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Araki works on axiomatic quantum field theory, statistical mechanics, and in particular on applications of operator algebras like von Neumann algebras and C*-algebras. At the beginning of the 1960s, in Princeton, he made important contributions to local quantum physics and to the scattering theories of Haag and David Ruelle. He also supplied important contributions in the mathematical theory of operator algebras, classifying the type-III factors of von Neumann algebras. Araki originated the concept of relative entropy of states of von Neumann algebras. In the 1970s he showed the equivalence in quantum thermodynamics of, on the one hand, the KMS condition (named after Ryogo Kubo, Paul C. Martin, and Julian Schwinger) for the characterization of quantum mechanical states in thermodynamic equilibrium with, on the other hand, the variational principle for quantum mechanical spin systems on lattices. With Yanase he worked on the foundations of quantum mechanics, i.e. the Wigner-Araki-Yanase theorem, which describes restrictions that conservation laws impose upon the physical measuring process.Stated in more precise terms, they proved that an exact measurement of an operator, which additively replaces the operator with a conserved size, is impossible. However, Yanase did prove that the uncertainty of the measurement can be made arbitrarily small, provided that the measuring apparatus is sufficiently large.

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