Against “Measurement”

  • J. S. Bell
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSB, volume 226)


Surely, after 62 years, we should have an exact formulation of some serious part of quantum mechanics? By “exact” I do not of course mean “exactly true”. I mean only that the theory should be fully formulated in mathematical terms, with nothing left to the discretion of the theoretical physicist... until workable approximations are needed in applications. By “serious” I mean that some substantial fragment of physics should be covered. Nonrelativistic “particle” quantum mechanics, perhaps with the inclusion of the electromagnetic field and a cut-off interaction, is serious enough. For it covers “a large part of physics and the whole of chemistry”1. I mean too, by “serious”, that “apparatus” should not be separated off from the rest of the world into black boxes, as if it were not made of atoms and not ruled by quantum mechanics.


Quantum Mechanic Quantum System Interference Term Schrodinger Equation Conceptual Drift 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    P.A.M.Dirac, Proc.Roy.Soc. A123(1929)714ADSGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    P.A.M.Dirac, Scientific American 208(1963)No5(May)45ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    P.A.M.Dirac, “Quantum mechanics”, third edition, Oxford University Press, Oxford 1948. (First edition 1930)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    L.D.Landau and E.M.lifshitz, “Quantum mechanics”, third edition, Pergamon Press, Oxford, 1977Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    K.Gottfried, “Quantum mechanics”, Benjamin, New York, 1966Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    K.Gottfried, “Does quantum mechanics describe the collapse of the wavefunction?”, presented at “62 years of uncertainty”, Erice, August 5–15, 1989Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    J.S.Bell and M.Nauenberg, “The moral aspect of quantum mechanics”, in: Preludes in theoretical physics (in honour of V.F.Weisskopf), North-Holland, Amsterdam, 1966, 278–286Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    J. von Neumann, “Mathematical fondations of quantum mechanics”, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1955. (German original 1932.)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    N.G.van Kampen, “Ten theorems about quantum mechanical measurements”, Physica A153(1988)97–113ADSGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    See the contributions of Ghirardi, Rimini, Weber, Pearle, and Diosi, to these proceedingsGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. S. Bell
    • 1
  1. 1.CERNGenevaSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations