Particles, waves or none of the above?

  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Reading on QM I find that the P-W duality debate was apparently closed in a somewhat strange and partial way, what I mean is that after proposing in the first years of the old quantum mechanics(Einstein-de Broglie) that the duality was a valid way to look at the new reality, after the 1926 Schrodinger's publication of his wave mechanics a strong reaction by Born et al. against the wave interpretation of the wavefunction ended in a more probabilistic "particled" interpretation of the wavefunction. From then on it seems sometimes like the postulates of QM and the mathematical formulation by Heisenberg and Dirac was a translation of the particles of Classical mechanics in a quantum formulation that fits in the wave function based Schrodinger equation. When this questions are asked in the forums the answers go along the lines of rejecting any W-P duality, and referring to the mathematical formalism, that is pretty much agreed that it represens actually neither a wave nor a particle but something undefinable in words, an abstract math entity.
But it seems to me and please correct me if I'm interpreting wrong, that the current understanding is that particles are here to stay, even if the most explanatory and with most predictive power theory, QED is a quantum Field theory that is explained in terms of both fields and particles, the great success of the Standar model of elementary particles would confirm that the interpretation that succeded ,even if when asked people refers to the abstract formalism, is the good old particle alone one.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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No, I think you are wrong, simply because what is now intended with "particle" it's the quantum system described by QM and that so contains both the concepts of "wave" and "corpuscle".
Probably the name "particle" is not free from ambiguity, even because of popular books.
 
  • #3
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No, I think you are wrong, simply because what is now intended with "particle" it's the quantum system described by QM and that so contains both the concepts of "wave" and "corpuscle".
Probably the name "particle" is not free from ambiguity, even because of popular books.
I see, so you think we migth as well talk about the Standar model of elementary waves or high energy physics can be referred to as "waves physics" , because the fact that the word that prevailed is particle is purely random?
 
  • #4
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I see, so you think we migth as well talk about the Standar model of elementary waves or high energy physics can be referred to as "waves physics" , because the fact that the word that prevailed is particle is purely random?
But even using just the word "wave" would be reductive because quantum systems also have a corpuscolar behaviour. The word "particle" is not random but it persists for hystorical reasons, in my opinion.
I would appreciate if a new, more modern name were given in place of "particles".
 
  • #5
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I would appreciate if a new, more modern name were given in place of "particles".
Good luck with that. I'd like electric charge to be redefined so that electron flow and current flow are in the same direction, the element helium to be renamed so it no longer has the metallic -ium ending, and the meson naming scheme redefined so that the neutral B meson contains a b quark and the anti-B meson contains the b anti-quark.
 
  • #6
TrickyDicky your are right.And you should continue the spirit. I think that it is neither wave nor particle its just energy manifesting in various forms. You may treat them as humans, as we are also made from matter, like in case of humans we define positivity and negativity in which always a balance is preferred as if you are extremely poditive you can't exist in this world and leave it and when you are in the negative extreme like a serial criminal or so you still can't exist as people will kill you!!!!
In case of matter let me assume energy in the form of wave packects,so when it has even distribution and spread out that means it is everywhere in the fabric of universe and has its effect everywhere so we can't measure or observe it as we nothing with respect to which we can perceive it.And when the wave packet is peaked at a sharp point that means its a particle and is at point so you can't find it as it will vipolate uncertainty principle and moreover nothing like this collapsed state can exist or else it will explode due replling inner space time system and there you get another big bang!
 
  • #7
TrickyDicky, I think it is just a question as to how you measure quantum objects that decides whether you have a wave or particle. The word 'particle' itself is a misnomer since this is just a real world analogy to try to explain something that is essentially mathematical.
 
  • #8
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But even using just the word "wave" would be reductive because quantum systems also have a corpuscolar behaviour. The word "particle" is not random but it persists for hystorical reasons, in my opinion.
I would appreciate if a new, more modern name were given in place of "particles".
I agree, I heard sometime the word "wavicle" but I guess it didn't catch on. And I also agree that "particle" persisted for lots of historical reasons.
The term "wave" would probably be reductive too, but I would contend that "wave" encompass more of the corpuscular behaviour than in the case of the "particle" term wrt the ondulatory behaviour of systems manifesting quantum effects.
After all waves carry momentum as well as energy, along the propagation direction and this gives a sort of particle property(with most of the features atributed to particles like scattering, collisions, etc) to a basically collective phenomenon like waves (let's recall collective excitations quasiparticles like phonons, plasmons...)
 
  • #9
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QED is a quantum Field theory that is explained in terms of both fields and particles
My understanding is that even the particles are fields.
 
  • #10
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When a field is quantized its quanta are its particles. In a reverse way for every particle we could define a field which will have as quanta the particle. Quantization of a field gives particles, "dequantization" (though this term isnt used) of particle gives field.

As someone else said here, deep down its neither a field neither a particle we talk about, deep down is energy.
 
  • #11
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My understanding is that even the particles are fields.
When a field is quantized its quanta are its particles. In a reverse way for every particle we could define a field which will have as quanta the particle. Quantization of a field gives particles, "dequantization" (though this term isnt used) of particle gives field.

As someone else said here, deep down its neither a field neither a particle we talk about, deep down is energy.
This is my understanding too.
 
  • #12
I do fell the same TrickyDicky.
 
  • #13
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Well I agree to this, wave and particle terms are just words used to describe the dynamical properties of energy. Plain and simple!
 

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