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78
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41answers
22k views

Where does a math person go to learn quantum mechanics?

My undergraduate advisor said something very interesting to me the other day; it was something like "not knowing quantum mechanics is like never having heard a symphony." I've been meaning to learn ...
30
votes
3answers
3k views

Quantum mechanics formalism and C*-algebras

Many authors (e.g Landsman, Gleason) have stated that in quantum mechanics, the observables of a system can be taken to be the self-adjoint elements of an appropriate C*-algebra. However, many ...
29
votes
6answers
3k views

Is the Mendeleev table explained in quantum mechanics?

Does anybody know if there exists a mathematical explanation of Mendeleev table in quantum mechanics? In some textbooks (for example in "F.A.Berezin, M.A.Shubin. The Schrödinger Equation") the authors ...
29
votes
1answer
5k views

“psi-epistemic theories” in 3 or more dimensions

In their recent paper The Quantum State Can Be Interpreted Statistically, Lewis et al. end with a very nice mathematical question, one whose answer (either way) would have interesting implications for ...
24
votes
9answers
3k views

How is the physical meaning of an irreducible representation justified?

This is maybe not an entirely mathematical question, but consider it a pedagogical question about representation theory if you want to avoid physics-y questions on MO. I've been reading Singer's ...
24
votes
6answers
2k views

Why is addition of observables in quantum mechanics commutative?

I am no expert in the field. I hope the question is suitable for MO. Background/Motivation I once followed a quantum mechanics course aimed at mathematicians. Instead of the usual motivations coming ...
24
votes
2answers
776 views

Is Langlands reciprocity somehow analogous to the wave-particle duality of quantum mechanics?

Apologies for the vague question, and for the many inaccuracies (I am not a physicist and barely a number theorist). In physics, there is the notion of gauge group of a field theory. The gauge group ...
23
votes
10answers
3k views

Toy Models of Quantum Mechanics

Do toy models of quantum mechanics help us better understand "regular" quantum mechanics? For example, if we look at quantum mechanics over a finite field $F$ (e.g. $\mathbb{Z}_2$), can this lead to ...
21
votes
3answers
1k views

On the periods in the periodic table (or Why is a noble gas stable?)

Added 22, November: I've succeeded in making the question entirely unintelligible with all my additions. So I thought I would summarize it in the simplest form I could manage and add it to the title. ...
17
votes
8answers
1k views

A novice question on Quantum Mechanics

I'm currently working through Dirac's book The Principles of Quantum Mechanics. In it, he describes the nature of superpositions and at one point states: "... if the ket vector corresponding to a ...
13
votes
1answer
256 views

Reconciling two notions of geometric quantization.

Let $(M,\omega)$ be a compact symplectic manifold and $(L,\nabla)$ a prequantum line bundle. There are two schemes to quantize this data: Choose a polarization $P$ of $M$ and define the quantum ...
12
votes
2answers
594 views

Is zero a hydrogen eigenvalue?

This question has been bugging me for some time. Take the hamiltonian for the hydrogen atom: $$\hat{H}=-\frac{1}{2}\nabla^2-\frac{1}{r},$$ acting on (a domain contained in) $L^2(\mathbb{R}^3)$. It is ...
12
votes
1answer
672 views

Fixed point theorems and equiangular lines

I've been thinking about the equiangular lines (or SIC-POVM) conjecture, and my conclusion is that the best means of attack would be through some kind of fixed point theorem -- I'm thinking ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

What impact would P!=NP have on the characterization of BQP?

Many complexity theorists assume that $P\ne NP.$ If this is proved, how would it impact quantum computing and quantum algorithms? Would the proof immediately disallow quantum algorithms from ever ...
11
votes
1answer
606 views

Set theoretical realizations of the hidden variables program in quantum mechanics

The hidden variables program in quantum mechanics has been largely discredited by two powerful theorems, namely those of Bell and Kochen/Specker. Nonetheless, this program retains a certain ...
10
votes
2answers
422 views

Is quantum game theory reducible to classical game theory?

Quantum game theory is an extension of classical game theory to the quantum domain. It differs from classical game theory in three primary ways: Superposed initial states, Quantum ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Noether's Theorem in Quantum Mechanics

In classical mechanics: If a Lagrangian L is preserved by an infinitesimal change in the state space variables qi -> qi + εKi(q) leads to only second order change in the Lagrangian: $$ 0 = ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Classical Limit of Quantum Mechanics

There is a well-known principle that one can recover classical mechanics from quantum mechanics in the limit as $\hbar$ goes to zero. I am looking for the strongest statement one can make concerning ...
10
votes
2answers
670 views

Is there an equivalent of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle in the decision sciences ?

From memories of a quantum mechanics class and Wikipedia: In quantum mechanics, the uncertainty principle is any of a variety of mathematical inequalities asserting a fundamental limit to the ...
10
votes
3answers
387 views

Resource for learning quantum mechanics from the viewpoint of representation theory

Quantum mechanics is deeply connected with representation theory. Therefore, I'm looking for a textbook or article which presents quantum mechanics in a representation theoretic manner. Could anyone ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the relationship between algebraic geometry and quantum mechanics?

The basic relationship in algebraic geometry is between a variety and its ring of functions. Arguably a similarly basic relationship in quantum mechanics is between a state space and its algebra of ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

Wick rotation and the Riemann zeta function

The goal of this question is to conceptualize in some way the fact that the Riemann zeta function $\zeta(s)$, and other zeta functions like it, have analytic continuations. Background I have by now ...
9
votes
1answer
336 views

Do quantum “Sure-Shor separators” have a natural Veronese/Segre classification? (question inspired by Gil Kalai and Aram Harrow)

Aram Harrow asked: "Is there any place this is written up?" Update  Partly in answer to Aram's question, the thermodynamical properties of varietal dynamical systems now are written-up in ...
9
votes
1answer
514 views

Which functions are Wiener-integrable?

I'm looking for either a few precise mathematical statements about Wiener integrals, or a reference where I can find them. Background The Wiener integral is an analytic tool to define certain ...
8
votes
4answers
563 views

Can the equation of motion with friction be written as Euler-Lagrange equation?

My (non-expert) impression is that many physically important equations of motion can be obtained as Euler-Lagrange equations. For example in quantum fields theories and in quantum mechanics quantum ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Mathematical “proof” of the stability of atoms?

I am trying to find proofs of the stability of an atom, says, for simplicity, the hydrogen atom. There are positive answers and negative answers in various atom models. The naive "solar system" model ...
8
votes
1answer
919 views

What is the “Tangle” at the Heart of Quantum Simulation?

The following questions generalize and naturalize the question that was originally asked. Provisional answers largely due to Will Sawin are now included. As was discussed in the question originally ...
8
votes
1answer
165 views

Operator compression preserving lowest energy eigenspace.

I have a large ($10^6$ by $10^6$) sparse ($0.4$% nonzero) hermitian matrix $H$ arising from the discretization of an elliptic PDE. I would like to approximate $H$ with a smaller matrix $H'$ in such a ...
7
votes
1answer
361 views

Intuitive meaning of Double Commutant Theorem

Is there any intuitive explanation of the Double Commutant Theorem for Von Neumann Algebras? By intuitive I mean in terms of Quantum Mechanics. For example, duality of states and observables in the ...
7
votes
2answers
368 views

Does there exist a potential which realizes this strange quantum mechanical system?

I have done some courses on quantum mechanics and statistical mechanics in the past. Since I also do math, I wonder about converge issues which are usually not such a problem in physics. One of those ...
7
votes
0answers
200 views

Uncertainty principle in Entropy terms

Math Questions: Consider Hilbert space $L_2(\mathbb{R})$ with a standard norm $ ||\psi|| = ( \int_{\mathbb{R}}{ |\psi(t)|^2 dt } )^{1/2}, $ and Fourier transform $ (F\psi)(\xi) = ...
7
votes
0answers
291 views

Quantizations in quantum mechanics

Perhaps this is not an appropriate question for MO, but having just discovered this site I wanted to ask it. Is there a rigorous definition as to what "a quantization" of a Hamiltonian dynamical ...
6
votes
7answers
590 views

Quantization of a classical system (e.g. the case of a billard)

There has been already several questions asking for an introduction to quantum mechanics for a mathematician, but this ons is slightly different, and more restrictive. I know (some) quantum mechanics, ...
6
votes
2answers
661 views

Quantum mechanics basics [closed]

Hello. I'm thinking about where does the basic quantum mechanics things comes from. I mean the forms of operators and a Shroedinger equation. The more intuitive explanation is better. To get forms of ...
6
votes
2answers
247 views

$\mathrm{Bessel}^3$ Integral

I'm trying to calculate the following integral: $\int_0^\infty \mathrm{BesselJ}[l_0,k_0r] \cdot \mathrm{BesselJ}[l_1,k_1r] \cdot \mathrm{BesselJ}[l_0-l_1,kr] \cdot r\,dr$ ($\mathrm{BesselJ}[n,x]$ is ...
6
votes
3answers
592 views

Bounding a spectral gap: what proof techniques exist?

The following situation is ubiquitous in mathematical physics. Let $\Lambda_N$ be a finite-size lattice with linear size $N$. An typical example would be the subset of ...
6
votes
1answer
451 views

Can the von Neumann entropy of a positive, positive semi-definite, and unit-trace density matrix with equal on-diagonal terms be bounded by equalizing all off-diagonal elements to their highest/lowest value?

Statement of problem Consider the density matrix $M = (m_{i,j})$ in $d$-dimensions with all positive elements: $m_{i,j} > 0$. From physics, a density matrix is Hermitian, positive semi-definite, ...
6
votes
0answers
202 views

Lovász function of the Möbius ladder

Quantum motivation Noncontextuality inequalities (and in particular Bell inequalities) can be mapped into graphs, in such a way that its relevant properties can be calculated via some simple ...
5
votes
4answers
602 views

Quantum channels as categories: question 1.

A quantum channel is a mapping between Hilbert spaces, $\Phi : L(\mathcal{H}_{A}) \to L(\mathcal{H}_{B})$, where $L(\mathcal{H}_{i})$ is the family of operators on $\mathcal{H}_{i}$. In general, we ...
5
votes
4answers
319 views

Prequantization and Hilbert space

In the definition of pre-quantization on a symplectic manifold $(M,\omega)$, we represent a function $f\in C^{\infty}(M)$(with Lie algebra structure) to $\hat{f}$ in the Hilbert space $L^2(M,L,\mu)$ ...
5
votes
2answers
289 views

C*-algebraic representation of observables vs self-adjoint operators one

I am trying to reconcile the "physicist" definition of an observable: self-adjoint operator on a Hilbert space, and the operational one as given by Strocchi in "An introduction to the mathematical ...
5
votes
2answers
932 views

Space with 720° / not 2$\pi$ rotational symmetry?

Is there a space with a 720°, but no 360° rotational symmetry? Possibly one that can be mapped onto something more conventional like R(3) or R(3,1)? The reason I am asking is because in quantum ...
5
votes
1answer
477 views

Quantum probability experiment?

I am looking for an example (or definition) of a quantum probability experiment (if there is such a thing). Ideally it should have these properties: Be purely mathematical; no mention of physics or ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

Topology on the space of Schwartz Distributions

If we equip the Schwartz space $\mathcal{S}$ with its usual Fréchet space topology, then the space of continuous linear functionals $\mathcal{S}^\ast$ is known as the space of Schwartz distributions ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Classical Limit of Feynman Path Integral

I understand that in the limit that h_bar goes to zero, the Feynman path integral is dominated by the classical path, and then using the stationary phase approximation we can derive an approximation ...
5
votes
1answer
650 views

First Quantization is a mystery… but de-quantizing perhaps not

There is an well-known infamous DICTUM: -Second Quantization is a functor, First Quantization is a mystery-. Indeed, second quantization is the "Fock functor", which builds the Fock space in a ...
5
votes
1answer
232 views

Approximate analytic solution of Schroedinger equation with arbitrary power potential

I'm solving the following Schroedinger equation in the domain $r>0$ $\psi''(r) + \left(E-\frac{a}{r^b}\right)\psi(r)=0 $, where $0 < b < 2$ and $a, E$ are positive constants. Primarily I'm ...
5
votes
2answers
208 views

Certain partial integrations in quantum mechanics

In classical quantum mechanics (and specifically in the introductury texts on this topic) while calculating expectation values of certain operators in the Schrödinger approach we often have to do ...
5
votes
1answer
390 views

What categorical mathematical structure(s) best describe the space of “localized events” in “relational quantum mechanics”?

In a recent (and to me, very beautiful) paper, entitled "Relational EPR", Smerlak and Rovelli present a way of thinking about EPR which relies upon Rovelli's ...
4
votes
2answers
197 views

A Theorem by Von Neumann, which pertains a product of two Hilbert Spaces

I'm writing my thesis on the EPR paradox (I want to continue my master degree in physics) but I'm having an unusual problem. One passage from the book I'm following at the moment justifies one ...