Dual existence

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by apendrapew, May 24, 2003.

  1. apendrapew Oral defecator Registered Senior Member

    My teacher was talking about this today. He said and warned the class before he told about the experiment, "I'm not even going to try and pretend to understand what's going on here"

    But he told us about the experiment which goes a little like this. There's a light source that shines light through two slits. When the light goes through the paper, it behaves as a wave and diffracts as it passes through the slits onto the wall.

    In another case, if there's a counter, which counts exactly how many photons go through the slits, they exhibit particle-like properties. As a result, the light does not diffract. All of this simply because of an observation. This experiment seems to suggest philosophical implications. This leads me to another question. What if you have a counter counting the photons passing through, but you do not observe the counter. Does it still exibit particle properties?

    What if one person observes the counter, while another does not?

    Can someone tell me more about this, or at least give me something to read about it?

    I know this has something to do with quantum mechanics and how quantum computers will work some day.
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  3. Hoth Registered Senior Member

    The two split experiment is the basis of the idea of wave-particle duality (note: apparant duality, which only some take as objective duality) and ties in across most all of quantum mechanics.

    Illustration: http://einstein.byu.edu/~masong/HTMstuff/quantumEX.html

    Some in depth discussions of the various issues:


    Copenhagen types say the two slit experiment shows that observation creates the path. Others disagree with that idealism.
    Last edited: May 26, 2003
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  5. wesmorris Nerd Overlord - we(s):1 of N Valued Senior Member

    I would say that observation allows the path to become meaningful. I don't think there is another path to meaning.

    Well, besides a club to the head.


    Okay so maybe I don't have a point. It seemed right going in... I'll just stick with it and see what happens.
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  7. Siddhartha Registered Senior Member

    The photons pass through individually, though to satisfy wave functions in quantum mechanics, they also traverse every one of the infinite possible paths between the light source and the measuring device, often meeting themselves or other photons and cancelling themselves out at points, thus producing the observed wave-like behaviour.

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