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Re: Re: Re: Absolute Zero Question.

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Posted by Richard Ruquist on January 30, 2001 01:57:11 UTC

Personally, I do not think particles like electrons really exist unless they are exchanging energy or information with their environment. In an atom, the electrons are stable, so they do not exist(nice contradiction). What really exists there are the fields or quantum waves that become electrons when they collapse due to outside stimulation.

For example, if a photon of the right frequency impacts the atom, it resonates with the electron quantum waves, perhaps imparting enough energy for a portion of them be lifted into a higher energy level, or with enough energy to collapse the electrons into an electron which can then escape from the atom, where usually it re-expands back into waves. In thermionic emission from wires, the electron waves go off into space and become a measurable electromagnetic field. But usually, like for a detector, the waves go off into a wire where they are so confined that calling them an electron particle is a good approximation.

Consider the flow of electrons in a superconductor. The reason that electrons can flow without friction, is that they are actually waves that flow around the obstacles. At room temperature, thermal noise interacts with the electron waves so rapidly, that they are constantly recollapsing into electron particles, which hit the obstacles. That happens so quickly that it is fairly accurate to say that they are indeed particles. But take away all influences of the environment, and they are only waves.

If this were the God & Science forum, I would go on to say that for the most part the world is only invisible waves and our perspective that the world is only particles is close to an illusion. That is why the Hindus speak of Maya, the illusion of the world. That of course is an approximation going to the other extreme. The Hindu books, like Autobiography of a Yoga, suggest that advanced yogas can see the waves, or from their perspective, see the real world which is invisible to us. But of course particles are real too.

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