Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Time, symmetry and structure: A study in the foundations of quantum theory

Roberts, Bryan W. (2012) Time, symmetry and structure: A study in the foundations of quantum theory. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Primary Text

Download (1MB) | Preview


This dissertation is about the sense in which the laws of quantum theory distinguish between the past and the future. I begin with an account of what it means for quantum theory to make such a distinction, by providing a novel derivation of the meaning of "time reversal." I then show that if Galilei invariant quantum theory does distinguish a preferred direction in time, then this has consequences for the ontology of the theory. In particular, it requires matter to admit "internal" degrees of freedom, in that the position observable generates a maximal abelian algebra. I proceed to show that this is not a purely quantum phenomenon, but can be expressed in classical mechanics as well. I then illustrate three routes for generating quantum systems that distinguish a preferred temporal direction in this way.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Roberts, Bryan
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee CoChairEarman, Johnjearman@pitt.eduJEARMAN
Committee CoChairNorton, John D.jdnorton@pitt.eduJDNORTON
Committee MemberBatterman, Robertrbatterm@pitt.eduRBATTERM
Committee MemberRuetsche,
Committee MemberValente, Giovannivalente@pitt.eduVALENTE
Date: 2 October 2012
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 30 May 2012
Approval Date: 2 October 2012
Submission Date: 26 June 2012
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 122
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > History and Philosophy of Science
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: philosophy of physics, quantum theory, time, time reversal, T violation
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2012 18:37
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:59


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item