# The Difference Between Wavefunction & Superposition: Exploring Photon Behaviour

• B
• syfry
In summary: This is correct....whether a beam of light or single photons go through the double slit. So when a beam of light goes through, does every photon in that beam interfere only with itself, or can each photon interfere with neighboring photons?
syfry
(For me to understand, please be mindful to avoid a bunch of jargon)

I'm not sure if the proper word is wavefunction or superposition, and didn't find anything in a search of the difference between the two. So will elaborate on the question in my own words.

To begin, as far as I undestand, when you trigger a photon to emit, at some point it'll materialize in a random spot inside an expanding sphere of photon possibility. So a fully formed and definite photon appears only at a location where it interacts within that sphere.

In other words, the 'photon possibility' is an expanding sphere into which the photon would materialize at a random spot.

If that's correct, or the gist of what happens, then my question is:

When a photon either reflects, or refracts, or interferes with itself, (for each of those) did the materialized photon do that, or did the unformed photon do it?

(i.e. did the uncollapsed superposition of photon possibility do it)

syfry said:
...In other words, the 'photon possibility' is an expanding sphere into which the photon would materialize at a random spot.

If that's correct, or the gist of what happens, then my question is:

When a photon either reflects, or refracts, or interferes with itself, (for each of those) did the materialized photon do that, or did the unformed photon do it?

Keeping in mind: a) the details of photon emission/absorption are complex (and other posters may say how incorrect your description is); and b) there is no precise "mental" model of how things work OTHER THAN the mathematical model:

Yes, you expect a photon to be detected within an expanding "sphere" - one without a precise time/place of emission. In principle, that sphere eventually extends as far as the environment allows. A single photon can only be detected in one place. Note that there are significant differences between a single photon and a beam of photons - they cannot be referenced interchangeably.

As to reflection, refraction, interference: these are fairly complex to describe. Generally, the image you might use is that all possible paths from source to detection contribute to the result. Again, this is just a shorthand for the actual details.

vanhees71 and syfry
syfry said:
When a photon either reflects, or refracts, or interferes with itself, (for each of those) did the materialized photon do that, or did the unformed photon do it?
As @DrChinese says above, this is complicated stuff. Surprisingly though, there is a good layman-friendly explanation available: Feynman's book "QED: The strange theory of light and matter" uses a math-free model of these phenomena (also described in a less friendly form somewhere in the Feynman Lectures - I don't have the link to the specific section but someone here will). You might want to give this a try.

PeroK and syfry
DrChinese said:
(and other posters may say how incorrect your description is)
Of course! I appreciate their guidance to the correct description and it's why I'm asking.

there is no precise "mental" model of how things work OTHER THAN the mathematical model

Since observations help to confirm predictions from our calculations, can we leverage that sort of in reverse by hypothesizing visuals and confirming they're mathematically sound and align with real observations? (the visuals would be merely possible observations to guide us, and might be what simulations already do with the calculations also already built-in, but in this case we can guide the visuals so they become a hypothesis if that makes sense)

Note that there are significant differences between a single photon and a beam of photons - they cannot be referenced interchangeably.

Does the difference occur in how we measure, or in how the photons behave?

For example, light will create the interference pattern whether a beam of light or single photons go through the double slit. So when a beam of light goes through, does every photon in that beam interfere only with itself, or can each photon interfere with neighboring photons?

As to reflection, refraction, interference: these are fairly complex to describe. Generally, the image you might use is that all possible paths from source to detection contribute to the result

Is that what superposition is?

Was looking at web page below and wondering if the paths combine into a superposition like the waves in the description there.

https://openstax.org/books/physics/pages/13-3-wave-interaction-superposition-and-interference

syfry said:
Since observations help to confirm predictions from our calculations, can we leverage that sort of in reverse by hypothesizing visuals....
Unfortunately not. The problem is that all visual models are based on our experience with visual observations of classical objects, and quantum objects just do not act according to that experience: they don't have a position, they don't follow paths through space, the theory obstinately refuses to tell us anything about what they might be like or what they are doing between measurements.
For example, light will create the interference pattern whether a beam of light or single photons go through the double slit.
It is also unfortunate that so many non-technical discussions of quantum mechanics obscure the differences between the two phenomena.

The interference pattern produced by a beam of light, first observed around the beginning of the 19th century, manifests itself as bright and dark regions on the screen caused by classical electromagnetic waves interfering when peaks and troughs in the light shining through the two slits overlap in various parts of the screen. We can literally see this, just by looking at the screen - some areas are unusually bright, others are unusually dark.

The interference pattern produced in single-photon experiments is different. We send one photon through, it lands somewhere on the screen, if the screen is some sort of photosensitive film it leaves a dot there. Do this over and over and we will notice that the probability of a dot appearing is higher in some areas and lower in others and eventually a pointillistic representation of the interference pattern emerges.

It is tempting to think that the first case is just a whole bunch of photons coming through all at once instead of one at a time, but that's not right. A beam of light is not made up of a whole bunch of photons the way a stream of water is made up of a whole bunch of water molecules moving together; there is no good classical visualization of the relationship between electromagnetic radiation and photons.

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syfry and PeroK
syfry said:
(For me to understand, please be mindful to avoid a bunch of jargon)
You could try Feyman's "Messenger" lecture on QM. It's the sixth lecture here, although they are all worth watching.

https://www.feynmanlectures.caltech.edu/fml.html

pinball1970 and syfry
Nugatory said:
The problem is that all visual models are based on our experience with visual observations of classical objects, and quantum objects just do not act according to that experience
Possibly another way to reframe the problem is that what we see is emergent instead of its true nature, and there's a psychological alteration as well: our brain appears to fill in the quality we perceive as color when in reality all that occurred was the amount of energy in the light's frequency or in each photon had stimulated our receptors in certain ways.

Seems logical then that it'd cause inaccuracies if we visually model the physical effects starting from our emergent and psychological perceptions of it.

I'm not sure if we've defined a word for the challenge of accurate visuals we can understand, which seems to be a matter of visualization logistics for lack of a better wording.

And I'm not sure how well we've documented our history of efforts to visually model the deepest effects to accurately align with the maths. As a layperson my only exposure has been to conclusions that such effects are counterintuitive, but I don't have access to any studies and trials we might've performed to quantify our conclusions.

Popular science often equates the counterintuitive aspect as super difficult or impossible to show in visual form, but I don't know if they've based that on any studies that attempted that specific goal.

I disagree that counterintuitive and outside of our everyday experiences would automatically mean difficult to visualize. (as plenty of sci-fi with wildly imaginative scenarios should help validate)

Is it possible that instead, we simply haven't prioritized deeply accurate visuals? How much has been budgeted toward that and what's the peer review process? Those are unanswered thoughts that go through my head, and, how do I even research such a thing?

The quantum effects portion of the video below hints at the possibility to visualize quantum effects better, even though the video still has inaccuracies:

they don't have a position, they don't follow paths through space, the theory obstinately refuses to tell us anything about what they might be like or what they are doing between measurements

Great examples! Those are a challenge, and I'm not trying to argue nor to dismiss your points. But it seems the logical thing would be to instead avoid giving them a definite position, don't have them follow a path through space, etc. We instead do something unexpected that will agree with observation and the maths. Or, we try to.

there is no good classical visualization of the relationship between electromagnetic radiation and photons

They're different models so that doesn't seem unexpected. Before 1900s we had modeled time as absolute, then later we treated space and time as relative and changing, for example. Then there's continuous vs discrete aspects of matter, etc.

Obviously you're aware of those. I happen to think with a methodical, collaborative, and double-blind tested approach it's possible to create a more visually accurate model that doesn't unleash so many misconceptions as the current visuals do.

PeroK
syfry said:
The quantum effects portion of the video below hints at the possibility to visualize quantum effects better draw eyeballs to the creator's YouTube channel
This is entertainment. There's nothing wrong with that, as long as you understand that the more you watch stuff like that the more you will have to unlearn.

syfry said:
Obviously you're aware of those. I happen to think with a methodical, collaborative, and double-blind tested approach it's possible to create a more visually accurate model that doesn't unleash so many misconceptions as the current visuals do.
Ultimately, popular science (for good or bad) is for those who do not have the time or inclination to study a scientific subject fully. Or, if we are being harsh, are simply too intellectually lazy!

It's not an alternative to the real thing. If we imagine two students starting a Physics degree at university. One has studied only high-school maths and physics; the other has also read dozens of popular science books. If anything, the former has an advantage over the latter. If you want to learn physics, reading popular science is something of a backward step, ironically.

There is nothing to be gained, IMO, from your proposal to elevate popular science visualisations to the level of science as an academic subject.

pinball1970 and mattt
Nugatory:

I like the reply by a professor of physics in the comments (Art), and even contacted him.

This video is the best portrayal of wave-particle duality in general, and the double-slit experiment in particular, that I have seen. It is the only portrayal I have seen that explicitly shows the collapse of the wave packet occurring at the slits in step 4. This collapse at the slits, due to the detector, is crucial to understanding the double-slit experiment and quantum measurement. Technically, the “which-slit detector” turns the superposition over both slits into an either-or “mixture” over the two slits, while still maintaining a fully quantum diffraction pattern at each single slit. However, the video is not perfect because of the two errors that you mention, one in step (1) and the other in step (4). These could be easily fixed, but this would require re-doing these two steps in the video. As it is, the video will not be widely used by physicists, because nearly every physicist would quickly spot these two errors. It would be bad pedagogy to show this video, with its errors, to students. It would be wonderful if somebody would re-do the video to remove these errors. Art Hobson, retired professor of physics, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville (email)

The bolded emphasis is mine.

Clearly he's someone who tries to better the video channel's attempt, and I love his genuine dedication for expanding people's understanding in science.

He's still using his university email. Reach out to him.

PeroK said:
Or, if we are being harsh, are simply too intellectually lazy!

For the record, I think most of the popular science visuals are either bad or lead to misconceptions by the most people. Not that official science textbooks lead everyday people to any better clarity, mind you. When reading the founder of this forum's story that they aren't good at physics and math, I can relate. I know they aren't intellectually lazy.

My only comment about popular science was how it claims that we cannot hope to visualize quantum because it's too unfamiliar to our experiences, and I disagreed with that popular science view.

Also I pointed out that the video has inaccuracies, and that it shows only a hint of possibility for better more accurate visuals.

So it's nice to see people's opinions on popular science, but the replies don't address my point, since we all agree about popular science.

ceterum censeo
BvU said:
I can recommend reading the Feynman lectures.
There is a series of Feynman himself delivering quite accessible lectures at Auckland.

syfry
If anyone's interested here's the part about not being good at maths or physics:

It comes to many peoples surprise to find I am actually not very good at math and physics. PF started in spring of 2001. I was taking Physics II in high school my senior year. The semester was ending and I found myself getting a "D" in the class. I badly needed at least a "C" to minimize impact on my overall GPA

Maybe things have changed since they wrote that. But there's the story of someone whose actions resulted in helping people to understand science better, with the help of people more knowledgeable in science and math.

People with skills can still help science even if they aren't great at it.

I think with a bit of honest contemplation we can agree they aren't intellectually lazy, right?

BvU said:
ceterum censeo
Oh thanks, yep will check out the Feynman lecture!

vanhees71 said:
The Feynman lectures are completely free online:

https://www.feynmanlectures.caltech.edu/
I'll listen to the one about photons on the drive to work, it's a 90 minute journey.

Gonna listen at the page BvU linked to since I didn't find the photons one at your link on a quick glance and don't have more time to browse. But thanks for sharing that!

syfry said:
1. ...our brain appears to fill in the quality we perceive as color when in reality all that occurred was the amount of energy in the light's frequency or in each photon had stimulated our receptors in certain ways. Seems logical then that it'd cause inaccuracies if we visually model the physical effects starting from our ... And I'm not sure how well we've documented our history of efforts to visually model the deepest effects to accurately align with the maths.

2. As a layperson my only exposure has been to conclusions that such effects are counterintuitive, but I don't have access to any studies and trials we might've performed to quantify our conclusions.

3. Is it possible that instead, we simply haven't prioritized deeply accurate visuals? How much has been budgeted toward that and what's the peer review process? But it seems the logical thing would be to instead avoid giving them a definite position, don't have them follow a path through space, etc. We instead do something unexpected that will agree with observation and the maths. ... it's possible to create a more visually accurate model that doesn't unleash so many misconceptions as the current visuals do.

4. They're different models so that doesn't seem unexpected. Before 1900s we had modeled time as absolute, then later we treated space and time as relative and changing, for example. Then there's continuous vs discrete aspects of matter, etc.
1. Yes, visual models lead to inaccuracies in QM. They can be useful, as you would hope any model is. In science (and other things as well) it is often said: "The map is not the territory" (Korzybski). I use mental models all the time, but I try to keep in mind that saying.

2. Well, this is the rub, right? Of course you have equal access to them, but admittedly they won't make much sense without suitable foundation. I would say that the next step you should take would be one of the following: a) obtain a better foundation; or b) speculate that what everyone is telling you has actually been poorly researched by a lot of very intelligent scientists. I assure you, if you take the time to dig deeper and build on your existing foundation, you will gain ever more insight into the wonderful and exciting quantum world. (Not sure what you get from plan b, but hey, it's your call. )

The reality is that QM is nearly 100 years old. Almost all the "mysteries" of QM were discovered soon after, and pretty much every existing "model" or "visual" has been experimentally demonstrated as unsatisfying in one or more ways. Only the mathematical models consistently work (and even those have a few wobbly elements).

A specific example is your visual presentation of the double slit experiment, and the professor's comment: "... [which] explicitly shows the collapse of the wave packet occurring at the slits". Guess what, there are double slit experiments that flat out contradict that statement regarding collapse. There is absolutely no requirement that anything physically occurs when light encounters an individual slit for the interference pattern to disappear. You only need to be able to obtain which-slit information. You may not follow how this experiment demonstrates what I say, but here it is anyway:

https://sciencedemonstrations.fas.h...-demonstrations/files/single_photon_paper.pdf

3. See my comments on 1. If anyone can come up with a better visual aid, I'm quite sure everyone would embrace it. I can assure you, I have personally read at least 100 (maybe 500) papers attempting to come up with new ideas. So far, it's slim pickings.

4. This analogy has been repeated through the years. But it is extremely misleading and has no bearing on QM. Current theory has been used to make literally thousands of accurate predictions since inception circa 1920's. Current theory has been tested experimentally literally ten of thousand of times. It defies logic to imagine that the outcomes of those experiments, which agree so nicely with theory, would turn out to be "wrong". The best we can hope for at this point is to be able to extend existing physics into realms in which we are currently unable to probe very deep. Dark matter (which does not evidence the strong, weak, or electromagnetic forces), neutrinos (those ghostly devils), and perhaps the energetic interior dynamics of baryons all come to mind. Current theory is weak in these areas precisely because we have little in the way of experiment to help direct us. But the work done in recent decades is moving us forward.

Cheers,

-DrC

mattt, syfry, berkeman and 5 others
DrChinese said:
1. Yes, visual models lead to inaccuracies in QM. They can be useful, as you would hope any model is. In science (and other things as well) it is often said: "The map is not the territory" (Korzybski). I use mental models all the time, but I try to keep in mind that saying... Cheers,

My reply here is mostly to confirm that we're on the same page. Because it'd be silly if we were addressing what we think a person is saying instead of what they actually mean.

With that in mind, I'll ask you to elaborate on some things so that I can respond to what you actually meant since I was unsure (and for that reason am seeking clarification).

And let's clarify something: I agree with almost everything you said. For example, the maths have been the source of most accuracy. That's undisputable.

So got two points to address though:

Of course you have equal access to them, but admittedly they won't make much sense without suitable foundation

Access isn't the problem, as I'd said:

I don't have access to any studies and trials we might've performed to quantify our conclusions

Have we performed studies about creating visuals and then mathematically aligning them to fit observations?

Your link seems to say that when polarizers create differently polarized light, then the interference pattern vanishes even if it's one photon at a time. And then an additional polarizer that identically polarizes every photon will make the interference pattern reappear.

And, the interference pattern will appear after we insert the additional polarizer (the quantum eraser) but before the photons have even reached the photon collector. If I'm reading that right.

And to be honest, that doesn't seem so crazy as a lot of people make it out to sound. (The paper you linked doesn't use such hyping)

Doesn't seem that different than the instantaneous effects from experiments in entangled photons, to be honest.

Instead of labeling those unfathomable, I think it's more productive to investigate those specific aspects for the answers we're missing.

Ok next.

speculate that what everyone is telling you has actually been poorly researched by a lot of very intelligent scientists

If you're viewing my stance as "scientists are wrong" then you'd be incorrect about my stance, which is: to compare Einstein's method with the rest, and conclude that we can replicate Einstein's approach in a collaborative way that's mathematically aligned and has scientific guidance.

Einstein seems to have made the most transformative leaps into theory by one person.

Quantum probably made greater leaps, but its theory was made by many people's experiments. (ncluding by Einstein!)

Several people laid the groundwork for Einstein and they seemed close to figuring out relativity, but he did the thought experiments with mental visuals and then he created the theory, using maths like a lot of very intelligent scientists do.

But he did it without access to our modern equipment that today are still confirming his theory. Someone later did the experiment to confirm that an eclipse would reveal how warped spacetime is able to bend the path of light.

That's what I'm proposing to do: kickstart an experiment to use Einstein's approach way more than we have.

I think people here are zooming into the examples of visuals that I had already labeled as faulty because of their inaccuracy, so the logical thing is for me to stop using those as examples and instead use Einstein as the only example.

Now, continuing.

Guess what, there are double slit experiments that flat out contradict that statement regarding collapse.

My proposal is, we create visuals with the guidance of scientists, and if the visuals are mistaken, then we readjust. And then the mathematicians realign the visuals to fit our observations. And simulation makers will see what they might find using the results.

Let's stop discussing YouTube visuals. We're discussing a potential approach to discovery.

If anyone can come up with a better visual aid, I'm quite sure everyone would embrace it. I can assure you, I have personally read at least 100 (maybe 500) papers attempting to come up with new ideas. So far, it's slim pickings.

Are we talking an open collaboration that's guided by scientists on livestream with the visuals mathematically realigned to observations and then run into simulations?

This analogy has been repeated through the years. But it is extremely misleading and has no bearing on QM.

That was in reply to my response about electromagnetism and quantum being different models after you had said:

"there is no good classical visualization of the relationship between electromagnetic radiation and photons"

But my error was previously missing your earlier part that said:

"The interference pattern produced in single-photon experiments is different".

So now I might understand. You seem to be saying that the models are irrelevant because the two simply behave differently.

The beam of light doesn't behave at all like the photons. Even their interference pattern differs.

Ok, thanks for keeping the thread open while I was at busy and at work. Scrambling now to write this before driving 4 hours to a job.

It'll be a few days before I can reply so please continue to keep this thread open.

syfry said:
My reply here is mostly to confirm that we're on the same page. Because it'd be silly if we were addressing what we think a person is saying instead of what they actually mean.

With that in mind, I'll ask you to elaborate on some things so that I can respond to what you actually meant since I was unsure (and for that reason am seeking clarification).

And let's clarify something: I agree with almost everything you said. For example, the maths have been the source of most accuracy. That's undisputable.

So got two points to address though:

Access isn't the problem, as I'd said:

Have we performed studies about creating visuals and then mathematically aligning them to fit observations?

Your link seems to say that when polarizers create differently polarized light, then the interference pattern vanishes even if it's one photon at a time. And then an additional polarizer that identically polarizes every photon will make the interference pattern reappear.

And, the interference pattern will appear after we insert the additional polarizer (the quantum eraser) but before the photons have even reached the photon collector. If I'm reading that right.

And to be honest, that doesn't seem so crazy as a lot of people make it out to sound. (The paper you linked doesn't use such hyping)

Doesn't seem that different than the instantaneous effects from experiments in entangled photons, to be honest.

Instead of labeling those unfathomable, I think it's more productive to investigate those specific aspects for the answers we're missing.

Ok next.

If you're viewing my stance as "scientists are wrong" then you'd be incorrect about my stance, which is: to compare Einstein's method with the rest, and conclude that we can replicate Einstein's approach in a collaborative way that's mathematically aligned and has scientific guidance.

Einstein seems to have made the most transformative leaps into theory by one person.

Quantum probably made greater leaps, but its theory was made by many people's experiments. (ncluding by Einstein!)

Several people laid the groundwork for Einstein and they seemed close to figuring out relativity, but he did the thought experiments with mental visuals and then he created the theory, using maths like a lot of very intelligent scientists do.

But he did it without access to our modern equipment that today are still confirming his theory. Someone later did the experiment to confirm that an eclipse would reveal how warped spacetime is able to bend the path of light.

That's what I'm proposing to do: kickstart an experiment to use Einstein's approach way more than we have.

I think people here are zooming into the examples of visuals that I had already labeled as faulty because of their inaccuracy, so the logical thing is for me to stop using those as examples and instead use Einstein as the only example.

Now, continuing.

My proposal is, we create visuals with the guidance of scientists, and if the visuals are mistaken, then we readjust. And then the mathematicians realign the visuals to fit our observations. And simulation makers will see what they might find using the results.

Let's stop discussing YouTube visuals. We're discussing a potential approach to discovery.

Are we talking an open collaboration that's guided by scientists on livestream with the visuals mathematically realigned to observations and then run into simulations?

That was in reply to my response about electromagnetism and quantum being different models after you had said:

"there is no good classical visualization of the relationship between electromagnetic radiation and photons"

But my error was previously missing your earlier part that said:

"The interference pattern produced in single-photon experiments is different".

So now I might understand. You seem to be saying that the models are irrelevant because the two simply behave differently.

The beam of light doesn't behave at all like the photons. Even their interference pattern differs.

Ok, thanks for keeping the thread open while I was at busy and at work. Scrambling now to write this before driving 4 hours to a job.

It'll be a few days before I can reply so please continue to keep this thread open.
visuals are not a substitution for experimental and mathematical results. Many people have said so, and explained the reasoning why.

You want people to understand, have them do the math and physics required to do so, until an answer is suitable to them.

Even if you have visuals, no matter how accurate, there will exist groups that will say it's "fake news".

I am occasionally enamored of Opera. We should regularize the use of Merrie Melodies as a tool for teaching Wagner:

PeroK and DrChinese
MidgetDwarf said:
You want people to understand, have them do the math and physics required to do so, until an answer is suitable to them.

Even if you have visuals, no matter how accurate, there will exist groups that will say it's "fake news".
Good timing, as I've had open two tabs since two days ago and been looking for time to discuss them!

A quote from the video at the link below:

"To me, therefore, flat earthers are a warning that scientists should take seriously. The more difficult scientific experiments and arguments are to follow for non experts, the more care we must take to explain how we lead those arguments."

How do you feel about the health of scientific knowledge among everyday people? Why does anyone bother to explain science more clearly on these forums if everyone should do the math and physics?

Tap the 5th comment (by user Mexus) to the next video at the link below, to which user Mistyrious1111 replies:

"This is the most intelligent comment I have ever read in flat Earth vs sphere debate / arguments or even on any videos. I have been completely on the fence on this earth sphere or not, just neutral. I can find just as much and great "evidence" of a flat -ish (non sphere) sphere as I can find "evidence" of a sphere. I have not even heard scientists explain this the way you just did. I wonder why? Thank you."

There are various learning styles and we aren't all the same. Some people can more easily absorb the dry and badly worded jargon of textbook language, while many of us do better with visuals added in if they're carefully considered (often they aren't), and we also do better with a more familiar language that's as rigorous about being clear to users as UX is for design of technology such as a website.

So a proper UX (user experience) would probably always use the word 'model' to label our scientific ecosystems, never the word 'theory' which too often helps feed the misconceptions.

Besides that, there are various reasons why people are believing absurd things like a flat Earth.

Such as a general dstrust, neglecting to exercise the mind, learned patterns of thinking, etc.

We still live in a reality where most of us are short on time and money, or struggling from paycheck to paycheck until they die, a life in which superstitions easily take root and spread.

People who do escape the hardship will often keep their patterns of thinking as habits die hard, and they or their immediate ancestors have inherited a perception of how the universe works, or haven't had the luxury of benefiting from a learning style that better handles the anti UX design in a lot of science teaching.

That's why visual maths will be part of the project.

PeroK
syfry said:
A quote from the video at the link below
This is getting way off topic for this thread. Please keep discussion focused on the thread topic.

vanhees71
PeterDonis said:
This is getting way off topic for this thread. Please keep discussion focused on the thread topic.
Maybe move all of today's conversations to a new post into an appropriate area of forums. And then put a link to that here.

syfry said:
Maybe move all of today's conversations to a new post into an appropriate area of forums.
If you are interested in discussing the other topics you mention in your posts, you should start new threads on them in the appropriate forums. Then, if you wish, I can move appropriate posts of yours (and of others if they request it and want to participate in your new threads) to those threads.

syfry
PeterDonis said:
If you are interested in discussing the other topics you mention in your posts, you should start new threads on them in the appropriate forums. Then, if you wish, I can move appropriate posts of yours (and of others if they request it and want to participate in your new threads) to those threads.
What section would you recommend to start such a topic?

syfry said:
What section would you recommend to start such a topic?
It would depend on the topic. Evidence and arguments for the Earth not being flat would be fine in Classical Physics, since that is more than sufficient to establish the Earth's shape. Discussion of how to teach science would go in the appropriate education subforum.

PeterDonis said:
It would depend on the topic. Evidence and arguments for the Earth not being flat would be fine in Classical Physics, since that is more than sufficient to establish the Earth's shape. Discussion of how to teach science would go in the appropriate education subforum.
It would be discussion how to teach with peer reviewed and tested visuals that are created in an open collaboration. (also heavy on user experience, aka UX)

syfry said:
It would be discussion how to teach with peer reviewed and tested visuals that are created in an open collaboration. (also heavy on user experience, aka UX)
That looks like how to teach, so it would go in the appropriate education subforum.

## 1. What is a wavefunction?

A wavefunction is a mathematical function that describes the quantum state of a particle, such as a photon. It contains information about the particle's position, momentum, and other physical properties.

## 2. What is superposition?

Superposition is a fundamental principle of quantum mechanics that states that a particle can exist in multiple states or positions simultaneously. In other words, it can be in a "superposition" of different states at the same time.

## 3. How do wavefunctions and superposition relate to photon behavior?

Wavefunctions and superposition are essential concepts in understanding the behavior of photons, which are particles of light. The wavefunction of a photon describes its quantum state, and the principle of superposition allows it to exist in multiple states at once, giving it the ability to exhibit both wave-like and particle-like behavior.

## 4. Can wavefunctions and superposition be observed in experiments?

Yes, wavefunctions and superposition have been observed in many experiments, including the famous double-slit experiment. These concepts are essential in understanding the behavior of particles at the quantum level and have been confirmed through various experiments.

## 5. Are there any practical applications of understanding wavefunctions and superposition?

Yes, understanding wavefunctions and superposition is crucial for developing technologies such as quantum computing and quantum cryptography. These concepts also play a significant role in fields such as chemistry and material science, where the behavior of particles at the quantum level is essential for understanding and manipulating materials.

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