Physlets run in a Java-enabled browser on the latest Windows & Mac operating systems.
If Physlets do not run, click here for help on updating Java and setting Java security.
Chapter 6: Classical and Quantum-mechanical Probability
Much of introductory quantum mechanics involves finding and understanding the solutions to Schrödinger's wave equation and applying Born's probabilistic interpretation to these solutions.1 We begin by first reviewing some of the basic properties of classical probability distributions before discussing quantum-mechanical probability and expectation values.2
Table of Contents
- Section 6.1: Probability Distributions and Statistics.
- Section 6.2: Classical Probability Distributions for Moving Particles.
- Section 6.3: Exploring Classical Probability Distributions.
- Section 6.4: Probability and Wave Functions.
- Section 6.5: Exploring Wave Functions and Probability.
- Section 6.6: Exploring Wave Functions and Expectation Values.
- Problem 6.1: Rank the animations by the acceleration of the balls given a relative probability distribution.
- Problem 6.2: Which of the 9 wave functions could be a localized wave function?
- Problem 6.3: Calculate uncertainties of position and momentum for a particle in a box.
- Problem 6.4: Calculate uncertainties of position and momentum for a particle in a harmonic oscillator.
- Problem 6.5: Calculate expectation values of x for an arbitrary state.
1While there are at least eight additional formulations, we will primarily focus on Schrödinger's. For all nine, see D. F. Styer, et al., "Nine Formulations of Quantum Mechanics," Am. J. Phys. 70, 288-297 (2002).
2This initial focus is suggested in L. Bao and E. Redish, "Understanding Probabilistic Interpretations of Physical Systems: A Prerequisite to Learning Quantum Physics," Am. J. Phys. 70, 210-217 (2002).