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Matter wave, light wave and water wave

  1. Jan 4, 2007 #1
    On Particle-Wave duality

    In the physicists' eyes there are only two kinds of entities/matter. One and particle and the other is wave. I guess it is difficult to find the third one besides the two.
    There are many kinds of particles, with different mass, charge, spin, or others. There are many kinds of waves, such as matter wave, electromagnetic wave, water wave, sound wave, elastic wave, gravitational wave, and many others. Welcome to add much more to the list.
    The Universe and the world is composed of only two things, particles and waves. This is my little discovery :biggrin: :blushing: of physics. Just as the Greek philosophers thought the world is composed of fire, earth, air, water. [1]
    Particles are point like, rigid, indestructible (of course today they can change into other particles nowadays). While waves are dispersive in the whole universe, soft and they can wax and wane. The result of adding two particles are two particles. While when you add two waves, you often get one wave. A particle moves in a line. While a wave propagates in every path (Feynman's. I do not know whether there are some path integrals for the light wave or water wave).

    If you think you can unite a particle and a wave into oneness, you actually argue water could not quench fire. As the saying "Hot water will quench fire" goes, a particle and a wave could not stay with each other peacefully.

    When we talk about Hamilton's old dream and argue about Particle-Wave duality, it is difficult to keep peaceful. Of course there is another way to look at the problem. The new way is Bohr's Complementarity.
    Niles Bohr states: There is no quantum world. There is only an abstract physical description. It is wrong to think that the task of physics is to find out how nature is. Physics concerns what we can say about nature.[2]
    But I still have some problems.
    First, is there a third entity, which is impossible to described by as particles and waves?
    Second, when does a wave degenerate into a particle? The nature of the Correspondence Principle proposed by Bohr is different from the relation between Classical Mechanics and Special Relativity.
    Third, Could one really unite the two into oneness?

    [2]:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complementarity_(physics [Broken])
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 4, 2007 #2
    In classical physics we indeed make a distinction between particles and waves. At the atomic scale, there is only 1 formalism that describes nature : QM. So the inherent particle wave duality in QM does NOT imply there are two visions of QM. This is a very common misconception. Even, when you study the formalism of QM, the distinction between particles and waves is never made. The latter are just concepts we know from classical physics. My point : there is ONLY ONE formalism that properly describes atomic scaled fenomena, ie QM. So, no "particle view" and "wave view" of QM.

    Besides, the issues you are asking about have been dealt with in a couple of recent threads. Do a search on "particle wave duality".

  4. Jan 4, 2007 #3
    Quantum River:” When we talk about Hamilton's old dream and argue about Particle-Wave duality, it is difficult to keep peaceful”
    ”the action S doesn't obey the usual Hamilton-Jacobi equation. Actually, I feel somewhat sick about the Quantum Potential.”

    Greek philosophers and Niles Bohr statements will not help you.
    Get rid of the Quantum Potential and you will sign the peace treaty.
  5. Jan 26, 2007 #4
    String theory
    The basic idea behind all string theories is that the fundamental constituents of reality are strings of extremely small scale (possibly Planck length, about 10−35 m) which vibrate at specific resonant frequencies. Thus, any particle should be thought of as a tiny vibrating object, rather than as a point. This object can vibrate in different modes (just as a guitar string can produce different notes), with every mode appearing as a different particle (electron, photon etc.). Strings can split and combine, which would appear as particles emitting and absorbing other particles, presumably giving rise to the known interactions between particles.
  6. Jan 27, 2007 #5


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    Is a 'string' composed of particles that create waves, or waves that create particles? Which came first, the particle or the wave?
  7. Sep 13, 2009 #6
    The vibrations are not of any particle but vibrations of energy. That's it. No need to confuse oneself with particle and waves.
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