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EPFL's claim about wave particle duality

  1. Mar 3, 2015 #1
    Recent claims by scientists at EPFL suggesting that they somehow manged to photograph light simultaneously as a particle and as a wave raises more misconceptions than ever.
    The experiment on it's own is an excellent example of recent improvements in technological and experimental techniques, but it's presentation to public, at least in my opinion, is misleading.Here's a link for a brief explanation of the said experiment
    Now, this gives rise to the same "Whether light is a wave or a particle?" predicament. The simple answer is that it's neither of them. It just exhibits properties and follows equations which in classical sense suggests as if the entity is a particle and wave in some weird incomprehensible way and while it's true that the actual quantum mechanics is counter intuitive in many of it's aspect, the attempt to reconcile the wave-particle picture by EPFL does no better than imaging the solution of Schrodinger's equation.
    Is it right to say that the "Photographed" light simultaneously as a wave and a particle?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 3, 2015 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Not really. Its well known that wave-particle duality is a crock:

    So that's not what they really did.

    I wouldn't think so. But having glanced at the paper what they did does look interesting.

    Although wave particle duality is really an invalid concept light does sometimes behave LIKE a particle and sometimes LIKE a wave - so its interesting if it can behave LIKE both at the same time. The big issue however is exactly in this case what LIKE means.

    Last edited: Mar 3, 2015
  4. Mar 3, 2015 #3
    Couldn't have said it better myself. That's exactly what I interpreted when I read about the experiment (Although my knowledge in quantum mechanics is fairly rudimentary.)
    But what concerns me more is the wave the experiment is publicized by making claims as they did at the webpage I visited.
    May be I'm wrong and if so I'd really like to be corrected.
  5. Mar 5, 2015 #4

    Jano L.

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    Gold Member

    It is common for writers of short report articles about science to put very little to no science in favor of fashionable words and inflated claims of something great accomplished. There are probably more reasons for this behaviour, I guess mostly economic (authors need to sell their work, websites want you to click and see their ads). The original scientific article is more prosaic and I am sure it could be made even more accurate and boring.

    As someone has said, everybody needs to eat.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2015
  6. Nov 19, 2016 #5
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