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A Naive Question

  1. Dec 17, 2013 #1
    When you switch from Classical to Quantum Physics, as an undergraduate, there is one more thing you lose, after certainty....you lose intuitive understanding. Ok, we can obtain probability amplitudes for this or that, but is there any chance we will ever know HOW it happens? Could we have a theory that actually describes how an electron absorbs a photon, or how an electron and a positron annihilate, etc? Does it make any sense to ask such a question?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 17, 2013 #2
    I'll answer with a few quotations from the giants of the subject:

    "Those who are not shocked when they first come across quantum theory cannot possibly have understood it." - Niels Bohr in Heisenberg, Werner (1971). Physics and Beyond.

    "I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics." - Richard Feynman, from The Character of Physical Law.

    As for particular mechanisms, as with all Quantum theory, the mechanism will be described, or perhaps more appropriately, hidden, within equations. Visualisation is, in my opinion, impossible for this level of Physics, as our brains have, quite simply, not evolved to deal with that kind of phenomenon.
  4. Dec 17, 2013 #3


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    This question requires speculation, something that we do not allow in this forum.

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