Talk:Dynamical pictures

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Merger proposal[edit]

I have begun the process of merging the Schrödinger picture, Heisenberg picture, and Interaction picture articles into one article here because there was large amounts of duplicated material, and these pictures are naturally introduced by comparing them to each other.

I have collected essentially all the material from each page, along with a bit of the material from Mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics #Pictures of dynamics and organized it here. It's very imperfect right now, since the different pages used different conventions. Eventually all three pages should redirect to here, although if this article became very large it could be worth pushing picture-specific material to the respective page and keeping this article as an introduction. Jess (talk) 16:26, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

There are many topics in physics that cannot be covered without treading over ground that is also covered elsewhere. That's just part of being an encyclopedia rather than a linear textbook. I think one should also keep in mind that a user is much more likely to type "Interaction picture" into the search bar than "dynamical pictures". Yes, we have redirects for such things, but that does assume that the average reader does so hoping for a comprehensive rundown on all three pictures rather than a refresher on only the one they actually typed. Laura Scudder | talk 20:40, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
I appreciate the desire to explain the relations among these representations. But I would be opposed to this merger. The Schrodinger, Heisenberg and Dirac representations were historically all quite separate and are taught as separate, but related representations. All three are independently notable topics. Also, I have never heard of the term Dynamical pictures used in the context of quantum mechanical representations. Looking up the term on Google Scholar or just Google shows no relevant hits on the first couple of pages. Without reliable references, this may be original research, which we avoid on Wikipedia. --Mark viking (talk) 21:07, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
I appreciate the efforts of this article's author. However, as stated above these are notable topics in their own right, and they should have their own articles. Also, as stated above, this article might be construed as synthesis since this topic, and such a presentation does not appear to already exist. Wikipedia articles can only discuss was is already published in the literature and other acceptable reliable sources. Therefore, I too would be opposed to this merger --- Steve Quinn (talk) 04:22, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
Steve: There are countless comparisons of the three dynamical pictures in textbooks. It's hard to even talk about the interaction picture without discussing all three. No-original-research does *not* exclude intelligently collecting repeated material and comparisons in one place. Just consider what it says in your synthesis link:
"Do not combine material from multiple sources to reach or imply a conclusion not explicitly stated by any of the sources. If one reliable source says A, and another reliable source says B, do not join A and B together to imply a conclusion C that is not mentioned by either of the sources. This would be a synthesis of published material to advance a new position, which is original research"
What in the article has not been published (ad nauseum)? Where are new conclusions drawn? In other words: "SYNTH is not mere juxtaposition" and "SYNTH is not explanation" WP:What_SYNTH_is_not Jess (talk) 14:01, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
First thing that came up in google: [1]. But honestly, the name seems unimportant. It's not unprecedented to have a concept or argument that appears in a thousand textbooks but has no widespread name. I'd welcome a better choice of name with a link to it being used. Jess (talk) 14:01, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
This is, as far as I can tell, an unpublished paper and not suitable as a reliable source. But I don't know of any widespread name for the comparison, either. --Mark viking (talk) 00:33, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
Laura: There's nothing that prevents each article from discussing the details in depth while collecting the basic framework in one place. I can imagine a "for a comparison with other dynamical pictures, see Dynamical_pictures_(quantum_mechanics)" link at the top of each individual picture's page. As I states, my Merge tag was not intended to suggest we must remove those articles, just that the basis material should be moved here. Jess (talk) 13:55, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
That is not what you first proposed: "Eventually all three pages should redirect to here, although if this article became very large it could be worth pushing picture-specific material to the respective page and keeping this article as an introduction." Laura Scudder | talk 16:25, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
OK. I wasn't disputing my first proposal, I was just clarifying that bringing comparison material to one centralized location does not necessitate eliminating all the picture-specific articles. (I was surprised that there was so much push-back to what would be, in my eyes, a clear improvement to the pedagogy of articles which are currently languishing. I'd be very pleased if the response to my proposal were for more picture-specific material to be written in the picture-specific articles.) Jess (talk) 10:09, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
I would have no opposition to an article like this comparing the different representations (assuming it is based on reliable sources, etc.), as long as the Schrödinger picture, Heisenberg picture, and Interaction picture articles remained in place without being gutted. That is, this article would be in addition to the other three articles rather than a merge of the other three. --Mark viking (talk) 00:33, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
Well, it appears that most or all of the material from the Schrödinger picture and Heisenberg picture has been copied here. So right now there is a content fork. All of this material is not required here, since a merge is not likely to happen. A reliably sourced comparison article might work. However, these two representations are already compared in the intro of both articles, so is such an article even needed? --- Steve Quinn (talk) 07:29, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
I agree that if the consensus is to preserve *all* the material in the Schrödinger picture and Heisenberg picture articles, then the comparison page shouldn't exist. I think that would be a bad decision, though. Much better would be remove the comparison material and leave only material that is specific to each particular picture in their respective articles. Jess (talk) 10:09, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
The idea is to develop comparisons further, not remove the material from existing artcles. Yes, there will be some overlap with the first part of the other articles. However, I don't understand the strong push for this aritcle, which seems difficult to support with reliable sources, and which might be supportable only by removing a substaintial amount of material from existing articles that are important to the physics project. Why not move on to a topic that clearly has the support of reliable sources or ample coverage? --- Steve Quinn (talk) 15:22, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
This is not a matter of sources, this is a matter of style and pedagogy. (I note that you did not reply to my request for details on what fact/claims/conclusions you think might not be supported by sources.) And it is silly to suggest that this topic does not have adequate coverage to justify notability. It's undergraduate level stuff, covered in countless textbooks. If you want to dispute style, fine. But don't insinuate this is somehow objectively contrary to Wikipedia's guidelines when a cursory look at the links you are throwing up shows they don't apply. I think my time has been wasted. Jess (talk) 22:50, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
On the contrary. No sources have been presented that support this particular article. And me trying to prove a negative, such as no sources exist , does not seem to be an effective approach. Also, it is not clear what is the intended topic of this article, other than appropriating material from three other articles (via a merger?). Furthermore, Interaction picture appears to cover the comparison of these representations, all three of them. Hence, this probably renders the need for a comparison article moot, anyway. --- Steve Quinn (talk) 02:20, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
"No sources have been presented that support this particular article. And me trying to prove a negative, such as no sources exist , does not seem to be an effective approach." You aren't listening. I did not ask you to prove that no sources exist, I asked you to say which fact/claims/conclusions might not be supported, so that I could go get sources. As I already said, you are really disputing style and pedagogy, not fact, claims, or conclusions. (Style and pedagogy do not require sources to back them up, whatever that would mean, only consensus.) It is impossible to have a discussion with you because you can't or won't be clear on these things. So let me be clear: you are the most damaging editor I have encountered in wikipedia physics article. Editors like you are the reason actual practicing scientists are repelled from contributing to Wikipedia. I say this having long given up my attempt to improve these articles, so I have nothing to gain. I'm just saying it so you might change your behavior. Jess (talk) 22:19, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
I just noticed that another editor opposes the merge here (at Talk:Interaction picture). --- Steve Quinn (talk) 03:02, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

Laura and Mark, thanks for your honest feedback. I think these articles are substantially worse without this merger, but I just don't have the inclination to see this through. Jess (talk) 22:39, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

Hmm .. I wouldn't think a merger is a good idea, for the reasons given above. Indeed, pick just about any topic in math or physics, you'll see something similar going on. Just think of all of the homotopy theories out there, (what, half a dozen, more??) all of which are "identical" and thus could be "merged" into an over-arching overview? Understanding the "big picture" is important, and a compare/contrast approach is useful for that. But also, Details Matter; big merges tend to obscure important details and subtleties by dwelling on the overview. Also, this article strikes me a being a good bit too long. Its got gobs of formulas, but essentially no history, no practical examples of how one *actually does calculations* using these different approaches. (e.g. hydrogen atom for the schrodinger picture, operator algebras for the Heisenberg picture). (btw, use the mergefrom, mergeto tags, not merge tag) User:Linas (talk) 18:18, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

I too would be strongly opposed to an exclusive "consolidation" merge, or, at the very least, until the consolidated product were worked on to be less schizophrenic than the present jumble. In my view, there is no point in protecting WP readers from reduplication. They can keep clicking until they stumble on an article they like and answers their questions. So I see no harm in hugely overlapping articles of the 3 pictures, existing in parallel with this one, when it ends up doing a decent job of bringing them together. But many users go to these self-standing articles precisely to avoid endless casuistic abstract discussions on comparing pictures, reminiscent of a philosophy class from hell. E.g., they wish to go to a Lorentz-neutral picture (with a view to relativistic QFT), and they panic at being thrust to comparisons such as this, which, by dint of statistical prevalence of objects in their coverage, make Lorentz-invariance almost unthinkable! They see the Interaction picture in a footnote or a passing paragraph in a book, and they want to know more, to focus on it, rather than being thrust to a few paragraphs in a longer article, just like their book. I believe there is no such thing as too many overlapping articles; but they should all cross-link to each other. This article has an opportunity to uniformize notation and pick tasteful examples best highlighting the practical differences among the three pictures. Otherwise, it would add up to a long discussion of the self-evident comparative table provided, and most readers would just get to the table and shrug the rest off. But this looks like too much work. If somebody had too much time on their hands, well.... It is up to the consensus of the community as to whether they'd like to tag the specialized articles as "main article" in the respective sections of this one.Cuzkatzimhut (talk) 14:51, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Cuzkatzimhut, this is constructive. I think we could easily construct articles that would keep you happy while also serving my aims, but I've given up on this. Cheers. Jess (talk) 22:26, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

Removed 15-month old merge template as per above consensus. Cuzkatzimhut (talk) 20:12, 5 December 2014 (UTC)


Trashed the alibi-alias analogy since it evidently confused some readers; and supplanted with the self-explanatory dual fluid mechanics picture analogy:Lagrangian and Eulerian specification of the flow field. (Somebody who skipped the math might improperly imagine the time development of the expectation values to be the alibi and the switch between pictures the alias.) Cuzkatzimhut (talk) 01:29, 6 June 2016 (UTC)