wave particle duality

July 8, 2007 10:07am CST
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.
1 response
• United States
13 Jul 08
If it were a series of particles acting as a wave, then it wouldn't be a wave. It would be a series of particles. A wave is actually the energy version of the mass of the particle, and acts completely differently from particles. The reason both have not been seen together is due to the uncertainty principle, which I found best explained by Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time." Also, the series of particles acting as a wave would have a mass and hence not be a wave. They would in fact have multiple the mass of the particle observed (if you are talking about multiple of the same particle). If you are talking about much smaller particles, well then I don't really know how to respond except with the fact that these small particles would have to have a mass so small that it would go by completely unnoticed to humans, and that most of it would be energy anyways, making the aggregate a wave anyways.