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Thread: wave particle duality

  1. #1 wave particle duality 
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    just throwing this out there... It is said that sometimes light acts as a particle and sometimes it acts like a wave. Neither have been seen together and depending on the experiment carried out it is seen as one or the other. Why can't it just be a series of particles that form a wave? I'm in no position to argue for this idea. I'm just wondering why no one has tried thinking of it this way or if they had, why it failed.


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  3. #2  
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    You have given the answer yourself: "sometimes it acts as a wave." So what's the point of treating light as a particle when it is exhibiting wave phenomena?

    Using the mathematics of waves it is easy to describe what's happening or to predict what will happen in a particular experiment. Or else, you can use these calculations to set up your apparatus to yield the desired results. The math is usually not hard at all.

    You can't do the same using a photon model. Not if light is behaving like a wave. Well, some advanced mathematicians can do it using heavy-duty quantum stuff. You know, integrating phase vector functions from zero to infinity and other fun stuff.

    So beginners and physicists alike use only the photon model, each with different results. The latter can do everything with this model, the former can do nothing. Those of us in between use the wave model whenever we can to accomplish our ends. We switch to the photon model only when light clearly acts as a particle (as in the photoelectric effect).


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  4. #3  
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    ermm... sorry i misworded my question. It is fixed now.
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  5. #4  
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    Why can't it just be a series of particles that form a wave?
    Certainly a poet or a philosopher or a child can imagine light in this manner. He starts there and ends there. He can go no further than this picturesque description.
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  6. #5  
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    sorry about this guys... I meant to post this in pseudoscience. It's not really physics. I'd appreciate it if a mod would move it for me. Thanks.
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  7. #6  
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    No apology necessary. Yours is a valid question. I hope you are satisfied with the answers.

    The pseudoscience forum is the proper repository for the guy who
    insists that light is a series of particles forming a wave.

    Stick around; he'll show up here sooner or later.
    *
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  8. #7  
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    heh
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