Daily Archives: March 1, 2021

QM 101: Eigen Whats?

Unless one has a strong mathematical background, one new and perhaps puzzling concept in quantum mechanics is all the talk of eigenvalues and eigenvectors.

Making it even more confusing is that physicists tend to call eigenvectors eigenstates or eigenfunctions, and sometimes even refer to an eigenbasis.

So the obvious first question is, “What (or who) is an eigen?” (It turns out to be a what. In this case there was no famous physicist named Eigen.)

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