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Explanation for the double slit?

  1. Jun 6, 2007 #1
    Melarvie’s thoughts on the Double Slit Lamp experiment with the firing of one electron at a time. My only exposure to physics has been a few popular physics books, but I have enjoyed them very much and please pardon my physical naiveté.

    I have been working on a diet book over the past few months and got side tracked into theoretical physics. I found myself thinking an awful lot about the double slit lamp and was wondering if electrons could interfere with themselves via time travel.

    In Richard Feynman’s book, QED, he discusses three fundamental actions:
    1. A photon goes from point to point: since a photon, being light, travels at the speed of light time is taken out of the equation because time does not pass for a photon.
    2. An electron goes from point A to point B in space-time: since electrons travel at some speed less than light time exists and represents the fourth dimension.
    3. An electron emits or absorbs a photon: this is completely arbitrary, it just happens at any time, for instance when an electron changes orbital levels in the atom it emits or absorbs a photon.

    While it is true that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line it doesn’t much matter to the electron which takes every other possible path as well, it seems. An electron doesn’t travel through space like a baseball. It goes a ways and then spits out a photon which changes it direction and a little later it might even absorb its own photon, or a different one which will change its course from a straight line a second time. The electron zigs and zags its way from Point A to B as it emits and absorbs photons. Imagine an electron doing this an exponential number of times between point A and point B, emitting and absorbing photons, and you begin to wonder how it could ever possibly travel in a straight line. But still, if there is only one electron out there in space how can there be an interference pattern?

    It is probably the case that at the sub-atomic scale when traveling at speeds approaching the speed of light, going back in time is as easy for the electron as it is for us to turn left or right on the street. I wonder if the curvature of space time unfolds or becomes more apparent such that the electron can slip through a sub-atomic wormhole and go back in time or perhaps one of the ten other spatial dimensions, not apparent on the macro scale, or the “much less than the speed of light scale” becomes more obvious and as apparent as one of our own three dimensions. An electron that goes back in time represents a negative charge going back and I know that this is called a positron and will annihilate itself, but before it annihilates itself couldn’t it interfere with its earlier version, changing its course?
    Consider the time traveling electron. Imagine an electron going from point A to B, for instance, from the electron gun to the detector screen. It goes some fraction of the distance and then goes from time T back in time to T-1 then emits a photon or something and interferes with itself such that at T-1 there are two electrons, e(initial) which squirts off in a different direction and e(time-traveler) which also takes off on a different trajectory. As expected, time marches on like it always does and at time T e(initial) annihilates or disappears because it was at that point in time that it went back, so it disappears. E(time-traveler) becomes the new e(initial) at a completely new place in the space-time continuum. It is like the electron suddenly disappears and then reappears in a completely different spot.
    Now, imagine this happening some exponential number of times between point A and point B. Beginning to see the picture? I haven’t read this anywhere but it’s probably described somewhere by some physicist and if not then that would make this an original thought. It might not be a correct thought, but it may be an original one. Or maybe it is original and correct, which would kind of make me the idiot savant of double slit lamp theory.
    I’m thinking that there are at any point in time, in a lonely electron’s travel from point A to B, a whole bunch of time traveling electron’s as well, all interfering with their earlier selves like crazy. For an observer, however, time is advancing and by the point in time that he observes the electron he only sees the latest e(initial) because all the e(time-traveler)’s have annihilated or disappeared. But, what if we can make time stand still?
    Let’s say that we have a single bolt action electron gun mounted over the middle of a straight railroad track. Mounted on a handcar is a detector screen that is traveling towards the electron gun at the speed of light. We’ll have to put a couple of athletes like Lance Armstrong and Brett Favre on the railcar so they can pump it really hard to go that fast. Since the detector screen is approaching the electron at the speed of light it should be able to detect all the virtual electrons or e(time-traveler)’s because time is, in effect, frozen. It would follow, perhaps, that with the firing of just the one electron that you would see on the frozen-in-time detector screen an interference pattern of more than one electrons, representing the e(time-traveler)’s as well as e(initial).

    Sadly enough, I don’t think that even Lance and Brett could go fast enough; however, what about firing the electron gun into a beam of light with a second beam of light of different frequency oriented perpendicular to the first beam such that an interface is created which amounts to a wall (screen) of advancing photons. Perhaps our time traveling electrons might be detected in that fashion. Thank you for your thoughts.
  2. jcsd
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