Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Quantifying the unQuantifyable?

  1. Jan 26, 2010 #1
    The title might be a little bit of a misnomer, my questions is related but not actually that.

    Is quantum physics grappling with figuring out how to quantify our Universe on a very small scale?
    It seems this is that case in that things appear quantifiable, except that they act in ways which we cannot assign clear values to: It's a particle, but when we work out the math (you know, the quantities) it counts as a probability wave.

    Is this an accurate understanding of the situation quantum physics is in now?
    Is this seen as a problem to be overcome? Or simply an accepted fact that, you can't actually nail stuff down, there's just a degree of uncertainty? If so, are there conceivably any effects of this behavior on a larger scale? Perhaps even if through some sort of quantum system (like a quantum computer, or some other quantum system).

    Sorry, I'm pretty lay - I am constantly drawn in by the ideas of quantum physics but don't really find myself with the leisure to study it seriously, so I hope someone who does know what's up doesn't mind serving as a bit of a proxy for my lame self in the world of quantum physics.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 26, 2010 #2
    As I understand it, the wave/particle duality is not a problem in quantum physics. The quantum phenomena are described well e.g. by the Schrödinger equation. Together with the concept of collapse of the wavefunction, this works exceptionally well in experimental situations.

    There may be interprative problems, but the math is quite well defined and is not known to conflict with any known physical phenomena.

    Do read more about it when and if you get the time. It is very rewarding to improve one's understanding of the strange phenomena that underlie our world, for us inquisitive individuals.

Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook