Is quantum mechanics an accurate representation of subatomic reality?

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Offline CorneliusDalvert

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Quantum mechanics is a great way of modelling the interactions of subatomic particles but I don't think it is an accurate description of subatomic reality . In the same way that the Newtonian theory of gravity could be used to land a man on the moon or was instrumental in the realisation that light had speed .  While  Einsteins theories of gravity demonstrated that gravity was due the effect caused by time-space being curved , which allowed the prediction of blackholes .Newton models the effect while Einstein understands the underlying structure ...
« Last Edit: 01/10/2015 18:16:28 by chris »

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Offline PmbPhy

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Quote from: CorneliusDalvert
Quantum mechanics is a great way of modelling the interactions of subatomic particles but I don't think it is an accurate description of subatomic reality.
That's quite wrong. Quantum mechanics, along with relativity, are the most precisely tested theories that there is in physics, specifically quantum electro-dynamics (QED). For more on this please see:

http://scienceblogs.com/principles/2011/05/05/the-most-precisely-tested-theo
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precision_tests_of_QED

Quote from: CorneliusDalvert
In the same way that the Newtonian theory of gravity could be used to land a man on the moon or was instrumental in the realisation that light had speed.
Relativity, both special and general, are even more precise than Newtonian mechanics and gravity. The later cannot be used to correctly describe the amount that rays of light are deflected by the Sun.

Quote from: CorneliusDalvert
While  Einsteins theories of gravity demonstrated that gravity was due the effect caused by time-space being curved , which allowed the prediction of blackholes .
That isn't quite accurate. All that Einstein's general relativity (GR) is able to do is to describe the phenomena of gravity much better than Newtonian gravity and predicts even more phenomena light gravitational red/blue shift etc. To Einstein, inertial and gravitational forces are identical. That means that if there's an inertial force present on a particle then the particle is subject to a real gravitational force.

The region of spacetime of interest need not be curved for there to be a gravitational field present. The uniform g-field has no spacetime curvature. In fact the definition of a uniform gravitational field has no spacetime curvature. See my website at: http://home.comcast.net/~peter.m.brown/gr/uniform_field.htm 

Fritz Rohrlich, a prominent physicist, derived the metric (i.e. a set of 10 independent "gravitational potentials")
Principle of Equivalence, F. Rohrlich, Ann. Phys. 22, 169-191, (1963), page 173/

The weak equivalence principle states
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A uniform gravitational field is equivalent to a uniformly accelerated frame of reference
This means that in a uniform gravitational field there is a gravitational field present but the spacetime is curved. A spacetime which is curved will always have a gravitational field present everywhere except at the least the origin of the coordinate system. The reason people hold on to the gravity = curvature definition is that such a field is "permanent" and can't fully be transformed away like a uniform gravitational field can. However Einstein stuck to the interpretation that gravity = inertial acceleration definition. To learn more please read my paper on the subject at http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/physics/0204044

For proof see the calculation I did for the gravitational field of a uniform gravitational field. See my results at:
http://home.comcast.net/~peter.m.brown/gr/uniform_force.htm

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Offline CorneliusDalvert

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Hi PmbPhy thanks for your reply I think you may have slightly missed the point of my post I think current understanding of the subatomic scale is still missing some essential element . Just as Newtonian understanding of gravity was , as I pointed out you could still land a man on the moon to within a few meters of your chosen target using a Newtonian model of gravity that's not bad at a range of 384400 km so it too is a very accurate model but still missing an essential level of understanding . I realise quantum mechanics is a very well tested and accurate model but it has flaws which show that it too is missing some fundamental understanding of the structures it describes . I don't claim to have an answer but I think it's something science shouldn't loose sight of , I could list half a dozen examples where the model fails but this isn't meant as an attack on the standard model only as suggestion that we all remember it's just a model and it's far from complete :) The biggest problem is the scale which places true observation of quantum interactions beyond our current ability to view , thanks for the links I'm always curious to learn more.

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Offline evan_au

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Quote from: CorneliusDalvert
I think current understanding of the subatomic scale is still missing some essential element..
This is correct. The known "missing element" is gravity.

Many physicists are searching for a "Theory of Everything", which will include everything we know from the Standard Model of quantum theory, and everything we know from Einstein's General Relativity. But we don't have any experimental evidence that points out one of them as being "right", as yet.

Many physicists are also trying identify the nature of Dark Matter, which appears as if it might be something outside the Standard Model - this is an unknown "missing element".

It is known that quantum theory analysis of particle interactions display many symmetries which are not currently explained by quantum theory, and this points to the possibility of more detailed underlying structure.

"String Theory" is one of the candidates for this Theory of Everything. But rather than a single theory, it is more a hypothesis that generates a myriad of alternate theories - but so far, all still unproven.

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Offline PmbPhy

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Quote from: CorneliusDalvert
Hi PmbPhy thanks for your reply
You're quite welcome my friend. :)

Quote from: CorneliusDalvert
I think you may have slightly missed the point of my post I think current understanding of the subatomic scale is still missing some essential element .
I was addressing the subject title Is quantum mechanics an accurate representation of subatomic reality? and the answer to that is yes.

It appears that you're talking about the fact that quantum mechanics is not perfect. Nobody ever said it was perfect. I surely don't. No theory is perfect. In fact I'm certain that all physicists worth their salt would agree that all theories are wrong. The theories we have now are simply the best description of nature that we have at this moment.

Quote from: CorneliusDalvert
...but it has flaws which show that it too is missing some fundamental understanding of the structures it describes .
Please give me some examples of the flaws that you're thinking about so that I can get a solid grasp of the kinds of things that you have in mind.

Quote from: CorneliusDalvert
I don't claim to have an answer but I think it's something science shouldn't loose sight of , ..
That's something that you'll never have to worry about because its almost always at the top of every physicists mind. We are all aware of that fact so you have nothing to worry about. [:)]

Quote from: CorneliusDalvert
I could list half a dozen examples where the model fails ...
Wonderful. Please list six examples where the model fails. Make sure that you're not using quantum mechanics where you should be using relativistic quantum mechanics.

Quote from: CorneliusDalvert
but this isn't meant as an attack on the standard model ...

Contrary to popular belief, quantum mechanics is not the standard model. The standard model is the theory of elementary particles.  See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_Model
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The Standard Model of particle physics is a theory concerning the electromagnetic, weak, and strong nuclear interactions, as well as classifying all the subatomic particles known.
See also: http://home.web.cern.ch/about/physics/standard-model

Quote from: CorneliusDalvert
..only as suggestion that we all remember it's just a model and it's far from complete :)
What did you mean when you said it's just a model? The standard-model isn't really a model, it's a theory. There's a large difference.

See also: http://home.web.cern.ch/about/physics/standard-model
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Over time and through many experiments, the Standard Model has become established as a well-tested physics theory.
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That means that it's a theory, not a model.

A model is described in the following
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/models-science/

For example; to make things easy to calculate we often ignore a lot of complications where reality is too complicated and a simple "model" is easier to use. For example: if you want to determine the time it takes a satellite to orbit the earth in geosynchronous orbit then you model it as a sphere rather than what it really is, i.e. an ellipsoid of revolution with mountains, canyons, varying mass density, etc.

Quote from: CorneliusDalvert
The biggest problem is the scale which places true observation of quantum interactions beyond our current ability to view , thanks for the links I'm always curious to learn more.
You're most welcome. If you like you can use my private website at: http://home.comcast.net/~peter.m.brown/

I'm in the process of building a website called New England Physics at http://www.newenglandphysics.org/

As you can see there's a forum under it for people interested in physics. Membership is exclusive, by invitation only. You seem like the pleasant, open minded sort. If that's true and you'd like to join then I herein offer you membership. If you want to take it then send me a PM here and I'll tell you what to do in order to join. But first you must read the forum rules and follow them to the letter. They're listed at http://www.newenglandphysics.org/amateur_forum/forum_rules.htm

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Offline CorneliusDalvert

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Hi PmbPhy I've removed my last post as it was a steaming pile of ignorance fueled by lager RQM is bombproof I wikied it till my head hurt after rereading the drivel I posted last and I guess I must try harder :) However I'm still uneasy about extra dimensions but that as they say is another story :)

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Offline Bill S

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Quote from: Cornelius
I've removed my last post as it was a steaming pile of ignorance

Whatever you may, or may not, post here or anywhere, you have my respect.  I would take my hat off to you, if I could find it.  [:)]

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Offline Colin2B

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Quote from: Cornelius
I've removed my last post as it was a steaming pile of ignorance

....you have my respect....
Mine too.
If you mean extra dimensions in QM, don't worry, I don't believe they are extra physical dimensions. They are the total number of parameters or coordinates needed to describe a system.
and the misguided shall lead the gullible,
the feebleminded have inherited the earth.

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Offline Bill S

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Quote from: Colin
If you mean extra dimensions in QM, don't worry, I don't believe they are extra physical dimensions. They are the total number of parameters or coordinates needed to describe a system.

Do you apply that to extra dimensions in string theory as well?

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Offline PmbPhy

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Hi PmbPhy I've removed my last post as it was a steaming pile of ignorance fueled by lager RQM is bombproof I wikied it till my head hurt after rereading the drivel I posted last and I guess I must try harder :) However I'm still uneasy about extra dimensions but that as they say is another story :)
I don't know about extra dimensions myself, either.

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Offline jeffreyH

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I'm currently studying quantum mechanics and from what I have learned so far it is the best set of tools for the job. I need a better understanding of the subject before I can comment further so I may post more to this thread. On dimensions, they can be spatial as well as representing parameters of the system. The amplituhedron is an example of using extra dimensions. It is worth looking into.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amplituhedron


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Offline mathew_orman

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Quantum mechanics is a great way of modelling the interactions of subatomic particles but I don't think it is an accurate description of subatomic reality . In the same way that the Newtonian theory of gravity could be used to land a man on the moon or was instrumental in the realisation that light had speed .  While  Einsteins theories of gravity demonstrated that gravity was due the effect caused by time-space being curved , which allowed the prediction of blackholes .Newton models the effect while Einstein understands the underlying structure ...
It does not support logic of continuity of motion... Thus not able to model physical motion of atoms, electrons, photons and EM waves...
Most if not all Molecular Dynamics Simulators use classical mechanics...

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Offline PmbPhy

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Quote from: mathew_orman
It does not support logic of continuity of motion... Thus not able to model physical motion of atoms, electrons, photons and EM waves...
Most if not all Molecular Dynamics Simulators use classical mechanics...
That is mostly incorrect. Physical motion can easily be described by quantum mechanics for atoms and molecules. The results are in terms of "probability waves" rather than classical trajectories. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molecular_dynamics
and search on the term "quantum".

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Offline mathew_orman

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Quote from: mathew_orman
It does not support logic of continuity of motion... Thus not able to model physical motion of atoms, electrons, photons and EM waves...
Most if not all Molecular Dynamics Simulators use classical mechanics...
That is mostly incorrect. Physical motion can easily be described by quantum mechanics for atoms and molecules. The results are in terms of "probability waves" rather than classical trajectories. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molecular_dynamics
and search on the term "quantum".
There are only real trajectories of continuous motion and can be modeled using Cartesian coordinates...
QM fails here...

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Offline alancalverd

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Delude yourself, by all means, but humility before the facts is the essence of understanding science.

The "logic of continuity of motion" has no validity in the face of facts.  Quantum mechanics, far from failing, describes the observed discontinuities in atomic physics.
helping to stem the tide of ignorance

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Offline jeffreyH

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If you don't believe that the wavelike nature of matter and probability is crucial then you need to study the subject of quantum mechanics a little more in depth. It will give you insights that you may have missed altogether.

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Offline mathew_orman

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Delude yourself, by all means, but humility before the facts is the essence of understanding science.

The "logic of continuity of motion" has no validity in the face of facts.  Quantum mechanics, far from failing, describes the observed discontinuities in atomic physics.
Useful only in its own domain and "Logic"...

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Offline mathew_orman

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If you don't believe that the wavelike nature of matter and probability is crucial then you need to study the subject of quantum mechanics a little more in depth. It will give you insights that you may have missed altogether.
Why study theories which reject logical reasoning and continuity of motion?
 

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Offline chiralSPO

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...because motion ISN'T continuous and logical reasoning is usually based on flawed assumptions. Science that starts with observations and works for a theory is usually better than science that starts with theory and then looks for verification (Einstein is a notable exception to this rule of thumb)

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Offline mathew_orman

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Please, give an example of such motion...

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Offline chiralSPO

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_tunnelling

A particle can move from one position to another without being anywhere in between by "tunneling" This phenomenon is very well established both experimentally and theoretically. Your computer and cell phone wouldn't work if it didn't happen.

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Offline alancalverd

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Useful only in its own domain and "Logic"...

It's a pretty big domain, stretching from astronomy to particle physics. I use QM most days to optimise the imaging, treatment and protection of humans and animals, and in the development of all sorts of electronic gadgets. It's also pretty handy for satellite and inertial navigation, although the plane flies well enough on newtonian mechanics.

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Why study theories which reject logical reasoning and continuity of motion?
 

Because they explain what we see and predict the next observation.
helping to stem the tide of ignorance

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Offline CorneliusDalvert

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Hi Bill S I'm afraid to say I have a problem with extra dimension in every context apart from sci fi :( I realise this sounds harsh but my objection is a gut reaction based on a historical example , the ancients added orbits within orbits to explain the motion of the planets , not a scientific reason but nobody's perfect :) I guess we should understand 3 dimensions before adding more to make the models work ' As you can see I'm not always humble :)

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Offline evan_au

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Quote from: ChiralSPO
Science that starts with observations and works for a theory is usually better than science that starts with theory and then looks for verification (Einstein is a notable exception to this rule of thumb)

Einstein was a theoretician, not an experimentalist (or at least, he mostly did his own experiments in his head).

However, his work was driven by unexplained experiments:

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Offline jeffreyH

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The trouble with most 'theories' that amateurs propose is that they are NOT based on what has been established through experimentation. They also usually develop from a scant knowledge of physics. Derived usually from reading books aimed at the layman. Try reading up on algebra, calculus and classical mechanics BEFORE trying to challenge years of hard earned knowledge. It may also be wise to read up on the history and philosophy of science. Just look around at the world we live in. All our technology came from these efforts AND they work!

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Offline mathew_orman

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_tunnelling

A particle can move from one position to another without being anywhere in between by "tunneling" This phenomenon is very well established both experimentally and theoretically. Your computer and cell phone wouldn't work if it didn't happen.
False claims and non existent entity of matter...
Why, because a particle cannot be tagged and or traced...

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Offline mathew_orman

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Logic takes no assumptions...

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Offline mathew_orman

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Useful only in its own domain and "Logic"...

It's a pretty big domain, stretching from astronomy to particle physics. I use QM most days to optimise the imaging, treatment and protection of humans and animals, and in the development of all sorts of electronic gadgets. It's also pretty handy for satellite and inertial navigation, although the plane flies well enough on newtonian mechanics.

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Why study theories which reject logical reasoning and continuity of motion?
 

Because they explain what we see and predict the next observation.
You can claim anything but in reality there is no a single real example of use...

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Offline mathew_orman

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Delude yourself, by all means, but humility before the facts is the essence of understanding science.

The "logic of continuity of motion" has no validity in the face of facts.  Quantum mechanics, far from failing, describes the observed discontinuities in atomic physics.
Sure, it gives a description to anything but the description is not useful...
But if you still want to argue, then please give a specific example and we will analyze it to see if it is useful or not...

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Offline alancalverd

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Logic takes no assumptions...

No, it always begins with the axiom that logic itself is valid, then establishes an initial premise ex nihilo from which a conclusion is to be drawn. Science begins with an observation and ends with a test of the validity of the intervening hypothesis - quite a different process.
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Offline alancalverd

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Delude yourself, by all means, but humility before the facts is the essence of understanding science.

The "logic of continuity of motion" has no validity in the face of facts.  Quantum mechanics, far from failing, describes the observed discontinuities in atomic physics.
Sure, it gives a description to anything but the description is not useful...
But if you still want to argue, then please give a specific example and we will analyze it to see if it is useful or not...

You might try to explain the photoelectric effect by other means, or explain why red LEDs operate at a lower voltage than blue ones, and why it took a long time to develop blue LEDs, but perhaps they haven't been invented in your century.

If you live into the late 19th century you will hear of x-rays, and possibly also of diseases of the human breast. You might then ask an old fool like me why I use molybdenum anode x-ray tubes to get a clear image of breast tumors. The answer, according to the textbook, is a consequence of quantum mechanics, not the logic of continuum mechanics - the continuum produces a lot of unhelpful soft radiation that burns the skin without forming an image. But why would you read textbooks when you can derive the characteristic spectrum by logic?

Why are sodium lamps yellow? And why is the sodium yellow spectrum itself formed of two principal lines?

Why are some people excited by the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere? Why are they wrong?

Why is mercury a liquid at room temperature?

Why is the DNA molecule a double helix?

What is the length of a second?

The boring answer that runs through all these questions is quantum mechanics, but I look forward to your continuum explanation.
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Offline mathew_orman

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Need one specific example if you want to argue about QM contribution...
Also, one specific example where logic fails reality or uses false assumptions...

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Offline chiralSPO

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Well, alan just listed half a dozen different examples we could discuss. I will propose a historical example that essentially started the quantum revolution. The so-called ultraviolet catastrophe. I will write a very brief summary here, but be sure to read about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultraviolet_catastrophe

Classical models of physics in the 19th and very early 20th centuries assumed everything was continuous. Then, because of a certain invention (now called the incandescent light bulb) people got really interested in EM radiation that was emitted from hot objects. Once they started studying this quantitatively and started proposing models they realized something was very, very wrong with the models, which predicted far more high frequency radiation than was observed, and would actually diverge to an infinite value if evaluated for the entire spectrum.

Only by constraining the allowable frequencies to a discontinuous set could the experimental data be modeled accurately. Eventually, a real physical explanation (photons) was given for this model.

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Offline mathew_orman

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You need an example with detailed experiment...
Wiki quotes compare inaccurate model of radiation  which since has been refined using classical thermodynamics...
QM model was designed to agree with experimental results and not predicted them based on the same input data the Rayleigh had...
You need to look at the history of events to find out who first delivered accurate results and provided more accurate mathematical model...

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Offline chiralSPO

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You need an example with detailed experiment...
Wiki quotes compare inaccurate model of radiation  which since has been refined using classical thermodynamics...
QM model was designed to agree with experimental results and not predicted them based on the same input data the Rayleigh had...
You need to look at the history of events to find out who first delivered accurate results and provided more accurate mathematical model...

I recommend downloading and looking at this powerpoint (it's 12 MB): https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&ved=0CC0QFjACahUKEwiljO3lu7DIAhVBdz4KHTKDBXg&url=http%3A%2F%2Fichf.edu.pl%2Fr_act%2Fact_pl%2Fkarpiuk1w_EN.ppt&usg=AFQjCNFjO8LmzWQnI562MbzVArC3VL0RbA&sig2=BLY4x2-OzpviiaYiMCWG9Q&cad=rja

It summarizes the experimental work relating to the ultraviolet catastrophe,  shows schematics of the experimental apparatus, and the formulas used, devised and solved by the scientists. It contains many citations of the original papers, which contain experimental descriptions and raw data (unfortunately it's in German, and it's old German at that)

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Offline chiralSPO

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You need an example with detailed experiment...
Wiki quotes compare inaccurate model of radiation  which since has been refined using classical thermodynamics...
QM model was designed to agree with experimental results and not predicted them based on the same input data the Rayleigh had...
You need to look at the history of events to find out who first delivered accurate results and provided more accurate mathematical model...

For a more recent example (in English, no less!) see this book chapter: http://www.wiley-vch.de/books/sample/352730777X_c01.pdf

It addresses proton tunneling observed in the molecule tropolone (not the at all the same example in my previous post)

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Offline alancalverd

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Need one specific example if you want to argue about QM contribution...
choose any of those I mentioned and explain it your way. Or try to explain single-electron diffraction without using QM.

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Also, one specific example where logic fails reality or uses false assumptions...

Choose any false assumption you like, e.g. that the electron is not subject to the rules of quantum mechanics, and apply logic. Lo and behold, the hydrogen atom shrinks to the size of a proton and the sun becomes a dwarf star.
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Offline mathew_orman

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You need an example with detailed experiment...
Wiki quotes compare inaccurate model of radiation  which since has been refined using classical thermodynamics...
QM model was designed to agree with experimental results and not predicted them based on the same input data the Rayleigh had...
You need to look at the history of events to find out who first delivered accurate results and provided more accurate mathematical model...

For a more recent example (in English, no less!) see this book chapter: http://www.wiley-vch.de/books/sample/352730777X_c01.pdf

It addresses proton tunneling observed in the molecule tropolone (not the at all the same example in my previous post)
This is exactly the situation where one can claim anything Quantum as all the measurements are indirect and are just a pile of assumption on the top of each other...

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Offline mathew_orman

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Need one specific example if you want to argue about QM contribution...
choose any of those I mentioned and explain it your way. Or try to explain single-electron diffraction without using QM.

Quote
Also, one specific example where logic fails reality or uses false assumptions...

Choose any false assumption you like, e.g. that the electron is not subject to the rules of quantum mechanics, and apply logic. Lo and behold, the hydrogen atom shrinks to the size of a proton and the sun becomes a dwarf star.
Still no specific example with experimental setup defined...

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Offline mathew_orman

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You need an example with detailed experiment...
Wiki quotes compare inaccurate model of radiation  which since has been refined using classical thermodynamics...
QM model was designed to agree with experimental results and not predicted them based on the same input data the Rayleigh had...
You need to look at the history of events to find out who first delivered accurate results and provided more accurate mathematical model...

I recommend downloading and looking at this powerpoint (it's 12 MB): https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&ved=0CC0QFjACahUKEwiljO3lu7DIAhVBdz4KHTKDBXg&url=http%3A%2F%2Fichf.edu.pl%2Fr_act%2Fact_pl%2Fkarpiuk1w_EN.ppt&usg=AFQjCNFjO8LmzWQnI562MbzVArC3VL0RbA&sig2=BLY4x2-OzpviiaYiMCWG9Q&cad=rja

It summarizes the experimental work relating to the ultraviolet catastrophe,  shows schematics of the experimental apparatus, and the formulas used, devised and solved by the scientists. It contains many citations of the original papers, which contain experimental descriptions and raw data (unfortunately it's in German, and it's old German at that)
That is a sideshow of pictures and not a scientific paper... Need something like this:  https://www.google.pl/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=8&ved=0CDYQFjAHahUKEwjbjuiuqrLIAhUIAHMKHT3_CIw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.measurement.sk%2FTemplate_2013.doc&usg=AFQjCNHs8pvaI-fWB9AOasPfux90slVizA&cad=rja

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Offline mathew_orman

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Here is a plain example where QM fails to explain the phenomena:
Experiment:Silver mirror is mounted on a stage inside vacuum chamber and coherent laser beam of 650nm intersects the mirror at 45 deg.
Using QM explain why reflected beam has also 45 deg.

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Offline chiralSPO

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Here is a plain example where QM fails to explain the phenomena:
Experiment:Silver mirror is mounted on a stage inside vacuum chamber and coherent laser beam of 650nm intersects the mirror at 45 deg.
Using QM explain why reflected beam has also 45 deg.

That is a question of quantum electrodynamics, which is not something I know enough about to explain.


That is a sideshow of pictures and not a scientific paper... Need something like this:  https://www.google.pl/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=8&ved=0CDYQFjAHahUKEwjbjuiuqrLIAhUIAHMKHT3_CIw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.measurement.sk%2FTemplate_2013.doc&usg=AFQjCNHs8pvaI-fWB9AOasPfux90slVizA&cad=rja

Ok, I will upload a scientific paper on the matter (I have to do this one page at a time because of the size limit of attachments here. Here is the first installment.

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page 2

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page 3

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and 4

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5 (half way there!)

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6

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7

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page 8 (almost there!)

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and finally, page 9.

You should be able to find detailed experimental setup, raw data, analysis, interpretation and context in this article.