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  • Mathematical Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, Volume 27, Issue 2
  • April 1931, pp. 240-243

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

  • P. A. M. Dirac (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 24 October 2008

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.

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Fock, Z. f. Physik, vol. 61, p. 126 (1930).

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