Schrödinger’s equation says that the Hamiltonian is the generator of time translations. This seems to imply that any reasonable definition of time operator must be conjugate to the Hamiltonian. Then both time and energy must have the same spectrum since conjugate operators are unitarily equivalent. Clearly this is not always true: normal Hamiltonians have lower bounded spectrum and often only have discrete eigenvalues, whereas we typically desire that time can take any real value. Pauli concluded that constructing a general a time operator is impossible (although clearly it can be done in specific cases). Here we show how the Pauli argument fails when one uses an external system (a “clock”) to track time, so that time arises as correlations between the system and the clock (conditional probability amplitudes framework). In this case, the time operator is conjugate to the clock Hamiltonian and not to the system Hamiltonian, but its eigenvalues still satisfy the Schrödinger equation for arbitrary system Hamiltonians.

The Pauli Objection

Maccone, Lorenzo
2017

Abstract

Schrödinger’s equation says that the Hamiltonian is the generator of time translations. This seems to imply that any reasonable definition of time operator must be conjugate to the Hamiltonian. Then both time and energy must have the same spectrum since conjugate operators are unitarily equivalent. Clearly this is not always true: normal Hamiltonians have lower bounded spectrum and often only have discrete eigenvalues, whereas we typically desire that time can take any real value. Pauli concluded that constructing a general a time operator is impossible (although clearly it can be done in specific cases). Here we show how the Pauli argument fails when one uses an external system (a “clock”) to track time, so that time arises as correlations between the system and the clock (conditional probability amplitudes framework). In this case, the time operator is conjugate to the clock Hamiltonian and not to the system Hamiltonian, but its eigenvalues still satisfy the Schrödinger equation for arbitrary system Hamiltonians.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11571/1203252
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