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NAS_

TECHNICAL

MEMORANDUM

NASA

TM-77379

i
,L
, _,

THE ACTUAL CONTENT OF QUANTUM


THEORETICAL
KINEMATICS
AND MECHANICS

i
,

d
t"

-I
,

Translation
of
"Uber den anschaulichen
Inhalt der
quantentheoretischen
Kinematik
und Mechanik",
Zeitschrift fur Physik, v. 43, no. 3-4, pp. 172-198, 1927.

"

!--i
.

!18_- 170 _6
(lIISk-TB-773791
Tile ICTaAL COIJTEIJT OF
QU&IITUB THEOiigTZCaL KZlfEH&TICS &lid BKCiikJZCS
(18ational
aeronautics
and Space
&dminist_ation)
35 p iIC &O3/_F &OI CSCL 126 63/77

Uncla8
18109

s
L

NATIONAL AERONAUTICS
AND SPACE
WASHINGTON
D.C, 20546

..

ADMINISTRATION
DECEMBER
1983

i
o

,,

_1

:
"

I I

II

II

First, exact definitions are supplied in this paper for


the terms: position, velocity, energy, etc. (of the electron,
for instance), such that they are valid also in quantum mechanics; then we shall show that canonically conjugated variables
can be determined simultaneously only with a characteristic
uncertainty. This uncertainty is the intrinsic reason for the
occurrence of statistic_l relations in quantum mechanics. Their
mathematical formulation is made possible by the Dirac-Jordan
theory. Beginning from the basic principles thus obtained, we
shall show how macroscopic processes can be understood from.the
viewpoint of quantum mechanics. Several imaginary experiments
are discussed to elucidate the theory.

a. _,,_

III

_,_ioi_i_i_

i.

_classlJ_l_ _mdUnllmited
u. I,,,,_.,_kRRI,

II_

.....

Ul

W"

"I

THE ACTUAL
MECHANICS

By W
' _

CONTENT

OF QUANTUrl THEORETICAL

Heisenberg,

Institute

University,

Copenhagen,

KINEMATICS

AND

Physics

of the

for Theoretical

1172"

Denmark

'[

_ i
_
!
_
=!
_
_
:_"

SUMMARY
First,
exact
supplied in this
paper
for definitions
the terms: are
position,
velocity,
energy, etc. (of the electron,
for
instance),
such that they are valid also in
quantum mechanics;
then we shall show that
canonically
conjugated
variables
can be determ,ned simultaneously
only with a characteristic uncertainty
_I]. This uncertainty
is the intrinsic reason for the occurrence

of statistical
relations
in quantum mechanics. Their mathematical
formulation
is made
possible by the Dirac-Jordan
theory (2). Beginning from the basic principles
thus ohrained, we shall show how macroscopic
processes can be understood
from the viewpoint
of quantum mechanics
(3). Several imaginary
experiments
are discussed
to elucidate
the
theory (4).

_
_
"

We believe
ple cases

to understand

a theory

we can qualitatively

intuitively,

imagine

1-*
|:

if in all

the theory's

sim-

experi-

.i

mental

consequences

and if we have

._I
J

that the application


of the theory
dictions For instance: we believe

4l

concept

cause

of a finite

we can

concept

without

contradict

'

imagine

simultaneously

excludes internal contrato understand


Einstein's

three-dimensional

space

the experimental

contradictions.

our customary

intuitively,

consequences

Of course,

intuitive

realized

these

space-tlme

be-

of this
consequences

beliefs.

But we

customary view of space and time can not be deduced either


can
that orthefrom
possibility
this
from convince
our laws ourselves
of thinking,
experience.of applying
The intuitive
,

_
I""

Numbers

in the margin

indicate

foreign

pagination
I

ORIGINAL PAGE Ig
OF POOR QUALITY
interpretation

of quantum

contradictions,
_

ions
and

on the theory
waves.

tation

'

which

after,

customary
tions

appears

quantum

mechanics

small

choice

ics can

quired

be made

seems

of quantum

will

small

the

mechanics.

in our customary

and of the velocity

immediately
Given

and

"velocity".

a mass

of the center

_,

times

discontinuities

of the concepts
immediately

are

precisely

plausible:

that

somehow

and

The

concepts

the basic

for

since

times.

of

hand.

geometry

to speak

by a

mechanas
fact
is re-

equations
understand-

of the position

of gravity

of that mass m.
h
Pq--qP:'f_-_i
exists
We thus have good reasons
of the

for very

for instance,

terms

small

typical,

of "position"

if,

structure

it is readily

application

If we admit

Since

as closely

mechanic

understanding,

the uncritical

values.

of quantum

laws

from

But in quantum mechanics,


a relation
between mass, position and velocity.
to suspect

rela-

on the other

the laws

and

those

with

be necessary,

spaces

in the

Quantum

with

them

derived

the classic

of the kinematic

to follow

to break

replace

not

corpuscles

concepts.

of the space-time

masses

to approach

of opin-

to be possible

revision,

also

heavy

how

and

then

and
we

"position"

spaces

and

the failure

"velocity"
imagine

become

the uni-

it_
_1.
dimensional

motion

of

..q.z
a mass

point,

then

in

an interpre-

the mathematical

require

a revision

times

no matter

a revision

able,

succeeded,

of arbitrarily

desired,

'

and

the attempt

experimentally

won't

token,

spaces

that

concrete,

going

that

mechanical

of kinematics

to have

By the same

and

from

of internal

and discontinuums,

is not

of kinematic

full

in the battle

us to believe

mechanics

concepts

is still

apparent

tempts

derives

between

,i

alone

terms

theory,

become

of continuums

of quantum

customary

this

This

mechanics

a continuum

theory

117___3

it will

be possible

the particle's
mass)

trajectory

(see Fig.

dicating

to trace

ry,

:_

of points

(or rather,

I, above),

the velocity,

in contrast,

with

that

_ase.

of its

x(t)

to the

we shall

(s_e Gig.

for

center
curve

In a discontinuum

of the curve

distances

curve

the tangent

in each

instead

at finite

the trajectory

have

2, above).

of
in-

theo-

a series
In this

case it is obviously pointless


to talk of the velocity at a
certain position,
since the velocity can be defined only by
'

means

different

corresponded

to each

The question thus arises whether


means of" a more precise analysis

it might
of those

._

of two positions

chanical

velocities

concepts,

and consequently

to clear

and

inversely,

two

point.

not be possible,
by
kinematic and me-

up the contradictions

currently

to thus achieve an intuitive


understanding
of the relations
of
existing
in an intuitive
interpretation
of quantum mechanics,
quantum

mechanics.*

The

In order
of any
and

concepts:

to be able

object,

the

position,

path,

to follow

the

it is necessary

interactive

forces

with

velocity,

energy

quantum-mechanical

to know
any

/17--4

behavior

the

object's

mass

and

fields

or other

objects.

Only then is it possible to set up the hamiiconian


function
for the quantum-mechanical
system. [The considerations
below
* This paper was written as a consequence
of the efforts and
wishes expressed clearly by other scientists, much earlier, before quantum mechanics was developed.
I particularly
remember
Bohr's papers on the basic tenets of quantum theory (for
instance, Z.f.Physlk
13, 117 (1923)) and Einstein's
discussions on the relation--Setween wave fields and light quanta.
In more recent times, the problems here mentioned
were discussed most clearly by W. Pauli, who also answered some of
the questions
that arise ("Ouantentheorle",
Handbuch d.Phys.
["Quantum theory", Handbook of Physics] Vol. XXIII, subsequently cited as l.c.). Quantum mechanics
has changed little
in the formulation
Pauli gave to these problems.
It is also
a special pleasure for me here to thank Mr. W. Paull for the
stimulation
I derived from our oral and written discussions,
which have substantially
contributed
to this paper.
3

-._lh_

"

II

l II

III

.,

,.,,m,,,

shall

in general

since

the laws

pletely

yet.*

._

Ject's

"gestalt"

_'_

active

forces

If we want

"position
tive

i
_

the

quantum

electrodynamics

No further

statements

are necessary:

the

totality

by the term

to clearly

understand

what

object"

experiments

"position

system},

by means

!
!

less

In principle,

there

permit a determination
any desired precision,

th_n we must

is no shortage

But

let us

(relathe

is meaning-

of experiments

by the wavelength

in principle,

a r-ray

that

of the "position of the electron"


even. For instance:
illuminate
the

determined

build

to determine

the word

lectron and look at it under the microscope.


cision attainable
here in the determination
substantially

inter-

indicate

we intend

" Otherwise

ob-

by the word

an electron

of which

of the electron

the

com-

"gestalt".

is meant

- for instance,

reference

are not

of those

designated

of the

mechanics,

regarding

is best

co a given

definite

to non-relativistic

of quantum-theory

known

refer

to
e-

The highest preof the position is


of the

microscope

light

used.

and by means

"

of it determine

this determination

the Compton
coming from

the position

as precisely

a secondary

as desired.

circumstance

effect. Any observation


the electron
(into the

becomes

But

in

essential:

of the scattered
light
eye, onto a photographic

plate,

into a photocell}

presupposes

a photoelectric

effect,

i
I
)

that is, it can also be interpreted


as a light quantum striking the electron,
there being ref]ectedordiffracted
to then

- deflected

triggering

once

the light

of its

quantum

discontinuously
i

by the microscope's

the photoelectric

determination
'i

again

pronounced,

effect.

position

- i.e.,

is diffracted
its

impulse.

the smaller

the

wavelength

- finally

instant

the instant

That

at which

will

light

be more

used,

is to be.

i.e.

precise

iii

i
!
'

* However, significant
progress was made very recently
through
the work of P. Vlrac [Proc. Roy. Soc. (A), 114, 243 (1927)
and subsequent
studies.]

In the

i,

determination

of the

- the electron

change

of the

/17__55

the more

position

At the

by the electron

changes

the

lense

...........

,i
.i
;

ORIGINAL PAGE |g

'

OF POOR qUALITY
instant at which the electron's
position is known, therefore,
its impulse can become known only to the order of magnitude
corresponding

.Ji
!4
_

_
_"

precisely

to that

discontinuous

the position

will

the impulse

with

a direct,

be known,

. Let

of _ is known
or here,

is determined,

intuitive

Pq --qP--__i

change.

and

vice-versa.

the wavelength

imprecisely

This

provides

to which

the average

of the light;

us

error

Pl is the

of _),

precision

iF

discontinuous
change in _ during the Compton effect. According to the basic equations of the Compton effect, the rela-

relation

describe

Other

(I) above

expression

by dividing

experiments

lectron's

stands

for

in a direct

since

- which

according

Broglle

waves

such

a precise

determination

a precise

position

the equations

This

and

of

measurement
a simple

to

cells

of size

h.

to determine
A very

impacts

with

a consequence

the Ramsay

very

the electron's

estimate
waves

of

- preclude

once

again

impulse

again

fast

the de

of the precision
once

de-

phenomena

effect)

Thus,

the e-

precise

the diffraction

the position.

of the de Broglie

for

changes
with

leads

to e-

(1).

discussion

electron"

electrons

instance

sought

tests.

requires

are

we once

into

be performed

to Einstein

mathematical
conh
Pq--qP--_;i
shall
that equation
(I) is

that

space

as impact

for slow

(see for

disontlnuously

fact

the phase

of the position

particles,

quation

the

can also

position,

termination

the

(l)

nection with the commutation


relation
be shown below. Here we shall point out
the precise

case,

Pl and ql is then
P,_l _ _'.

That

or in this

to

which

between

be determined,

the value

tion

of _ can

is, the more

of the relation

be the precision

(ql is approximately

the value

the more

clarification

That

clearly

seems

to define

enough

and

the concept
we only

need

"position
to

add

of the

a word

about

the

"size"

of the electron.

the electron

sequentially

then

positions

the two

particles
From

lie very

the laws

be reduced

ficiently

Let

together,

and

meaning,

whose

radius

on to the concept

By path

or trajectory

a given

reference

system)

Since

we already

time"

there

&re

readily understood
"the

I-S orbit

sense,

from

IS orbit,
that
one

quantum

reason
defined,
sible

more

than

hence

here.

possibilities,

shorter

out

the word

This

can

"path"

no
this

light

such

10-8 cm.

But

be sufficient

to

(for which

"path"

could

is not very

be easily

even without

makes

with

"orbit"

of this

instance,

to measure

than

would

of its

point

It is still

atom"

the atom

(in

sucessive

for

in order

of light

a single

and

or meaningful,

derived

sen-

from

any knowledge

be

the

of the

theories.

In contrast,
formed
ary"

the imaginary

for many

state,

tance
electron's
the

1S,

atoms

of

experiment.)
an

atom,

positions,
classical

position

measurements

in a IS state.

for instance,

Stern-Gerlach

to

kind

the electron

in space)

experimental
new

is considerably
of this

throw

never

to illuminate

cm.

at a certain

expression,

Because

have

as

here.

of view.

10-12

in space

"position

out point

/17--6

electron."

adopts

in the hydrogen

suf-

the e-

than

of points

electron

we would

completely

used

AI.

AI can

are

that

of the

the electron

the often

that

greater

of the

its wavelength
light

we say

"path

what

two

by a distance

no new difficulties,

that

by these

selected

is not

know

At,

10-12 cm, provided

when

a series

that

"positions."
means,

of

strike

interval

we conclude

of the

we mean

time

separated

the particles

is the

particles

defined

of the order

small

is a particle

us move

brief

for m-particles

to a magnitude

That

fast

of the electron

observed

fast.

lectron

in the very

close

At is sufficiently

If two very

can

in principle

Thus,

trajectory

that
over

function
it

phases,

"station-

be isolated
state,
must

corresponds,
all

be per-

in a given

for a given

a probability
such

(Atoms

can

for

ins-

exist

on
and

by the

the

that

for

the

average,
can

be

established
ing

by measurements

to Born*

this

to any desired

function

is given

$is(q) is the Schroedinger


wave
state IS. I want to Join Dirac*
sequent generalizations,
by S(IS,q)_(IS,q),
where
formation
EIS

matrix

S(E,q)

fact

that

from

, if

function corresponding
to the
and Jordan*, in view of sub-

in saying: the probability


S(IS,q) is that column of

in quantum

instance

IS - only

position

can

feature

want

the

be given,

of quantum

contrast

E to _,

we may

theory,

to we can say with


experiments.

and as

which

is given
the trans-

corresponds

this:
been

of a certain

classically,
determined

is impossible,
would

either

"state"

electron
know

destroy

aud

to E =

the

- for

the electron
statistical

Jordan,

quite

hand,

statistics

could
phases.

in

if we

came

theory

position

in via

only

the

be given,
Rather,

mechanics

consists

assume

the phases

to have

experiment
the atom.

phases

are

But

in reality

to determine

in

this

the phase

In a definite
indetermined

if

the

quantum

experiment.

or modify

of the atom,

the

the atom's

always

every

and

in classical

in a previous
because

state

for

On the other

that

also

classical
we can

function

as do Born

Dirac

Because

between

for a given

see a characteristic

theory.

long as we do not

difference

theory

probability

to the classical

probability

ary

_is(q)$1s(q)

Accord-

(E = energies).

In the

our

by

pre_ision.

stationin

* The statistical
meaning of the de Broglie waves was first
formulated
by A. Einstein
[Sitzungsber.d.preuss.Akad.d.
Wiss. 1925, p.3). This statistical
element then plays a
slgnifT_t
role for M. Born, W. Helsenberg
and P. Jordan,
"Ouantum mechanics
II." [Z.f.Phys. 35, 557 (1926)], especially chapter 4, 3, and P. Jordan-_Z.f.Phys.
37, 376
(1926)]; it is analyzed mathematically
in a fun_-amental
paper by M. Born [Z.f.Phys. 38, 803 (1926)] and used for
the interpretation
of the coIIislon
phenomena.
The foundation for using the probability
theorem from the transformation theory for matrices can be found in: W. Helsenberg
[Z.
f. Phys.
40,
501 (1926)],
P. Jordan
[ibid.
40,
661 (1926)],
W. Paull-TAnm.
in Z.f.Phys.
41, 81 (1927)]_-P.
Virac
[Proc.
Roy.Soc.(A)
113,
621 (1926)],
P. Jordan
[Z.f.Phys.
40,
809
(1926)]. The_atistical
side of quantum mechanics i_ general is discussed
by P. Jordan (Naturwiss. 15, 105 (1927)]
and M. Born [Naturwlss.
15, 238 (1927)].

/177

a@
i

ORIGINAL PAGE [8
OF POOR QUALITY

principle, which we may consider a direct clarification


_'

of the

known equations
El-- fE = _ h
=D

(] : action variable,

w:

or

3w- w3=

_=-;

angular variable).

!
The word "velocity" of an object is easily defined by measuremerit, if it is a force-free motion. For instance, the object
can be illuminated with red light and then the particle's velocity can be determined by the Doppler effect of the scattered light. The determination of the velocity will be the more
precise, the longer the wavelength of the light used is, since
then the particle's velocity change per light quantum due to
Compton effect will be the smaller. The position determination
becomes correspondingly

uncertain, as required by equation(1).

If the velocity of the electron in an atom is to be measured


at a certain instant, we should have to make the nuclear charge
and the forct:s due to the other electrons disappear, at that
instant, so that the motion may

proceed force free, after that

instant, to then perform the determination described above. As


was the case earlier, we once again can convince ourselves that
a function p(t) for a certain state of the atom - say, IS - can
not be defined. In contrast, there again will be a function for 117--8
the probability of _ I_ this state, which according to Dlrac
and Jordan will
have the value S(1S,p)_(1S,p).
Again, S(1S,p)
means the column of the transformation matrix S(E,p) of E Int_
pthat

corresponds to E = EIS.

Finally, let us point out

the experiments that allow the meas-

urement of the energy or the value of the action variables J.


Such experiment_ are particularly important since only with
their aid will we be able to define what we mean, when we talk
about
8

the

discontinuous

change of

the

energy

or

or J.

The

Franck-Hertz

collision

experiments

the energ_ measurements


electrons
of

moving

the energy

this

in a straight

theorem

measurement

we

forego

tion,

on atoms

can

permit

to the

the

tracing

energy

back

of

measurements

of

line,

because

of the validity

in the quantum

theory.

In principle,

be made

the simultaneous

as precise

as desired,

determination

if only

of the electron

posiJ

i.e.,

of the phase

(see above,

the determination
of _),
k
t--tE----_-z3 The Sterndetermination
of the magnetic

corresponding
to the relation
Gerlach experiment
permits the
or an average
ment

electric

of magnitudes

phases

is not

responds

instant.
to the

measurement
during

either

which

forcem.

force

inside

the

ray beam

the energy

t I is the

means

deflection
period

of

of time

same order

of

by diffraction
also

W. Pault,

magnitude
in

the

of

the

the

time

interval

of the deflecting
force

of that

is

deflecting

by quantities

differences

time

the width
atom

during

the effect
of the deflecting
force,
in the direction
of the beam. This

u Cf.

of the energy

If E I is the quantity

by

(measurable

where

caused

at a

this cor-

that

of the

of the stationary

(E I at the same

it

states'

of energy

that

is a measure

of

of that energy measurement),


then E1/d is the
for the deflecting
force, if d is the width of

The angular

the

only

sensible

instant,

experiment

energy

J. The

of an atom

for the deflecting

if a determination

condition

used.

of

energy

influence

can vary

than

variables

at a given

the shorter
the

the measure-

it is not

the precision

limit

of rays

is to be possible.
that

wave

the potential

smaller

states,

the precision
maximum value
the

that
beam

considerably

satisfies

that

is under

an upper

by the fact

If

of the

be the smaller,

given

stationary

in principle.

to speak

i.e.,

the action

In the Stern-Gerlach

the atom

Because

only

of a light

situation

will

of the atom,

depend

frequency

possible

particular

energy

that

remain undetermined

to talk of the

are

moment

as
slit,

of the slit

beam Is

which

then

the atoms

1tl/dP,
are

_ the impulse
of the
deflection
must be at
the
in

naturaZ
order

under.
atoms
least

/179

beam broadening
for

a measurement

1.c.p.61

OF POOR QOALFrV
to be possible. The angular deflection due to diffraction is
approximately _/d, where R is the de Broglie wavelength, i.e.,

a _ dp
., ;
"_
':

cr since _--_.

_t, _ h.
This

equation

corresponds

(_)

to equation

(1)

and it

shows that

precise energy determination can be attained only through a


corresponding uncertainty in the time.

The Dirac-Jordan theory

We would like to summarize the results of the previous section


i

and generalize them in tLis statement: All concepts used in


classical theory to describe a mechanical system can also be
defined exactly for atomic processes, in analogy to the classic
concepts. But purely from experimentation,
!

the experiments that

serve for such definitions carry an inherent uncertainty, if we


expect from them the simultaneous determination of two canonically conjugated variables. The degree of this uncertainty is
given by equation (I), widened to include any canonically conjugated varlab]es. It is reasonable to _ere compare the quantum
theory wlth the special theory of relativity. According to the
theory of relativity, the term "slmultaneous _'can only be defined by experiments in which the propagation veloclty of light
plays an essential role. if there were a "sharper" definition
of simultaneity - for instance, signals that propasate inflnltely rapidly - then the theory of relativlty would be Imposslble. But since such signals do not exist - because the velocity of light already appears in the definltlon of simultaneity - room is available for the postulate of a constant velocity of light and therefore th_a Fostulate is not contradicted
by the appropriate use of the terms, "position, veloclty, time *.
The situation

10

Is

similar

in

regard

to the

_efinttlon

of

the

ORIGINAL PAGE_
OF POOR QUALITY

'

concepts "electron position and velocity", in quantum theory.


All the experiments we could use to define these terms necessarily contain the uncertainty expressed by equation (I), even
though they permit an exact definition of the individual concepts and _. If experiments existed that allowed a "more
precise" definition of _ and _ than that corresponding

to e-

quation (I), then the quantum theory would be impossible. This


uncertainty - which is fixed by equation (I) - now provides the

/IBO

i
@

space for the relations that find thel; terse expression in


the commutation relations of quantum mechanics,
k
--'- 2xi

Pv--qP

"

This equation becomes possible without having to change the


physical

meaning

of

the

variables

I
t

E and _.

For those physical phenomena for which a quantum theory formulation is still
unknown (for instance,
electrodynamics),
equation (1) represents
a demand that may be helpful
in finding
the
new laws.
from

the

ization.

For quantum mechanics,


Dirac-Jordan
If

can determine
cision
bility

for

formulation,

a certain
the

equation

position

value
_ of

(1)

can be derived

by means of

a minor

n of an arbitrary
the electron

at

general-

parameter
q'

with

we

a pre-

ql' then we can express this fact by means of a probaam_lltude $(n,q) that wlll be noticeably different from

zero only in an area of approximate


c_n thus say, more specifically

dimension

ql around

q'.

We

i.e.,
We thus

have for

the

probability

amplitude

correspondtn8

s($_) : _s($ e)s_.t)de.


Zn asreement

wlth

Jordan,

we can say for

:S(q,p)

to p:
(4)

:hat

,(,,.)=
1'1

ORIG,,._
=
Pj
OF POGR 4UALITY

ii

ferent from zero only for values of p for which 2_(p-p')ql/h


is not substantially
larger than I. More especially,
in the
In
that
case,
according
to
(4),
S(q,p)
will
be
noticeably
difcase of (3) we shall have:

S(_. j,) prop J e


,_

,tq,

i.e.,

=l,=
_ +h-'_-I"_

S{_,p)prop
_!

'v,'

that

S_prope

is

pt*

where

"

(6)

_iqt --" ....

4
/181

Thus,

al fact that the value p' of _ and the value


ured [with the precision restriction
(6)].

The purely

mathematical

formulation

of quantum

assumption

S(n,q) corresponds

p,,E

(3) for

, etc.,

characteristic
mechanics

eral matrices,

such

theory

as the diagonal

appears

a notation

seem

that

tensors

(for instance,

spaces,

among

the

which

coordinate

are expressed
of these

system

tensors.

It is after

ize the mathematical


means

relation

of transformation

these

as

in multidimensional
exist.

The axes

of

relations
axis

all always

possible

to character-

formulae

along

ented

along

the main

axis of B.

ponds

to $chroedinger's

12

of such

the main

oriented

must

by quantum

mathematical

between

the main

theory.

two

that

The

tensors

will

axis

a system

of A, into

latter

Dirac's

of

one ori ....

formulation

the truly

of one

A and B by

convert

In contrast,

be considered

._i

gen-

along

coordinates

of the q-numbers

very

the matrices

relations

be placed

between

between

feasibility

of inertia)

in which

can always

The

if we visualize

mathematical

mess_
!
!

indicated

matrix.

moments

q' of _ were

the relations

as equations

any variable

reasonable

to the experiment-

of the Dirac-Jordan

is that

can be written

cortesnotation

"Invarlant"

'"

!
'_

formulation
nate

of quantum

systems.

mechanics,

If we wanted

that mathematical
model,
to the quantum mechanics

independent

to derive

physical

of all

coordi-

results

from

then we must assign numerical


variables,
i.e., the matrices

values
(or

i
!
l

"tensors" in multidimensional
space). This is to be understood
as meaning that in that multidimensional
space a certain direction
kind

is arbitrarily

of experiment

matrix

is asked

inertia,
tion

will

with

picturel,

one

deviates

tions,

we can still

but

little

theory

variable,

coordinates.

exists

one system
for that

variables:

rather,

and

ables),

in a manner

results

of two

other

only

ables

in the same

the

when

tensors

multidimensional

visualization

are

experiments.)

If two

tions

into

"known"

of the results
only

"known"

"viewed"

from

experiments

and

of those

"unknown"

the probable

error

experiment

mechanics
into

known

"unknown"

space

already

from

variThe
each
vari-

(i.e.,
used

direction,

two different

can be given

/182

can

the physical

then

sys-

there

precisely

variables,

experiments

on the

and

cause

with

that experiment.

the same

thus

quantum

precisely

divide

of

We can

variables

can be derived

into

error,

by

variable

quantum

or less

direc-

given

depends

mechanics

on all

the two experiments

in that

error

for

there

main

its "value",

a given

characteristic

manner

co-

case

to every

the physical

{or: more

experiments

chosen

chosen.

for which

information

"unknown"

ques-

in that

probable

provides

Thus,

of

This

imprecision,

a number

quantum

If the direction

a certain

The probable

it divides

"known"

axes:

a certain

coordinates

precise

chosen.

one of the matrix'

which

variable.

of the moment

if the direction

in the direction

For each
of

the value

main

to assign

error.

tem of

provide

of the

with

or matrix,

probable

never

the "value"

from

of the matrix

it is possible

vanishes,

then

only

talk with

state:

certain

and

to the question.

inclination,

"value"

by the

in the direction

meaning

answer

chosen

the

established

of the matrix'

be an exact

the relative

is,

(for instance,

has unequivocal

incides

(that

performed),

for

in that

chosen

the

if

for

in both
distriburelation

appropriately

statistically.
13

'

ORiGiNAL _A_
_
OF POOR QUALITY
Let us perform an imaginary experiment,
to more precisely discuss these statistical
relations
We shall start by sending a
Stern-Gerlach

beam

of atoms

through

a field

F I that

is so in-

homogeneous
in the beam direction,
that it causes noticeably
numerous transitions
due to a "shaking effect". The atom beam

._

is then

allowed

to run unimpeded,

but then

a second

field

shall

begin, F2, as inhomogeneous


as F I. We shall assume that it is
possible to measure the number of atoms in the different
stationary states, between F I and F2 and also beyond F2, by means
of an eventually
applied magnetic field. Let us assume the
atoms' radiative
forces to be zero. If we know that an atom was

i!

in the energy state En before passing through F I, then we can


express this experimental
fact by assigning a wave function to
the atom
and

the

After

- for

instance,

indetermined

passing

in p-space

phase

through

- with

a certain

energy

Ep

Sn

field

FI, the

function

will

have

_.
' _ _:,_(. __)
S(E., _)--,. _]c.,. _(E.,, _)
h

become*
_.7)

Jl

Let us assume
that

the Cnm

Cnm

transforms

that after
termination

that

here

is unequivocally
the energy

* See

has actually
calculations

P. Dirac,

Z. f. Phys

14

determined

value

magnetic

a probability
of Cnm_nm
state _ to the state _.

sequent

arbitrarily

before

fixed,

by F]. The
passing

such

matrix

through

F I to

passing through F]. If behind F] we perform a deof the stationary


states - for instance,
by means

of an inhomogeneous

the atom

the 8m are

167

- then

we shall

find,

that the atom has passed from


If we determine
experimentally

acquired
we shall

Proc.Roy.Soc.

40,

field

(1926).

the state
have

m,

to assign

(A)112,

661

then

the
that

in the sub-

it the

(1926)

with

and

function
M. Born,

/183

[,

ORIGINAL PACT _
OF POOR QUALITY
Sm with an indeterminate
phase, instead of the function
_c_,.Sm . Through the experimental
determination
"state

we select, from among the different


possibilities
certain _ and simultaneously
destroy, as we shall
below,
Cnm.

whatever

When

cedure

after

the beam

used

formation

remained

of phase

passes

through

for F I. Let dnm

matrix

F2. If no determination

of the state

the eigen-function
pattern:

s(E.,p) r-_
' _.,..s(_.,p)
m
Let

_=g._--e._

is determined,
bability

after

F I and

If

F2, we

F2,

then

the

by dml_ml . Repeating

(determining
then

the state,

observe the state


Z.L---_,,c..c_.d,_a,.t
m

_,

of the

the

stationary

shall

find

before

is performed

time,

behind
. This

state

bet-

the

_ with

experiment

atom
a pro-

"state

for _ behind

between

accord-

(8)
of

the state

pro-

F2 to those

we determined

the entire

trans-

is transformed

probability

each

the same

_-_
" _.
_,_.._.,S(E,,
_,).
m
I

of enlenl . If, in contrast,

between
given

F2, we repeat

the energies

(Cnm) , a
explain

in the variables

be the coefficients

that converts

ween F I and F2, then


ing to the following

relations

m"

m"

F2 is

several

F I and

times

F2) we shall

F2, with the relative frequency


expression
does not agree with

enl_nl. For this reason Jordan (l.c.) mentions an "interference


of the probabilities".
I, for one, would not agree with this.
Because
tively,

the two experiments


leading to enlenl or Znl, respecare really physically
different.
In one case the atom

suffers no disturbance
between F I and F21 in the other
disturbed
by the equipment
that makes the determination
stationary
is that

states

the

possible.

"phase"

uncontrollable

of the atom

in principle,

in the determination
magnetic

field

The consequence
changes

of this

by quantities

Just as the impulse

of the electron's

for the determination

position

was
(cf.

of the state

it is
of the

equipment
that

are

changed

/18__4

I). The

between

FI

and F2 will change the eigen-values


E and during the observation of the atom beam (I am thinking of something
like a Wilson
track)

the atoms

will

be slowed

down

in different

degrees,

15

statistically,
quence,

and

the final

in an uncontrollable

values before
by
3_,_
addition,

an

transformation

matrix

enl

As a conse-

(from the energy

F I to those after leaving F2) is no longer given


, and instead each term of the sum will have, in
unknown

is for the average


changes,

manner.

phase
value

to be equal

factor.

Hence,

all

we can

over

all

eventual

of enlenl,

to Znl.

A simple

calculation

expect

phase

shows

this

draw

conclu-

to be the case.
Thus,

following

sion3,
for

based

all

The

other

for all

wave

oe all solutions
meaning

of the

linearity

t!ey

can be understood

ttis

same

these

equations

several

reason

- for

electrons)

I believe

the analyses

the terms

"electron

_croscopic
view

processes

of quantum

mechanics

instance,

_as already

been

because

S, or
the sum

the deeper
and hence

space;

for

to replace

relativistic

"velocity",

case

as doomed

(for

to fail.

also

transition
with

14, 664

etc.,

theory

micro

of

to macro

by Schroedinger*,
(1926)

have

of the

from the point

from

of

kinemat-

understanding

be possible,

dealt

sections

"energy",

of quantum

an intuitive

Naturwiss.

inter-

matrix

in the preceding

the concepts

The

limiting

This

phase

equations

from

to macromechanics

performed

must

thus

r's equations

any attempt

possible
and

we can see

in the

in the

micro

mechanics.

* E. Scnroedinger,
16

consider

so that

one,

only

Here

as waves

position",

clarified

ics and mechanics,

is possible

of Schroeding,

from

by itself

experiments.

a solution.

only

results

the transformation

- by non-linear

The transition

sufficiently

for

we would

the

one particular

equation,

is also

we can

selects,

subsequent

of the equation

Schroedinger's

rules,

regarding

experiment

the possibilities,

the possibilities
pretation

statistical

on one experiment,

_nother.

among

certain

but

do not believe
essence

that

of the problem,

to Schroedinger,
i

vibrations

will

its turn,

under

periodic
ij

s
]

Schroedinger's

in highly
yield

motions

properties

as described

frequencies

spectral

emitted

Thus

the harmonic

If the wave

Schroedinger's
oscillator

according

in the course

space

surrounding

consideration

of time

the atom.

emitted

The higher

the

multiples
of the
multiples

mechanics

is applicable

packet

/185

by

in which

integer

while

such

of the harmonic

by him,

the wave

had

to quantum

case

the

frequencies

never

in

following

are integer

are

considered

The

series

the

that

performs

radiation

Instead,

by the atom

according

packet,

packet

a Fourier

of the special

cases

the

vibrations

frequency,

wave

"electron".

then

the

a sum of the eigen-

of its size,

into

fr_4uency.

the exception

lator.

here,

be developed

of a fundamental
with

here:

of the harmonic

lines

large

address

reasons:

states

of the classical

can be raised

could

excited

changes

objections

the atom

the following

a not overly

periodic

of the fundamental
:

for

considerations

oscilonly

to

in all other

spreads

the atom's

over

all

excitation

state, the slower will be the scattering


of the wave packet
But it will occur, if one waits long enough. The argument
used

!-_v?
_"-

above

'.

time

for the radiation


being,

against

all

quantum to classical
this reason, it used
ment

by pointing

states;

emitted
attempts

by an atom

of a direct

be used,

transition

for the
from

mechanics,
for high quantum numbers. For
to be attempted
to circumvent
that argu-

to the natural

certainly

can

improperly,

beam

since

width

of the

in the first

b _
|_

stationary
place

I. _

this

I_
, ,

way
insufficient
out is already
radiation
blocked
at higher
for thestates;
hydrogenin atom,
the second
because
place,
of

l\_-_'i

the transitionwithout
from quantum
to classical
mechanics
must
be understandable
borrowing
from electrodynamics.
Bohr*
has

_0 [_

repeatedly
pointed
that make a direct

;_{[
",
1,%I., $

.o.

theory

difficult.

* N. Bohr,

Basic

out these known difficulties,


in the past,
connection
between quantum and classical
If we explained

Postulates

them here

of Quantum

again

Theory,

,_.

in such

l.c.

17

_:,

F
!

detail,

it is because

I believe

apparently

the genesis

ly formulated

thus:

they

have

of the classical
the

"orbit"

been

only

"orbit"
comes

forgotten.

can

into

be precise-

being

by our

observing
it. Let us assume an atom in its thousandth
excitation state. The dimensions
of the orbit are relatively
large

here,

already,

to determine

so that
the

electron's

ly long wavelength.
position

is not

it is sufficient,
position

in the sense

with

If the determination

to be too uncertain,

a light

of I,

of relative-

of the electron's

then one

consequence

of

!
Compton

recoil

be in some

will

state

be that

between,

after

say,

the collision,

the

950th

and

the atom

the

1050th.

will
At

the same time, the electron's


impulse can be derived - to a
precision
given by equation
(I) - from the Doppler effect. The
experimental
a wave

fact

packet

a variable
tially

so obtained

- or better,

given

composed

can

be characterized

probability

by the wavelength

of

of eigenfunctions

packet

by means

of

- in q-space,

by

the light

between

used,

the 950th

can

to the

be expressed

only

those

within

lable

probability.

sical

theory,

ond

same

This

since
could

and

the

also

in the

system's

would

orbits

are

packet.

different,

second

position

possible,

thus

determinations.
results
assigning

18

would

also

However,

in quantum

limiting
After

for later

the laws

measurements

to the electron

a _ from

wave

due

all

The
those

subsequent

determination,

packet

the

themselves

among

for all

to

similarly

theory.

can be calculated

a "smaller"

of the sec-

theory

classical

position

a calcu-

In addition,

of statistics

the possibilities

are all

in clas-

statistically,

and

selected

the second

result

in classical

mechanics

determination

the

determination;

spread

with

be different

theory
only

positions

packet,

in no way

be given
first

wave

in
is

to 2, its result

possible

spread

in classical

the uncertainty

According

statistically;

the now already

position

to the wave

precision.

only

/186

essen-

1050th eigen-function,
and through the corresponding
packet
p-space. After a certain time, a new position determination
performed,

i
i

the

by again

of dimension

_
_;_

_ (wavelength

of the

each

determination

position

its original
and
il
i_

ORIG.,_AL =_'4"
OF POOR OUALI'P[

light

dimension

are known

used

for the observation).

reduces

i. The

the wave

"values"

to a certain

Thus,

packet

again

of the variables

precision,

during

to

all experi-

ments. Since within these limits of precision


the values of
p and q follow the classical
equations
of motion, we can
conclude, directly
from the laws of quantum mechanics,

dH

#H

P=-

q=

But as we mentioned,
the orbit can only be calcu]%ted
statistically from the initial conditions,
which we may consider a
consequence

uncertainty

conditions.

The laws

mechanics
can

to gross

quantum

theory.

to show

by means

theory.

macroscopic

Before

of a mass

in principle,

of statistics

and classical

lead

motion

existing

are different

Under

certain

differences

discussing

point

the transition

Since

time

there

are

tion

to

can

be treated

no external,
this

as a parameter

p, and _

At time
ured

t=O

with

the values"

impulse

[see equations

of

and

I want
force-free

to the classical
mathematically.
motion)

The

/18__/7

(as

(1o)
a "c-number")
then

the

if
solu-

is:

represent

precision

this,
- the

forces,

1 t
q ----._p, + q, ;
where

this

classical

4=;i I p", p=o.

time-dependent

equation

of

system

theory discussed above is to be formulated


equations
of motion are (for unidimensional
1

conditions,

an example

mechanical

initial

for quantum

between

of a simple
- how

in the

q1'
and

(3) to

Po

p -- p,,
and

position

(6)],

= p' with

at

let qo

precision

we are to derive

at time _, then according


to Dirac
that transformation
function,
that

(11)

the

and Jordan
transforms

time

t=O.

= q' be measp;.

If from

"value"

of

we must find
all matrices

19

ORIGINALPAGE_J

'

OF POOR QUALITY

,_{:
g

in which
q

which
tern

qo appears as a diagonal
appears

in which

i' __
_.._

replaced
equation

I;
i_

sought,

as

into

matrices

in

matrix.

In the

_atrlx

pat-

the diagonal

matrix,

the diagonal

qo appears

as

matrix,

p,

can be

by the operator
_k d
. According
to Dirac [l.c.
(11)] we then have for the transformation
amplitude
S(qo,q)

'-:
"_c

, the differential

equation

li k 0
!
I,,,_ _-_q,_
+eoj s(q.,e)= es(q.,_)

:,

,,,,

(1_)

__
(,,).-

S(qe, e) _

const.e .....

_.-t.....

of qo'

i.e.,

(IS)

Thus

known

S_ is independent
exactly,

qually
nite

likely,

range,

then at any
i.e.,

time

if at time

t > 0

the probability

is generally

zero.

This

t : 0, qo

all values

of q

that _ lles

within

is quite

clear,

is

are

e-

a fi-

intuitive-

"

ly. Because the exact determination


of qo leads to an infinitely large Compton recoil. The same would of course be true

of any mechanical

system.

However,

known only to a precision


equation
(3)]

if at time

ql and Po to precision

S(,/,_,)= COat.e--"_ f--Tp


and the probability
from the equation

function

for

We obtain
t Bdm

If

20

we introduce

the

t = 0

,%

abbreviation

_ will

PI'

, qo
then

i_
[cf.

_'--_,
have

be calculated

/18_8

" oRIGINALpAGE_

_:

OF PoOR QUALITY

then

the exponent

in

--

'_
.P
-}

The

term

in q,2

pendent of

(,

by integration

$(_,,j) -- eou.t.e

in the constant

factor

(inde-

we obtain

, l,'
lqt=

!
J

;,))+""I

can be included

g);

_:i
_{,-_,,)r

(141 becomes

(16

(,_;,,_.,,)(,From

onst. e- "
follows

which

s qL'(I

(,--,._,.)'
-

.-|
.

S(e_._J]._(_,__-- eonst.e

Thus, at time
a precision

e_t(i"+P_"-.

(IT)

the electron is at position


_lyT_-_
. The "wave packet"

.,
"

(tlm)p' + q'
to
or better, the

"probabilityto p_c_:et"
become largerto bythea time
factort, ofinversely
}:I_.
According
(15), 13 has
is proportional

proportional
to the mass - this is immediately
plausible
- and
inversely proportional
to q2I. Too great a precision
in qo has a

,""

greater

leads

uncertainty

to an

in Po as a consequence

increased

we introduced

above

all equations,

here,

in _[.

uncertainty
for

formal

since

reasons,

it does

not

and hence

The

n,

parameter

could
enter

al.qo
which

be eliminated

in

in the calcula-

,o .

tions

of
As statistics
an example

and
from quantumbetween
theory thecanclassical
lead
to
that those
the difference

macroscopic

differences

in

der

conditions,

shall

certain

reflection

of

an

electron

the

flow

results
be

from

briefly

by a grating.

both

theories,

discussed
If

gross
laws

for
the

unthe

lattice

!
'

!
i

constant is of the order of magnitude


of the de Broglie wavelength of the electron,
then the reflection
will occur in
certain

discrete

'_

grating.

Here,

_4

thing

.'!

tion against

_i

We could

_4

certain

grossly

directions
classical

location

did not

mine

i
{

which location ona


tron would acquire

occur

the electron's

a-tually

without

According
tempted

wavelength
in this

"quantum

- occur

in a concrete

manner,

for

The

be determined
change
of

2 at time
tion.
(7),

We could
the

i i

m See

,?.2

t=O,

gl

should

el

W. Pauli,

to a
that

the

to deter-

we could

such

say

at

return
then

1.c.,

p.12

theory.

of quantum

a point

(2) as hlAEI,
transition.

to

the

Let
state

atom,

in

theory
- the

states,

in time

can

if AE is the

We are

thinking

an atom,

in

I by emitting
analogy

at-

determinable

to which

following:

.:.0_

transitions

of stationary

the

be

experiments

at which

to its normal

assign

of quantum

such

would

by classical

be experimentally

the

be reduced

the electron

prescribed

by equation

as

would

as energies

precision

eigenfunctton
i i

that

imaginary

in time

accompanying

an experiment

if we want

interpretation

such

is given

in energy

electron.

establish

electron

the laws

special,

the points

instance.

But

of the

in the direction

of some

Jumps"

find a contradic-

of a single

there

approximation,

to the intuitive
here,

and

at a
some-

the electron

so precisely

contradicting

Discussion

not

direct

classically.

light

/189

grating line it would impact, then the elecsuch a velocity, due to this determination,

reflected

theory,

that

line

position

the de Broglie
point

we can

we could

the

macroscopically

in the orbit

on a grating

to the

theory

as does

yields

And yet,

do it, if somehow

reflection

that

theory

different.
classical

in space,

to

state
radia-

equation

'

'

ORIGINAL PAGE

OFPOORQUALrrf

A + _1 - e- '"_(E,,p)e-

s(t,p) = _.,_(_,_e

-T'- (18)

'I

if we assume that the radiation damping wlll express itself in

-)
'_

the eigen-function by means of a factor of the form e-at(the


true dependence may not be that simple). Let us send this atom

_i

through an inhomogeneous magnetic field, to measure its energy,


as is customary in the Stern-Gerlach

experiment, except that

the inhomogeneous field shall follow tl_eatom beam for a good

'

portion of the path. The corresponding

acceleration could be

:_
)
!

measured by dividing the entire path followed by the atom beam

;
:=_

each of which we measure the beam's deflection. Depending on


the atom beam's velocity, the division into partial paths will

in the magnetic field, into small partial paths, at the end of


119--0

correspond,
_I
-,

atom,
partlal
for the
also to division into
time
intervals At. According to I, equation (2), to the interval
At corresponds a precision in the energy of h/At.

The probabll-

ity of measuring a certain energy can be dlrectly derived from


S(p,E) and is hence calculated in the l.,terval from nat to
(n+1)At by means of
+ I)4e
mAt_

(a + I)_/

Imd&J

&
m4t

If at time (n+1)At we make the determination,

"state 2", then

for all subsequent events we may no longer assign to the atom


the elgen-function

(18], but one derived from (18) if we re-

place t with t-(n+1)At. If, in contrast, we determine "state


,
,

I", then from then on we must assign to the atom the elgenfunction

Thus,

in a series

of

2 e, then continuously
the

two states

possible,

Intervals
estate

&t we would first


1. e To hake

At must

not

fall

observe

"state

a differentiation
below

h/AE.

of
Thus,

the

23

transition-point
We conceive

in time

of the experiment

the old

_nterpretation

Planck,

Einstein

change

in principle,

Since

when

such

agreement

basic

above

of quantum

and Bohr

of energy.

In Bohr's

can be determined

entirely

theory,
we speak

that

in the

precision.
sense

as explained

of

results

can always

be given.

This

etc.)

must

privileged

the energy
J,
as

value

by energy

its numerical

position

be possible,

theory,

that

can be performed,

of the quantum

of the electron,

I
|

by

of an atom, as well as the values of the action variables


has the privilege over other items to be determined
(such
the position

of a discontinuous

an experiment

as to its

postulate

with

held

J
|

over
other quantum mechanics
magnitudes
is owed strictly
to
the circumstance
that in a closed system, it represents
an
integral
have
has

of the equation

E = const.).
no preference

particular,
in which

mined,

In contrast,
over

it will

the atom's

for which

then

of motion

other

in open

quantum

be possible
phases

the energy

corresponding

(for the energy


systems

w are
will

precisely

remain,

variables.

In

of experiments,
measurable

and

in principle,

to a relation

Indeter-

Jw-wJ.-:-_s- i

or J1wl _ h. Such an experiment


is provided by resonance
fluorescence,
for instance.
If an atom is irradiated
wlth

an

etgen-frequency
of say,
v12 : (E 2 - E1)/h,
then the atom will
vibrate in phase wlth the external radiation,
in whlch case
in principle

It is senseless

to ask,

in which

state

- E I or

E2 - the atom is vlbratlns.


The phase relation between
and external
radiation
can be determined,
for instance,
means

of

ment).

IF

diation,
lng

the

one does
the

precise

24

not

for

then

want

relation

to

use

a "wave

the

relatlve
(for

many

function"

Involving

be measured

In

sense

to the
atoms).
such

atom
by

(Woods experi-

experiments

can also

times,

Illumination
assign

among many atoms

measurements

at different

used

we could

phase

relations

position

electron,
ltsht

phase

by

ra-

perform-

oF J 1 For
phase

of the

To each
as

we

the energy

mechanics

to conceive

matrix

atom

the

/191

(Z"
ORIGINAL PAGE
OF POOR QUAL_P(

s(e. 0 --'=c,_, (J:,,,_);"

+ I/T -- ,'7v,,(_,, _) e-

,, (l_) .

Here c2 depends on the _ntensity and B on the phase of the


illuminating light. Thus, the probability _ of a certain posl-

_i

tion is

s(q,o

The periodic
from

the

+ (,-4),,,

*,erm in

(20)

non-periodical,

be performed

at

can be experimentally
since

different

In a known imaginary
a Stern-Gerlach

the

phases

experiment

atom beam are

position

of

the

determi_

_.ion can

illuminating

proposed
initially

separated

by Bob,-,
excited

light.
Lhe atoms of

to

resonance

fluorescence, at a certain location, by means of light irradiation. After a certain length, the atoms pass throush an Inhomogeneous magnetic field; the radiation emitted by the atoms can
be observed over the entire length of their path, before and
behind the magnetic fleld.

Before the atoms enter the magnetic

field, they exhibit normal resonance fluorescence, i.e., In


analogy to the d_sperslon theory, we must assume that all atoms
emit in phase wlth the incident , spherical light waves. At
first, thls latter interpretation
a rough application
of the light
rules of quantum theory indicate:
that

that

by the

only

excited

centers.

cept

ltght

ot

in conflict wlth what

quanta theory or the baslc


from it one would conc].udo

a few atoms would be ra!sed

absorption

the resonance

stands

of

a light

radiation
quanta

come from

be tempting

can be called

upon here

tmpulse

states

as a weak and coherent


the

"in

reality"

all

spherical

magnetic

field,

that

Intensively

used to

balance;

It

energy

have passed through

quantum and hence,

would

Thus,

to an "upper

_11 of
radiating

to say:
only

state"

the

for

the

atoms radiate

In

conlower

wave.

Once the atoms

there

can hardly

b_

/1_

any doubt

left

that

the atom

beam

has split

into two beams

of which one corresponds


to atoms in the higher state and the
other, to atoms in the lower state. If the atoms in the lower
state

were

radiating,

the energy
t

contained

theorem,
in the

can be no doubt
beam with
light,

because

fraction
that

the upper

at that

the upper

developed

the phases
sense

has left

the radiation

field

From

In the

and

in which

car only

be given

ly performed
magnetic
hence

we can not

field

phases

by atoms

imaginary

of the

fact

"in reality,

not

tion applies

to the matrix

of the energy,

a number,

as precisely

an

experiment
that

field

the atom

it is in a

of this

state.

destroys

provides

is actualBehind

the
and

is incoherThe magnetic
the

phase

re-

a beautiful

of the atom

and hence

is also,

law of conservaalso

as it is measured,

to the value

in each

case.

Analytically,
the cancellation
of the phase relations
followed approximately
thus: let Q be the coordinates

can be
of the

atom's

(instead

of

26

center

of mass;

we can

(19)) the eigen-function

then

assign

experiment

are determined

but a matrix."The
energy

!
I

ex-

after

radiation

the energy

Bohr'S

Even
that

of the

radiation

field.

in the upper
and hence

the application

experiment

The

makes

for coherence characcan be performed


to

magnetic

undetermined.

experiment

is no

the result
Such

in

there

say

of the atoms

the energies

Bohr's

clarification

are

only

determined

is;

inhomogeneous

the energies

emitted

lations.

the atom

statistically.

by the

field,

their

ent and

state

atoms

hence

of the atom.

non-coherent

to discuss

outer

there

the atom

the conception

certain stationary
state, if we are asking
teristics of the radiation.
But experiments
test

- and

be with

determined

of the energy

only

imaginary

is

Rather,

radiating

it is easy

any difficulty.

in talking

this

state".

are

light

we must

here,

of the atoms

field,

of

energy

state.

intensively

how careful

infringement

excitation

the higher

showed,

quantum

without

of the

is emitting

the few

"stationary

periment

be a gross

the magnetic

states

of the concept
theory

with

As Bohr

clear

all

behind

- from

state.

particularly

this would

to the atom

/19--3

OR,GINAL PAG_ ?_

OF POOR QUALITY

s(Q,Os(q, t) -- s(_, _,0


where
_;!
'_

ent
and

_}

of

S(Q,t)

is a function

is differ-

from zero in only a small area around a point in Q-space,


propagates
with the velocity of the atoms in the direction

the beam.

some

values

The

probability

Q is given

The eigen-function

integral
Q,

over

behind

in (1611

amplitude

q for

of

i.e.,

(21), however,

field in a calculable
flection of the atoms
become,

[as S(n,q)

of a relative

by the

S(Q,q,t)S(O,q,t)

have

that

('_D

will

_
(20).

via
change

"

in the magnetic

manner, and because of the differing


dein the upper and the lower state, will

the magnetic

S(Q,_,t) = %s,(0,t),/,,(,_;,v)e

field,

i,
_=l,t

-_ _/i -- ,'_ S, (Q, t) ea (El,

S1(Q,q,t)

and S2(Q,t)

from

only

zero

will

in a small

periodic

sibility

term

area

mined.

We may

ry has

not yet

sults

regarding

(22)

in Q-space

surrounding

a phase

relation.

differing

the point.

for S 2. Hence
of a relative

in (201 has disappeared

of measuring

tistical
position
less
of the
phase

be functions

point is different
for S1_%nd
where. Hence, the probabilzty
definite value 0 is

The

q)

But

that

experiments

and with
The

been

fully

elaborated

the phase

with
will

SIS 2 is zero everyamplitude R and a

result

it, the

radiation
yield

relations

of atoms

the relation

between

pos-

of the sta-

determination
always
be the itsame,
of
the incidentwill
light
for which
was

assume

this

regarddeter-

whose

the same

to the

theo-

re-

incident

light.

Finally,

let us examine

equation

(2),

E1t I =h, and a problem complex discussed


by Ehrenfest*
and two
other
researchers
by means of Bohr's
correspondence
principle,

'

27

mm

- ...................

!
{
i

in two

important

quantization"
by quantum

papers**.

when

jumps

can not

Eflrenfest and

a quantifiea

or other

periodic

disturbances,

motion

is subdivided,

into

intervals

period. Supposedly,
energy values from

in this case there are not only the exact


quantum theory, but also - with a lower a

priori

probability

that

values

that

do not differ

In quantum

to the

be qualitatively

too much

mechanics,

such

from

system's

indicated

the quantum

a behavior

/I__9_

can

in relation

time

of "weak

that

i
:

long

speak

values.

be considered

Tolman

- energy

theory-based

is to be inter-

pretated as follows: since the energy is really changed, due to


other disturbances
or to quantum jumps, each energy measurement
has

to be performed

in the interval

if it is to be unequivocal.
in the sense

of I. Thus

This

between

provides

the energy

two disturbances,

an upper

value

limit

to t I

Eo of a quantified

state is also measured only with a precision E I = t/t I. Here,


the question whether the system "really" adopts energy values
E that differ from Eo-with
the correspondingly
smaller statistical weight - or whether their experimental
determination
is
due

only

to the uncertainty

of the

measurement,

is pointless,

in principle.
If t I is smaller than the system's period, then
there is no longer any sense in talking of discrete stationary
states

or discrete

In a similar

energy

context,

following

paradox:

the shape

of a gear

f revolutions
further

just

linearly

assume

ber of revolutions,
wheel,
u,

to reverse

and Breit

us imagine

wheel

- fitted

reverses

that

displaced

values.

Ehrenfest

let

._.
"_

between

wheel

with

acts

two blocks.

the blocks
direction.

a rotator

force

The true

point

out

the

- for instance,

in

a mechanism

the direction

the gear

(l.c.)

that

of rotation.
on a rack

After

Let

us

can

be

the specified

the rack,
period

that

and

hence

T of the

after

numthe

system

is

, ii

XS.f. Phys. 9, 207 (1922) and P.


* P"
Ehrenfest
EhrenfeStandandR.c.G.Tolman,Breit,
Phys.Aev. 2_, 28? (1924); see also
the discussion
in N. Bohr, Basic postulates
of quantum theory,
l.c.
** Mr. W. Pauli pointed this relation out to me.
28

long in relation
energy steps are

to the period _ of the wheel; the discrete


correspondingly
dense, and denser, she greater

T is. Since

the point

ry all
i _

from

stationary

a sufficiently
with the same

states

of view

have

of a consistent quantum

the same

statistical

large T practically
all energy
frequency - in contrast to what

for

values will occur


we would expect

for the rotator.

_
r

when we consider our points of view. Because in order to establish whether the system will adopt the discrete energy val-

_ _

corresponding

frequency,
values
same

ii

to a pure

or whether

corresponding

probability,

for such

this paradox

weight,

ues

Initially,

theo-

rotator

it will

singly

adopt

to the small

a time

measurements

becomes

or with

all possible

energy

steps

t_ is sufficient,

never

even

becomes

special

values
h/T)

which

effective,

sharper

{i.e.,

with

the

is small

in

it apparently

relation toitself
manifests
T (but-in that
_). all
That possible
is, although
energythe
values
large can
period
occur.
We believe
system's

that

total

values

with

large

period

the system
ponds

experiments

energy

the same

would

T, but to the

should

acting

find

on the rack

rotator-rack

istics

that are

different

to measure
have

classical

of

therefore

equated

in a state

it can

simply
from

could

the energy

of the rotator

due

to the

rack.

Even

energy

taken

of

corres-

to states,

periodicity

small

occur

without

the total

(for a small

rack.

first_

In

of the rack
energy

system
rack

solu-

we shall

and

mass

The

if we wanted

then

rotator

The

character-

of the rotator.

alone,

if

of external

in the following:

between

energy

quantification*.

has

those

lies

is not

whose

be easily

of the

possible

by means

for a sufficiently

there

this

all

displaceable

of the rotator

the coupling

to that
,

linearly

the coupling

theory,

dissolution
and

rather

the energy

to dissolve

and

to the rotator

system

the paradox

yield

quantification,

do not correspond

of

actually

itself

coupled

tion

for the determination

probability;

to the rotator

forces
that

such

/195

changes

could

mass).

the

be
In

ii

* According_to
Ehrenfest and Breit, this can occur not
or only rarely, due to forces acting" on the wheel.

at all,

29

J
i

wheel
at least ofthetheinteraction
same order energy
of magnitude,
quantumis mechanics,
between

as
rack one
and of

,_

the rotator's

mass,

energy

steps

(even

for a small

rack

a high

wheel

and rack!}

Once

the coupling

is dissolved,

the rack

and

the
wheel individually
adopt
quantum interaction
theory energy
zero-point
energy remains
for their
the elastic
between
values. Thus, to the extent that we can measure the energy

i!
!_

values

we will always find the values


with
allowed
prescribed
by quantum theory,
the precision
by
the experiment.
Even for a vanishingly
small rack mass will
the energy of the coupled system be different from that of the

i
i

of the rotator

rotator.
'

The energy

sible values
probability

Ouantum
from

(those

alone,

of the coupled
allowed

system

can

adopt

by T-quantification)

with

pos-

the same

i
6

theory

classical.

kinematics
But

and

mechanics

the applicability

are

vastly

different

of classical

kinemati=

_ -_

and mechanical
concepts can not be deduced either
laws that govern our thinking, or from experience

the impulse,

all

position,

energy,

etc.,

from the
We are en-

of an electron

are

we shall
tive

experimental

no longer

or abstract*.

have

consequences,
to view

If we admit

quantum
this,

in all simple
mechanics

then

we would

cases,

as not

intui-

of course

* Schroedinger
described quantum mechanics
as a formal theory,
of frightening,
even repulsive un-intuitiveness
and abstraction. The value of the mathematical
(and to that extent, intuitive) penetration
of the laws of quantum mechanics
accomplished by Schroedinger
can certainly not be praised highly
enough. However, in terms of the principled,
physical questions, I believe the popular intuitiveness
of wave mechanics
has deflected
it from the straight path that had been _erked

"

3O
e

.._.
='."

pre-

cisely defined concepts,


we need not be discouraged
by the fact
titled to this conclusion
by the relation
(I) plql _h. Since
/196
that the fundamental
equation
(I) contains only a qualitative
statement.
Since, in addition,
we can qualitatively
conceive of
the theory's

"_
i__
[

&
0

also

like

to be able

tum mechanics

directly

essentially,

from

ed to interpret

laws

principle
the

can

intuitive

We can

( 2}.

this

laws

of quan-

foundations,
reason

foundations.
no

longer

experimentally,

from

i.e.,

Jordan

is a diagonal

attempt-

possible

that

with

the

according

simplicity,

starting

quanti-

with,

If, for instance,


is a "number"
(I) - then

not contradict
term

however,

we believe

to begin

equation

[that does

not agree,

Rather,

be understood,

of the electron

dinate

(I). For

relation.

of the greatest

assumption

the intuitive

relation

interpretation

tative

from

the quantitative

the equation

as a probability
that

to derive

from

the X coordinate

- as can be concluded
the simplest

(I)] is that

of a matrix

to the

whose

imaginary

this

X coor-

non-diagonal

terms

are expressed
in an uncertainty,
or respectively,
by other kinds
of transformations
(cf. for instance
4). Perhaps the statement
that

the velocity

in the

X-direction

"in reality"

is not a num-

ber, but a diagonal term in a matrix is no more unintuitive


and
abstract than the determination,
that the electric
field intensity "in reality" is the time portion of an antisymmetrical
tensor

of the space-time

description

of natural

world.
phenomena

The expression
in mathematical

as we admit that all quantum theory


just as much or as little justified

"in

reality"

terms.

_v
_T

is

As soon

variables
"in reality" are
here as it is for any other

I<_

If one assumes that the interpretation


of quantum mechanics
at- /19__/7
tempted here
valid at least
its essential
points, then we
matrices,
the is
quantitative
laws infollow
without difficulty,
may be allowed to discuss its main consequences,
in a few words.

"
l,i=
ii

We have

..

that

not

starting

assumed

from

that

exact

by the works
of Einstein
by quantum
mechanics,
on

quantum

theory

data

we can

and
the

de Broglie
other.

- in contrast

only

draw

on

the

to clas-

statistical

one

hand,

"::'

and

,,

31

,
ii

conclusions.
Bothe

speak

in which
i!
_-_
",

Among

others,

against

such

relations

ergy

theorems).

causality

"''.

the future"

an assumption.

exist

between

But

by Geiger

Rather,

variables,

in the rigorous

- "If we know

premise.

in all

and

cases

in classical

We simply

totality

can not

Therefore

is so closely

Since

know
all

_i

tions,

one could

_'

served,

statistical

-:

the law

of causality

theo-

perception

the statistical

believe

pointless.

The

world

to conclude

a "real"

such

only

task

of what

observations
that

of physics

theory

in which

to state

explicit-

fruitless

and

the relation

'i

betweenobservationseThetruesituationcouldratherbedescribed
better by the following:

:i,
_

subject to the laws of quantum mechanics


and hence to equation
(I), it follows that quantum mechanics
once and for all ,stablishes

the

invalidity

all

from

the ob-

is hidden,

is to describe

Because

in all

or percep-

behind

to be both

the

is possible

of quantum

We want

speculations

but

is a selection

world

is applicable.

we can calculate

is faulty,

nature

in all

law of

in principle

and a limitation

be tempted

ly that we

that

the present

to the u_certainty

of the

precisely,

the conclusion

of possibilities

in the future.

formulation

the present

- it is not

its parameters.

experiments

ry, that can really be measured precisely,


the corresponding
exact relations
exist also in quantum theory (impulse and en-

_;T

the known

experiments

are

i'_

p
'

of the law of causality.

i
4
i

Addendum

at the time

new

considerable

mechanics

'

led my attention
to the fact that I had overlooked
tial points in some discussions
of this work. Above

investigations

uncertainty
existence

by Bohr

broadening

relations

have

and

attempted

of discontinuities,
of doing

experiences

expressed

Justice

After

led

closing

this

paper,

to viewpoints

that

allow

refining

in the observation

requirement

32

of correction.

here.

of the analysis
In this

is not
but

due

context,

simultaneously

by corpuscular

of quantum

;.

Bohr

,_.:

some
all,

exclusively

is directly

theory

related

calessenthe

!i
t.

to the

to the

:_.

to the different

I_

on the one

,_,_

hand,

and by wave

theory

an imaginary

r-ray

on the other.
microscope,

must

be taking

that

in the observation

tion

of the Comptom

tainty,
more

which

not

into

will

As professor

above

all

lead

Bohr

only

that
can

made

of the uncertainty

to macro-mechanics.
are

discussion

Finally,
not

with

rigorously,

clear,

the

direc-

some

uncer-

the simple

only

to free

the care

relationship

because

elec-

necessary

in

is essential

of the transition

correct,

is

(I). It is further-

the considerations

entirely

beam

of this

position,

be applied

very

of the ray

be known

/19.8

in the use of

consequence

to relation

effect

in a general

fluorescence

will

stressed

trons.

first

of the electron's

then

of the Compton

the application

The

recoil

theory

instance,

the divergence

account.

sufficiently

For

from

micro

on resonance
the

relation

electrons is not as simple as assumed here. I am greatly inbetween the phase of the light and that of the motion of the
debted to professor Bohr for being permitted
to know and discuss
during

their

gestation

tioned

above,

dealing

theory,

and

those
with

to be published

new investigations

the conceptual

by Bohr,

structure

men-

of quantum

soon.

33