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Understanding Time Reversal in Quantum Mechanics: A Full Derivation

Gao, Shan (2022) Understanding Time Reversal in Quantum Mechanics: A Full Derivation. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Why does time reversal involve two operations, a temporal reflection and the operation of complex conjugation? Why is it that time reversal preserves position and reverses momentum and spin? This puzzle of time reversal in quantum mechanics has been with us since Wigner's first presentation. In this paper, I propose a new approach to solving this puzzle. First, I argue that the standard account of time reversal can be derived from the requirement that the continuity equation in quantum mechanics is time reversal invariant. Next, I analyze the physical meaning of the continuity equation and explain why it should be time reversal invariant. Finally, I discuss how this new analysis help solve the puzzle of time reversal in quantum mechanics.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Gao, Shansgao7319@uni.sydney.edu.au
Keywords: quantum mechanics; time reversal; complex conjugation; spin; continuity equation; velocities
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Depositing User: Prof. Shan Gao
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2022 04:02
Last Modified: 03 Aug 2022 04:02
Item ID: 21012
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Date: 2 August 2022
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/21012

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