2+n)-sqrt(n^2+1)

= lim ((n^2+n)-(n^2+1))/(sqrt(n^2+n)+sqrt(n^2+1))

In quantum physics, the data (the Hamiltonian in QM, the action in

QFT)

direct

the

independent

a

be parameterized by v, since the limit

sense.

Rather than doing that (which would be numerically best in case the

When the limit (*) does not exist, the situation is more complicated.

v=v_N(mu), but since the limit (*) does not exist, there will also be no

limit

constants. But this limit will never be used, hence there are no

problems. It is just the loose way of speaking that creates the

exist anymore.

But this does not mean that the theory becomes meaningless but only

parameterization

Once this limit replaces the naive bare recipe (*)-(**) which is

parameter E that fixes the renormalization conditions. (This parameter

hence

But since the scale E can be chosen arbitrarily, the final renormalized

independent of E. Thus,

d/dE P(q_ren(mu,E),E) = 0,

to infinity.

------------------------------------------

------------------------------------------

Lambda-dependent.

The only problem with that is that the cutoff destroys Lorentz

But in order that the results have a finite limit we must at the

same time make the coupling constants g dependent on Lambda.

whole process.

nonrelativistic level.

coupling

H(g) directly (the 1930 way of doing things, which was a dead end),

On the other hand, if one chooses a good parameterization

g(Lambda,mu)

defined

limit G(mu). (At least in 1D and 2D ﬁeld theory, where this can

scattering process.

Of course, the relativistic case is more involved and at present

principle.

Thus one has V(g,Lambda) in place of V(g), where g are the coupling

by

Introducing the cutoff makes the interaction nonlocal, as one can see

See also

(But actually one does not need to care about locality or not,

representation.)

the S-matrix of the regularized interaction.

This S-matrix is unitary and has all properties one would like to have,

invariant.

coefficients when the theory is renormalizable, and is Lorentz

At the very end one can pass to the limit, but not earlier.

infinity.

S(mu).

----------------------------------------

----------------------------------------

In QFT, there are two different scales, one on the bare level and one

on the renormalized level, and the meaning of the renormalization

one cannot (or does not want to) observe anything. This effective

graining.

large energy Lambda beyond which the bare interaction is modified to

E=Mc^2 in units such that c=1. Then M is the constant needed in the

the QFT book by Peskin and Schroeder, Secon 12.2, for a massless

Phi^4 theory, and in Secon 12.5 for the general case. (For an online

Lambda, the renormalized parameters q, and the renormalization scale

E.

Lambda go to infinity. This has the effect that the bare parameters

does not exist. At this stage it becomes obvious that all bare objects

are unphysical.

M. Salmhofer,

Renormalization: An Introduction,

Unfortunately, this topology is too weak to give the existence of

q=q_ren(mu,E).

d/dE P(q_ren(mu,E),E) = 0,

Callan-Symanzik flow is the renormalization scale E and _not_ the

interpretation.

--------------------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------------------

complicated.

on it. It turns out that the approximation errors are small only

Thus one needs to evaluate the theory near the scale of interest.

the appropriate fixed point E^*, and then uses (also approximate)

scale of interest.

Thus there are two different scales involved, the energy scale

E_exp where the experiments are done, and the renormalization scale

theory

theory depends on E_exp (for QED, the charge is traditionally defined

in the low energy limit E_exp to 0). This eﬀecve theory behaves

approximations

depend heavily on M, and give a reasonable approximation to the

loop

choose

E_ren = E_exp (or close). But the analogy is not complete since

and nothing at all could be extracted from it. But in practice one

can work only at few loops, and then different values of M may give

M near the fixed point (where one can do perturbation theory and has

This is often expressed by saying, loosely, that the renormalization

-------------------------------

-------------------------------

The neatest way to perform regularization, and the only one which

space rather than Minkowski space. To get the latter, one needs an

additional analytic continuation.

We observe that the formula (2) makes sense for arbitrary complex d

f(s)=r^2j/(r^2+m^2)^n, n>j+d/2,

Note that the resulting formula

For other values the above computations are meaningless, and any

rearrangements.

good limits for eps to 0 (which cannot happen for (4) but for

suitable linear combinaons) they deﬁne the value also for d=4.

way.

Thus we have defined a consistent extension of the Lebesgue

integration

P. Etingof,

See also

http://wwwthep.physik.uni-mainz.de/~scheck/Meyer.ps

For those who dislike unphysical complex dimensions,

more involved.

f(d):=(sqrt(2-d))^{-2},

g(d):=1/(2-d)

in the real domain. They are equal for d<2 but f does not make

f(d):=g(d)

and makes the latter an extremely useful device in many applications.

-----------------------------------------

-----------------------------------------

Interacting QFT based on Feynman-Dyson perturbation theory

is still elusive.

-----------------------------------------------------

-----------------------------------------------------

The difference between renormalizable and unrenormalizable theories

is

finite perturbative expansion at all orders. This means that with a few

parameters one can only get an effective low order theory, which may,

more parameters...

experimental

results. This gives a consistent procedure for predictions. Indeed,

thermodynamics

much information as input. We know that this is the case already for

See also

hep-th/9507067.

J Gegelia, G Japaridze

Perturbative Approach to Non-renormalizable Theories

hep-th/9804189,

-------------------------------------

-------------------------------------

very low energies. They are not cured by renormalization and need

so a bound on the sum of the rest masses does not limit the number of

may be an arbitrary number of very low energy ('soft') photons.

-----------------------------

-----------------------------

There is a second kind of divergences, different from those cured

by renormalization.

century their persuasive power) supporting the view that one should

F.J. Dyson,

with radius of convergence zero. For small enough x, the first few

any fixed nonzero x - enough terms, the series diverges. Thus, as Dirac

summation

quantum field theory. Who finds one will be awarded one of the

H(g)= 1/2 (p^2+q^2) +g q^4.

resumming techniques. One can study these things quite well with

which obviously converges much faster (if not yet, one could probably

by means of

the integral over t may have to be done along a contour in the complex

plane; see, e.g., physics/0010038.

It is easy to show that BSf=Bf and that Sf has the same asymptotic

other natural assumptions (but stronger than simply asserng that (1)

The book

for

Of course, since there are many functions with the same asymptotic

one has to show that the Borel summed Sf actually has the

properties that the original f was supposed to have (and from which

that

starting with

hp://www.lns.cornell.edu/spr/2003-03/msg0049669.html

With experimental results one just has numbers, and not infinite

(e.g., the epsilon or eta algorithm) to get a meaningful guess for the

limit, and estimates the error by doing the same several times,

of coefficients of a power series, one can use Pade approximation to

-----------------------

-----------------------

data

to 12 signiﬁcant digits:

M. Passera,

Phys. Rev. D 75, 013002 (2007).

http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-ph/0606174

hp://hussle.harvard.edu/~gabrielse/gabrielse/papers/2006/NewElec

tronMagneticMoment.pdf

S.G. Karshenboim,

http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-ph/0509010

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landau_pole

physical validity of QED, even far beyond the Planck energy) something

might go wrong with QED. (QED loses its validity already at energies

The Planck energy at about 10^28 eV is the limit where some current

Since the existence of the Landau pole is confirmed only in low order

the question whether the alleged landau pole implies limits to the

V Rivasseau

Princeton 1991

of the theory.

The quality of the computed approximations to QED are a strong

(for not too high energies), although it hasn't been found yet.

which can be seen that Scharf's results on the external field case

G. Scharf,

than those for QED proper (where he only shows the existence of

This means that a formal power series for the S-matrix is shown to

actual computations since a few terms in the power series give very

high accuracy.

for alpha around 1/137 and not too high energy. This is sll open.

the fine structure constant alpha and the electron mass m_e; these

renormalized

running coupling constants, and is deﬁned for alpha <= 1/137 and

a mathematical proof that the QED S-matrix exists for 0<alpha<1/137

Emax.

the

that

defined

object S(alpha) exists that has this asymptotic series. The quest for

that makes rigorous sense and has the known asymptotic expansion.

QED is renormalizable at all loops, which means that the power series

Note that the S-matrix S commutes with the Hamiltonian;

The Landau pole (if it exists) just gives an upper bound to the allowed

Vol. 2, pp.136-138 - all options are left open. On the other hand,

To summarize:

QED is renormalizable at all loops, which means that the power series

QED that makes sense also at finite times and not only as a transition

-------------------------------------------------

-------------------------------------------------

provides via the Schroedinger equation the dynamics of wave

functions

in time.

known

Feynman

obtain a perturbavely valid Hamiltonian for QED (cf. Theorem 6.1.3

theory for free (i.e., asymptotic in- and out-) states; therefore it

(But see below for the CTP techniques, which are not of the standard

From the S-matrix, one can the derive further information, e.g.,

The problem with relativistic path integrals is that they are formal

meaning by means of the renormalization procedure. The books show

how to

states.

but this make things more difficult to grasp). The Legendre transform

parameter

eps (or Lambda), one can take the limit eps to 0 (or Lambda to inNy)

From there, one can get the S-matrix, again as a formal power series.

FOR QED, the first few terms give highly accurate approximations;

far.

believed that (as most series coming from a saddle point expansion

4D relavisc QFT. It only means that no one has been able to ﬁnd

evolution

After all, this is how one justifies that the functional integral works.

Keldysh

http://theory.gsi.de/~vanhees/publ/green.pdf

For example,

which are used to compute bound state properties and spectral shifts.

hep-ph/9907240.

by Barut, which might well turn out to become the germ of an exact

particle interpretation of standard renormalized QED. See

A.O. Barut and J.F. Van Huele, Phys. Rev. A 32 (1985), 3187-3195,

approximate

see, e.g.,

hep-th/9706149

given for quantum electrodynamics (but with a small photon mass

E.V. Stefanovich,

http://www.geocities.com/meopemuk/

being justifed.)

tiny

While Dyson's argument (see the FAQ entry on 'Summing divergent

quantum electrodynamics.

alpha=e^2/4pi).

where this can be proved in certain cases. In 3D and 4D, one probably

needs also a Lambda-dependent inner product defining the Hilbert

space

mechanics.

-------------------------------------------------

-------------------------------------------------

conclusions.

dx(t)/dt = f(x(t-tau)),

introduce new functions

-------------------------------------------

-------------------------------------------

The first is explicitly time-dependent;

Fink+Johnson

Dirac-Fock approach

Bieron et al.

Indelicato+Desclaux

P Chaix and D Iracane

----------------------------------

----------------------------------

The reason is that, unlike free electrons and positrons, free protons

do not obey the Dirac equation since they have form factors which are

interactions

with photons, but primarily by the inner structure of the proton.

understood.

with light, protons and other nuclei are typically treated as classical

modified by the form factors, for the bare protons. To describe atoms

correctly, one needs also fields for neutrons and mesons, and

-------------------------------------------

-------------------------------------------

a dictionary.

T_0^q = T^q

in parcular, T_1 = T^* is the dual space of T;

Given a basis on T and a dual cobasis on T^*, one can use coordinates.

indices.

accordingly.)

In particular.

(0,0)-tensor = scalar,

= row vector,

Clearly, the columns of the matrix A_i^k are column vectors = vectors,

the rows are row vectors = covectors, and the indexing is consistent.

The requirement that basis and cobasis are dual is equivalent to the

statement that for every vector u and covector w (i.e., linear mapping

and the other an upper index must be interpreted as a sum over these

indices.

They also write all sums explicitly, consider all vectors given

explicitly using the transposition sign (^T, but statisticians often

use a prime ' instead, which is also the form used in Matlab).

or simply s=y^Tx.

or simply y=Ax.

or simply s = tr A (trace).

Phys. notation: y_i = A_i^j B_j^k x_k x,y vectors, A,B matrices,

or simply y=ABx.

Math. notation: y_i = sum_jklm A_ij B_jk C_kl D_lm x_k

or simply y=ABCDx.

If a metric = nondegenerate symmetric (0,2)-tensor g is given on T,

Conversely, one can reconstruct the vector from the covector using

dual metric.

its

cobasis of T^*, coordinates (row and column vectors) can be used to

such that

Conversely, one can reconstruct from the covector w^T the canonically

associated vector

u = G^{-1}w.

The relation between the physicists form and the linear algebra form

Again, the linear algebra notation is compact and index free,

--------------------------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------------------------

theory.)

is

while the latter are specified by an infinite number of parameters.

experimental

thermodynamics

much information as input. We know that this is the case already for

A different matter is the dream of a fundamental theory without any

consistency.

Thus I think this dream (which also fuels string theory) is misguided,

external electromagnetic and gravitational fields. See gr-qc/0408010.

----------------------------------------

----------------------------------------

http://relativity.livingreviews.org/Articles/lrr-2002-5/

(iv) (conceptual) The three limits pose severe constraints on possible

up

with a conceptual basis in which these limit make sense and are

future, and the data from astromomy that may cast light on quantum

data but only by the quest for consistency with particle physics.)

----------------------------------------

----------------------------------------

Einstein-Hilbert acon in a (3+1)-dimensional splitting (ADM

formalism)

phase

as for QED or QCD, and try to compute S-matrix elements using the

nonperturbative results.

Covariant quantum gravity only works in the traditional way up to

1 loop (and together with maer not even then); at higher loops

combination

S. Deser,

http://arxiv.org/pdf/gr-qc/9911073v1

http://arxiv.org/pdf/hep-th/9510087.

Some online references are:

http://relativity.livingreviews.org/Articles/lrr-1998-1/index.html

Phys. Rev. Le. 60, 2105-2108 (1988) discusses the lack of Borel

higher).

C.P. Burgess,

http://www.livingreviews.org/lrr-2004-5

http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/9602121

Only a few new parameters arise at each loop order, in particular only

a running coupling constant with

solar system, and would remain so right down to the event horizon

even

if the sun were a black hole. At face value it is only for separations

----------------------------------------------

----------------------------------------------

In his book on qunatum field theory in curved spacetime

that have locally the same kind of singular behavior as the flat

though this is not quite appropriate, unless one allows the vacuum

and hence are harder to work with.

in a's and a^*'s and applying Wick's theorem. Their leading singular

-----------------------------------

-----------------------------------

spin 2 parcles.

-----------------------------------

-----------------------------------

g(e_j,e_k)=eta_jk (*)

formalism of differential geometry than using the metric

directly. E.g.,

sqrt(-det g) = det(e).

----------------------------------

----------------------------------

time coordinate).

distinguished center of mass frame where the whole system

accordingly.

choice of a spacelike hypersurface defining a region of space

Even in nonrelativistic classical mechanics, energy is conserved

(small may mean, e.g., a laboratory, the earth, the solar system,

one needs to make precise what energy means for such pieces of the

whole universe.

interest, and the length of time of interest, including the way time

as given above.

On the other hand, the observer-independent notion generalizing

----------------------------------

----------------------------------

When in vogue, the aether was the substance filling empty space

of the aether. However nobody uses the term since it it fraught with

properties

invariant state, should something like that exist. The Unruh effect

state must also be zero, which implies that the vacuum is empty

Identifying the aether and the vacuum is consistent with the way

Einstein thought about the topic, as the following quotes from

Feldern.''

Aetherauffassung,

dass sie dem Aether seine letzte mechanische Qualitaet, naemlich die

Unbeweglichkeit, wegnahm.''

''Man kann die Existenz eines Aethers annehmen; nur muss man

darauf

d.h. man muss ihm durch Abstraktion das letzte mechanische Merkmal

mitbestimmt.''

''Man kann also wohl auch sagen, dass der Aether der allgemeinen

hervorgegangen ist.''

''... Den Aether leugnen bedeutet letzten Endes annehmen, dass dem

hp://www.alberteinstein.info/db/ViewCpae.do?DocumentID=34003

(the part with the above quotes is not freely available online).

Thus the modern vacuum looks much more like the 19th century

aether

(whose excitations were the classical electromagnetic waves)

-------------------

-------------------

we see the Sun as it was 8 minutes ago and the Andromeda nebula

Now suppose that you look at the sun. If one is really pedantic,

one would have to say that you see the sun in your eye, as a

interpret our sensations in 3D and hence put the sun far away

One thinks in terms of the 4D spaceme manifold and places the sun

is zero. This looks like a paradox. What happened with the claimed

8 minutes?

The answer is that the metric time is not the right way to measure

generally has one, defined by the rest frame of the galactic fluid

-------------------------------

-------------------------------

In the traditional formulation of quantum mechanics, time is not an

is always sharp.

of a system satisfies

with sufficient accuracy, one has a clock and can find out by means of

T = Delta t

This is also the usual way we measure time in classical physics.

enough

Here

sigma(u(t)) = sqrt(<(u(t)-ubar(t))^2>)

observable. Space and time are now on the same level (allowing a

For posion and me measurement, one now needs a 4-vector field

u(x) with

Sigma_T := sigma(V^{-1}u(x))

with

sigma(a(x)) = sqrt(<(a(x)-abar(x))^*(a(x)-abar(x))>),

abar(x)=<a(x)>.

quantum field theory, the same holds for both position and time.

However, this analysis works only when one assigns to single clocks

interpretation.

Note that in relativistic quantum mechanics, a single particle is

these,

Wigner)

a time operator.

--------------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------------

S = integral L(q,qdot,t) dt

Lagrangian

xdot=H_p(p,x) , pdot=-H_x(p,x),

putting

q^T = (x^T,p^T,s),

U(q) = (p^T,0^T,-H(p,x)).

PJ Olver,

Those who can read German, can find more in the Section on

German Theoretische-Physik-FAQ at

http://www.mat.univie.ac.at/~neum/physik-faq.txt

theories, see

C.G. Torre,

hep-th/9204055

----------------------------

----------------------------

One declares some time to be ''now'' - but which time one declares to

either, but things change a little: Here one declares some event

(= spacetime point) to be ''here and now'' - but which event one

Once one has chosen ''here'' and ''now'', respectively ''here and now'',

------------------------------------------------------------

S11a. A concise formulaon of the measurement problem of QM

------------------------------------------------------------

Quantum mechanics asserts in the Born rule (also called Lueder's rule)

orthogonal projectors P_k (with P_k = P_k^*, P_k P_l = delta_kl P_l

and sum_k P_k = 1), it transforms the pure state psi into the pure

state psi_k = P_k psi/p_k with probability p_k= psi^* P_k psi.

particle.

assumed)

mechanics

The unitary dynamics predicts that the joint system is in a macroscopic

anyone has seen it. Thus the terabytes of collision data collected

of such high tech data, but the collapse (which gives rise to

we look at them.

--------------------------------

--------------------------------

experiments.

mechanics

predict (at best) that the effect of the screen is to turn a particle

one each for being in one of the two beams (for sufficiently wide

passing the slit and a third (or more) for the particle being stuck

http://www.mat.univie.ac.at/~neum/collapse.html

----------------------------------

----------------------------------

magnetic moment. The magnetic field is said to split the input beam

a beam of electrons with very low intensity and the screen is replaced

each randomly at one of the two spots. Each such event is generally

single observations are found to occur at the blocker as well.

packets: One remains stuck where the blocked beam meets the block

and the other continues its motion along the unblocked beam.

A little later, this second wave packet meets the screen, and we end up

|leN>=1/sqrt(2)(|up>+|down>),

1/sqrt(2)(|x^+(t),p^+(t)>|up> +|x^-(t),p^-(t)>|down>),

classical paths in phase space determined by approximately classical

motion due to the magnetic field, the blocker and the screen -

spots.

and hitting or passing it. This is the so-called collapse of the wave

function.

Wigner),

human-centered touch.

--------------------------------

--------------------------------

statistics.

and quantum mechanically. This minimal view becomes inconsistent

are possible.

are considered a possible way out, but this introduces other problems.)

mechanics.

notion of probability. (See the discussion on probability elsewhere

in this FAQ.) Probability (and hence the quantum state that predicts it)

---------------------------------

---------------------------------

state

Given the present state of the universe (which fixes the experimental

mathematical model of quantum mechanics in the large, it has to

be deduced from the assumptions about the initial state and the

dynamics.

can

until one fits. This is how things are indeed done in practice.

At first, one never knows a new instrument precisely, and has to check

one knows reasonably well what to expect of the next, similar one.

Then only fine-tuning is needed, which saves time. And this knowledge

certain way; but one still has to check to which extent they actually

we conclude that this is the case generally. As for a spectrometer,

laws,

with two slits in it, actually has a preferred position basis and

-------------------------------------------

-------------------------------------------

A quantum master equation is a dynamical equation for the density

matrix

system

that

If the pointer variables form a complete set of commuting variables,

-----------------------------------------------------

-----------------------------------------------------

interference terms.

Thus decoherence is very valuable in understanding the classical

M. Schlosshauer,

quantum

mechanics,

quant-ph/0312059

can do and what it leaves open. For example, Erich Joos, coauthor

in Quantum Theory',

http://www.iworld.de/~ej/book.html

that (and why) decoherence does not resolve the measurement

problem.

If the big crowd has a cruder point of view, it means nothing but

But the riddle is present if one insists that the quantum mechanical

collapse a necessity.

In a nutshell, Wigner's argument goes as follows:

(psi_1 + psi_2)/sqrt(2)

of such states and _not_ (as would be needed to account for the

Von Neumann and with him most textbook authors opted for giving up

unitarity by introducing collapse as a process independent of the

fashion. But then there is no longer a clear place for when the

My paper

A. Neumaier,

quant-ph/0505172

mechanics

measurement problem.

that of the socalled Stosszahlansatz in the derivation of the

Boltzmann equation.

------------------------------------------------------------------

------------------------------------------------------------------

A. Peres,

Kluwer, Dordrecht 1993

Sakurai's book. The latter is much more readable but has sloppy

http://groups-

beta.google.com/group/sci.physics.research/msg/77630f64b987274f?

dmode=source

http://www.lsr.ph.ic.ac.uk/~plenio/lecture.pdf

quant-ph/9804075

Optics

quant-ph/9702007

= quant-ph/0303047 my own construcve (but incomplete) view

of the matter.

http://www.mat.univie.ac.at/~neum/physik-faq.txt

version

For the history of the interpretation of QM, see the excellent book

Max Jammer

and the collection of original papers,

----------------------------------------

----------------------------------------

K. Svozil,

Quantum Logic,

related arguments.

classical logic. Even in Svozil's book, one can see that quantum

All one ever needs to know about quantum logic (unless one wants to

----------------------------------

----------------------------------

interpreted

http://www-stud.uni-essen.de/~sb0264/stochasc.html

While it gives an interesting aspect to quantum mechanics and its

in that it cannot handle the situation when the wave function vanishes

Even if one argues that such states are idealized and cannot occur,

says correctly,

of nature.

the

wave function itself is regarded as a classical random object.

-------------------------------------------------

-------------------------------------------------

--------------------------------

--------------------------------

of making any statement about dice that have been thrown already.

Although we can observe with perfect accuracy the value of the throw,

actual events, since it never ever predicts what must happen or what

throw of three dice, but is a severe defect when discussing the

---------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------

of x in this experiment.

as a (classical) 'ensemble',

although they are usually too vague to express this in formal terms.

Mathematicians prefer to leave the set Omega (which they call the

and specific recipes defining x(omega), one has a model world in which

A difficulty is, of course, that we do not have such a model for the

The only thing not specified in probability theory (unless one specifies

the number, and hence there is no way to know which experiment

omega

statements

a

number

numbers

random

numbers (in the sense that they usually pass with high confidence level

Therefore, the numbers they generate are used in practice as (often

random

remains analogous.

ensemble

algebra

of subsets of Omega.

Repeatedly tossing a fair coin is also a (kind of trivial) stochastic

this has not even two independent bits. Its sigma algebra is based

Because of the assumed independence of the trials, one can reduce all

But once one looks at binary processes which are even slightly

over Omega_inf.

-------------------------------------------

-------------------------------------------

To say that

"The probability that someone in risk group A will die of cancer is 1/3"

cancer. But this tacit assumption may well turn out to be wrong.

risk group A will die of cancer is 1/3" means nothing more or less

than that exactly 1/3 of _all_ people in risk group A will die of

cancer.

to deﬁne the precise meaning of '1/3 of all',one needs to go into

how _all_ people in risk group A died, but once we have this

measure

and exactly half of them come out heads. For an infinite sigma algebra,

the ensemble is infinite; but with the natural weighting, again exactly

ensemble.

indepemdent

random variables representing fair coins. This is the case, e.g., in the

N>10,

data

_assumed_complete

stochastic

model is correct. Empirical estimates are usually inaccurate but useful.

The two approaches are not contradictory; indeed, they are combined

in

objective meaning.

Only good choices are knowledge.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

-----------------------------------------------------------------

instead of

the objective and unassailable formulation ''restricting the ensemble

to

probability,

probability

paradigm

ensemble.

-------------------------------------------------------

-------------------------------------------------------

But the weak law of large numbers only guarantees that most trial

to the probability. It might just fail for the one actually tried...

infinite

That we often estimate the limit using a small part of the sequence

informative books by

T.L. Fine,

Theory of probability; an examination of foundations.

and

L. Sklar,

--------------------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------------------

book

in quant-ph/0303047.)

- at least not in any scientific sense -, although we are

In the case just cited, the ensemble is the set of all tomorrow's,

sample

Person A claims 'the probability of the coin coming out head is 50%'.

Person B claims 'the probability of the coin coming out head is 20%'.

Person C claims 'the probability of the coin coming out head is 80%'.

Now we throw the coin and find 'head'. Who was right? It is

undecidable.

'the probability of the coin coming out head is p', when applied to

But for use in science, such a subjective view (where everyone is right,

cancer? This is a single event that either will happen, or will not

On the other hand one may assign a probability based on some facts

to belong to, what probability one will assign. Mrs. X belongs to many

All statements in measure theory are _only_ about expectations and

realization.

equally likely, the sequence 111111111 has exactly the same status

ordinary numbers are _never_ random, but they can 'look random',

in a subjective sense.)

-----------------------------

-----------------------------

If the die is not thrown, all events are equivalent, and the

does not happen. If the event happens (does not happen), the

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Probability_theory

random experiment.''

physical theories.

------------------------------------------------------------

------------------------------------------------------------

happens.

stochastic processes.

If it is taken as a continuous measurement, the flips occur at random

zero.

measuring spins

probability of

---------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------

(e.g., a brick going upwards due to fluctuations) as something within

it).

A. Neumaier,

http://www.mat.univie.ac.at/~neum/papers.html#fuzzy

reality.

-----------------------------------------

----------------------------------------

apply statistics since one knows nothing at all about the distribution

the knowledge that in fact always x=0.75, except that one does not

flawed.

may have a deviaon of 0.1% and the remaining quarter one of 3.7%.

In general, all one can deduce from information that takes the form of

http://www.mat.univie.ac.at/~neum/glopt/intro.html

It assumes that the _maximal_attainable_ knowledge about the

system

ensemble

of interest; in this case, however, the best statistics can offer are

data.

http://class.ee.iastate.edu/berleant/home/ServeInfo/Interval/intprob

.html

Theoretical physics is always concerned about describing the maximal

----------------------------------------------

----------------------------------------------

defined by

principle,

entropy

If the number of alternatives is infinite, this formula must be

S(rho)= <-k_B log(rho(x))>

defines the entropy with respect to this prior. Note that the

prior.

as

alternatives and take as the (proper) prior the uniform measure, giving

The density rho(x) agrees with the probability p_x, and the

k_B=1/log2.

the absolute entropy given above. But one could also take as prior

a noninvariant measure

dmu(x) = dx p_0(x);

then the density becomes rho(x)=p(x)/p_0(x), and one arrives at the

relative entropy.

prior, and one has to make other useful choices. In particular, this

probability of getting n.

probability of getting n.

The maximum entropy ensemble defined by given expectations

depends on

mechanics.

case, and may even be debated in the finite case.

-------------------------------------------------------

-------------------------------------------------------

Many theoretical physicists seem to think that the only worthwhile

in my opinion.

such a concept. That's why I think it is a very important

unsolved problem.

Phys Rev. A 65 (2002), 032516 and Phys. Rev Le. 84 (2000), 3274 -,

but they don't give a clue what a helium atom 'is' in QFT.

FAQ)

QFT of what bound states should be, but nothing convincing on the

quantitative level.

For example, deriving the Navier-Stokes equations

that so far remained unmet; it has been done long ago for

the final result (to much better accuracy than the parameters

be roughly analogous (for dilute gases). Similarly for many

thermodynamics.

of the two.

If you find better references, please let me know.

------------------------------------------------

------------------------------------------------

all we know about matter and radiation on earth, within the range of

But this does not mean that it has a high predictivity, except

The reason is that we can compute from it almost nothing at the scales

Lattice gauge calculations show that the standard model implies the

poorer.

We have very little control over confinement, which is essential to

is almost nil.

(except for paying religious lip service to it), but work with

model was born, and built into the latter to match reality; so they

One can show that the effective dynamics of protons and neutrons is

from the standard model (but also follows from assumed symmetry

information.

From this, one can calculate the energy of the nuclei, using a combined

agreement

computed

from it, this would give _very_ poor predictions of nuclear properties.

measurement

and the effective equations (but nothing else) does not allow to get

phenomena),

The details of the nuclei become irrelevant for atomic physics and

accurately enough from lower levels, and must again be supplemented

by

computed

from it, this would give _very_ poor predictions of most chemical

from

the

atoms (such as the color of gold) reasonably well using the Dirac-Fock

equations.

reasonably accurate and not put in by hand.

theoretical

---------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------

(If the scale gives an angle in degrees which is then converted into

by a subjective reading or by a digital reading device of limited

That's why the error bars are intrinsic to measurement results, even to

is

known.

http://physics.nist.gov/cuu/Uncertainty/

Of course, the error bar is also somewhat uncertain, but one generally

The NIST definition has the advantage that it also applies to indirect

computations.

Nevertheless there is no contradiction if one assumes that reality is

-----------------------------------------

-----------------------------------------

Complex numbers are _the_ natural number system for all but

instead.

too.

Dispersion relations in optics are natural only in a complex setting.

On the other hand, at first sight it seems that only real quantities

are measurable. However this only holds for the most direct

measurements

errors,

hence one generally uses more equations than unknowns and solves

related problem if a model of measurement errors is avaialble)

to get an estimate of x.

-------------------------------------------

-------------------------------------------

can be precisely defined, and get names corresponding to their

intended

use in reality. This ensures that one knows precisely what one talks

one must use the formulations people use who are using this interface,

mathematical

limit in reality.

This is necessary since all our observations are finite, and most of

mass

for determining probabilities, but no exact ones. Exact real numbers

someone enters?)

hp://ts.nist.gov/ts/htdocs/230/233/calibraons/Publicaons/exp_m

eas.pdf

If one follows his argument closely, one finds that even classically,

thermodynamics.

Thus there are no exact concepts in observed Nature.

----------------------------------------

----------------------------------------

ones.

You can see this, for example, from the way integrals are calculated in

is important.

If you (the reader) are satisfied with the latter, never try to

and powerful theory, then you should not be satisfied with the way

current quantum field theory (say) is done, and keep looking for

F. Gieres,

mechanics,

quant-ph/9907069

and

mechanics,

quant-ph/0103153

See also:

K Davey,

Is Mathematical Rigor Necessary in Physics?

http://philsci-archive.pi.edu/archive/00000787/

On the other hand, on the way towards finding out what is true,

nonrigorous first steps are the rule, even for hard die

J. Hadamard,

Princeton 1945.

and

G. Polya,

2 Vols., 1954.

or

G. Polya,

Mathematical discovery,

"Theoretical mathematics": Toward a cultural synthesis of

math.HO/9307227

in

M. Atiyah et al.,

math/9404229

math/9404231

See also

D. Zeilberger,

Culture,

math.CO/9301202,

J. Borwein, P. Borwein, R. Girgensohn and S. Parnes

(1996?)

http://grace.wharton.upenn.edu/~sok/papers/age/expmath.pdf

--------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------

circular. If it were not, the postulates were not basic but derivable.

But the basic postulates themselves can only be motivated, but not

derived.

If you want to probe that trust you can go into studying the sea of

----------------------------------------

----------------------------------------

These statements apply both to good and bad theories. Even a bad

theory

ambiguity in measurements, and poor measurements lead to low

One can observe from history that progress in concepts lead to better

------------------------------------------------------

------------------------------------------------------

to situations where we hope everything is obvious.

and only needs enough context to identify the usage of the concepts --

there is essentially only one fit that works, and once the

measurements,

But there is another way that is fruitful and neither circular nor

level what logic is; then it builds a formal model, a 'formal reality',

in which one can talk about everything one talks in 'real' logic,

You don't need to know what truth, propositions, etc. are in reality,

This is done in exactly the same way as the Greeks declared rules for

statements:

tells which points are on which lines, through any two distinct

points there is exactly one line, and any two distinct lines

the real logic in the formal model of logic, and reach clarity.

and fully achieved in Hamiltonian mechanics.

You start with a phase space and a Hamiltonian which fall from

arguments

In fact, you can discuss any question about the classical world

more and more into such a formal model, until everything about

My vision is that the same is possible and desirable for quantum

in which one can talk about all the things physicists talk about

in Hamiltonian mechanics.

----------------------------

----------------------------

forward.

Those who had the questions and found real answers published it and

andvanced the state of the art. The others can only share their

experience and their chart of the uncharted territory. As one can see

see with your own eyes, take your own risks, and find out for yourself

And don't count on recognition before you actually succeed!

the idea.

must

But who knows beforehand what will turn out to be the right track?

Finding this out is learning from it.

Everyone starts their journey from where they are, in the direction

they

find most promising. The others observe what they do and have to

make

up their own mind. If people knew what is the right start and the right

solved

detailed code analysis. And most of the wild ideas are useless.

it has become fashionable in some quarters of theoretical physics...

Rather, learn as much as you can about how and why the good

theories

able to spot what went wrong. But not by searching in the mist; your

walking attentively and openminded along many blind alleys, until one

sees one which smells like being the real thing. Then one starts

should have been the guiding principle that would have avoided all

the dead ends, bringing one directly to the goal. Then, and only then,

pattern: See

G. Polya,

Mathematical Discovery,

-------------------------------------------------------------

-------------------------------------------------------------

From the subject matter treated, a lot. From the modeling side far less.

that in the former one generally studies systems which are strongly

predictable results.

Sometimes to the extent that one can ignore the noise and treat a

negligible.

-------------------------------------

-------------------------------------

against him.

that, according to the theory, are excluded. But for a correct theory,

What happens with good theories is, at worst, that their region of

gravitation is negligible, accuracies conform to present possibilities,

of the theory proper, they are part of the theory as actually taught

But one can be reasonably sure within the domain where enough data

All science students who ever did experiments in the lab know

It is now too late to ask Newton whether he believed his theory was

valid without restrictions. (Or are there any hints in the Principia

----------------------------------------------

----------------------------------------------

Relying on that ''anything in the future is like in the past'' is an

act of faith. The question is not about faith or not, but about

but useless (and probably harmful). These are the ones that Popper

calls

unfalsifiable.

What makes a theory good is not its potential falsifiability, but that

happen.

If you have no theory and put two marbles into your empty pocket,

and then another two, you don't know how many marbles you can

take out.

If you know arithmetic and the law of conservation of marbles you can

predict that exactly four can be taken out. This is testable, and will

always come out correct. So you have a correct theory. Of course, its

validity is not unlimited, since it assumes that your pocket does not

since you can only take out three, you suspect that the domain of

validity was violated; you check for the hole - and surely you'll

find it.

------------------------------------------------

------------------------------------------------

with the fewest parameters is the best. But this is true only

This gives them all the information they need, while they can deduce

properties.

computationally more difficult or even untractable formulation.

about our world, and only very inaccurately. Not even the masses of

the nuclei can be predicted at present with any confidence, let alone

And given only string theory (a theory without any free parameter),

(See hp://rz70.rz.uni-karlsruhe.de/~ed01/Hyle/Hyle3/hoﬀman.htm

--------------------

--------------------

Everything called knowledge is in fact a set of beliefs of the

person claiming it. And this set of beliefs is more or less close

famous physicists like von Neumann and many others, and this is good

enough to make this statement honestly, since the community has not

others any more than feeding others what one thinks is nourishing.

his or her personal opinion, and not a fact. Who takes it for a

fact is simply misleading himself or herself. Thus there is no

of this ensemble.

In this way, anyone who wants to get a clear picture soon notices

which claims are trustworthy, which ones are tenable but somewhat

----------------------------

----------------------------

etc.

----------------------

----------------------

--------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------

Nevertheless, it is possible to check the reality contents

have

theory

Thus the task of theory is to provide models with just enough

---------------------------------

---------------------------------

bars for the parameters modeling the deviation. As long as the error

deviation (if the more accurate error bars no longer contain zero).

basic to contemporary physics but all confirmed only to a certain

precision.

but even when one of these experiments succeeds (as in the case of

-------------------

-------------------

We say that people exist, because they are a handy way to describe

We say that photons exist because they are a handy way to describe

quantum optics phenomena.

Photons are objectively real because they are needed in the only

know of.

---------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------

http://www.ap.univie.ac.at/users/Anton.Zeilinger/philosop.html

''the question whether such a description exists or not was therefore

irrelevant physics.

http://web.maths.unsw.edu.au/~jim/headsofpins.html

It seems that, as here, the question has always been used in a derisive

E.D. Sylla,

pp. 251-270 in:

Elsevier 2005,

hp://www.elsevier.com/wps/ﬁnd/bookdescripon.cws_home/7043

02/descripon#descripon

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_many_angels_can_dance_on_the_

head_of_a_pin%3F

G.M. Ross,

Angels,

hp://www.jstor.org/pss/3750436

and the web site

hp://people.bu.edu/dklepper/RN413/katrei.html

It is surprisingly interesting.

Part I (hp://www.newadvent.org/summa/1.htm)

a logical point of view. His 'angels' are not the winged creatures

we might imagine them to be, but incorruptible, indivisible,

properties.

observable

in between:

''Hence it must be said that the angels, even inasmuch as they are

guise, he might have phrased his speculations in terms of notions

towards

published an article

A. Sandberg,

hp://www.improbable.com/airchives/paperair/volume7/v7i3/angels

-7-3.htm

http://headofapin.net/

------------------------------------------------------

------------------------------------------------------

the discussions get too specific for you but make you curious to

learn more about the background. But it may be difficult to find out

The writers usually know how they got the knowledge, and are happy

to

think they have better advice. The more specific your question, the

more likely you'll get an answer, and the more useful it will

service to all.

"Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock,

and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives,

and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks,

------------------------------------

------------------------------------

You did some work that you think is great (or at least reasonable),

don't you may request (in a polite way!) getting reasons so that you

can learn from them. And then _do_ learn from them! Usually the

reasons

for rejection are sound and mean at least that you didn't pose your

case well. It also takes some time to learn the standards that

If your idea is far from mainstream, you need also convince people

that your approach is sound and merits spending the time to read

through the new proposal. This is difficult since you need to build

tolerance.

The less mainstream an idea the stronger must be its contents and the

get to find out the standards expected and then go and meet them.

the letter learns from criticisms and grows through each feedback,

while the former 'knows' (and acts on this assumption) that he is right

and that established physics is just rejecting him or her for no good

reasons.

read your work, stay polite even when the answers you get are not

what you hoped for. Once the tone of your mail gets defensive or

aggressive, you probably lost your case - your partner sees that

say, is too much for most people to read, unless they already have high

conﬁdence that the contents is sound. If you really need 120 pages

to make your case you need to make short versions of your long paper

a 7 page outline version, a 20 page version with the key steps, and a

full paper with all the details, and each of these versions should be

self-contained and allow the reader to get a feeling of what you do,

and why you succeed - in terms of background that shows that you are

familiar with the state of the art, and in a language that is both

Note that the most important task is not to present your claim and

praise or defend your work, but to convince others that your claim

easy.

Of course one can find many published papers that do not meet these

standards. This is probably because their contents is not important

--------------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------------

report with an open mind. What may at first seem like a devastating

explanation. At other times the referee may indeed have found a fatal

Explain which changes have been made and state your position on

points

-----------------------------------------

-----------------------------------------

Unless you don't care about making a fool of yourself, don't tell

Your audience is very likely to be skeptic (since there are too many

revolutionary ideas around which don't stand the test); so you need

too many such offers come from cranks. The devil is always

in the details; and if you can't provide them it is likely

any advantage.

If you really can do it better than others, and you don't find

to what you learn, and accomodate the criticism in your future work.

The referees are usually competent and have a point in what they say.

carefully, taking into account accepted tradition. It is an author's

math.ucr.edu/home/baez/crackpot.html

---------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------

The Nobel Prize Winners in Physics

http://www.mat.univie.ac.at/~neum/nobel.txt

http://nobelprize.org/physics/laureates/

to the question:

http://www.phys.uu.nl/~thooft/theorist.html

Hyperphysics

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/hph.html

(But Were Afraid to Ask)

hp://www.pha.jhu.edu/~rt19/hydro/hydro.html

http://wwwthep.physik.uni-mainz.de/~scheck/Hessbg02.html

hp://cips02.physik.uni-bonn.de/~baehren/scripts/quantum.html

http://www.astron.nl/~bahren/wiki/doku.php?id=studium:lecture_scr

ipts

http://timms.uni-tuebingen.de/

http://www.lqp.uni-goettingen.de/bibliography/reviews.html

Norbert Dragon,

http://www.itp.uni-hannover.de/~dragon/qm_eng.ps.gz

Lost & Regained Causes in theoretical physics

http://www.mth.kcl.ac.uk/~streater/lostcauses.html

http://www.mth.kcl.ac.uk/~streater/regainedcauses.html

http://web.lemoyne.edu/~giunta/papers.html

http://www.lns.cornell.edu/spr

http://hrst.mit.edu/hrs/renormalization/public/documents.htm

http://www.aip.org/history/web-link.htm

Sidney Coleman

hp://www.damtp.cam.ac.uk/user/dt281/qN/col1.pdf

http://www.damtp.cam.ac.uk/user/dt281/qN/col2.pdf

------------------------------

------------------------------

http://www.mth.kcl.ac.uk/~streater/links.html

Short Stories

hp://www2.physics.umd.edu/~yskim/home/storie.html

http://www.calvin.edu/~lhaarsma/parables.html

hp://www.asa3.org/archive/asa/200006/0147.html

------------------------

------------------------

http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/

http://www.faqs.org/faqs/physics-faq/

Physics FAQ

(a list of links)

http://www.kar.net/~plasma/faq/

Plasma FAQ

http://www.iworld.de/~ej/faq.html

http://theory.gsi.de/~vanhees/faq/index.html

-----------------------

-----------------------

How do scientific concepts, effects, or inventions named after

their discoverers?

hard

And if the self chosen vanity name does not stick, it serves them

On the other hand, naming is at times unfair. Not rarely in the past,

a concept (or theorem, etc.) got the name of one of its main

proponents

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sgler%27s_law_of_eponymy

It takes time (and a certain amount of interest) to find the true

If the time wasn't ripe for it the first time, it is likely that the

name of the rediscoverer sticks, and the voices of those who had

known

See also:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_misnamed_theorems

-----------------------------------------------

-----------------------------------------------

A self-consistent solution (or method, or theory) refers to the fact

that one has two sets of equations relating two sets of unknown

quantities, and wants to solve the equations jointly for the unknowns.

x^2 = y = x+2,

say, has more variables and is harder to solve, but the principle

is the same.

-----------------------

-----------------------

coordinates as x_1, x_2, x_3 and combine it to a vector

simply called x.

/ \

| x_1 |

| x_3 |

\ /

each entry with the number. Then there is the inner product of two

vectors

matrices, tensors, operators. They behave in many respects

------------------------------------------

------------------------------------------

mechanics

This only needs linear algebra, which may be easier.

older peers. Good school books are written in a way that they can be

used for self study. If you are motivated it can be very exciting!

If you like math it is much less work than you might think,

and it is fun! Just start with next years textbook and read it

You don't need to do all the exercises but just enough that you

the book - just go where your curiosity leads you, and if you

encounter something you don't know yet, go back to where it was

And at any time in life there will be parts you understand well,

where you know little more than a few buzz words. So you need

but learn whatever you can in whatever order you pick it up.

The stuff to be practiced and learnt well is only the part that

comes up over and over again. When you realize that then you know

------------------------

------------------------

With 16, you should spend your me with learning rather than

Once you know enough about what others did and where they

got stuck, you'll have more than enough ideas to work on.

I'd like to suggest that you read the Nobel lectures of the

http://nobelprize.org/physics/laureates/

The material spans a whole century, and will occupy you for long!

It will put your mind to themes that have been important enough

the future.

In parallel, use the web to sort out all concepts used in the Nobel

and you have to search a bit to find out where the basics you need are

Doing both will put you on a learning track which will end in a

------------------------------------------

------------------------------------------

these are called Krein spaces. Their structure is much weaker than

justified.

the direct construction of a physical Hilbert space would

properties.

---------------------

---------------------

The following links are to some relevant pages from my web site.

http://www.mat.univie.ac.at/~neum/sciandf/eng/godacts.html

''I found the assumption that `God acts in the world' a superior

way of organizing the events that I see or hear happen.''

http://www.mat.univie.ac.at/~neum/sciandf/eng/chance.html

(On the difficulty to know, and the role of the second law of

How to study

http://www.mat.univie.ac.at/~neum/sciandf/eng/study.html

http://www.mat.univie.ac.at/~neum/other/turing.txt

http://www.mat.univie.ac.at/~neum/sciandf.html

Realizing the narrow-minded nature of science opens the gate to an

and in German:

http://www.mat.univie.ac.at/~neum/sciandf/ger/unbek.html

betrachtet)

http://www.mat.univie.ac.at/~neum/sciandf/ger/neumann.pdf

---------------------

S20a. Acknowledgments

---------------------

for their more or less challenging questions and comments, without

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