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Author Topic: What Is the wave nature of matter?  (Read 4694 times)

Offline Ron Hughes

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What Is the wave nature of matter?
« on: 11/06/2011 16:26:22 »
Last night I had several friends come come over and we got into a discussion about physics. We got to talking about the wave nature of a particle and one of them asked, "If a particle sometimes acts like a wave does that mean it is a wave?" and of course my response, "No it is a particle it's just that some observations see it as a wave.". Later thinking about my response I wondered is that really true. Isn't it possible the exact opposite is true, that it is really a wave and some observations see it as a particle?


 

Offline JP

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What Is the wave nature of matter?
« Reply #1 on: 11/06/2011 17:17:33 »
It really depends on your interpretation of it.  Things on a quantum scale behave so much differently than anything we're used to interacting with on a daily basis that our classical descriptions of waves and particles don't really fit.  If we try to force them to fit, we find that sometimes the quantum objects act like one, and sometimes they act like the other.

My personal view is that it's a bit silly to try to force our classical models onto quantum particles.  We should instead be viewing the quantum behavior as fundamental and asking why our classical observations don't look quantum: why do they look like only waves or only particles?
 

Offline yor_on

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What Is the wave nature of matter?
« Reply #2 on: 11/06/2011 22:50:32 »
A good question. Wish I knew, you could possibly assume that everything is as 'important'. That meaning that all we see is pieces of one 'whole thing' expressing itself after some principle we don't catch, as yet. I would say that chaos theory is very interesting there as it seems to look at patterns, which comes back at different 'time values(?)' for lack of a better description. Impossible to create a causality chain from as you can't define when from causality and neither backtrack in time, but coming as 'clock work'. Very weird, and interesting to me.
 

Offline Phractality

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What Is the wave nature of matter?
« Reply #3 on: 12/06/2011 01:08:48 »
"If a particle sometimes acts like a wave does that mean it is a wave?"

In mainstream physics, there is no real explanation for why a particle can display wavelike properties at the quantum scale. There are plenty of new theories and models which attempt to explain it, but you'll have to move your question to New Theories to discuss those concepts in detail. For example, my own model <link removed> describes fundamental particles as orbiting pairs of photons. (I'll get in trouble if go into more detail, here.)
« Last Edit: 14/06/2011 10:21:58 by peppercorn »
 

Offline Soul Surfer

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What Is the wave nature of matter?
« Reply #4 on: 13/06/2011 19:09:57 »
The important thing about thinking about the wave-particle duality in matter is that it is not like light which has a fixed wavelength and frequency.   The wavelength of a massive particle is related to its momentum and its frequency to its kinetic energy. This means that both properties depend on the mass of the particle and how it is moving relative to you if the particle is stationary in your frame of reference its wavelength is indefinite and its frequency is zero.  This is precisely the opposite of light.
« Last Edit: 01/07/2011 23:04:57 by Soul Surfer »
 

Offline Mr. Data

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What Is the wave nature of matter?
« Reply #5 on: 29/06/2011 08:45:22 »
It really depends on your interpretation of it.  Things on a quantum scale behave so much differently than anything we're used to interacting with on a daily basis that our classical descriptions of waves and particles don't really fit.  If we try to force them to fit, we find that sometimes the quantum objects act like one, and sometimes they act like the other.

My personal view is that it's a bit silly to try to force our classical models onto quantum particles.  We should instead be viewing the quantum behavior as fundamental and asking why our classical observations don't look quantum: why do they look like only waves or only particles?

I don't think it is open for interpretation. A particle is both a wave and a pointlike object. It travels in space in a wavelike nature, but if it hits a detector screen, you still have a pointlike mark representing a particle structure. The evidence is there, you just need to believe in quantum mechanics! :)
 

Offline Soul Surfer

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What Is the wave nature of matter?
« Reply #6 on: 29/06/2011 17:56:46 »
An interesting point about the wave particle duality related to my statement above.  It follows that this wavelike nature is not a property of the particle itself because other observers could in theory see a different wave property at exactly the same time as you were making your observation of its wavelength or frequency.  It is therefore a property of the observer or possibly a property of the observer in relation to space time as a whole.  One might consider it as being a "doppler" frequency relative to the observer.
 

Offline yor_on

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What Is the wave nature of matter?
« Reply #7 on: 30/06/2011 23:18:48 »
The important thing about thinking about the wave-particle duality in matter is that it is not like light which has a fixed wavelength and frequency when it is stationary. The wavelength of a massive particle is related to its momentum and its frequency to its kinetic energy. This means that both properties depend on the mass of the particle and how it is moving relative to you if the particle is stationary in your frame of reference its wavelength is indefinite and its frequency is zero.  This is precisely the opposite of light.

Sweet idea Soul Surfer, a symmetry of sorts :)
 

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What Is the wave nature of matter?
« Reply #7 on: 30/06/2011 23:18:48 »

 

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