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In physics, particularly in quantum physics, a system observable is a measurable operator, or gauge, where the property of the system state can be determined by some sequence of physical operations. For example, these operations might involve submitting the system to various electromagnetic fields and eventually reading a value off some gauge. In systems governed by classical mechanics, any experimentally observable value can be shown to be given by a real-valued function on the set of all possible system states.

Physically meaningful observables must also satisfy transformation laws which relate observations performed by different observers in different frames of reference. These transformation laws are automorphisms of the state space, that is bijective transformations which preserve some mathematical property.


Observable sections
Intro   Quantum mechanics   Incompatibility of observables in quantum mechanics  See also   Further reading   

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