[SydPhil] [SydFoP] Foundations of Physics Seminar, Thursday 12 December: Philip Goyal on Identical Particles in Quantum Theory

Matt Farr matt.farr at sydney.edu.au
Wed Dec 11 15:37:52 AEDT 2013

The next Sydney Foundations of Physics seminar is tomorrow, Thursday 12th December at 11:30am. Philip Goyal from the University at Albany, State University of New York will speak about identical particles in quantum theory - details below.

Speaker. Philip Goyal (Albany) - http://www.philipgoyal.org/
Title. “Informational Approach to Identical Particles in Quantum Theory”

Abstract. A remarkable feature of quantum theory is that particles with identical intrinsic properties must be treated as indistinguishable if the theory is to give valid predictions. For example, our understanding of the structure of the periodic table hinges on treating the electrons in multi-electron atoms as indistinguishable. In the quantum formalism, indistinguishability is expressed via the symmetrization postulate, which restricts a system of identical particles to the set of symmetric states (‘bosons’) or the set of antisymmetric states (‘fermions’). However, the precise connection between particle indistinguishability and the symmetrization postulate has not been established. There exist a number of variants of the postulate that appear to be compatible with particle indistinguishability, and a well-known derivation of the postulate implies that its validity depends on the dimensionality of space. These variants leave open the possibility that there exist elementary particles, such as anyons, which violate the symmetrization postulate.

In this talk, we show that the symmetrization postulate can be derived on the basis of the ’indistinguishability postulate’ [1].  This postulate establishes a functional relationship between the amplitude of a process involving indistinguishable particles and the amplitudes of all possible transitions when the particles are treated as distinguishable. The symmetrization postulate follows by requiring consistency with the rest of the quantum formalism. The key to the derivation is a strictly informational treatment of indistinguishability which prohibits the labeling of particles that cannot be experimentally distinguished from one another. The derivation implies that the symmetrization postulate admits no natural variants. In particular, the existence of anyons as elementary particles is excluded.

[1] “Informational Approach to Identical Particles in Quantum Theory”, http://arxiv.org/abs/1309.0478

Time. Thursday 12th December, 11:30-13:00.
Location. Muniment Room S401, Main Quad - A14, University of Sydney.

All are welcome!

Please note that we are seeking speakers for future seminars - any area related to foundational concepts in physics (e.g. space, time, matter, motion, probability, measurement, etc.) is welcome, whether theoretical, philosophical or methodological. If you'd like to give a talk, or know of any future visitors who would like to give a talk, please contact me at matt.farr at sydney.edu.au<mailto:matt.farr at sydney.edu.au>.

The schedule for SydFoP talks is available here: http://newagendasstudyoftime.wordpress.com/sydfop/

Details for how to subscribe to the SydFoP mailing list are here: http://lists.arts.usyd.edu.au/mailman/listinfo/sydfop

All the best
DR MATT FARR | Postdoctoral Research Fellow
New Agendas for the Study of Time<http://newagendasstudyoftime.wordpress.com/> | Centre for Time
School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry | Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Room N494 | Quadrangle A14
University of Sydney | NSW | 2006

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