Fundamental Theories of Physics Free Preview. Buy eBook. Buy Hardcover. Buy Softcover. FAQ Policy. About this book techniques, and raises new issues of physical interpretation as well as possibilities for deepening the theory.
Origins of Quantum Theory
Show all. Show next xx. Read this book on SpringerLink. But de Broglie urged his colleagues to use two equations: one describing a real, physical wave, and another tying the trajectory of an actual, concrete particle to the variables in that wave equation, as if the particle interacts with and is propelled by the wave rather than being defined by it. For example, consider the double-slit experiment. Like flotsam in a current, the particle is drawn to the places where the two wavefronts cooperate, and does not go where they cancel out.
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In principle, however, the pilot-wave theory is deterministic: The future evolves dynamically from the past, so that, if the exact state of all the particles in the universe were known at a given instant, their states at all future times could be calculated. At the fifth Solvay Conference, a meeting of the founders of quantum mechanics, Louis de Broglie middle row, third from right argued for a deterministic formulation of quantum mechanics called pilot-wave theory.
But a probabilistic version of the theory championed by Niels Bohr middle row, far right won the day.
What Does the New Double-Slit Experiment Actually Show?
The theory is also known as de Broglie-Bohm theory, or Bohmian mechanics. Later, the Northern Irish physicist John Stewart Bell went on to prove a seminal theorem that many physicists today misinterpret as rendering hidden variables impossible. But Bell supported pilot-wave theory. The neglect continues. After many repeat runs, a quantum-like interference pattern appears in the distribution of droplet trajectories.
Now at last, pilot-wave theory may be experiencing a minor comeback — at least, among fluid dynamicists. The experiments began a decade ago, when Yves Couder and colleagues at Paris Diderot University discovered that vibrating a silicon oil bath up and down at a particular frequency can induce a droplet to bounce along the surface. In a groundbreaking experiment , the Paris researchers used the droplet setup to demonstrate single- and double-slit interference.
They discovered that when a droplet bounces toward a pair of openings in a damlike barrier, it passes through only one slit or the other, while the pilot wave passes through both.
When confined to circular areas called corrals, they form concentric rings analogous to the standing waves generated by electrons in quantum corrals. They even annihilate with subsurface bubbles, an effect reminiscent of the mutual destruction of matter and antimatter particles.
In each test, the droplet wends a chaotic path that, over time, builds up the same statistical distribution in the fluid system as that expected of particles at the quantum scale. The more path memory a given fluid exhibits — that is, the less its ripples dissipate — the crisper and more quantum-like the statistics become. The quantum statistics are apparent even when the droplets are subjected to external forces. In one recent test , Couder and his colleagues placed a magnet at the center of their oil bath and observed a magnetic ferrofluid droplet. Like an electron occupying fixed energy levels around a nucleus, the bouncing droplet adopteda discrete set of stable orbits around the magnet, each characterized by a set energy level and angular momentum.
The entanglement holds even if the two particles are light-years apart. But in the pilot-wave version of events, an interaction between two particles in a superfluid universe sets them on paths that stay correlated forever because the interaction permanently affects the contours of the superfluid. Many of the fluid dynamicists involved in or familiar with the new research have become convinced that there is a classical, fluid explanation of quantum mechanics.
Quantum physicists tend to consider the findings less significant.
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After all, the fluid research does not provide direct evidence that pilot waves propel particles at the quantum scale. Editors: Hestenes , David, Weingartshofer , A. Barut's work is rich with ingenious ideas, and the interest it provokes among other theorists can be seen in the cri tique by Grandy. Cooperstock takes a much different approach to nonlinear field-electron coupling which leads him to conclusions about the size of the electron.
Bandrauk presents a valuable review of his theoretical approach to the striking new photoelectric phenomena in high intensity laser experiments. For the last half century the properties of electrons have been probed primarily by scattering experiments at ever higher energies.
Recently, however, two powerful new experimental techniques have emerged capable of giving alternative experimental views of the electron.
We refer to 1 the confinement of single electrons for long term study, and 2 the interaction of electrons with high intensity laser fields. Articles by outstanding practitioners of both techniques are included in Part II of these Proceedings. The precision experiments on trapped electrons by the Washington group quoted above have already led to a Nobel prize for the most accurate measurements of the electron magnetic moment.