Space-Time Approach to Non-Relativistic Quantum Mechanics

Rev. Mod. Phys. 20, 367 – Published 1 April 1948
R. P. Feynman


Non-relativistic quantum mechanics is formulated here in a different way. It is, however, mathematically equivalent to the familiar formulation. In quantum mechanics the probability of an event which can happen in several different ways is the absolute square of a sum of complex contributions, one from each alternative way. The probability that a particle will be found to have a path x(t) lying somewhere within a region of space time is the square of a sum of contributions, one from each path in the region. The contribution from a single path is postulated to be an exponential whose (imaginary) phase is the classical action (in units of ) for the path in question. The total contribution from all paths reaching x, t from the past is the wave function ψ(x, t). This is shown to satisfy Schroedinger's equation. The relation to matrix and operator algebra is discussed. Applications are indicated, in particular to eliminate the coordinates of the field oscillators from the equations of quantum electrodynamics.


© 1948 The American Physical Society

Authors & Affiliations

R. P. Feynman

  • Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

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