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Thread: essence of fundamental particles

  1. #1 essence of fundamental particles 
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    It's said that "particles" and "waves" are terms only used to make an easily understandable idea. Just an analogy, but an inaccurate description.

    So what exactly are these things in reality for an *accurate* description?


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    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brody View Post
    It's said that "particles" and "waves" are terms only used to make an easily understandable idea. Just an analogy, but an inaccurate description.
    Very true.

    So what exactly are these things in reality for an *accurate* description?
    The only accurate description is the mathematical one: Quantum field theory - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The non-mathematical description I prefer is: they are what they are. An electron is an electron, a photon is a photon. They are just "things" with the set of properties we observe.


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    Thank you, Strange. But are there descriptions or analogies which may simply be at least more accurate than "particles/waves"? These things have to be something, and not just abstract mathematics.

    Or do we lack the observational understanding to make such an analogy?

    Unfortunately, for most people (including me), if something is expected to be tangible but lacks a tangible perspective, it is reduced to nothing.
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    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Well, you can think of them as things which have characteristics of both particles and waves. Just don't think of them as "magically" flipping back and forth between either being a particle or a wave. That doesn't work at all.

    The trouble is we are dealing with things that don't actually correspond to anything we experience in "real life".
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  6. #5  
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    I would suggest using whichever model works for you, but you'll get further using the wave model than the particle model.

    They're particles because they're quantized, by which I mean they're a wave that always exchanges an exact amount of energy when they interact with something, or they don't interact with it at all (not like sound waves, which spread their energy evenly across all objects they interact with.)

    In pretty much every other possible respect they are waves.
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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    Quote Originally Posted by brody View Post
    It's said that "particles" and "waves" are terms only used to make an easily understandable idea. Just an analogy, but an inaccurate description.

    So what exactly are these things in reality for an *accurate* description?
    The trick that works for me is to stop trying to visualize quantum objects as either waves or particles. They aren't. They are a completely different class of objects which have no analogue in our classic world which we experience as humans. Therefore any attempt to visualize them as in : "What does an electron actually look like if I could see it ?" is doomed to failure.
    They are neither particles nor are they waves, nor are they both. It is just that, depending on the circumstances, they sometimes behave like a wave, or they behave like particles. That is very different from actually being a wave or a particle, if you know what I mean. Their actual nature is not intuitively comprehensible to us humans, because it is outside of our realm of experience just like, say, a 4-dimensional triangle would be.
    So really, in our world there are three classes of "objects" : particles, waves and quantum objects.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Hanke View Post

    The trick that works for me is to stop trying to visualize quantum objects as either waves or particles. They aren't. They are a completely different class of objects which have no analogue in our classic world which we experience as humans. Therefore any attempt to visualize them as in : "What does an electron actually look like if I could see it ?" is doomed to failure.
    They are neither particles nor are they waves, nor are they both. It is just that, depending on the circumstances, they sometimes behave like a wave, or they behave like particles. That is very different from actually being a wave or a particle, if you know what I mean. Their actual nature is not intuitively comprehensible to us humans, because it is outside of our realm of experience just like, say, a 4-dimensional triangle would be.
    So really, in our world there are three classes of "objects" : particles, waves and quantum objects.
    I'm sure what you say is accurate! I have been fascinated by the electron after reading a popular science article in which it was described as "a bundle of mathematical properties"and also as "a dimensionless mathematical point".
    However I am still naive enough to have some degree of faith that future technological advances may allow us to get a visual description, or picture, of the electron.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halliday View Post
    I'm sure what you say is accurate! I have been fascinated by the electron after reading a popular science article in which it was described as "a bundle of mathematical properties"and also as "a dimensionless mathematical point".
    However I am still naive enough to have some degree of faith that future technological advances may allow us to get a visual description, or picture, of the electron.
    You are right, it is a fascinating topic !
    However, it is unlikely that we will ever get a visual description or picture of an electron, simply because it is not a localized, spatially extended little object, for the same reasons as explained in post 6. I am really hesitant to attempt such a description, because people will quote me on it and point out in how many ways this is wrong - however, as an approximation only without assuming physical or mathematical accuracy, you might visualize it as an immaterial, fuzzy, foggy, cloud-like region in the vicinity of an atomic nucleus. This fuzzy cloud would behave in very specific ways ( again connected to wave-like properties ) in terms of size, shape and form.
    This is wrong in many ways, but probably as good as it gets so far as visualization is concerned.
    Dave Wilson likes this.
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    I think of it this way: the wave is a reflection of the probability of the electron being in any particular place at some particular time. It doesn't matter to me whther this is a good analogy or not, it stops me going mad, and that's the main thing.
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    I have no idea how relevant this is, to the thread, but researchers, conducting experiments, at Imperial College, London, have discovered/confirmed that the electron is very, very round.
    Apparently it is likely the electron is the roundest naturally occurring "object" in the universe!
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    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    It is actually the shape of the electron's dipole moment (not that I really understand what that means )
    New technique narrows electron dipole moment - physicsworld.com
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal...ture10104.html
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    It is actually the shape of the electron's dipole moment (not that I really understand what that means )
    New technique narrows electron dipole moment - physicsworld.com
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal...ture10104.html
    I don't understand that either, but I'll take your word for it!
    I found the information, on the Net, from articles in the Guardian and the Telegraph.
    I'm not going to criticise these articles because I feel it is inevitable this stuff has to be simplified for the layperson.
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    partical are small thing that move back and forth in time as thay do that thay make waves , the partical inhilet it self by moving back in time and amit wave by doing this . the reson for propebility is because its afect by the futcer an now we gets lack of information , now thay at many places .
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    Quote Originally Posted by Water Nosfim View Post
    partical are small thing that move back and forth in time as thay do that thay make waves , the partical inhilet it self by moving back in time and amit wave by doing this . the reson for propebility is because its afect by the futcer an now we gets lack of information , now thay at many places .
    I can't really understand what you're saying. If you're learning English, keep working on it
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    So an electron is pretty much a minutely massive entity that exhibits certain properties. I can understand why it wouldn't be physically "concrete" like ordinary objects.

    And that would mean our perception of concrete physicality is illusive and untrue.
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    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brody View Post
    And that would mean our perception of concrete physicality is illusive and untrue.
    Doubly so because things we think of as solid are mainly the space between and within atoms. The reason the table feels solid is primarily because of the electromagnetic forces between the electrons in the table and your hand.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by brody View Post
    And that would mean our perception of concrete physicality is illusive and untrue.
    Doubly so because things we think of as solid are mainly the space between and within atoms. The reason the table feels solid is primarily because of the electromagnetic forces between the electrons in the table and your hand.
    Yes. Otherwise, possibly, my hand would go straight through the table. Can *stuff* occupy the same space at the same time on the quantum level?
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    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brody View Post
    Can *stuff* occupy the same space at the same time on the quantum level?
    Fermions can't (but bosons can).
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    Quote Originally Posted by brody View Post
    And that would mean our perception of concrete physicality is illusive and untrue.
    In a way that's true, yes...
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    Now we have all these labels, we can place on a volume and call them that thing. But all these tools allow us to do is say, there is this amount of energy in this space, which corresponds to this particle. But really we cant even say that, we can say, "In this volume there is such and such a probability of observing this amount of energy." We still cannot see a particle. We see a volume of space that exhibits an energy probability cloud.

    It is not an easy question to answer, and it is even harder to remain objective in a social world.

    The phenomena we observe and call atoms could operate in a fundamentally different way than we have worked for centuries to develop. The things we see as the material of atoms or even the material of fermions could be holographic projections from a higher dimension with laws that govern their actions completely consistent with what we observe or they could be elephants. Everything we think we know about atoms and subatomic particles should be looked at from the beginning by anyone with the ability to have an interest in it.

    Certainty, this string of words should make you think about things on this page with a more open mind. My personal opinion is that particles do not exist at all, and sadly I have no firm proof for this gut feeling but will continue to research. My vision is something more like de broglie-bohm theory. Particles are a convenient way to understand entities at a scale but do not in reality have a firm existence. You can keep zooming in and will never find a particle, just finer details in the wave form that is the fabric of the universe.

    If you have read this far send me an email, I hope that I can be moved in some direction.
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    Now we have all these labels, we can place on a volume and call them that thing. But all these tools allow us to do is say, there is this amount of energy in this space, which corresponds to this particle. But really we cant even say that, we can say, "In this volume there is such and such a probability of observing this amount of energy." We still cannot see a particle. We see a volume of space that exhibits an energy probability cloud.
    Yes, that's pretty much so.

    The things we see as the material of atoms or even the material of fermions could be holographic projections from a higher dimension with laws that govern their actions completely consistent with what we observe or they could be elephants.
    The above sounds ludicrous at first sight, but it may actually be possible to look at particles this way. In fact this is pretty much what Burkhardt Heim and Walter Droescher have done in Heim Theory in the 1970s :

    Heim theory - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Opinions are divided as to the merits of the outcome, and the debate continues to this day; it cannot be completely ruled out yet that there actually might be something to this model. We shall see.
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    Whoa! spookey, I will read every word of this and more. thank you
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