Mathematical Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society

Research Article

Note on the Interpretation of the Density Matrix in the Many-Electron Problem

P. A. M. Diraca1

a1 St John's College.

When we treat an atom containing a number n of electrons by the method of the self-consistent field, we assume that each electron has its own particular “orbit,” specified by a wave function (q|r) in four variables q. These four variables are usually taken to be the three coordinates of the electron together with a variable describing the spin, but according to the transformation theory of quantum mechanics, they may be any four independent commuting functions of the coordinates, momenta and spin variables.

(Accepted December 08 1930)