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Homework Help: Passage regarding vector and scalar waves

  1. Apr 12, 2013 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    The following is a passage from a quantum mechanics textbook:

    "We find empirically that the electron behaves like a simple scalar wave (i.e., not like a vector wave, such as electric field, E, but like asimple acoustic [sound] wave with a scalar amplitude; in acoustics, the scalar amplitude could be the air pressure).

    My question is, what is meant by "vector wave" and what makes E such a wave whereas a sound (or plane) wave is a scalar wave? Does E not have a scalar amplitude as well?

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 12, 2013 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    What physics book are you reading?
  4. Apr 12, 2013 #3
    Quantum Mechanics for Scientists and Engineers- D.A.B. Miller, pg. 13
  5. Apr 12, 2013 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    My question would be: why would an electric field be a wave at all? Maybe they're thinking of the E field in a light wave.
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