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The quantum wave.

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  • The quantum wave.

    Anyone have any ideas as to what the quantum wave is in itself. It obviously isn't the particle, though it is somehow associated with it, but it is something since it creates the wave pattern seen in the double split experiment.

  • #2
    Originally posted by JimL View Post
    Anyone have any ideas as to what the quantum wave is in itself. It obviously isn't the particle, though it is somehow associated with it, but it is something since it creates the wave pattern seen in the double split experiment.
    This depends largely upon one's preferred interpretation of QM, but in general, I think it's safe to say that the wave function describes the probability amplitude of a quantum state, which can then provide information about properties of that quantum system, such as spin, momentum, position, etc.
    "[Mathematics] is the revealer of every genuine truth, for it knows every hidden secret, and bears the key to every subtlety of letters; whoever, then, has the effrontery to pursue physics while neglecting mathematics should know from the start he will never make his entry through the portals of wisdom."
    --Thomas Bradwardine, De Continuo (c. 1325)

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Boxing Pythagoras View Post
      This depends largely upon one's preferred interpretation of QM, but in general, I think it's safe to say that the wave function describes the probability amplitude of a quantum state, which can then provide information about properties of that quantum system, such as spin, momentum, position, etc.
      But the wave passes through the 2 slits and causes an interference pattern on the detector screen, so no matter the interpretation the wave must have a physical nature to it, No?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by JimL View Post
        But the wave passes through the 2 slits and causes an interference pattern on the detector screen, so no matter the interpretation the wave must have a physical nature to it, No?
        The wave describes the behavior of the quantum, but it is unclear what exactly this means for its physical description. Feynman argued that the quantum actually occupies all possible paths which it can occupy, and that the wave function describes the sum over all these paths. Everett's Many Worlds argues that there is a distinct universe for each possible position that a quantum can take, and that these worlds interact with one another to produce the wave-like behavior. The standard Copenhagen interpretation says that the quantum does not have a well-defined position, at all, but instead has a probabilistic position until it is discretized by observation.
        "[Mathematics] is the revealer of every genuine truth, for it knows every hidden secret, and bears the key to every subtlety of letters; whoever, then, has the effrontery to pursue physics while neglecting mathematics should know from the start he will never make his entry through the portals of wisdom."
        --Thomas Bradwardine, De Continuo (c. 1325)

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Boxing Pythagoras View Post
          The wave describes the behavior of the quantum, but it is unclear what exactly this means for its physical description. Feynman argued that the quantum actually occupies all possible paths which it can occupy, and that the wave function describes the sum over all these paths. Everett's Many Worlds argues that there is a distinct universe for each possible position that a quantum can take, and that these worlds interact with one another to produce the wave-like behavior. The standard Copenhagen interpretation says that the quantum does not have a well-defined position, at all, but instead has a probabilistic position until it is discretized by observation.
          Yes, but all of these descriptions, including the double slit experiment itself, particularly the double slit experiment, define the wave as a thing that physically exists prior to observation of the associated particle. The wave interferes with, and causes the associated particle to hit the screen where it does.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by JimL View Post
            Yes, but all of these descriptions, including the double slit experiment itself, particularly the double slit experiment, define the wave as a thing that physically exists prior to observation of the associated particle. The wave interferes with, and causes the associated particle to hit the screen where it does.
            I'm not sure what you're getting at-- those were all physical descriptions of the wave function.
            "[Mathematics] is the revealer of every genuine truth, for it knows every hidden secret, and bears the key to every subtlety of letters; whoever, then, has the effrontery to pursue physics while neglecting mathematics should know from the start he will never make his entry through the portals of wisdom."
            --Thomas Bradwardine, De Continuo (c. 1325)

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Boxing Pythagoras View Post
              I'm not sure what you're getting at-- those were all physical descriptions of the wave function.
              What I am trying to get at, whether it makes sense or not, is what exactly is the wave? What is it made of? It is somehow associated with the particle, but it isn't the particle.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by JimL View Post
                What I am trying to get at, whether it makes sense or not, is what exactly is the wave? What is it made of? It is somehow associated with the particle, but it isn't the particle.
                In the science of the Quantum world science is more descriptive of the properties of things, and not necessarily what 'things are made of,' or 'exactly what things are.' The simplist answer is 'energy.'
                Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                go with the flow the river knows . . .

                Frank

                I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by JimL View Post
                  What I am trying to get at, whether it makes sense or not, is what exactly is the wave? What is it made of? It is somehow associated with the particle, but it isn't the particle.
                  Actually, it is the quantum. It's not like a quantum is a particle which is somehow being affected by some separate entity which is a wave. The wave-function is a description of the quantum, itself.

                  So, on Feynman's description, the wave is "made of" the quantum existing in many possible paths at a single time. On Many Worlds, the wave is "made of" the quantum's total existence over all possible worlds. On Copenhagen, the wave is "made of" the quantum spread out across space-time.

                  Originally posted by shunyadragon View Post
                  In the science of the Quantum world science is more descriptive of the properties of things, and not necessarily what 'things are made of,' or 'exactly what things are.' The simplist answer is 'energy.'
                  That's not quite right. The wave function isn't really "made of" energy. But you are correct to say that the wave-function describes the properties of the quantum.
                  "[Mathematics] is the revealer of every genuine truth, for it knows every hidden secret, and bears the key to every subtlety of letters; whoever, then, has the effrontery to pursue physics while neglecting mathematics should know from the start he will never make his entry through the portals of wisdom."
                  --Thomas Bradwardine, De Continuo (c. 1325)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Boxing Pythagoras View Post
                    Actually, it is the quantum. It's not like a quantum is a particle which is somehow being affected by some separate entity which is a wave. The wave-function is a description of the quantum, itself.

                    So, on Feynman's description, the wave is "made of" the quantum existing in many possible paths at a single time. On Many Worlds, the wave is "made of" the quantum's total existence over all possible worlds. On Copenhagen, the wave is "made of" the quantum spread out across space-time.

                    That's not quite right. The wave function isn't really "made of" energy. But you are correct to say that the wave-function describes the properties of the quantum.
                    You seem to be both equating the wave with the quantum, and distinguishing between the wave and the quantum, as if the one both describes the other and is one with the other, but that doesn't explain what either of them are. What is it that goes through the double slit and interferes with itself to create the wave pattern of the particles on the detector screen?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Boxing Pythagoras View Post
                      That's not quite right. The wave function isn't really "made of" energy. But you are correct to say that the wave-function describes the properties of the quantum.
                      Please note. I did not say 'made of energy,' though in reality it may be described that all manifestation of the particles that show Quantum Wave behavior are made of and have an equivalent measurement in terms of energy - E=mc2. The 'Quantum Wave' phenomenon is an observed manifestation of energy-particle relationships.
                      Last edited by shunyadragon; 02-14-2015, 09:29 AM.
                      Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                      Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                      But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                      go with the flow the river knows . . .

                      Frank

                      I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by JimL View Post
                        You seem to be both equating the wave with the quantum, and distinguishing between the wave and the quantum, as if the one both describes the other and is one with the other, but that doesn't explain what either of them are. What is it that goes through the double slit and interferes with itself to create the wave pattern of the particles on the detector screen?
                        The quantum is the entity which passes through the double slits. The wave function is a descriptor of that quantum. Asking "what is the wave made of?" is a bit like looking at a fast car and asking, "what is 80mph made of?"
                        "[Mathematics] is the revealer of every genuine truth, for it knows every hidden secret, and bears the key to every subtlety of letters; whoever, then, has the effrontery to pursue physics while neglecting mathematics should know from the start he will never make his entry through the portals of wisdom."
                        --Thomas Bradwardine, De Continuo (c. 1325)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Boxing Pythagoras View Post
                          The quantum is the entity which passes through the double slits. The wave function is a descriptor of that quantum. Asking "what is the wave made of?" is a bit like looking at a fast car and asking, "what is 80mph made of?"
                          Okay then, what is the quantum(car), the entity passing through the slits made of?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Boxing Pythagoras View Post
                            The quantum is the entity which passes through the double slits. The wave function is a descriptor of that quantum. Asking "what is the wave made of?" is a bit like looking at a fast car and asking, "what is 80mph made of?"
                            That is why I did not specifically say 'made of.' I described it as an observed property.
                            Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                            Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                            But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                            go with the flow the river knows . . .

                            Frank

                            I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JimL View Post
                              Okay then, what is the quantum(car), the entity passing through the slits made of?
                              As far as we know, all particles are either elementary particles or composed of them. The existence of more fundamental descriptions is speculative, eg. string theory.

                              Comment

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