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Pearle Publishes Commentary on Feynman Lecture


Philip Pearle
Philip Pearle

Professor of Physics Emeritus Philip Pearle published a commentary paper online in the journal Quantum Studies, Mathematics and Foundations. “Feynman’s lecture utilizing the Aharonov–Bohm effect” is a pedagogical paper analyzing a famous lecture in The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Volume II.

The volume is devoted to classical electromagnetism, except for one lecture that involves quantum theory. In that lecture, Feynman discusses how the notion of force, so central to the classical theory, disappears in quantum theory, to be replaced by behavior of the wave function phase.

Pearle’s paper derives equations that Feynman had just assumed in order to make his point. He presents Feynman’s argument in language appropriate to those familiar with quantum theory, rather than the Caltech freshmen and sophomores who were Feynman’s original audience. 

Pearle also argues that a recent criticism of Feynman’s argument for not providing a classical explanation of the Aharonov–Bohm effect is unwarranted.  

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