Chapter 1

Discoveries and Essential Quantum Physics

In This Chapter

arrow Putting forth theories of quantization and discrete units

arrow Experimenting with waves acting as particles

arrow Experimenting with particles acting as waves

arrow Embracing uncertainty and probability

According to classical physics, particles are particles and waves are waves, and never the twain shall mix. That is, particles have an energy E and a momentum vector p, and that’s the end of it. And waves, such as light waves, have an amplitude A and a wave vector k (where the magnitude of k = 381885-eq01200.eps, where λ is the wavelength) that points in the direction the wave is traveling. And that’s the end of that, too, according to classical physics.

But the reality is different — particles turn out to exhibit wave-like properties, and waves exhibit particle-like properties as well. The idea that waves (like light) can act as particles (like electrons) and vice versa was the major revelation that ushered in quantum physics as such an important part ...

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