Field and Charge Measurements in Quantum Electrodynamics [with N. Bohr] [1950a]

  • Robert S. Cohen
  • John J. Stachel
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 21)


A survey is given of the problem of measurability in quantum electrodynamics and it is shown that it is possible in principle, by the use of idealized measuring arrangements, to achieve full conformity with the interpretation of the formalism as regards the determination of field and charge quantities.


Pair Production Field Component Quantum Electrodynamic Test Body Average Current Density 
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  1. 1.
    S. Tomonaga. Prog. Theor. Phys. 1(1946); Phys. Rev. 74(1948). 224 J Schwinger. toys. Rei. 74 J1948). 1439: 75 (1949). 651; 75 (1949). 1912; 76 (1949). 790. F. Dyson. Phys. Ret. 75(1949). 486; 75(1949), 1736. R. Feynman, Phys. Ret. 76(1949). 749. 76 (1949). 769CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  3. 3.
    An account of the preliminary results of the investigation, which were discusscd at several physical conferences in 1938. has recently been included in the monograph by A Pais. Developmentx m the Theory of the Electron, Princeton University Press, Princeton. New Jersey, 1948.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    In a paper by Halpern and Johnson. Phys. Rev. 59 (1941). 896. arguments arc brought forward pointing to a far more restrictive limitation of the field and charge measurements. In these arguments, however, no sufficient separation is made between such actions of the charged test bodies as arc directly connected with their use in the measuring procedure and those actions which can be eliminated by appropriate neutralization by auxiliary bodies of opposite charge.Google Scholar
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    Cf. W. Pauli and F. Villars, Rev Mod Phys. 21(1949). 434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Cf. W. Heisenberg. Leipziger Ber 86(1934). 317. We are indebted to Drs. Jost and Luttinger for information about their more precise evaluation of charge-current fluctuations. showing that the unlimited increase of the charge-current fluctuations in a space-time region with decreasing latitude in the fixation of its boundary involves only the logarithm of the ratio between the linear dimensions of the region and the width of this latitude. Even a latitude very small compared with h/mcwill therefore imply no excessive effect of the charge fluctuations. A situation entirely similar in all such respects to that in electron theory is met with in a quantum electrodynamics dealing with electrical particles of spin zero which obey Bose statistics. We are indebted to Dr Corinaldesi for the communication of his results regarding the charge-current fluctuations and pair production effects in such a theory.Google Scholar
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    Cf., e.g., N. Bohr. Report of the Solvay Council(1948)Google Scholar

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© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert S. Cohen
  • John J. Stachel

There are no affiliations available

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