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Relativistic QM though maybe more of a math question

  1. Mar 19, 2006 #1

    I'm a bit befuddled about something my lecturer wrote:



    R is a 3x3 rotation matrix which transforms the magnetic field B between frames, sigma_alpha are the pauli matricies. S is a rotation matrix that acts on spin wave vectors

    I don't understand wh one can simply move the RB term to the left. It seems to make sense since RB is a vector rotation and S sigma S is a spin rotation operator and so they should be written in this way but I just don't know why mathematically one can do that.


    :confused: :confused:
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 19, 2006 #2
    [itex]R_{\alpha\beta}B_{\beta}[/itex] are components of a vector, so just numbers, not operators or vectors themselves. The spin and Pauli operators are not operators on a Hilbert space, they're operators on a discrete, finite dimensional vector space, so they're just matrices. Therefore the vector [itex]R_{\alpha\beta}B_{\beta}[/itex] commutes with these matrices. In simple linear algebra, if A and B are matrices and a and b scalars, ABab=abAB. If one wanted to fiddle about with the ordering of the spin and Pauli matrices you'd have to use their commutation relations.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2006
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