Dimensionality and vectors in quantum mechanics

  • Thread starter chris_183
  • Start date
15
0

Main Question or Discussion Point

i was reading about the mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics and how a system at any given time is described by a vector represented by an infinite number of spatial complex number coordinates. does this infinite-dimensional state space have any physical significance or is it just a mathematical abstraction?
:smile:
 

Answers and Replies

Fredrik
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
10,730
406
A vector in that space represents the state of a physical system. It's time evolution is given by the Schrödinger equation.

In case you need something to compare that to: In classical mechanics the state is given by a specification of the location and velocity of all component parts, and the time evolution is given by Newton's second law.

If you assume that the state vector is an accurate description of reality instead of just a mathematical tool (needed to calculate the probabilities of the possible results of an experiment), what you get is the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. So is that assumption/interpretation correct or not? The question is actually irrelevant. It's kind of like asking if these three dots (...) are really two dots to the left of one dot, or one dot to the left of two dots.
 

Related Threads for: Dimensionality and vectors in quantum mechanics

Replies
1
Views
2K
Replies
3
Views
463
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
2K
Replies
5
Views
379
Replies
18
Views
3K
Replies
1
Views
273
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
358
Top