Quantum mechanics, like relativity, is a pillar of contemporary physics, with remarkable, puzzling consequences. In these chapters some very simple ‘games’ – distributing prizes of different kinds – are used to explain the implications for ‘identity’. Classical particles have ‘Maxwell‐Boltzmann’ statistics, according to which swapping properties makes a difference; similarly for people, as it makes a difference if we swap bank accounts! Quantum particles with ‘Bose‐Einstein’ statistics (called bosons) or ‘Fermi‐Dirac’ statistics (fermions) are like dollars in bank accounts: if we swap $1 it makes no difference. Chapter 17 shows how Schrödinger used the prize games to argue that – like the dollars – bosons and fermions are not ‘identifiable things’. Chapter 18 extends the models to other possible quantum particles, arguing that quantum mechanics also restricts identity by restricting what states particles can possess together – for instance, Fermi's ‘exclusion principle’, that fermions must be in different states.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.