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What exactly is a wave? What is it made out of?

  1. Jul 28, 2009 #1
    And is it true we are more of a wave then a solid thing? Is more matter a wave then a solid thing?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 29, 2009 #2

    DavidSnider

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    'wave' and 'particle' are mathematical abstractions that are useful for describing behavior we observe in certain circumstances on certain scales.

    It doesn't really have much to do with what "we are" unless you are Deepak Chopra.
     
  4. Jul 29, 2009 #3
    Peanut butter, 2 paper clips and puppy dog dreams :). No, waves aren't "made" of anything. The term wave refers, more of less, to a PHENOMENA through which energy or information can travel, via disturbances of a medium, without the medium actually traveling. Now on the quantum level this definition is not the greatest because there is no irrefutable "medium". As for wave-particle duality, about a hundred years ago it was realized that the reason light some times behaves like a wave (in that it can defract and refract) and sometimes like a particle (it travels from point A to point B along a straight line) is that ALL PARTICLES have both wave and particle properties. In other words, our idea of electrons and such being these little peas shooting around and such was just flat out wrong on the microscopic level. The universe does not behave this way. Now, this means that things like baseballs and, yes, you have wave like properties. However, most certainly not we aren't MOSTLY wave like. In fact our wavelength would be so unbelievable small (billions and billions times smaller then an atom) that it really has ZERO relevance. But physics tells us it is there. So I wouldn't expect to be able to diffract when passing through a small aperature. You'll just get stuck.
     
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