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QM and Speed of Light

  1. Dec 14, 2014 #1
    Just to clarify: I only have very rudimentary knowledge of Physics, so please correct me if I am wrong.

    This thought came to my mind after I discovered some youtube videos and articles on the double slit experiment:

    AFAIK, if the information of which path the electron takes is obtained, there will be no interference pattern. In my opinion, isn't this similar to how computer program works? This might sound crazy, but the interference pattern might be a glitch of the simulation we are living in. For example, in video games, in order to save computing power, the game only renders the essential information (eg. what's in front of you, current map, etc). In our universe, the electron becomes a wave in order to save computing power. However, once it is observed, or the information of its path is being detected, it turns back into a particle. Just like web browsers only load the websites we are accessing to, but not download every webpage on the world, because that requires too much storage and computing power.

    Additionally, if you go too fast in a video game, the video game glitches. That's why there are always a limit of how fast you can go in any video games. Unless you use hacks or cheats, the in game characters would never exceed that speed limit, because it would break the game. If we compare that to this world, isn't the speed of light similar to the limit present in video games? You can't go past the speed of light, because if you do, something weird would happen.

    Again, all these above assumptions are just some random thinking by me, after reading articles and watching videos online. There are certainly errors, please correct me! Thank you!
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  3. Dec 14, 2014 #2


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    That's completely wrong. The electron is always a wave. The "which path" and "interference pattern" results are both the outcomes of position measurements. If you ask about the electron's position near the slit, you get one distribution of answers. If you ask about the electron's position at a much later time, you get another distribution of answers. Just as the answer as to whether the sky is blue or not depends on when you ask the question, it is the same for the electron's position.
  4. Dec 14, 2014 #3


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    yeah... the electron is more particle-like in the sense that it has a specific value of charge. And another example is that photons are particle-like in the sense that when one hits a detector, it gives up its energy all at once, very dissimilar to a wave. Going back to the aim if the OP, yes, quantum weirdness is weird. But it is a pretty big stretch to think that we are all existing inside some computer game. For sure, quantum physics doesn't give evidence that we are inside some kind of virtual reality.
  5. Dec 14, 2014 #4


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    The crucial thing to notice is that a superposition of position states doesn't contain more or less information than a state of definite position. You can see via the Heisenberg uncertainty relation that a state of definite position has an indefinite momentum and a state of definite momentum has an indefinite position. The difference between these states is just that the indefiniteness is balanced differently.
  6. Dec 14, 2014 #5


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    Its easy to get confused reading popularisations.

    You need to see a proper analysis of the double slit experiment:

    That requires a smattering of the technical detail of QM, however hopefully you can get the gist regardless of your background.

    Its got nothing to do with wave particle duality, program glitch or anything like that. What its got to do with is each slit is a position measurement so its momentum after is unknown so the direction it takes is unknown hence where it lands on the screen is unknown. If two slits are open where it lands is the superposition of the two ways it could get to the screen and you get interference - the link goes through the math.

  7. Dec 15, 2014 #6


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    Quanta are neither particles nor waves but quanta. That's why modern quantum theory has been developed from 1925 on: The old-fashioned quantum theory was a short period of time, where the physicists learned how to deal with observations that do not fit into the classical field-particle picture. It was a mixture of classical mechanics with ad-hoc assumptions to implement quantum behavior. It was a pretty unsatisfactory affair of state, even to the very inventors of these methods (Planck, Einstein, de Broglie, Bohr, Sommerfeld, ...). Only with the discovery of modern quantum theory by Heisenberg, Born, Jordan, Schrödinger, and Dirac we got a consistent description.
  8. Dec 15, 2014 #7


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    It's an interesting idea, but how would you test it? If you can't test it, it isn't really science.
  9. Dec 15, 2014 #8


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    Test what?
  10. Dec 15, 2014 #9
    A couple things to note:

    Going fast in a video game is hard to handle because our computers must calculate each individual frame and a LOT is changing frame by frame if you go too fast, that is the only reason 'weird stuff' happens. In reality, well, reality is reality: things happen, no computer must calculate a trajectory or anything, so just going fast is a non issue, as far as any idea of 'glitching' the system (the universe) goes.

    I also am having difficulties finding how you attempted to correlate not-loading-the-whole-world in a video game and the electron having EXTRA information because suddenly there are two slits it could have gone through. How might a glitch from a fast moving photon cause the interference pattern? That doesn't seem like a glitch to me, it seems like a highly controlled and well understood phenomenon.

    I find your premise interesting, but only only very slightly based in facts, and not based in physics at all.
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