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HSQM2006

HSQM2006

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2006 Lecture Notes onHilbert Spaces and Quantum Mechanics
Draft: December 22, 2006
N.P. Landsman
Institute for Mathematics, Astrophysics, and Particle PhysicsRadboud University NijmegenToernooiveld 16525 ED NIJMEGENTHE NETHERLANDSemail:
landsman@math.ru.nl
website:
http://www.math.ru.nl/
landsman/HSQM.html
tel.: 024-3652874office: HG03.078
 
2
 
Chapter I
Historical notes and overview
I.1 Introduction
The concept of a Hilbert space is seemingly technical and special. For example, the reader hasprobably heard of the space
2
(or, more precisely,
2
(
Z
)) of square-summable sequences of realor complex numbers.
1
That is,
2
consists of all infinite sequences
{
...,c
2
,c
1
,c
0
,c
1
,c
2
,...
}
,
c
k
K
, for which
k
=
−∞
|
c
k
|
2
<
.
Another example of a Hilbert space one might have seen is the space
L
2
(
R
) of square-integrablecomplex-valued functions on
R
, that is, of all functions
2
:
R
K
for which
 
−∞
dx
|
(
x
)
|
2
<
.
In view of their special nature, it may therefore come as a surprise that Hilbert spaces playa central role in many areas of mathematics, notably in analysis, but also including (differential)geometry, group theory, stochastics, and even number theory. In addition, the notion of a Hilbertspace provides the mathematical foundation of quantum mechanics. Indeed, the definition of aHilbert space was first given by von Neumann (rather than Hilbert!) in 1927 precisely for thelatter purpose. However, despite his exceptional brilliance, even von Neumann would probablynot have been able to do so without the preparatory work in pure mathematics by Hilbert andothers, which produced numerous constructions (like the ones mentioned above) that are nowregarded as examples of the abstract notion of a Hilbert space. It is quite remarkable how aparticular development within pure mathematics crossed one in theoretical physics in this way;this crossing is reminiscent to the one leading to the calculus around 1670; see below. Today, themost spectacular new application of Hilbert space theory is given by Noncommutative Geometry[3], where the motivation from pure mathematics is merged with the physical input from quantummechanics. Consequently, this is an important field of research in pure mathematics as well as inmathematical physics.In what follows, we shall separately trace the origins of the concept of a Hilbert space inmathematics and physics. As we shall see, Hilbert space theory is part of functional analysis,an area of mathematics that emerged between approximately 1880–1930. Functional analysis isalmost indistinguishable from what is sometimes called ‘abstract analysis’ or ‘modern analysis,’
1
In what follows, we mainly work over the reals in order to serve intuition, but many infinite-dimensional vectorspaces, especially Hilbert spaces, are defined over the complex numbers. Hence we will write our formulae in a waythat is correct also for
C
instead of 
R
. Of course, for
z
R
the expression
|
z
|
2
is just
z
2
. We will occasionally usethe fancy letter
K
, for
K¨ orper 
, which in these notes stands for either
K
=
R
or
K
=
C
.
2
As we shall see, the elements of 
L
2
(
R
) are, strictly speaking, not simply functions but equivalence classes of Borel functions. For detailed information we recommend the course
Maat en Integraal 
by Professor A. van Rooij,which runs parallel to the present one.
3

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