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The statistical interpretation: Born, Heisenberg and von Neumann, 1926-27

Bacciagaluppi, Guido (2021) The statistical interpretation: Born, Heisenberg and von Neumann, 1926-27. [Preprint]

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Abstract

This paper traces the development and transformation of the statistical interpretation of quantum mechanics from Max Born's first suggestion in his collision papers of 1926 to von Neumann's axiomatic formulation in 1927. Born had initially introduced only statistical distributions over stationary states, did not discuss measurements and only tentatively embraced an indeterministic picture. Further work, among others by Heisenberg, suggested that indeterminism was fundamental and associated with measurements. But the now familiar picture of quantum states collapsing upon measurement was developed by von Neumann in 1927. Von Neumann's work also provided the basis for claims that indeterminism could not be eliminated from quantum mechanics. The paper concludes with an analysis of how the statistical interpretation relates to indeterminism. [To appear in O. Freire Jr et al. (eds), The Oxford Handbook of the History of Quantum Interpretations (OUP, expected 2022).]


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Bacciagaluppi, Guidog.bacciagaluppi@uu.nl
Keywords: statistical interpretation, Born, Heisenberg, von Neumann, indeterminism, hidden variables
Subjects: General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: Guido Bacciagaluppi
Date Deposited: 06 Oct 2021 12:28
Last Modified: 06 Oct 2021 12:28
Item ID: 19650
Subjects: General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Date: 23 February 2021
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/19650

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