Errors and paradoxes in quantum mechanics

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According to one definition, a paradox is a statement that seems self-contradictory or absurd but may be true; according to another, a paradox is a true self-contradiction and therefore false. Let us define paradox to be an apparent contradiction that follows from apparently acceptable assumptions via apparently valid deductions. Since logic admits no contradictions, either the apparent contradiction is not a contradiction, or the apparently acceptable assumptions are not acceptable, or the apparently valid deductions are not valid. A paradox can be useful in developing a physical theory; it can show that something is wrong even when everything appears to be right. Paradoxes in physics often arise as thought experiments. For example, to refute Aristotle's statement that a heavy body falls faster than a light one, Galileo [1] invented a paradox: Suppose, with Aristotle, that a large stone falls faster than a small stone. If the stones are tied together, the smaller stone will then retard the large one. But the two stones tied together are heavier than either of them. “Thus you see how, from your assumption that the heavier body moves more rapidly than the lighter one, I infer that the heavier body moves more slowly.” Such free invention of paradoxes as thought experiments marks especially the development of twentieth century physics, i.e. of the relativity and quantum theories.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCompendium of Quantum Physics
Editors D. Greenberger, K. Hentschel, F. Weinert
Place of PublicationBerlin, Heidelberg
PublisherSpringer Berlin Heidelberg
Edition1st ed.
ISBN (Print)1-283-00370-8
StatePublished - 25 Jul 2009


  • Quantum Mechanic
  • Transverse Momentum
  • Entangle State
  • Thought Experiment
  • Exclusion Principle


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