A first-quantized proof of the symmetrization postulate
Wagoner, Donald Edward
Duck, Ian M.
Master of Arts
Methods used to prove the existence of superselection rules are studied in detail. It is shown that the known methods of proving superselection rules are applicable only if the superselecting operator is an observable. In particular, place permutations are not observables, so the fact that place permutations commute with all observables does not lead to a superselection rule between vectors of different symmetry types. It is shown that if states not having a definite symmetry type can exist, then it is possible to have several different states which are eigenstates of the same observables with the same eigenvalues. In this case a maximal set of observables does not exist. Therefore a proof of the Symmetrization Postulate (SP) which assumes a maximal set of observables actually presupposes part of what is to be proved. A rigorous proof of the SP must depend only on the weaker assumption of a non-degenerate set of observables. The usual formulation of the Transition Probability Postulate (TPP) is used to construct a trivial proof of the assertion that physical states are represented by unique rays in Hilbert space; however the feature of the TPP which is essential to this proof is not essential to the TPP itself. The features of the TPP which are essential for computing transition probabilities are identified. These essential features of the TPP are then used to prove that states are represented by unique rays. The difficulties involved in rigorously defining the interchange operator Pij are discussed and a careful definition of Pij is given. The uniqueness of the ray is then used to show that states of systems containing several indistinguishable particles must be eigenstates of Pij and must satisfy the Symmetrization Postulate. Finally, the SP is used to prove the slightly stronger result that a given state must have the same symmetry type for each pair of the same species of particles.