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Question about quantum mechanics

  1. Aug 12, 2007 #1
    From what I understand, the idea is that matter is waves, but it becomes solid when observed.

    Obviously that's not the case- the matter obviously isn't self-aware and changes when we look at it. It's obvious that our eyes are designed to see waves as solid matter, kinda like when you look at a magic eye poster and cross your eyes and suddenly the waves come together to look like a solid image.

    Okay, when do I get my nobel prize?:cool:
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 12, 2007 #2
    You seem to be using some kind of analogy to previous classical concepts. Do you know what kind of waves these are? Not like sound waves, but complex valued mappings [itex]\mathbb{R}^3\to\mathbb{C}[/itex]. There is a thing called "wave function collapse", but it is not very close to "something becoming solid".

    When you are good enough. Hopefully not before me. Good luck, and try to be more careful here in physics forums in the future.
  4. Aug 12, 2007 #3
    Right, so when you look at the waves they appear solid to you, right?
  5. Aug 13, 2007 #4
    bump thread
  6. Aug 13, 2007 #5
    You can't observe what stuff does when you're not looking at it, obviously, so strictly speaking you cannot generalize what you see to what you don't.

    If we're speaking about macroscopic matter ("things"), the indetermined state before observation is not that important. This is because Planck's constant is extremely small in this reference frame, so even if you could see things without causing wave function collapse you probably wouldn't notice much of a difference.

    This is why quantum mechanics were largely unnoticed until ~10^2 years ago.
  7. Aug 13, 2007 #6
    No, the standard model says matter is point particles. It remains so, no matter if you observe it or not.

    Literature? maybe:biggrin:
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