Quantum Mechanics

Quantum mechanics (QM – also known as quantum physics, or quantum theory) is a branch of physics dealing with physical phenomena at microscopic scales, where the action is on the order of the Planck constant. Quantum mechanics departs from classical mechanics primarily at the quantum realm of atomic and subatomic length scales. Quantum mechanics provides a mathematical description of much of the dual particle-like and wave-like behavior and interactions of energy and matter.

In advanced topics of quantum mechanics, some of these behaviors are macroscopic and only emerge at extreme (i.e., very low or very high) energies or temperatures. The name quantum mechanics derives from the observation that some physical quantities can change only in discrete amounts (Latin quanta), and not in a continuous (cf. analog) way. For example, the angular momentum of an electron bound to an atom or molecule is quantized. In the context of quantum mechanics, the wave–particle duality of energy and matter and the uncertainty principle provide a unified view of the behavior of photons, electrons, and other atomic-scale objects.

The mathematical formulations of quantum mechanics are abstract. A mathematical function called the wavefunction provides information about the probability amplitude of position, momentum, and other physical properties of a particle. Mathematical manipulations of the wavefunction usually involve the bra-ket notation, which requires an understanding of complex numbers and linear functionals. The wavefunction treats the object as a quantum harmonic oscillator, and the mathematics is akin to that describing acoustic resonance. Many of the results of quantum mechanics are not easily visualized in terms of classical mechanics—for instance, the ground state in a quantum mechanical model is a non-zero energy state that is the lowest permitted energy state of a system, as opposed to a more "traditional" system that is thought of as simply being at rest, with zero kinetic energy. Instead of a traditional static, unchanging zero state, quantum mechanics allows for far more dynamic, chaotic possibilities, according to John Wheeler.

The earliest versions of quantum mechanics were formulated in the first decade of the 20th century. At around the same time, the atomic theory and the corpuscular theory of light (as updated by Einstein) first came to be widely accepted as scientific fact; these latter theories can be viewed as quantum theories of matter and electromagnetic radiation, respectively. Early quantum theory was significantly reformulated in the mid-1920s by Werner Heisenberg, Max Born and Pascual Jordan, who created matrix mechanics; Louis de Broglie and Erwin Schrodinger (Wave Mechanics); and Wolfgang Pauli and Satyendra Nath Bose (statistics of subatomic particles). And the Copenhagen interpretation of Niels Bohr became widely accepted. By 1930, quantum mechanics had been further unified and formalized by the work of David Hilbert, Paul Dirac and John von Neumann, with a greater emphasis placed on measurement in quantum mechanics, the statistical nature of our knowledge of reality, and philosophical speculation about the role of the observer. Quantum mechanics has since branched out into almost every aspect of 20th century physics and other disciplines, such as quantum chemistry, quantum electronics, quantum optics, and quantum information science. Much 19th century physics has been re-evaluated as the "classical limit" of quantum mechanics, and its more advanced developments in terms of quantum field theory, string theory, and speculative quantum gravity theories.

Other articles related to "quantum mechanics, quantum, mechanics":

Phase Space - Quantum Mechanics
... In quantum mechanics, the coordinates p and q of phase space normally become hermitian operators in a Hilbert space ... (through Groenewold's 1946 star product), consistent with the uncertainty principle of quantum mechanics ... Every quantum mechanical observable corresponds to a unique function or distribution on phase space, and vice versa, as specified by Hermann Weyl (1927) and supplemented by John von Neumann (1 ...
World Year Of Physics 2005 - History - Consequences
... kind of physics, one that digressed from the classical mechanics that had been derived from Newton's calculus ... his 1905 paper on the photoelectric effect helped spur the development of quantum mechanics, Einstein himself considered quantum theory, which introduced the concept of uncertainty into the laws of the ... I am convinced that He (God) does not play dice." Einstein viewed quantum mechanics as a means simply to the end of a unified field theory, which would unite the disparate theories of ...
Hamiltonian Mechanics - Generalization To Quantum Mechanics Through Poisson Bracket
... Hamilton's equations above work well for classical mechanics, but not for quantum mechanics, since the differential equations discussed assume that one can specify the exact position and momentum of the particle ... further generalized to then be extended to apply to quantum mechanics as well as to classical mechanics, through the deformation of the Poisson algebra over p and q to the algebra of ... Groenewold, and thereby describe quantum mechanical diffusion in phase space (See the phase space formulation and Weyl quantization) ...
Quantum Mechanics - Examples - Harmonic Oscillator
... Main article Quantum harmonic oscillator As in the classical case, the potential for the quantum harmonic oscillator is given by This problem can be ...
Is Logic Empirical? - Hans Reichenbach
... Reichenbach considered one of the anomalies associated with quantum mechanics, the problem of complementary properties ... truth or falsity of a given language – in this case, the language used to describe quantum mechanics – but a matter of "technical advantages of language systems" ... logic is unsuited to provide a foundation for quantum mechanics that can account for observables ...

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