Philosophy Word of the Day – Wave-Particle Duality

Dual Wave/Particle Nature of Light

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“The quantum description of matter ascribes a wavelike aspect to particles of matter. In some circumstances, for example in the photoelectric effect, particles behave primarily as if they are mass points. In other circumstances, they display diffraction and interference as if they are waves. The quantum wavelength of a particle is inversely proportional to its mass, and an object’s wavelike aspects will be significant whenever its quantum wavelength is larger than its physical size. Therefore, large objects like cars have imperceptible wavelike attributes but subatomic particles, such as neutrons, have significant wavelike aspects. It is more accurate to view the quantum wave aspect as being a wave of information (like a crime wave) or probability than an undulatory quality.”

John D. Barrow, Encyclopedia of Science and Religion

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3 thoughts on “Philosophy Word of the Day – Wave-Particle Duality

  1. Does it imply that ‘spacetime’ is the observable effect of behaviour of matter & energy ? without any independent or absolute meaning ?

    • Hi K. N.,
      That’s a good question. I suppose meaning will be something separate from the brute existence or behavior of particles. I don’t think we can derive any meaning from our knowledge of subatomic particles, but I do think that the universe has meaning, simply because God created it, and the meaning it has derives from God. I’d say the same for human life as well. Is that how you see it?
      All the best,
      Chris

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