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

Waves or particles or waves of particles?

  1. Dec 21, 2007 #1
    What I'm trying to understand is, are light waves like waves on a string, you know where the waves travell along the string, but the string, the source of the wave, ends up in the same place. Or does a photon actually move along the farward path and keep going. Are we being bombarded with particles, are vibrations along "strings" reaching us and interfering? Or?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 21, 2007 #2


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    There are many opinions on this, and to me I believe that either view is an incorrect view.

    To me, the nature of light, the physics of light cannot be compared to any mechanical analogy that we know of. It's like describing the color gold or red to someone who is blind. We switch between the models (wave vs. particle) when we know that one model more accurately describes light in the given circumstances. You can choose to view it either way, but I think the understanding that "in reality" it is neither and "wave" or "particle" is only a subjective human model of light.

    Do you consider gravitational effects the doing of a field (with vibrating waves) or particles (little gravity things hitting you)?
  4. Dec 21, 2007 #3
    I don't know it just seems that the diference between a propigating wave and a projected partice is huge, and the consequinces of one or the other mean complete paradigm shift of how the universe is constructed and operates. I like your answer. I don't think light is like any form of motion familiar to us on earth.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook