Foundations of Physics

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 133–144 | Cite as

The empirical determination of quantum states

  • William Band
  • James L. Park


A common approach to quantum physics is enshrouded in a jargon which treats state vectors as attributes of physical systems and the concept of state preparation as a filtration scheme wherein a process involving measurement selects from a primordial assembly of systems those bearing some prescribed vector of interest. By contrast, the empirical experiences with which quantum theory is actually concerned relate measurement and preparation in quite an opposite manner. Reproducible preparation schemes are logically and temporally anterior to measurement acts. Measurement extracts numbers from systems prepared in a specified manner; these data are then regularized by the theory by means of a state concept which is in turn used to characterize succinctly the given mode of preparation. The present paper offers, in a simple spin model, a method for determining the quantum state that represents any reproducible preparation.


Quantum State Quantum Theory State Vector Physical System Empirical Determination 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1970

Authors and Affiliations

  • William Band
    • 1
  • James L. Park
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysicsWashington State UniversityPullman

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