Maurice A. de Gosson

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Maurice de Gosson
Maurice and Charlyne de Gosson
Born (1948-03-13)13 March 1948
Berlin, Germany
Residence Vienna, Austria
Fields Harmonic analysis, Symplectic geometry,
Quantum mechanics
Alma mater University of Nice
University of Paris 6
Known for Applications of the principle of the symplectic camel to physics
Spouse Charlyne de Gosson

Maurice A. de Gosson (born 13 March 1948), (also known as Maurice Alexis de Gosson de Varennes) is an Austrian mathematician and mathematical physicist, born in 1948 in Berlin.[1] He is currently a Senior Researcher at the Numerical Harmonic Analysis Group (NuHAG)[2] of the University of Vienna.[3]


After completing his PhD in microlocal analysis at the University of Nice in 1978 under the supervision of Jacques Chazarain, de Gosson soon became fascinated by Jean Leray's Lagrangian analysis. Under Leray's tutorship de Gosson completed a Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches en Mathématiques at the University of Paris 6 (1992). During this period he specialized in the study of the Leray–Maslov index and in the theory of the metaplectic group, and their applications to mathematical physics. In 1998 de Gosson met Basil Hiley, who triggered his interest in conceptual question in quantum mechanics. Basil Hiley wrote a foreword to de Gosson's book The Principles of Newtonian and Quantum Mechanics (Imperial College Press, London). After having spent several years in Sweden as Associate Professor and Professor in Sweden, de Gosson was appointed in 2006 at the Numerical Harmonic Analysis Group of the University of Vienna, created by Hans Georg Feichtinger (see He currently works in symplectic methods in harmonic analysis, and on conceptual questions in quantum mechanics, often in collaboration with Basil Hiley.[4][5]

Visiting positions[edit]

Maurice de Gosson has held longer visiting positions at Yale University ,[6][7] University of Colorado in Boulder (Ulam Visiting Professor) ,[8] University of Potsdam, Albert-Einstein-Institut (Golm), Max-Planck-Institut für Mathematik (Bonn), Université Paul Sabatier (Toulouse), Jacobs Universität (Bremen)

The symplectic camel[edit]

Maurice de Gosson was the first to prove that Mikhail Gromov's symplectic non-squeezing theorem (also called „the Principle of the Symplectic Camel“) allowed the derivation of a classical uncertainty principle formally totally similar to the Robertson–Schrödinger uncertainty relations (i.e. the Heisenberg inequalities in a stronger form where the covariances are taken into account).[9] This rather unexpected result was discussed in the media.[10]

Quantum blobs[edit]

In 2003, Gosson introduced the notion of quantum blobs, which are defined in terms of symplectic capacities and are invariant under canonical transformations.[11] Shortly after,[12] he showed that Gromov's non-squeezing theorem allows a coarse graining of phase space by such quantum blobs (or symplectic quantum cells), each described by a mean momentum and a mean position:

The quantum blob is the image of a phase space ball with radius \sqrt{ \hbar } by a (linear) symplectic transformation.[13]


“Quantum blobs are the smallest phase space units of phase space compatible with the uncertainty principle of quantum mechanics and having the symplectic group as group of symmetries. Quantum blobs are in a bijective correspondence with the squeezed coherent states from standard quantum mechanics, of which they are a phase space picture.”[14]

Their invariance property distinguishes de Gosson's quantum blobs from the "quantum cells" known in thermodynamics, which are units of phase space with a volume of the size of Planck's constant h to the power of 3.[15][16]

Together with G. Dennis and Basil Hiley, de Gosson laid out examples of how the quantum blob can be seen as a "blow-up" of a particle in phase space. To demonstrate this, they picking up on “Fermi's trick”[17] which allows to identify an arbitrary wavefunction as a stationary state for some Hamiltonian operator. They showed that this blow-up requires internal energy that comes from the particle itself, involving the kinetic energy and David Bohm's quantum potential.[18][19]

In the classical limit, the quantum blob becomes a point particle.[20]


De Gosson's notion of quantum blobs has given rise to a proposal for a new formulation of quantum mechanics, which is derived from postulates on quantum-blob-related limits to the extent and localization of quantum particles in phase space;[14][21] this proposal is strengthened by the development of a phase space approach that applies to both quantum and classical physics, where a quantum-like evolution law for observables can be recovered from the classical Hamiltonian in a non-commutative phase space, where x and p are (non-commutative) c-numbers, not operators.[22]



Symplectic Geometry and Quantum Mechanics (2006)
  • Symplectic Methods in Harmonic Analysis and Applications to Mathematical Physics; Birkhäuser (2011)[23] ISBN 3-7643-9991-0
  • Symplectic Geometry and Quantum Mechanics. Birkhäuser, Basel, series "Operator Theory: Advances and Applications" (2006)[23] ISBN 3-7643-7574-4
  • The Principles of Newtonian and Quantum Mechanics: the Need for Planck's Constant h; with a foreword by B. Hiley. Imperial College Press (2001) ISBN 1-86094-274-1
  • Maslov Classes, Metaplectic Representation and Lagrangian Quantization. Mathematical Research 95, Wiley VCH (1997), ca 190 pages ISBN 3-527-40087-7
  • In preparation: Mathematical and Physical Aspects of Quantum Processes (with Basil Hiley)
  • In preparation: Pseudo-Differential operators and Quantum Mechanics

Selected recent papers[edit]

  • The symplectic egg. arXiv:1208.5969v1, to appear in American Journal of Physics (2013)
  • Symplectic Covariance Properties for Shubin and Born Jordan Pseudo-Differential Operators. Trans. Amer. Math. Soc. (2012) (abridged version: arXiv:1104.5198v1 submitted 27 April 2011)
  • A pseudo-differential calculus on non-standard symplectic space; Spectral and regularity results in modulation spaces. Journal de Mathématiques Pures et Appliquées Volume 96, Issue 5, November 2011, Pages 423-445[24]
  • (With B. Hiley) Imprints of the Quantum World in Classical Mechanics. Foundations of Physics (26 February 2011), pp. 1–22, doi:10.1007/s10701-011-9544-5 (abstract, arXiv:1001.4632 submitted 26 January 2010, version of 15 December 2010)
  • (with F. Luef) Preferred quantization rules: Born-Jordan versus Weyl. The pseudo-differential point of view. J. Pseudo-Differ. Oper. Appl. 2 (2011), no. 1, 115–139[25]
  • (with N. Dias F. Luef, J. Prata, João) A deformation quantization theory for noncommutative quantum mechanics. J. Math. Phys. 51 (2010), no. 7, 072101, 12 pp.
  • (with F. Luef) Symplectic capacities and the geometry of uncertainty: the irruption of symplectic topology in classical and quantum mechanics.Phys. Rep. 484 (2009), no. 5, 131–179[26]
  • The symplectic camel and the uncertainty principle: the tip of an iceberg? Found. Phys. 39 (2009), no. 2, 194–214[27]
  • On the usefulness of an index due to Leray for studying the intersections of Lagrangian and symplectic paths. J. Math. Pures Appl. (9) 91(2009), no. 6, 598–613.[28]
  • Spectral properties of a class of generalized Landau operators. Comm. Partial Differential Equations 33 (2008), no. 10-12, 2096–2104
  • Metaplectic representation, Conley–Zehnder index, and Weyl calculus on phase space. Rev. Math. Phys. 19 (2007), no. 10, 1149–1188.
  • Symplectically covariant Schrödinger equation in phase space. Journal of Physics A, vol. 38 (2005), no. 42, pp. 9263, doi:10.1088/0305-4470/38/42/007, arXiv:math-ph/0505073v3 submitted 27 May 2005, version of 30 July 2005


  1. ^ Biography at the NuHAG website – University of Vienna, ([1])
  2. ^ Numerical Harmonic Analysis Group website, University of Vienna ([2])
  3. ^ Homepage at the NuHAG website – University of Vienna, ([3])
  4. ^ University website, short biography – 2011 ([4])
  5. ^ University website, Research section([5])
  6. ^ - Mathematics Calendar([6])
  7. ^ IOPscience, ([7])
  8. ^ - Mathematics Calendar([8])
  9. ^ Reich, New Scientist – ([9]), 2009
  10. ^ Samuel Reich, Eugenie (26 February 2009). "How camels could explain quantum uncertainty". New Scientist. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  11. ^ de Gosson, Maurice A (2003). "Phase space quantization and the uncertainty principle". Physics Letters A 317 (5-6): 365–369. doi:10.1016/j.physleta.2003.09.008. ISSN 0375-9601. 
  12. ^ M. de Gosson (2004), Phys. Lett. A, vol. 330, pp. 161 ff., and M. de Gosson (2005), Bull. Sci. Math., vol. 129, pp. 211, both cited according to M. de Gosson (2005), Symplectically covariant Schrödinger equation in phase space, Journal of Physics A, Mathematics and General, vol. 38, pp. 9263-9287 (2005)
  13. ^ Maurice A. de Gosson: On the goodness of "quantum blobs" in phase space quantization, arXiv:quant-ph/0407129v1, submitted 16 July 2004 (however, dated February 1, 2008)
  14. ^ a b Maurice A. de Gosson: Quantum blobs,, submitted 27 June 2011
  15. ^ The symplectic camel: the tip of an iceberg?, website of Maurice A. de Gosson, downloaded October 5, 2012
  16. ^ M. A. de Gosson: The Principles of Newtonian & Quantum Mechanics: The Need for Planck's Constant, h, Imperial College Press, 2001, ISBN 978-1860942747, p. 120
  17. ^ Maurice A. de Gosson: A Geometric Picture of the Wave Function: Fermi's Trick, arXiv:1208.0908, 4 August 2012
  18. ^ Dennis, Glen; de Gosson, Maurice A.; Hiley, Basil J. (2014). "Fermi's ansatz and Bohm's quantum potential". Physics Letters A 378 (32-33): 2363–2366. doi:10.1016/j.physleta.2014.05.020. ISSN 0375-9601. 
  19. ^ Glen Dennis, Maurice de Gosson, Basil Hiley: Bohm's Quantum Potential as an Internal Energy. arXiv:1412.5133, 15 December 2014
  20. ^ See for example: B. J. Hiley: Foundations of Quantum Theory in the Light of Bohmian Non-commutative Dynamics, The Finnish Society for Natural Philosophy 25 Years K.V. Laurikainen Honorary Symposium 2013 / 2 April 2014
  21. ^ D. Dragoman: Phase Space Formulation of Quantum Mechanics. Insight into the Measurement Problem, 2005 Physica Scripta, vol. 72, no. 2, pp. 290–295, doi:10.1238/Physica.Regular.072a00290, arXiv:quant-ph/0402100 submitted 16 February 2004
  22. ^ D. Dragoman: Quantum-like classical mechanics in non-commutative phase space, Proceedings of the Romanian Academy, Series A, vol. 12, no. 2/2011, pp. 95–99 (full text)
  23. ^ a b Springer, ([10])
  24. ^ Journal de Mathématiques Pures et Appliquées Volume 96, Issue 5, ([11])
  25. ^ J. Pseudo-Differ. Oper. Appl. 2 (2011), no. 1, ([12])
  26. ^ Phys. Rep. 484 (2009), no. 5, ([13])
  27. ^ Found. Phys. 39 (2009), no. 2, ([14])
  28. ^ J. Math. Pures Appl. (9) 91(2009), no. 6, ([15])

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