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Text / "Wave Mechanics Without Probability," long thesis with handwritten corrections, 1956-1973

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"Wave Mechanics Without Probability," long thesis with handwritten corrections, 1956-1973
Everett, Hugh
Date Created and/or Issued
Contributing Institution
UC Irvine, Libraries, Special Collections
Hugh Everett III Manuscripts
Rights Information
This material is provided for private study, scholarship, or research. Transmission or reproduction of any material protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. The authors or their heirs retain their copyrights to the material. Unless otherwise indicated, the original files were donated to the American Institute of Physics ( For permission to publish, contact Jeffrey A. Barrett, representative for the Everett estate,
Scope/Content: Hugh Everett's long thesis was submitted to John Archibald Wheeler, his doctoral thesis advisor, in January 1956 under the title "Quantum Mechanics by the Method of the Universal Wave Function.'' It was retitled "Wave Mechanics Without Probability'' and circulated in April of that year to several prominent physicists, including Niels Bohr. Largely due to the criticism of the long thesis by the Copenhagen colleagues, Everett and his advisor John Wheeler rewrote Everett's thesis in the winter of 1957 to produce a much shorter version, which Everett subsequently defended for his Ph.D. under the title "On the Foundations of Quantum Mechanics.'' While the long thesis was organized around the quantum measurement problem and how it is best solved by pure wave mechanics, the short thesis presented Everett's relative-state formulation of pure wave mechanics more as a suitable theory for the development of quantum gravity, cosmology, and field theory. The short thesis no longer contains Everett's chapter on information theory and correlation, his survey of possible solutions to the measurement problem, or his extended discussion of the nature of physical theories. What remains is a distilled presentation of pure wave mechanics, his principle of the fundamental relativity of states, and his derivation of the standard quantum statistics. The short thesis was retitled for publication in Reviews of Modern Physics in July 1957 as "The 'Relative State' Formulation of Quantum Mechanics.'' The version below closely follows the Reviews of Modern Physics article. The long thesis itself was not published until 1973 in the DeWitt and Graham Princeton University Press anthology. It was published under the title "The Theory of the Universal Wave Function." Although Everett did not publish the long thesis, he nonetheless kept a copy of it, and appears to have returned to it periodically to make changes even after the short thesis appeared in print. This document is a scanned version of Everett's personal copy of his long thesis, with his collected comments and changes.
Scope/Content: This document was found in the basement of Mark Everett in 2009 by Mark Everett.
Everett, Hugh III
Quantum mechanics
Pure wave mechanics
Hugh Everett III Thesis, Quantum Mechanics, and Related Materials

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