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Quantum Physics for Scientists and Technologists: Fundamental Principles and Applications for Biologists, Chemists, Computer Scientists, and Nanotechnologists by Paul Sanghera

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3

WAVE BEHAVIOR OF PARTICLES

A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.

Mark Twain

Figure 3.0. Wave–particle duality of nature. Nature at the microscopic level challenges the classical nation of dividing the world into matter and waves.

Courtesy of www.photoeverywhere.co.uk.

Wave–particle duality means that all energy and matter exhibit both wave- and particle-like behavior under different circumstances. The same entities exhibit particle-like behavior under one set of conditions and a wave-like behavior under another set of conditions. This concept, which is central to quantum physics, is a big deviation from classical physics, where a given entity is either a particle or a wave. Another way of looking at it is that the concepts of particles and waves as defined by classical physicists to describe the macroworld are inadequate. You can make a case for a missing concept that is neither a particle nor a wave, or a unification of a particle and a wave. Otherwise, learn to live with the concept of wave-particle duality. For some of us, this is a good enough unification.Physicists and chemists are already comfortable with this concept. For others, especially a major section of biologist, it may come as news: The wave–particle duality is making its way to your research field, get ready.

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In This Chapter

3.1 Introduction

3.2 Particles and Waves: The Big Picture

3.3 ...

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