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The Concept of Probability in Quantum Mechanics.
University of California Press, Berkeley 1951 - First edition, extremely rare offprint, inscribed by Feynman, of this famous lecture in which Feynman for the first time argues the necessity for a ‘quantum probability’ (a well developed subject in its own right today), and sets out clearly his own interpretation of the meaning of quantum mechanics, particularly what John Bell later called ‘the speakable and unspeakable in quantum mechanics.’ All this is done through a brilliant analysis of the ‘double-slit’ experiment, in which electrons pass through two holes and then fall on a screen. His analysis later became famous when it was included in the Feynman Lectures on Physics, but this is its first appearance in print. No copies of this offprint located in institutional collections worldwide. Although signed works by Feynman occasionally appear on the market, they are almost always his popular autobiographical works; technical scientific works inscribed by Feynman are extremely rare in commerce (none are located in auction records)."In 1951, Richard Feynman published a paper [offered here] claiming that classical probability theory was not applicable for the description of quantum phenomena, but that instead separate "laws of probabilities of quantum mechanics" were required. In describing the propagation of electrons from a source S to a location X on the screen in a double-slit experiment, Feynman wrote: "We might at first suppose (since the electrons behave as particles) thatI. Each electron which passes from S to X must go either through hole 1 or hole 2. As a consequence of I we expect that: II. The chance of arrival at X should be the sum of two parts, P1, the chance of arrival coming through hole 1, plus P2, the chance of arrival coming through hole 2." However, we apparently know from experiment that this is not so. Feynman concludes: "Hence experiment tells us definitely that P ? P1 + P2, or that II is false We must conclude that when both holes are open it is not true that the particle goes through one hole or the other"" (Grössing et al, ‘Relational causality and classical probability,’ Journal of Physics: Conference Series 504 (2014), p. 1). Feynman considers various possibilities for escaping from the paradox but dismisses them all. By shining a light near the slits, one can actually determine which one the electron passed through. But "any physical agency designed to determine through which hole the electron passes must produce, lest we have a paradox, enough disturbance to alter the distribution [from the two-slit to the superimposed one-slit patterns]." Feynman then reveals how physicists treat these logical difficulties. "We are still left with the question: "Do the electrons have to go through hole 1 or hole 2, or don’t they?" To avoid the logical inconsistencies into which it is so easy to stumble, the physicist takes the following view. When no attempt is made to determine through which hole the electron passes, one cannot say it passes through one hole or the other. Only a situation where an apparatus is operating to determine which hole the electron goes through is it permissible to say that it either goes through one or the other hole, but if you are not looking you cannot say that it goes one way or the other! Such is the logical tightrope on which Nature demands that we walk if we wish to describe her." So "some things will not be spoken of. But why did Feynman choose as his topic probability in quantum mechanics, rather than unspeakability? Quantum mechanics is the first theory in the history of Western science to predict randomness but to deny that either measurement errors or "real fluctuations" account for them Perhaps this is what was on Feynman’s mind when he chose to lecture probabilists and statisticians about chance. What should this novel form of randomness be called? Unfortunately, Feynman did not speak of that" (Wick, The infamous boundary, pp. 140-141). Wick’s ‘infamous boundary’ refers to the division between those parts of Nature tha [Attributes: First Edition]
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Last Found On: 2015-03-19           Check availability:      AbeBooks    


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