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Posted by Richard Ruquist on December 1, 2001 19:57:23 UTC

That is the name of a book I recommend by Victor Stenger. It covers the question of wave-particle duality better than any other work written for popular consumption.

His interpretation of quantum mechanics is that it's all particles- that fields and wave functions do not exist. In order to get a consistent theory of particles we need acording to Stenger either Many Worlds, or Time Symmetry. He prefers Time Symmetry as the simpler case. In this theory, first put forth by Wheeler and Feymann to solve QED, particles can go backwards as well as forwards in time- hence the title of the book.

He also discusses the second quantization of fields introduced by Dirac, which is the quantization of fields by using the fourier transform of the fields. It only works for continious fields with time assymetry (one direction only)if you end up with an infinite number of particles, and with the infinity of them having zero energy. Time symmetry of Wheeler-Feymann removes the infinity, but is inconsistent with our experience of time going in one direction.

Stenger did reference the claim of Robert Mills, who is responsible for Yang-Mills theory, the math basis of all unification theories, that time can be in one direction if you only have fields and allow them to collapse into points when they interact with other fields.

I have previously argued the Mills view on this forum, but the math allows for the Wheeler-Feymann view as well according to Stenger, and using Occums Razor, the simplest theory is correct- we should all believe revelation by Feymann.

So here is a case where the math does not pin down the facts. There is still room for belief. You can believe that time goes back and forth. Well it's actually the particles that go back and forth in time. They go forth as electrons, for example, and come back as positrons. Wheeler apparently thought that all electrons had the same properties because there was actually only one electron in the universe that has gone back and forth a very large number of times.

Personally, I prefer fields only.

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