Classical and Quantum Statistics in Partition of Highly Degenerate Light

  • F. De Martini
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSB, volume 190)


The statistical properties of photons have been found to be well accounted for by the methods of Quantum Electrodynamics. In spite of this satisfactory situation, recently the attention of some theoretical physicists has been attracted by an interesting paradox which shows, in the context of light beam-splitting, the existence of a surprising conflict between the expectations of QED and those dictated by the indistinguishability property of the photon 1,2. Let us present the problem first.


Quantum Correlation Indistinguishability Principle Quantum Measurement Theory Indistinguishability Hypothesis Partition Probability 
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    Consider the first part of the following aphorism by Ludwig Wittgenstein: “We cannot think what we cannot think; so what we cannot think we cannot say either”. (L.Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logicus Philosophicus,5.61. The Humanities Press, New Jersey, 1974). In our case, if the hypothesis of intrinsic particle indistinguishability is adopted, this hypotesis cannot be violated in any step of the development of a valid formal theory. It appears evident to us that, if a correct theory (like the wavefunctionsymmetrization theory) cannot be formulated without making recourse to a side assumption that violates an hypothesis, that hypothesis itself is false. Then, in our case the “indistinguishability hypothesis” should be rejected, on logical grounds. Although this way of reasoning may appear somewhat artificial, it is nevertheless similar to the one used by N.Bohr in his debate with Einstein on the EPR argument. Cfr. N.Bohr, in: P.A.Schlipp ed., Albert Einstein Scientist Philosopher,Cambridge University Press, 1982.Google Scholar
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    The validity of this proposition is being tested experimentally in our Laboratory by reproducing “microscopic” photon-momentum transfer effects in a macroscopic IF, under controlled conditions. Preliminary results validate our proposition. (B-E) Hanbury Brown-Twiss effects in hadron-hadron scattering have been investigated by: G.Goldhaber, W.B.Fowler, S.Goldhaber, T.F.Hoang, T.E. Kalogropoulos and W.R.Powell, Phys.Rev.Lett. 3, 181, 1959; G.Goldhaber, W.Lee and A.Pais, Phys.Rev. 120, 300, 1960; A.Giovannini, G.C.Mantovani and S.P.Ratti: “Old and New Variables, Old and New Optical Concepts in High-Energy Hadron-Hadron Scattering”, Rivista del Nuovo Cimento, 2, 1, 1979.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. De Martini
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di FisicaUniversità di Roma IRomaItaly

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