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What exactly does a degree of freedom mean? 
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#1
Nov2812, 12:38 PM

P: 360

I have seen this word used in every context, is there a solid definition??



#2
Nov2812, 12:39 PM

P: 273

Dimension I believe.
3 degrees of freedom = 3 dimensions. Edit: Opps. I didn't realize this was the quantum physics section. I learned about degrees of freedom from a linear algebra textbook. 


#3
Nov2812, 12:45 PM

P: 360

Yeah well Shankar refers to spin as a degree of freedom, I believe I read somehwere that Born did thr same



#4
Nov2812, 12:47 PM

P: 360

What exactly does a degree of freedom mean?
Also, although not related to QM, my GR text refers to the free indices of the metric tensor as "degrees of freedom" in that section about what we can make zero with arbitrary coordinates.



#5
Nov2812, 12:50 PM

P: 32




#6
Nov2812, 01:07 PM

P: 123

A degree of freedom is an independent variable that describes some property of a system. The number of the collection of these independent variables that are required to completely describe a system, are called “the degrees of freedom of the system”. For each constraint that you impose the degrees of freedom reduce by one. For example, for an ideal gas in a closed container, there are the variables of “volume”, “pressure” and “temperature”, which can take any positive value. But, the three of them are not independent, because they are related by the state equation, so one variable can be expressed as a function of the other two. So the ideal gas has two degrees of freedom.



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