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Q & A: quantum waves and the expanding universe

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Most recent answer: 12/11/2012
Q:
This is about Wave/Particle Theory and why we see quantum particles as a particle at a given instant in Space/Time but over a period of Space/Time it can only be viewed as a wave. Is my my assumption and logic right in saying the Expansion of space/time is the reason. When a particle is veiwed over a period of Space/Time, because of the expansion effect, it must, and only can be viewed as a wave. This makes a lot of sense to me, and is very logical as I can see the effect when I think about it?
- Rod Burgess (age 55)
Redcliffe, Qld, Australia
A:
There's nothing in our current physics to suggest that your speculation is right. Here's another way to look at the situation.

The part of quantum physics that we know, that works extraordinarily well and has a coherent mathematical form, is the wavelike part. All the ingredients of our universe appear to be quantum waves. So we don't really need to invoke cosmic behavior to explain that.

The part that's more mysterious is what's called the "measurement" process. Somehow our observations never correspond to the whole quantum wave, just a part of it. In certain circumstances, that gives behavior that can be pictured in a particle-like way. There may be enough unknown about this emergence of the large-scale classical world for there to be some unknown ingredients added connecting it to the expansion of the universe, but there's no particular reason to expect that speculation to pan out.

Mike W.

(published on 12/11/2012)

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