Part III. Invited Papers Dedicated to Max Jammer

Foundations of Physics

, Volume 26, Issue 6, pp 823-846

First online:

Statistical mechanics and the ontological interpretation

  • D. BohmAffiliated withDepartment of Physics, Birkbeck College, University of London
  • , B. J. HileyAffiliated withDepartment of Physics, Birkbeck College, University of London

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To complete our ontological interpretation of quantum theory we have to conclude a treatment of quantum statistical mechanics. The basic concepts in the ontological approach are the particle and the wave function. The density matrix cannot play a fundamental role here. Therefore quantum statistical mechanics will require a further statistical distribution over wave functions in addition to the distribution of particles that have a specified wave function. Ultimately the wave function of the universe will he required, but we show that if the universe in not in thermodynamic equilibrium then it can he treated in terms of weakly interacting large scale constituents that are very nearly independent of each other. In this way we obtain the same results as those of the usual approach within the framework of the ontological interpretation.