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Physical meaning of a commutator?

  1. Mar 25, 2012 #1
    I know how to use a commutator as a mathematical formula but I really don't understand what it means. Can anyone explain it to me.

    Is a commutator nothing more than a check to see if it commutes or not since I know that if you use a commutator with a wave function and the result equals zero then you can have a definite value for the observables (operators) simultaneously?



    Thanks.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 25, 2012 #2
    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=131975

    If two operators do not commute, then they cannot be measured simultaneously with infinite precision - the pair of observables has to obey Heisenberg's uncertainty principle.

    If an operator commutes with the Hamiltonian, then its expectation value is constant.
     
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