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Duality Made Easy

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Posted by Aurino Souza on May 7, 2001 16:13:08 UTC

Hi Richard

Believe it or not, I spent the whole weekend working on relativity. For an average Joe, that's totally unusual. What got me so excited? The realization that if you look at things the right way, you can discover things you never suspected.

I came up with this little thought experiment. I imagined a universe in which there were only two infinitesimal/quantum points in space, A and B. Then I gave interesting attributes to both points: A and B can have two states, call them 1 and 0. A is capable of switching between 1 and 0 on its own. B cannot switch states by itself but it is capable of following A's state. When A goes from 0 to 1, B will go from 0 to 1 after a certain amount of time, which is the distance between A and B divided by c.

So I had the following scenario in my mind. A goes from 0 to 1. Immediately after that, a "bubble" of information about the event surrounds A and grows with time, until it reaches B, at which moment B also switches from 0 to 1 and creates its own "bubble".

Now I'll be damned if what I call the "bubble" isn't exactly what physicists call a "quantum wave", and if the act of it changing B's state when it "touches" it doesn't amount to a "collapse" of the wave. I thought it was funny how in trying to understand Relativity I stumbled upon Quantum Mechanics. I'm sure there's more to it.

So where's the paradox in the particle/wave duality? There's no paradox at all, it all sounds perfectly logical to me. Information about events (light) travels as waves. An observation amounts to the wave crossing the point in space where the observation is made, and generating an event accordingly. The wave is changed and the point is changed but it's nothing a high-school student can't understand. Only when you try to understand what is going on when you have billions of bubbles acting on billions of points do you get confused.

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