# Snake or water

In the wave/ particle duality paradox of light that modern science claims to exist, is the wave aspect more comparable to a snake moving forwards or a wave in the water?

Dave
A wave in water- I suppose.

It means it can have wavelike properties.

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I would say neither, a self propogating EM wave is very unique, it is nothing like either a water surface wave or a snake... What has a snake to do with it anyway?

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Originally posted by mitch bass
In the wave/ particle duality paradox of light that modern science claims to exist,

It is not a "claim", but the description of the results from lots of carefully performed experiments.

Simple example:

1. In a particle accelerator's detector, you do see the tracks left behind by particles, and in many cases you can even tell if the particle that left such tracks was a muon, electron, proton, etc. Here, electrons, for instance, are clearly behaving as particles.

2. On the other hand, when you send electrons to a crystal, an interference pattern is formed on the other side, as if they were waves instead.

Another example is that of "atom lasers". They are similar to lasers, but instead of light, they take advantage of the wave properties of atoms. Here's a http://www.aip.org/physnews/preview/1997/alaser/ [Broken]

There's also the photoelectric effect, the double slit experiment, superconductivity, and lots of solid state physics.

Actually, the very device you're using to write here takes advantage of W-P duality and other QM effects.

is the wave aspect more comparable to a snake moving forwards or a wave in the water?

Out of those two, a wave in the water,... but it is very different from that.

Do you know some linear algebra? It is more like decomposing a vector: if you choose one basis, you'll get some numbers. If you choose another basis, the numbers are quite different.

The basis is determined by the type of property you measure.

(still, this is a very loose analogy).

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Snake or water?

I have yet to see anything that I would clasify a definitive explaination of this wave form, and I have looked. Anyone with a link to a grand explaination of this wave form would be greatly appreciated. I'm looking for an actual 3 dimesional drawing of what that damn wave looks like.

I would add rubber sheet to the mix.
A rubber sheet that gets stretched outward on a plane where the center is pushed and pulled at a frequency to provide waves throughout the sheet.?

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the snakes signficance in response to Intergral

In response to Integral's question about what a snake has to do with me trying to understand this wave aspect phenomenon, I say that if the waves we are talking is a particle moving in a wave formation than you have a single entity that is going forwards. This is different from a wave in the water in which there are no particles moving forwards but only a thrusting of activity. If the wave phenomenon that is contributed to the atomic activity is like a snake, than there is the particles moving ahead but doing so in a wave motion...if the atomic activity is like a wave in the water than there is no particle moving forwards at all, and the photon or electron ceases to exist because these are particles. A snake is a single unit that moves like a wave, it is an entity onto itself and when it goes from one point to another, it does so moving its body like a wave. Do protons move like a snake or is there nothing moving forwards at all like a wave in the water? That is my question? During he wave like phenomenon of light are there particles moving as waves move or is it that there are no photons, no particles, but only a thrust like a wave in the water?

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Originally posted by mitch bass
In response to Integral's question about what a snake has to do with me trying to understand this wave aspect phenomenon, I say that if the waves we are talking is a particle moving in a wave formation than you have a single entity that is going forwards. This is different from a wave in the water in which there are no particles moving forwards but only a thrusting of activity. If the wave phenomenon that is contributed to the atomic activity is like a snake, than there is the particles moving ahead but doing so in a wave motion...if the atomic activity is like a wave in the water than there is no particle moving forwards at all, and the photon or electron ceases to exist because these are particles. A snake is a single unit that moves like a wave, it is an entity onto itself and when it goes from one point to another, it does so moving its body like a wave. Do protons move like a snake or is there nothing moving forwards at all like a wave in the water? That is my question? During he wave like phenomenon of light are there particles moving as waves move or is it that there are no photons, no particles, but only a thrust like a wave in the water?

There are neither waves nor particles. Each concept is really just a model that allows our puny little brains to imagine what the math seems to be telling us. Over the last 80 years we have begun to realize that neither model is a corrrect one.

The new interpretation is that these things that we measure and observe are described by certain mathematical models for which we have no analogy.

But, to understand what we mean by a wave...we are really talking about probability waves. We are talking about things that seem to be in many places at once. We are talking about varying energy densities in space-time. We also refer to things like the strength of an electric field varying as a wave – such as with light. Things that we measure at the atomic level change over time and space according to the equations used also for describing things like water waves and the sound waves. This does not make them waves in the sense that we imagine. It makes them waves in a mathematical sense.

Does the wave refer to an energy wave or is it purely
a wave a probability of where the particle might be.
If it is the second thing and we dont know where the particle is
without measureing it does that mean that the particle doesnt
have a precise momentum and location or does that just mean
we dont know what it is until we measure it?

Also a mechanical wave traveling through water....
Is that simply energy moving through a medium (water)?

Ivan

But, to understand what we mean by a wave...we are really talking about probability waves. We are talking about things that seem to be in many places at once. We are talking about varying energy densities in space-time. We also refer to things like the strength of an electric field varying as a wave – such as with light. Things that we measure at the atomic level change over time and space according to the equations used also for describing things like water waves and the sound waves. This does not make them waves in the sense that we imagine. It makes them waves in a mathematical sense.

From your words - I would guess you could draw on a piece of two dimensional paper...a three dimesional figure that comes close to the mathematical readings.

Go for it Ivan!!

It's never been done before that I know of. Seriously

My interpretation is that it's like the pond wave that continues to expand outward like the ripples in a pond. To add to that the description is moving at C in whatever direction it started out at. In other words - A photon coming from the Andromeda galaxiy (toward us) could be detected in just about any location in the Milky Way. The reading may be different, but still be the same photon.

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I want to check on something so as not to speak wrongly...write wrongly?...post wrongly? I will answer a little later.

[I've got to be careful here or someone may crucify me!]

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QUOTE]Originally posted by RobMan
Does the wave refer to an energy wave or is it purely
a wave a probability of where the particle might be.
[/QUOTE]

Depending on the context, we could mean the probability of finding a particle over some interval in space. In another context, we might mean the electric and magnetic field strengths associated with a photon for example. We might mean the tension in the fibers of a rope, or the pressure in a hydraulic system, or the position of a moon about its planet. Any periodic motion can be described by wave models. In Quantum Mechanics we find these equations apply as well. This was one contribution by Schrödinger - the famous Schrödinger’s equations. A guy named DeBroglie surmised that matter has a wavelength according to its momentum, and Schrödinger surmised that the equations of wave motion would fit the experimental results for this wavelike property of matter. This spoke to the odds of finding the particle in a particular place. Then came the implications.... and LOL did yesterdays meal hit the impellers! Schrödinger once commented that he regretted starting the whole mess. In the end the wave function describes the state of the particle.
If it is the second thing and we dont know where the particle is
without measureing it does that mean that the particle doesnt
have a precise momentum and location or does that just mean
we dont know what it is until we measure it?[/B]

If we consider Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, we find that as we squeeze more and more information out about the exact position of a particle, we destroy or lose more and more information about the momentum. Likewise, if we try to measure the momentum exactly, we loose all knowledge of position. Other pairs like this exist, for example energy and time can have this relationship, depending on the application.

The question is: Does something [subatomic] exist in a unique state if we don't measure it? The correct interpretation of this has been argued for 70 years. The EPR paradox implies that a unique state does not exist. Einstein and friends sought to prove just the opposite. This question has killed cats - Schrodinger's cat - and created universes - the Many Worlds Theory.

Also a mechanical wave traveling through water....
Is that simply energy moving through a medium (water)? [/B]

Yes. The energy is transmitted as a longitudinal wave by compression - water does compress slightly - and by gravity. For example, sound waves travel through water by transferring pressure as a longitudinal wave – meaning that the water molecules are perturbed or compressed in the direction of the wave motion. A simple ocean wave is viewed as a type of transverse wave that moves by dislocating or perturbing the water molecules in a direction transverse to that of the forward motion; typically upwards. In reality a wave in water moves [transfers energy] as a function of both of these mechanisms.

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Arc_Central:
I actually recall seeing three dimensional renderings on two dimensional pieces of paper of the Schrodinger wave function. It only makes sense that such a thing should exist; if it didn't, that would imply that we can't mathematically evaluate the wave at all points in space. The drawing basically looked like a complex set of hills and valleys... if you are dying for it I can try to dig up the book and scan the picture.

zoobyshoe
Although a person is supposed to
abandon the effort to understand
these things in the form of a
mechnical analogy I very much
empathize with the urge to com-
pare it to a snake or anything
that makes it possible to grasp.
According to Planck energy must
come in discrete bundles. These
bundles, though, are required to
also perform the gymnastics of
the continuous wave in certain
situations.
I solve this in the privacy of
my own mind by envisioning particles that don't like each
other, which is their main impetus
to radiate-to get as far away
from each other as they can. This
explains why they continue to
slits but why they can also, as essentially particulate entities,
knock individual electrons off of
metal atoms.
Somehow I can't even start think
tically untill this need to have
a concrete physical model, even
an incorrect one, is satisfied.
So, I enjoyed the snake.

hypnagogue

Actually - I am dying for it. However - I am looking specifically for a photon wave form, and I would prefer it would be a drawing made of a photon out in the dead of space. My expectation for a 3D drawing is that it has at least some aspect of all three dimensions shown in the drawing, or a view of it from three directions with each view in a one dimensional sense. My contention is that if there is any understanding of a photon at all - The capability should be there to draw it up.

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Originally posted by Arc_Central
hypnagogue

Actually - I am dying for it. However - I am looking specifically for a photon wave form, and I would prefer it would be a drawing made of a photon out in the dead of space. My expectation for a 3D drawing is that it has at least some aspect of all three dimensions shown in the drawing, or a view of it from three directions with each view in a one dimensional sense. My contention is that if there is any understanding of a photon at all - The capability should be there to draw it up.

A wave has no definite location. How do you draw a picture of something that has no there? Your question really results from the confusion between wave and particle models...both of which are an incomplete description of the thing observed.

If you go to a chemistry site and look up the shapes for the S, P, D, and F orbitals, you are really looking at the probability distribution for the electron about the nucleus. This is like a picture of the probability wave function. But it is important to remember that that this form is a probability space. It is not the wave function, or the electron, nor is it really a picture of anything. It represents the chance of finding the electron for the given energy state as shades of gray.

zoobyshoe
Ivan, (or anyone)
Can you link me to Heisenberg's
actual words in pointing out
the impossibility of knowing
location and momentum? I have
differ enough from each other
to make me wonder if I would
agree that any caught the gist.
-thanks

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Originally posted by zoobyshoe
Ivan, (or anyone)
Can you link me to Heisenberg's
actual words in pointing out
the impossibility of knowing
location and momentum? I have
differ enough from each other
to make me wonder if I would
agree that any caught the gist.
-thanks

His exact words were: &Delta;x&Delta;p>=h/2pi

I'm joking a bit but not really. Math, not words, is the language of physics. Edit: It is this very dilemma, to put math into words, that creates a great deal of controversy around physics. You see the problem is, it seems that some of the math cannot be put into words. Many people are starting to think that this may be a fundamental limit to our understanding of reality.

egad I never noticed the marxists.org bit. Still, the physics discussion are good...as long as you don't bring up the free market.

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Arc_Central:
I didn't have time today to look up the graph I spoke of. Hopefully I can dig it up for you tomorrow. But the reason I respond now is becasue Ivan Seeking said:

If you go to a chemistry site and look up the shapes for the S, P, D, and F orbitals, you are really looking at the probability distribution for the electron about the nucleus. This is like a picture of the probability wave function. But it is important to remember that that this form is a probability space. It is not the wave function, or the electron, nor is it really a picture of anything. It represents the chance of finding the electron for the given energy state as shades of gray.

Two things. First, yes, the graph I am thinking of IIRC is a probability wave describing the likelihood of finding the particle at any given coordinate, not a 'literal' physical depiction of the particle itself. BUT, it has been my understanding that this probability function IS the Schrodinger wave function. If this is not the case, then what is the official name of this probability wave, and what is the (interpretted) meaning of the Schrodinger wave?

zoobyshoe
Ivan,
Thank you very much for the time
and effort in finding that link
for me. I have saved it and will
read it carefully when time per-
mits. (It is quite long and dense.)
I grasp that there are some
situations where it isn't usefull
to try and translate the math into
words but I don't fully agree with
the statement that "Math, not words, is the language of phys-
ics." My reason is that a large
part of physics involves grasping
spatial and physical concepts, and
this often requires no math. As
a child I used to assume vision
was a function of invisible feel-
ers people sent out from their
eyes. Using words alone my older
sister proved vision was a fun-
tion of light coming into my eyes.
It was my first taste of quantum
physics.

Thank you, again.

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Originally posted by hypnagogue
Arc_Central:
I didn't have time today to look up the graph I spoke of. Hopefully I can dig it up for you tomorrow. But the reason I respond now is becasue Ivan Seeking said:

Two things. First, yes, the graph I am thinking of IIRC is a probability wave describing the likelihood of finding the particle at any given coordinate, not a 'literal' physical depiction of the particle itself. BUT, it has been my understanding that this probability function IS the Schrodinger wave function. If this is not the case, then what is the official name of this probability wave, and what is the (interpretted) meaning of the Schrodinger wave?

You are absolutely correct. The probability wave functions discussed all derive from Schrödinger’s Equation. The complete form of this function tells us the state of the system. By this we mean the observable, measurable characteristic we find if any particular measurement is made. Depending on which operator we use [which mathematical process we apply to the state function] we can derive things like the chance of finding the particle at a particular position, and perhaps at a particular point in time. Other things like the expectation value for energy, momentum, angular momentum, and spin can also be calculated from this. This says nothing about what the "particle" actually looks like. In fact it tells us that "particle" is an incomplete description of whatever it is that we observe.

Ivan

Well it would seem there is no depiction available for what a photon (wave) looks like, although some have tried by using a rock tossed into a quiet pond analogy. I'll consider it - up for grabs. If I choose to draw a duck, or a goat as a depiction for the wave. - I can claim it to be correct with no possibilty of rebuttal. There being no information available as to what a photon (wave) looks like. The pond analogy is as useful as a goat that quacks by your standards.

Although I don't believe this for one minute. The drawing of it is still up for grabs. I shall begin to press pencil to paper.

Cuz I has some ideas where the main thrust is to change wave particle dualtiy to just wave duality. I.E. There aint no particles.

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Originally posted by Arc_Central
Ivan

Well it would seem there is no depiction available for what a photon (wave) looks like, although some have tried by using a rock tossed into a quiet pond analogy. I'll consider it - up for grabs. If I choose to draw a duck, or a goat as a depiction for the wave. - I can claim it to be correct with no possibilty of rebuttal. There being no information available as to what a photon (wave) looks like. The pond analogy is as useful as a goat that quacks by your standards.

Although I don't believe this for one minute. The drawing of it is still up for grabs. I shall begin to press pencil to paper.

Cuz I has some ideas where the main thrust is to change wave particle dualtiy to just wave duality. I.E. There aint no particles.

The best answer that physics has right now is probably this: The photon cannot be described by any such physical model. The point is this: You asked what a photon looks like. The answer is, it doesn't. This is why we have difficulties understanding these things. The more you try to picture these things, the greater your error in perception.

Eyeball to text would likely serve better than pen to paper:
http://www.math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/

http://fisicavolta.unipv.it/percorsi/

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Ivan

Got a question. I've read this somewhere. Can't remember where.

Let us say we had a device that could release one photon at a time in the direction of a number of people. Is it assumed that all of those people could see the photon? Any one person could see the photon?

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Originally posted by Arc_Central
Ivan

Got a question. I've read this somewhere. Can't remember where.

Let us say we had a device that could release one photon at a time in the direction of a number of people. Is it assumed that all of those people could see the photon? Any one person could see the photon?

It seems to me that the minimum activation energy for a rod in the eye is 4 to 8 optical frequency photons. This may not be correct.

We could in priciple make detectors to serve in place of our observers. Then we could do this. Then one detector would trip for each photon...assuming we don't miss.

zoobyshoe
I believe he wants to know how
wide the field of detection for
one photon is presumed to be.
Given several people with infinit-
ly sensitive vision, how many
can be expected to percieve the
one photon?

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Originally posted by zoobyshoe
I believe he wants to know how
wide the field of detection for
one photon is presumed to be.
Given several people with infinit-
ly sensitive vision, how many
can be expected to percieve the
one photon?

One detection per photon. When the photon wave interacts with the field, it will "choose" one spot to collapse into a unique position. So only one person would be able to see one photon.

zoobyshoe
"It will 'choose' one spot to
collapse into a unique position."

Excellent image to help grasp
the photon's behaviour.

One detection per photon. When the photon wave interacts with the field, it will "choose" one spot to collapse into a unique position. So only one person would be able to see one photon.

Let us say that we have one photon with a travel distance of say 100 light years, and two detectors are at that distance, and they are seperated by 25 light years. Either one could detect the photon - correct?

In regards to the wave collapsing to one location - Does the whole of the wave collapse instantaneously?

Also in regards to detection - Are you saying that detection requires the ejection of an electron? Is there any other way to detect the wave? Can a wave excite an electron and still not eject it, and can we detect that?

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Since my intention is to make a 3D rendition of a photon (apparently never been done before). I ask a few questions like the ones in my previous post. This is done for the purpose of constraining the photon down to what it is ...verses what it is not.

Heres another question for the purpose of constraining the photon (wave).

Using the information given in the previous post. Lets say we have two detectors where one detector (detector one) is at the 100 light year mark, and the other (detector two) is at 100 light year and 1 millimeter mark. Lets say that either detector can detect the photon. Must we say that detector one will have the first shot at detecting the photon while detector two will not have it's chance until the time it takes for the photon to travel that extra millimeter?

Any answers to these questions by those that are sure of the answers would be much appreciated.

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Arc_Central:

I fished up the book that I made reference to, but unfortunately it does not have a graph of what a Schrodinger wave might look like. Rather, it made a visual analogy of the Schrodinger wave to the surface of a vibrating drum. So rather than scan the pictures from the book, I can save some effort by just pointing you to a picture I googled up depicting such a vibrating drum surface. Sorry for any disappointment.

http://www1.physik.tu-muenchen.de/~gammel/matpack/html/images/Handbook/param3d_drum.gif [Broken]

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Thanks hypnagogue

But isn't the Schrodinger wave in relation to electron orbits? In other words - This is not a depiction of a photon in the dead of space?

I'm wondering if the pic is a 3D depiction after it is laid out on 2D paper. Do you have a link to the site you got this pic from?

If it is what I think it is. I am quite happy with what I am seeing, and I can still commence with my own depiction of a photon in 3D terms.

arcnets
Originally posted by Ivan Seeking
In another context, we might mean the electric and magnetic field strengths associated with a photon for example.
Here, I can't resist re-stating something that I have stated many times in these forums before:
I think there exists such a thing as a 'single electron wavefunction'. But such a thing as a 'single photon electromagnetic field' does not exist.

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Originally posted by Arc_Central
Thanks hypnagogue

But isn't the Schrodinger wave in relation to electron orbits? In other words - This is not a depiction of a photon in the dead of space?

I'm wondering if the pic is a 3D depiction after it is laid out on 2D paper. Do you have a link to the site you got this pic from?

If it is what I think it is. I am quite happy with what I am seeing, and I can still commence with my own depiction of a photon in 3D terms.

As I understand it, the Schrodinger wave is a mathematical description of a subatomic particle. It isn't constrained to describing only electron orbits, although electron orbits may be subsumed under the general description of the wave.

The picture I gave a link to depicted a 2-dimensional drum top in a state of vibration in 3 dimensions. Remember, though, that there is not necessarily any physical meaning behind the Schrodinger wave, at least in the sense that we are familiar with.

The site that this picture comes from is pretty irrelevant-- I think it's something about programming and/or making 3-dimensional images. Actually, come to think of it, that might be relevant for what you are doing. To get to the site delete the "images/..." part of the URL.

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You can't draw a photon. You can't draw a wave equation. Any respresentation of such would be wrong and misleading. This whole notion results from a misunderstanding of these ideas. You can only draw a representation for the probability of finding a photon.

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