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Particles being in more than one place at once.

  1. Nov 19, 2008 #1
    Is this something we are sure occurs, or is that just the way it appears? How does this work?
    Is this a sign of tiny microscopic unseen dimensions of some sort?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 19, 2008 #2


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    why is this even related to Astrophysics?

    This is related to the probability interpretation of the wavefunction, i.e this is quantum mechanics.
  4. Nov 19, 2008 #3


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    This is QM, but the concept is more like a particle can be anyplace.
    Not the same as being in more than one place at once.
    I think there is some Astrophysics (as well as some other areas) work being done on "rolled up dimensions".
    I'm inclined to say that the words "tiny" and "microscopic" are not particularly meaningful in this context.
  5. Nov 19, 2008 #4
    no where do we a particle in two places at the same time. that wavefunction is necessarily single valued.
  6. Nov 20, 2008 #5
    This (IMHO absurd) interpretation of QM experiments comes for a difficult to understand lack of imagination from the part of many famous physicists. They are saying that the only way a particle passing through a hole could know if there is another hole close by is to simultaneously pass through that hole as well.

    I wander how those physicists determine how many doors are open in a room. I would say that they should simply look around, not try to pass through all doors at once:smile:
  7. Nov 20, 2008 #6
    Well, it appears to work that way via observed experimental results. Something "weird" is apparently happening; the underlying message from the experimental results is not so clear. The bottom line is that quantum mechanics does not conform well to our senses; on the macroscopic level, consider how odd it is that velocity changes distance (length contraction) and time (dilation).

    Our senses are very limited; our brains less so.

    Relativistic effects on distance obscure measurements on cosmic scales, for example; on the microscopic sub atomic level all sorts of ambiguities arise...momentum vs position,energy versus time, for example....all aspects of quantum uncertainty...there is much to learn.

    Another "confusing" aspect of physics is that there is more math than apparently reflected physical reality. The only way we can usually be sure a formulation is "correct" is via observation and experimental confirmation. So math is a valuable tool, but not the ultimate arbitor. And when accurate it is subject to multiple interpretations. I can claim v=c for my rocketship, but that does not make it correct. And look what Einstein did taking results of Lorentz, Poincaire, and Riemann and seeing them differently: relativity!
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2008
  8. Nov 20, 2008 #7
    For another view of "where to find particles" see Antitunneling thread right nearby here....
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