Statistical Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, Reviews of Modern Physics 42, October 1970 [BASIS FOR THE STATISTICAL OR ENSEMBLE INTERPRETATION OF QUANTUM MECHANICS]

Lancaster: American Physical Society, 1970. 1st Edition. FIRST EDITION IN ORIGINAL WRAPS OF A PAPER BY BALLENTINE WHICH WOULD BECOME THE BASIS FOR THE STATISTICAL OR ENSEMBLE INTERPRETATION OF QUANTUM MECHANICS, A THEORY EINSTEIN HAD EARLIER “INSISTED WAS THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE INTERPRETATION OF THE QUANTUM THEORY” (Reed, Deltete, Foundations of Physics 20, 1990, 943). Einstein argued “that this way of understanding the quantum formalism eliminated all the problems associated with interpreting the theory as a complete description of individual systems. But he never developed his ensemble interpretation in any detail or explained how it was supposed to resolve the difficulties with the individual interpretation” (Reed, Deltete, Foundations of Physics 20, 1990, 943). That development, detailing and explanation is what Ballentine does in this paper.

“The statistical interpretation of quantum mechanics takes Max Born’s statistical interpretation of Schrodinger’s wave equations to its logical conclusion (see Born’s three papers on the statistical interpretation of wave equations). It states that the wave function does not apply to an individual system – or for example, a single particle – but is an abstract statistical quantity that only applies to an ensemble of similar systems or particles (History of Physics: The Wenner Collection). Albert Einstein continued to be the most notable supporter of this type of interpretation.

That said, the publication of the paper was contentious: The Reviews of Modern Physics only decided to publish Ballentine’s paper “after an apparently inordinate amount of soul-searching by editor and referees [because] it constituted a comprehensive onslaught on the Copenhagen Interpretation” (Home, Whitaker, Ensemble Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, A Modern Perspective, 226). A single page “editorial comment,” essentially a justification, preceded Ballentine’s paper.

The Copenhagen Interpretation had raised many problems, and Ballentine’s paper showed “that the ensemble interpretation (or statistical interpretation, as he called it) was capable of dealing with all of them,” just as Einstein had earlier argued but not developed (ibid). That work was left to Ballentine and is presented in this paper. Item #1595

CONDITION & DETAILS: First edition in original wraps. Lancaster: American Physical Society. 4to (10.75 x 8 inches; 268 x 200mm). Not ex-library. The issue is pristine outside and in with one exception: the Ballentine paper is the first in the issue -- some point it loosened and has been reattached. Other than that, near fine.

Price: $175.00