Quantum mechanics and the direction of time

Foundations of Physics 21 (3):263-281 (1991)
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Abstract

In recent papers the authors have discussed the dynamical properties of “large Poincaré systems” (LPS), that is, nonintegrable systems with a continuous spectrum (both classical and quantum). An interesting example of LPS is given by the Friedrichs model of field theory. As is well known, perturbation methods analytic in the coupling constant diverge because of resonant denominators. We show that this Poincaré “catastrophe” can be eliminated by a natural time ordering of the dynamical states. We obtain then a dynamical theory which incorporates a privileged direction of time (and therefore the second law of thermodynamics). However, it is only in very simple situations that this time ordering can be performed in an “extended” Hilbert space. In general, we need to go to the Liouville space (superspace) and introduce a time ordering of dynamical states according to the number of particles involved in correlations. This leads then to a generalization of quantum mechanics in which the usual Heisenberg's eigenvalue problem is replaced by a complex eigenvalue problem in the Liouville space

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From Being to Becoming.I. Prigogine - 1982 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 33 (3):325-329.

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