The relationship between the particle, the wave and the field

In summary, the conversation discusses the relationship between particle, wave, and field in quantum theory, and whether the electromagnetic field is in a sense moving through its own medium or if it is the waves that move through the field. It also touches on the topic of entanglement and the theory of how the various fields work together, such as the standard model of elementary particles. The fundamental enigma of describing the gravitational interaction within the framework of quantum theory is also mentioned.
  • #1
geordief
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TL;DR Summary
Does the existence of a field imply the existence of the particle/wave or is it somehow the other way round?
What is it the we detect in the first instance?
Is it the particle |wave or is it the field?

Is the former more fundamental than the latter in any sense or are we just talking the opposite sides of the same coin?

For instance does the em field create the photon and the electron or could it be the other way round -or does such a "causal" relationship not exist.
 
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  • #2
geordief said:
What is it the we detect in the first instance?
Is it the particle |wave or is it the field?

Is the former more fundamental than the latter in any sense or are we just talking the opposite sides of the same coin?

For instance does the em field create the photon and the electron or could it be the other way round -or does such a "causal" relationship not exist.
The answer to all of these questions is "mu".

"Particle", "wave", and "field" are not three different things with some kind of connection between them. They are different ways of describing the same thing. The usual technical term for that thing is "quantum field", but that does not change the fact that "particle" and "wave" are still just different words for it (or for particular configurations of it), not different things that are somehow connected to it.
 
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  • #3
So ,when a photon, as an example moves through space or spacetime is it in a sense moving through it's own medium -the em field?(the vacuum being the vessel of all the fields)

Since entanglement seems a more or less settled finding does that suggest that the Quantum field may support faster than light connections (not transfer of information,as I understand)?

(Have I gone off topic now?-it is a lot to take in.Is there a theory of how the various fields work together?)
 
  • #4
geordief said:
So ,when a photon, as an example moves through space or spacetime is it in a sense moving through it's own medium -the em field?(the vacuum being the vessel of all the fields)
In simple terms a photon is a perturbation in the EM field. That's one way we detect the EM field: by photon detection events; i.e. where the EM field interacts with the matter fields.
geordief said:
Since entanglement seems a more or less settled finding does that suggest that the Quantum field may support faster than light connections (not transfer of information,as I understand)?
No. There is a long, long thread on this here:

https://www.physicsforums.com/threa...n-professional-scientific-literature.1017491/
geordief said:
Is there a theory of how the various fields work together?)
That's provided by QFT. If a particle, such as the electron, has EM charge, then that means precisely that it is coupled to the EM field.
 
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  • #5
geordief said:
So ,when a photon, as an example moves through space or spacetime is it in a sense moving through it's own medium -the em field?(the vacuum being the vessel of all the fields)

Since entanglement seems a more or less settled finding does that suggest that the Quantum field may support faster than light connections (not transfer of information,as I understand)?

(Have I gone off topic now?-it is a lot to take in.Is there a theory of how the various fields work together?)
I'd rather say the electromagnetic field is an object that moves through space.

Relativistic QT must necessarily be formulated as quantum field theory precisely for the reason that only in terms of a local, i.e., microcausal quantum field theory it fulfills the demand of a causal theory, including the fact that there can be no causal connections between space-like separated events, which implies that there cannot be any signals transmitting information faster than allowed by the speed of light in a vacuum, which is the universal "limiting speed" of relativistic spacetime.

I'm not sure, what you mean by "how the various fields work together". The most comprehensive model about everything related to the matter we really know about is the standard model of elementary particles, which describes this matter as a relativistic local quantum field theory. According to this theory all the known matter is built from elementary particles called leptons and quarks. These interact via the strong and the electroweak forces, described as socalled gauge theories. For these forces you have vector fields and the corresponding "particles" called photons and W- and Z-bosons (electromagnetic and weak interactions between quarks and leptons) and gluons (mediating the strong interaction between quarks). Last but not least there's the Higgs field and its eponymous Higgs particle.

What is unknown is what the dark matter is made of, which is needed to understand astrophysical observations and the structure formation of the observed universe in cosmology.

The really fundamental enigma is, how to also describe the gravitational interaction within the framework of quantum theory.
 
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  • #6
vanhees71 said:
I'd rather say the electromagnetic field is an object that moves through space
I feel like I am talking out of an abundance of ignorance but the em field never disappears does it?

Are you saying that it is the waves that move through the em field so that the em field increases and decreases in strength as one measures it at anyone point in space?

Like the cork bobbing in the water.The water (analogous to the field) doesn't move itself?

Or are you saying the the field (that I picture as a kind of ocean) is actually moving radially from the source of the wave?

Apologies if my question is getting confused or ,worse obtuse
 
  • #7
geordief said:
I feel like I am talking out of an abundance of ignorance but the em field never disappears does it?

Are you saying that it is the waves that move through the em field so that the em field increases and decreases in strength as one measures it at anyone point in space?

Like the cork bobbing in the water.The water (analogous to the field) doesn't move itself?

Or are you saying the the field (that I picture as a kind of ocean) is actually moving radially from the source of the wave?

Apologies if my question is getting confused or ,worse obtuse
The Em field can not just disappear, since it would violate conservations law. But it can get attenuated as it propagates though a medium, like a plasma or a metal.

The wave moves through the medium, not through the em field. Of course the strength of the electric and magnetic field can depends on the point of space.

I think the main problem here is that you are confusing what is the medium, what are the waves and what is field and source. Electromagnetic waves are just electric+magnetic field propagating in the medium, as the name suggests. So the field (wave) can move radially away from the source, yes.
 
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  • #8
geordief said:
I feel like I am talking out of an abundance of ignorance but the em field never disappears does it?
No, why should it?
geordief said:
Are you saying that it is the waves that move through the em field so that the em field increases and decreases in strength as one measures it at anyone point in space?
The em. field is an object. It's presence can be measured by observing the motions of charged (test) particles.
geordief said:
Like the cork bobbing in the water.The water (analogous to the field) doesn't move itself?
Water as a continuum is described by fields (mass density, velocity, etc.) as well and it moves according to the "field equations" aka the hydrodynamic equations (e.g., the Euler equations of the perfect fluid or the Navier-Stokes equations for the viscous fluid, or the various relativistic fluid equations).
geordief said:
Or are you saying the the field (that I picture as a kind of ocean) is actually moving radially from the source of the wave?

Apologies if my question is getting confused or ,worse obtuse
Of course for a concrete physical situation you have to solve the field equations of motion. E.g., if you have a "point dipole source" you get something like a spherical wave around this source (of course with the correct dipole structure).
 
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  • #9

Related to The relationship between the particle, the wave and the field

1. What is the difference between a particle and a wave?

A particle is a localized, discrete object with a definite position and momentum, while a wave is a disturbance that travels through space and time without a definite position or momentum.

2. How are particles and waves related?

In quantum mechanics, particles can exhibit wave-like behavior, known as wave-particle duality. This means that particles can act as waves and exhibit interference patterns, and waves can behave like particles with discrete energies.

3. What is the role of the field in the relationship between particles and waves?

The field is a fundamental concept in physics that describes the influence that particles have on each other. Particles interact with each other through fields, which can be thought of as a medium that permeates all of space.

4. Can a particle exist without a corresponding wave or field?

In quantum mechanics, particles are described as excitations of fields. Therefore, a particle cannot exist without a corresponding field. However, the wave-like behavior of particles can be observed in certain experiments, even when the corresponding field is not explicitly present.

5. How does the concept of the field impact our understanding of the universe?

The concept of the field has revolutionized our understanding of the universe, as it allows us to describe the interactions between particles in a unified way. It has also led to the development of theories such as quantum field theory, which have greatly advanced our understanding of the fundamental forces and particles that make up the universe.

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