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light: wave or particle?(30 posts)

light: wave or particle?mr_spin
Jul 29, 2002 1:12 PM
The time has come to discuss quantum physics...
both nmDougSloan
Jul 29, 2002 1:35 PM
simultaneously both - depends what you want to "prove"jose_Tex_mex
Jul 29, 2002 1:46 PM
I believe those who say it is both simultaneously a particle and a wave. It really depends how you look at it and what you want to prove/show.

For example, I display light interfering (destructive or constructive) and say - hey look, light is a wave. Or I measure the pressure light exerts on an object and say - hey look, light is a particle.

Isn't that weird though? It's difficult to imagine how one can actually measure the pressure of a particle of light. However, I remember learning that someone did. I'll have to review this. Unless, someone out there can shine light on to the problem :-)
Jul 29, 2002 2:06 PM
Isn't the particle theory proven primarily by showing that light is affected by gravity (like curving around a star)? If it has gravity, then it must be particles (mass), right?

It's probably actually neither (or, maybe mass and energy are really the same). We just don't know how to truly describe it, yet.

Jul 29, 2002 2:23 PM
I agree with your first statement. As for the second, who knows? We really do not know what energy is nor where it comes from. However, we have some decent ideas as to what to do with it.

IMHO, mass and energy are equivalent but not equal. That is, they are two different ways of looking at the same thing.

For example, consider E=mc^2

This says that Energy IS EQUAL TO mass times the speed of light squared. The speed of light squared is a constant. If we remove this from the equation we are left with

E IS EQUIVALENT TO m - energy and mass are equivalent. So for now, I'll go with they are the same.

In math, whenever you have a constant and an equal sign in an equation, they may removed and replaced with a proportionality sign and vice versa...
Say what?The Walrus
Jul 29, 2002 6:37 PM
If an element is removed from one side of an equation, it has to be removed from the other side, too--which leaves you with E/c^2=m...

...unless they taught a different kind of algebra when/where you went to school than what I learned;-)
Say what?jose_Tex_mex
Jul 30, 2002 6:51 AM
That's true in Algebra. However, what we are doing here is playing with the definition of the equation. When two things are proportional (equivalent) you can always just throw in a constant and change the proportional sign to an equals.

I wish I knew how to get my computer to do the proportional sign as I could make this discussion a whole lot easier.
sounds like quantum math! :) nmmr_spin
Jul 30, 2002 6:51 AM
nah, it's just a little trick - like math in wordsjose_Tex_mex
Jul 30, 2002 7:04 AM
I learned this in some math course somewhere along the line. It irked me at first. However, when you try it out, it makes sense.

Remember, the spring proportionality constant F = kx, (or something like this) where a force on a string of constant F stretches the spring a distance x? Well, just get rid of the constant "k" and you are left with F is proportional to x. Makes sense, the distance the string is stretched is proportional to the mass - F.

Try it out with any equation using a constant. It really helps to put math in words.
Ouch! Who taught this class? Bill Clinton?The Walrus
Jul 30, 2002 9:39 AM
I'm hearing echoes of "depends what your definition of 'is' is..."

Stuff like this is why I changed majors to geography.
Maybe MC Hawing and DJ Doomsday can help explainfirstrax
Aug 3, 2002 10:18 AM
Form his hit single "e=MC^Hawking"

Oh, yeah!
Damn, this is smooth.
Yo, a lot of people been askin' what the Hawkman's all about, this one's for you.

Verse 1
"E" stands for energy, yo that's me,
I'm a brilliant scientist and a dope MC.
Before you step to me I'd think twice G,
I'm the Lord of Chaos, King of Entropy.
You down with it? I motherfuckin' hope so,
'cause if you're not, I got a motherfuckin' rope yo!
I'll string you up, from a big-ass tree,
with a sign round your neck that says, "Wack MC".
There ain't another motherfucker hard like me,
I'm a universal constant, I'm a singularity.
Got Doomsday at my back with fat-ass tracks,
he pumps funk in the cracks and cuts wax with an axe.
So listen up bitch, 'cause there may be a test,
my style is smooth, but it's hard to digest.
My science is tight, rhymes faster than light,
like a ton of TNT I'm about to ignite.

E=mc Hawking!

Verse 2
I explode like a bomb, no one is spared,
my power is my mass times the speed of light squared.
Hoes on my tip, 15 bullets in my clip,
my hand rests heavy on my pistol grip.
Doomsday cuts it up like a Shaolin monk,
pumping the funk in your junk-trunk punk.
There's no escaping here, I'm gonna beat you out of shape,
like a f@%&ing black hole even light can't escape.
Got the mind to bust a rhyme to make your brain bleed,
other rappers talk shit, but they gotta concede,
that I'm a 3 sandwich eatin', super-model meetin',
step to me punk and you're gonna get a beatin'.
So listen up bitch, 'cause there may be a test,
my style is smooth, but it's hard to digest.
My science is tight, rhymes faster than light,
like a ton of TNT I'm about to ignite.


Trash Talk
Break down!
Ah yeah, that's right, E=mc Hawking motherfuckers!
God damn, that was some stanky-ass funk.
Somebody open a motherfuckin' window.
Yo Doomsday, take us out.
I'm amazed that...empacher6seat
Jul 29, 2002 1:53 PM
people actually discuss quantum physics on cycling discussion boards! =)
I think as far as athletes go, cyclists are the smartest!jose_Tex_mex
Jul 29, 2002 2:25 PM
Seriously, I have met more intelligent people who are in to cycling than any of the other sports I have played.
I agree. nmempacher6seat
Jul 30, 2002 9:22 PM
Going Faster Than the Speed of Light - :-)jose_Tex_mex
Jul 29, 2002 2:49 PM
First of all, do I think we will ever have a rocket that will brute force its way to the speed of light - NO.
Do I think that someday we will have something go from A to B is less time than light - YES. Here's my rationale.

Pretend you are a two dimensional being living on a soccer ball. You wish to go from one side to the other. A is the start point and B is the point a line from A through the center intersects with the surface of the soccer ball.

So you start on your journey and eventually arrive at B. We three dimensional creatures note your journey was half of the circumference of the ball - (2*Pi*r)/2 or Pi*r.

In a flash of epic proportions you suddenly are thrown in to three dimensions and get scared - deciding to return to point A. However, this time you say forget going around, I am going straight home. You do so. Your trip distance is now 2*r.

In 2D the distance was about 3.14*r
In 3D the distance was 2*r

Continue this idea on to 4D, 5D, 1,000,000D and you will see that the higher a dimension we travel, the shorter distances appear to be.

Thus, if I could travel in a higher dimension I could walk from A to B and my friends back in 3D land would be impressed when my journey took less than the speed of light!

Lastly, why won't a rocket ever do the speed of light? Forget all of the technical stuff and ask where would we do the speed of light? As speed increases so to does mass. Space is not a perfect vacuum and it is estimated there is an atom of Hydrogen for every cubic meter. When we go the speed of light these atoms will look more like bowling balls to our spaceship. Forget drag, we would be lucky to be alive...

Watcha Think?
fine theoryDougSloan
Jul 29, 2002 3:10 PM
The shortcuts through dimensions theory works fine in our imagination; problem is, we have no idea whether that is possible. It may well be that the universe is not like a ball; there are three physical dimensions and that's it. Then what?

People attempt to "prove" additional dimensions by showing that, for example, to a 2 dimensional creature, we are doing magic by moving in three dimensions. Since we are 3 dimensional creatures, extrapolation tells us that there must be 4 dimensions, and on, and on, that we are simply too limited in our 3 dimensional thinking to even comprehend. The problem with that theory is that it may be a cold, hard fact that there indeed are only 3 dimensions. Extrapolation may not be justified in this case. It may be pure science fantasy.

I don't think humans will ever travel anything close to the speed of light, nor get anywhere faster than light could. We'll make ourselves extinct long before that. :-)

check out string theorymr_spin
Jul 29, 2002 3:34 PM
It turns the 3-D and 4-D world on it's head. To quote from the official website (yes, there is one)

"The eleven-dimensional spacetime was to be compactified on a small 7-dimensional sphere, for example, leaving four spacetime dimensions visible to observers at large distances."

Got it?
oh, darn it, I missed thatDougSloan
Jul 29, 2002 4:07 PM
I neglected to consider the spacetime ramifications of the 11th dimensional quantum equilibrium constant. Additionally, since the gravitational logarithmic specificity exceeds the gross subatomic superstructure mass, it must be true that the photodimensional crossfundamental binomials are equivalent. Now I understand.

mmm...donuts! (nm)JS Haiku Shop
Jul 30, 2002 5:23 AM
Sax a mo phonejose_Tex_mex
Jul 30, 2002 6:46 AM
My favorite Homer speak...
Homer quotesDougSloan
Jul 30, 2002 7:13 AM
Now son, you don't want to drink beer. That's for Daddys, and kids with fake IDs."

"Marge, it takes two to lie. One to lie and one to listen."

"You couldn't fool your mother on the foolingest day of your life if you had an electrified fooling machine."

"Marge, don't discourage the boy! Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It's what separates us from the animals! Except the weasel."

"If you really want something in life you have to work for it. Now quiet, they're about to announce the lottery numbers."

"To alcohol! The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems!"

"I saw this in a movie about a bus that had to speed around a city, keeping its speed over 50, and if its speed changed, it would explode! I think it was called, 'The Bus That Couldn't Slow Down."

"I want to share something with you - the three sentences that will get you through life. Number one, 'cover for me.' Number two, 'oh, good idea, boss.' Number three, 'it was like that when I got here."

"Marge, you're as pretty as Princess Leia and as smart as Yoda."

"Step aside everyone! Sensitive love letters are my specialty. 'Dear Baby, Welcome to Dumps Ville. Population: you."

"Don't let Krusty's death get you down, boy. People die all the time. Just like that. Why, you could wake up dead tomorrow. Well, good night."

"Son, when you participate in sporting events, it's not whether you win or lose: it's how drunk you get."

"Lisa, if the Bible has taught us nothing else - and it hasn't - it's that girls should stick to girls sports, such as hot oil wrestling and foxy boxing and such and such."

"Lisa, if you don't like your job you don't strike. You just go in every day and do it really half-assed. That's the American way."

"Stealing! How could you? Haven't you learned anything from that guy who gives those sermons at church? Captain whats-his-name?"

"We live in a society of laws. Why do you think I took you to all those Police Academy movies? For fun? Well I didn't hear anybody laughin', did you?"

"Television - teacher, mother, secret lover!"

"Maybe, just once, someone will call me 'sir' without adding, 'you're making a scene."
Homer quotesBikeViking
Jul 30, 2002 7:32 AM
Where do you find this stuff? You're killin' me here!
you can find anything with Google nmDougSloan
Jul 30, 2002 7:36 AM
Jul 30, 2002 7:37 AM
cool site, kind of scary. nmLeisure
Aug 1, 2002 4:01 AM
I think my syllybus read"the dual wave/particle nature of light"128
Jul 30, 2002 12:24 PM
re: light: wave or particle?zeke
Jul 31, 2002 6:36 AM
Your question limits the answer to only 2 possibilities.
Are you looking for truth, or merely want to have your questioned answered in a pededstrian/scientific manner?
what else is there?mr_spin
Jul 31, 2002 9:01 AM
Truth? Please, tell me.

I actually know the answer. I was just throwing out a topic to discuss.
Think of clouds.Leisure
Aug 1, 2002 1:50 AM
A guy I knew in college, who was a genius even in my jaded eyes, explained that the whole particle/wave duality was a stupid idea that did more to confuse than explain. Instead, think of mass existing along a diffusional gradient. It is centered about a point, but instead of particles being solid spheres with distinct boundaries, their density diffuses as you move away from the center. This is what underlies the Heisenberg uncertainty principle; you look at increasingly smaller particles and distances, and your ability to ascertain both its position and velocity become more limited.
It's a wave, particle and dessert toppinggregario
Aug 8, 2002 8:20 AM