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Wave particle in the same place

  1. Sep 3, 2010 #1

    This is has been bugging me a while in regards to quantum physics and I figure this would be a good place to get an answer.

    First off I'm no genius so forgive my very basic understanding of QM. I just share an interest in the subject and have garnered the things I do know from DVD's and mainly the work of Amit Goswami.

    So here's the scenario that gets me...

    QM is based on the idea of possibility, so say for example there's a room and in this room there is a baseball on the floor. You blind fold 10 people and have them walk into the room. They stand in segregated cubicles so neither person can see each other all they see is the room. Once all the blindfolds are off, you tell each person to point to where the ball is.

    How come everybody points to the ball in the same place? It surely can't be coincidence that they've all collapsed the same wave particle in the same place or that everybody has 'picked' the same outcome. So what I'm getting at is, where is this possibility that QM talks about, there only ever seems to be one outcome for everyone.

    If the observer effect does exist, who chooses the possible outcomes? Because this suggests it isn't individual but rather collective.

    I hope someone can answers this, I may be totally mislead lol, but either way it educates me a little further.

    Thank you.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 4, 2010 #2
    Re: Scenario

    Your question may need further refinement in order to answer your question.

    My initial response to your question:
    The reason each person sees the ball in the room in the position it is at is simply because the ball is physically located in that position AND the light reflected off of it is detected by the observers. The light reflecting from the ball is diffuse due to its surface - if it were a highly polished material like that of a mirror, it would produce specular reflection and by simple means of determination it would not be perceived as an object at all. However, because human beings are capable of identifying particular optical effects, in this case a reflective surface, it would be perceived as a highly reflective ball.

    Your thought that QM is about possibility is likely the cause of your confusion. QM isn't fundamentally based on possibility - the word "probability" is a common word used in the science, but QM is fundamentally based on the idea that everything has determinable quantities rather than an infinite resolution. i.e. You cannot infinitely subdivide things.

    From the way you put together your question it appears as though you are confused about the light itself that is radiating/reflecting from the ball. As if the light waves are traveling from the ball in a circular pattern, like that of the wave traveling across a pond that you just threw a ball into. And by what appears to be your logic, if an observer "sees" this wave front, it collapses into a particle only at THEIR retina - thereby eliminating the possibility of any other observer to see the ball. By this logic, it would also seem fit to say that the observer who is physically closer to the ball would be the only person seeing it.

    We all know this isn't the case. :) However, trying to mentally model your hypothetical from the perspective that you are taking on how light radiates from an object will certainly lead one to think that what really happens shouldn't happen. The interpretation you have from what you have read has created a mental model in your mind that obviously does not fit the reality of the situation. Dont get caught up in trying to prove that reality is wrong based on something you read - reality is reality. Spend your effort in understanding the proposed theory such that it fits the reality of the hypothetical or develop your own theory.

    :hint: it most likely will be less exhaustive to find the correct interpretation which the author is presenting. :)
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