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Wave particle duality

  1. Jan 15, 2007 #1
    I just learned formally about wave particle duality in the class today.

    wave length = plank's constant/momentum

    my teacher said that every moving object has a wave properties with wave length as described. So a baseball flying in a game would have a wave length of about 10^-30. Is it true and, does every wave also have an object in resembelence or only electromagnetic one.

    Sorry for my poor english and thanks in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 15, 2007 #2


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    Oh no, not this subject again. Asking such question in here will (probably) lead to a dispute from which no clear conclusion can be drawn.

    Here i go: there's no such thing as "wave-particle duality". It isn't part of any formalism of any possible physical theory, at least accepted theories.

  4. Jan 15, 2007 #3
    Well, then can someone at least summarze for me what is the current well accepted theory and their counter-argument.

    Its like i had missed a whole lot of hot discussions since I left the forum about a year ago...
  5. Jan 15, 2007 #4
    Here's my take. entities described by quantum mechanics are neither particles nor waves. There is no classical object to make a comparison with and this leads to a lot of confusion. The quantum objects can be labeled with things like momenta and wavelength, and one can go back and forth between the two via planks constant but reconciling an EM wave and a photon is still tough. Think of the two pictures (particle and wave) as seperate models. In certain circumstances one is closer to reality than the other, but neither accurately describes reality. Its up to the scientist to choose which to use in specefic instances.

    One "law" that you can keep in mind is that quantum objects travel as waves (or with the wave characteristics of a quantum object dominant) and interact as particles (or with the particle characteristics of a quantum object dominant)
  6. Jan 15, 2007 #5
    The reason it is silly to talk about the wavelength of of a baseball is that (these clowns) assert that it is a trillion times smaller then minimum length that the (currently) most precise measurements can detect.
  7. Jan 19, 2007 #6
    I really don't follow you.
    So because we cannot detect it with our instruments it is silly to talk about it, and those who do ought to be called clowns? :confused:
    That sounds like anti-science to me.
  8. Jan 21, 2007 #7
    I have a similar question along this line. If I remember correctly there is a minimum size in the universe, which also leads to a minimum wave length. I remember it being derived from plank's constant. Anyways if there is a minimum wave length then this would seem to presume a maximum size or at least tend to say that not all objects have 1 wave length but instead be some sort of sum of the wavelengths of the system that makes the ball?
  9. Jan 21, 2007 #8
    Wave-particle duality is basically only used to explain electromagnetic radiation to laymen. Modern scientists do not shift back and forth between the models as light has one description within quantum mechanics.

    The so called "law" you stated may be useful to laymen, but yet again, quantum physics does not separate light into several models depending on the situation to my knowledge.

    The wavelength of a baseball is much too small compared to its size that it is silly to take it into account. For an electron, however, the size is much closer to its quantum mechanical wavelength and as a result, one needs to take it into account in areas such as why electrons does not crash into the nucleus of an atom.

    I believe that both the wave-particle phenomena and why electrons does not crash into the nucleus is covered in a sticky in general physics.
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