Discoveries and Essential Quantum Physics
In This Chapter
Putting forth theories of quantization and discrete units
Experimenting with waves acting as particles
Experimenting with particles acting as waves
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 = , 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 ...