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

Superposistion and the Wave Clarified ?

  1. May 14, 2006 #1
    The wave is not a real thing. It is a mathematical probablity formula for what we think something "could" be. Since an electron can be in any number of possible positions before we measure or observe it's position, we formulate an idea called it's "superposition", which are all possible positions that it can "theoretically" be in. That does not mean that it is actually in all possible positions simultaneously, and this is where the misunderstanding starts. It simply means that it could possibly be in any position and we don't know until we observe it's position. The wave is nothing more than an idea of ours, not actuality or reality any more than 2a + 3b = c exists in reality. There is no actual wave to be transformed into particles by our observation.

    That is the key misunderstanding. To give a simple example, this is how this idea is being misused and misunderstood. One day, I decide to paint my car. I have 200 possible colors to choose from. You and I both stare at a primer colored car. We both know that this car can be 200 different possible colors. Therefore, it's "supercolor" is all of those 200 possibilities. But it actually is non of those possibilities until it gets painted, let alone all of those possibilities simultaneously. The "all" possibilities is just a concept that we understand, but the car does not actually exist in 200 different colors simultaneously. Now, one day I select blue and I paint the car. The car is now blue. You call it the collapse of the wave, but again, there is no wave to collapse. Only our "idea" of what it could be collapses when the car actually gets painted. So now, I know the car as blue. But you haven't seen what I color I've decided yet, so therefore you still have 200 possibilities in your mind as to what color that car can be. That's your wave. Merely an idea, concept or understanding of your mind. A probability formula. That's all !!!

    So, you come by a week later and you observe the car. For YOU, the wave has now collapsed because you observed the chosen color. But that car was and has been blue for a week now and I know so because I painted it and it's color was completely independent of your particular observation. So no, reality does not depend on an observer before it can come into existence, and your wave was nothing but an imaginary idea of possibilities in your head that you inaccurately carried around for a week after the car was painted, until you observed the painted car. That's a fact. There is no wave to transform into particles, there is only an idea of our mind that disappears upon actual observation of reality. It is merely the difference between theory and reality. While reality does not depend upon an observer for it's existence, it certainly does depend upon an observer for it to have any meaning. That much I'll say. But material matter is always there. It doesn't change from a wave state to a particle state, it is always in a particle state, we are just not aware of which particle state or position or whatever, until we observe it.

    Part of this theory says that our consciousness creates things. To be "conscious", one must be what we call a "sentient" being. But non sentient machines pick up the same indication of stimulus that we do. How come? You might say that the machine doesn't pick it up and record it until we observe it. This is the little twist that is always tried. But come on, I could give you examples that contradict this until the end of time. You walk by a car. You know nothing about that car. You might not even know it's there at all if you are facing in the other direction. The car's alarm is set to be too sensitive to motion. So, it goes off as you walk by. You didn't set that car alarm off by observing it. In fact, it was totally unexpected and you were totally unaware of it and so much so that it scared you when it went off. That non sentient thing made an observation regardless of what you were thinking or observing.

    Ah, next thought. Ahh, but the alarm could not go off unless you moved in front of it, and therefore it actually is the equivalent of an observation. Well, you know we can find a non sentient machine that moves in random directions unknown to us. When that machine happens to come close to the car, the alarm will still go off even though that machine's "consciousness" is not creating it. It doesn't have a consciousness to create it. And with no sentient observers. We only unexpectedly hear the alarm go off in the distance.

    (found on web...seems to present a clear idea) :tongue2:
  2. jcsd
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Can you offer guidance or do you also need help?
Draft saved Draft deleted