Computable functions, quantum measurements, and quantum dynamics


Abstract
Quantum mechanical measurements on a physical system are represented by observables - Hermitian operators on the state space of the observed system. It is an important question whether all observables may be realized, in principle, as measurements on a physical system. Dirac’s influential text ( [1], page 37) makes the following assertion on the question: The question now presents itself – Can every observable be measured? The answer theoretically is yes. In practice it may be very awkward, or perhaps even beyond the ingenuity of the experimenter, to devise an apparatus which could measure some particular observable, but the theory always allows one to imagine that the measurement can be made. This Letter re-examines the question of whether it is possible, even in principle, to measure every quantum mechanical observable. Unexpectedly, ideas from com-
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