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Uncommon Paths in Quantum Physics

Uncommon Paths in Quantum Physics

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Uncommon Paths in Quantum Physics

308 pagine
Jun 26, 2014


Quantum mechanics is one of the most fascinating, and at the same time most controversial, branches of contemporary science. Disputes have accompanied this science since its birth and have not ceased to this day.

Uncommon Paths in Quantum Physics allows the reader to contemplate deeply some ideas and methods that are seldom met in the contemporary literature. Instead of widespread recipes of mathematical physics, based on the solutions of integro-differential equations, the book follows logical and partly intuitional derivations of non-commutative algebra. Readers can directly penetrate the abstract world of quantum mechanics.

  • First book in the market that treats this newly developed area of theoretical physics; the book will thus provide a fascinating overview of the prospective applications of this area, strongly founded on the theories and methods that it describes.
  • Provides a solid foundation for the application of quantum theory to current physical problems arising in the interpretation of molecular spectra and important effects in quantum field theory.
  • New insight into the physics of anharmonic vibrations, more feasible calculations with improved precision.
Jun 26, 2014

Informazioni sull'autore

Konstantin V. Kazakov obtained a Dr. Sc. in Physics and Mathematics at the St. Petersburg State University.He published papers in internationally scientific journals, communications at scientific symposia and congresses, and 3 books. His previous book was published with Elsevier: “Quantum theory of anharmonic effects in molecules”, Elsevier, 2012.

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Uncommon Paths in Quantum Physics - Konstantin V. Kazakov

Uncommon Paths in Quantum Physics

Konstantin V. Kazakov

Table of Contents

Cover image

Title page



1. Ideas and principles

Quantum world

Noncommutative physics


Quantum numbers

2. Physics of the electron

Hydrogen atom

Dirac’s equation

Spin one-half

Elementary consequences

Fine structure

Magnetic interaction

3. Theory of anharmonicity

Model Hamiltonian

Perturbation method

Polynomial formalism

Physical interpretation

Other anharmonic models

4. Quantum fields

Creation and destruction operators

Free scalar field

Quantization of electromagnetic field

Electron–positron Dirac field

Interaction picture

Solution according to perturbation theory

Ultraviolet divergences

5. Radiative corrections

Renormalization of mass

Anomalous magnetic moment of the electron

On the history of radiative corrections

Electromagnetic shift of atomic levels

Vacuum polarization

Dirac’s ideas and quantum field theory




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ISBN: 978-0-12-801588-9

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Konstantin V. Kazakov

Irkutsk, Russian Federation

Quantum insights serve to unwind

conundrums of nature through power of mind…

Quantum mechanics is one of the most fascinating, and at the same time most controversial, branches of contemporary science. Disputes have accompanied this science since its birth and have not ceased to this day. What is the sense of a probability interpretation of a physical phenomenon? Which approach to a quantum field theory is more consistent? How must we comprehend a quantum world? This book, leaving aside the search for spiritual content and answers to these questions, allows one to deeply contemplate some ideas and methods that are seldom met in the contemporary literature. Instead of widespread recipes of mathematical physics based on the solutions of integro-differential equations, we prefer logical and partly intuitional derivations of noncommutative algebra. The reader, having become armed with the necessary knowledge and skills from classical physics and symbolic mathematics, can thus directly penetrate the abstract world of quantum mechanics.

For exactly solvable models, we develop the method of factorization. This method, leaning primarily on Green’s formalism, is applied for consideration of simple problems in the theory of vibrations and the relativistic theory of an electron. For more complicated problems, mainly related to the physics of various effects of anharmonicity, we develop the method of polynomials of quantum numbers, which enables one to systematize the calculations according to the perturbation theory. Regarding the quantum field theory and the calculation of observable radiative corrections, we rely entirely on Dirac’s ideas, not on — at present — the pervasive rules of operation with a scattering matrix. Dirac’s theory, possessing a proper elegance, is built on the equations of motion and is suitable for a first acquaintance with the principal problems of quantum electrodynamics, a matter of belief that remains open.

The author respectfully expresses his gratitude to John Ogilvie, who read the manuscript and made valuable comments. This book addresses a wide readership with serious enthusiasm about theoretical physics.

December 2013


Ideas and principles

This chapter, being essentially an introduction, slightly opens a door into a tangled labyrinth of quantum mechanics. In a brief review of physical and mathematical principles of the abstract science of amazing phenomena of a microworld, we begin with a discussion of some problems that experience the greatest difficulties when being solved within a frame of classical physics. We explain further the properties of vectors, which describe the states of a system, and the properties of linear operators, which determine the dynamical variables. The main objective of the physical theory is to trace the variation of states and variables in time. For this purpose, we involve Schrödinger and Heisenberg equations that represent two pictures of describing the phenomena in quantum mechanics. As the basic recipes to solve the general equations, we provide the method of factorization, which allows one to solve the problems in a purely algebraic manner, and the perturbation method, which enables one to obtain an approximate solution. We test the method of factorization in an instance of a simple harmonic oscillator. In turn, the power of perturbation theory is demonstrated when considering anharmonic systems. For a description of anharmonic effects, we introduce phenomenologically the formalism of functions of quantum numbers; the meaning of these functions becomes revealed in Chapter 3.


Eigenvalues; eigenvectors; noncommutative algebra; quantum mechanics; factorization; harmonic oscillator; functions of quantum numbers

Quantum world

Classical physics and theory of relativity developing simultaneously with an understanding of the world of atoms and molecules, elementary particles, and fundamental interactions marked the beginning of a new era — the era of the quantum world.

Why are some substances dense and strong while others are loose and brittle? What is the cause of the spontaneous fission of uranium nuclei? Why is copper a conductor and why is glass an insulator? What is the nature of magnetite and magnetism? How does the sun work and why can solar radiation energy be converted into electricity? What are methane clathrates? What is the essence of the problem of global warming? Why are the spectra of various substances distinguishable and, moreover, discrete? For these and many other questions, classical physics fails to yield quantitative answers. To reply to the queries about the world of atoms and molecules is the mission of quantum mechanics.

-mesons may be created, but protons disappear at the same time. Moreover, there exists a deep relation between electromagnetic radiation and particles, so the reaction of a collision of an electron and a positron can lead to the creation of γ-quanta and annihilation of the electron–positron couple. Naturally, the reverse process is also possible when a photon having sufficient energy initiates the appearance of particles. A series of these and many other phenomena from the microworld is described in the specific language of quantum mechanics.

Paying tribute to the history of the development of quantum theory, let us briefly consider a few problems in which the argument of classical physics experiences the greatest difficulties.

? Planck replied to this question. Recall, according to Wien’s displacement law,

, and constant C has a specific dimension,

Planck established the general law for the energy per unit volume and per unit of wavelength interval, and he calculated constant C; as a result,

, and

, quantum physics was born.

of incident radiation is much more complicated to understand, especially from the classical point of view. Einstein resolved this conundrum and offered an elegant explanation of the photoelectric effect,

is the work function. The intrigue of the wave–particle duality of light was thus revived.

Finally, we discuss a question related to the stability of the lifetime of atoms. According to Rutherford’s experiments, most α-particles pass practically without hindrance through a foil of gold, deflected by nuclei at definite angles, which one might easily calculate by applying classical considerations. These experiments prove, firstly, that an atom is a nucleus plus electrons and, secondly, that Coulomb’s law is valid at atomic distances. From Rutherford’s experiments, it is impossible to evaluate the size of atom. Moreover, the planetary model is inconsistent with classical electrodynamics; otherwise, an electron moving with acceleration around the nucleus would be forced to radiate at each revolution, losing its energy, and eventually would fall into the nucleus after only one-hundredth of a nanosecond. A lifetime would not be long.

occurs in accordance with the combination principle

are integers other than zero. According to the classical description, the spectral lines must be equidistant from each other. In fact, the

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