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Essential Quantum Mechanics$
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Gary Bowman

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199228928

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199228928.001.0001

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The Quantum Postulates

The Quantum Postulates

(p.5) 2 The Quantum Postulates
Essential Quantum Mechanics

Gary E. Bowman

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the concept of a postulate and develops the basic structure of quantum mechanics using three postulates. Postulate 1 introduces the concept of a quantum state as a solution of the time-independent Schrödinger equation. Postulate 2 introduces observables, which are represented by Hermitian operators; the possible measurement values of an observable are the eigenvalues of the corresponding Hermitian operator. Postulate 3 introduces the concept of a superposition, and the association of the probability for obtaining some measurement result with the complex square of an expansion coefficient in a superposition. In discussing Postulate 3, state normalization, the distinction between discrete and continuous eigenvalues, and the Dirac delta are also introduced.

Keywords:   quantum state, Schrödinger equation, observable, Hermitian operator, superposition, Dirac delta

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