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The Nonsense of Quantum Mechanics

Updated on March 22, 2010

Take a simple experiment: take a light beam and shine it through a thin slit and it goes straight through. If you take two thin slits very closely together, you get a wave pattern of bright and dark slots. This is called a diffraction pattern and is an old experiment that was used to prove that light was a wave and not a particle. Quantum physicists have taken this experiment one stage further. If you reduce the light beam down to a single photon, you still get the same effect: the photon's path will be changed and fit the diffraction pattern. The quantum physicist asks: what is the single photon interacting with?

There is a real problem with this whole experiment. In the last year of my Physical Science A Level (1980), I read an article in Scientific American about something called “Fuzzy Space”. It was a new discovery that at the subatomic level, particles and their equivalent anti-particles are being created and destroyed continuously. For example, a photon and an anti-photon will be created and then because they are opposite, they attract each other and cancel each other out. This is now called the Zero Point Field. It means that space is not space at all but a jostling mob of ever-changing subatomic particles.

So let us take a look at this experiment again. A photon is travelling through a field of ever-changing subatomic particles to get from the end of the photon gun to the receptor. So what is single photon interacting with? – well, everything really. In fact, we have no way of knowing that the photon that hits the receptor is the same one that came from the gun – a photon/anti-photon pair could have been created in the way of the photon and it could have been cancelled out. In this way, how can we make any worthwhile comments. We have no way of interpreting the results of our experiments because we have no idea what happened to give us the result.

It is at this point that quantum physics simply unravels.

Ironically, I have heard it suggested that if you add the Zero Point Field to classical Netwonian physics, it explains all the oddities that Quantum Mechanics explains plus the ones it cannot. However, I cannot verify that suggestion at the moment


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    • cosmomed profile image

      cosmomed 4 years ago from Sarawak. Malaysia

      This zero point field may be true to some extent with the existance of electromagnetic waves and particles such as neutrinos, photons, and other subatomic particles in a vacuum. Neutrinos are inert anyways. I think vacuums created in the particle accelerators are truly vacuum for experimental purposes. What I found confusing is the presence of antiparticles. If antiparticles happens so frequently in real life, all live forms would have not been existed because matter and antimatter will attract and annihilate with each other to produce more photons!

    • philmaguire profile image

      philmaguire 6 years ago from Jersey, Iles de la Manche

      Well Robert you are more than welcome to put forward your unverified assertions in flowery terms but it does not help discussion if we are not sure what you are saying; although it is my opinion that you are not interested in discussion so much as promoting your own hub. Nonetheless, I believe that your points about "model of objective reality" and "quantum math" highlights your problem: you have mistaken mathematics for reality - a common problem amongst physicists. You see, a model of objective reality is still just a model and it will never be the objective reality. In the same way, mathematics is simply a way of modelling reality - it is not the reality it is seeking to model. In this way, just because you get a particular answer from a mathemtical formula does not mean that it is true - only that it is mathematically consistent; And it does not matter how many many decimal points of accuracy, the solution has.

      I hate to be picky, but I never called it garbage. I called it nonsense, precisely because the mathematics were not taking into account an aspect of reality, namely the zero point field - a massive oversight, in my opinion.

    • Robert Kernodle profile image

      Robert Kernodle 6 years ago

      Quantum mechanics makes predictions to twelve decimal points of accuracy, so to dismiss it as "garbage" is, ... well ..., GARBAGE!

      Quantum mechanics is an extremely practical tool that makes possible the very computing machines on which you are able to insult it as "garbage".

      The real garbage is the refusal of quantum mechanics purists to allow their mathematical formalism to be transcended and includied in a greater conceptual model of objective reality, where we can apply other means of measuring and other means of knowing besides quantum math.


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      hollow 7 years ago

      Well how do we know that these virtual particles really exist and are created and destroyed simultaneously? No one has ever seen one.

    • philmaguire profile image

      philmaguire 7 years ago from Jersey, Iles de la Manche

      Glad I could be a help, kirui

    • profile image

      kirui 7 years ago

      Thanks for that job. I can get you very clearly. The liked the lesson on the field and solidity and zero point field as the source of electromagnetic field along side particles. You have answered my question to a good extend.

    • philmaguire profile image

      philmaguire 7 years ago from Jersey, Iles de la Manche

      First of all, Kirui, let me congratulate you on having an enquiring mind; on being prepared to ask questions to find out more; and on not stopping until you are satisfied. These are admirable traits for anyone wishing to push the boundaries of knowledge.

      Take a 1 foot solid cube of iron. If you punched it, it would feel solid, right? Well, when we look at the atomic level, we see that the cube is made up of a lattice of iron atoms where most of the cube is empty space (well, as empty as space gets). I believe that someone has estimated that less than 10% of that iron cube is actually made up of iron atoms. So, why does it feel solid? This is the effect of the all of the electromagnetic fields generated around the iron atoms which interact with each other and with the electromagnetic fields of your hand and at one point will not let them get any closer. It is like getting two giants magnets and trying to force them together. If you force the same poles together (North to North or South to South), they will repel each other making it very difficult for you to make them touch. But let us look closer at the iron atom. It is not solid either but is itself made up of smaller particles known as protons, neutrons and electrons. Less than 10% of the iron atom is actually made up of these “particles” which means that less than l% of the very solid iron block is actually made of the matter of the iron's protons, neutrons and electrons. The “solidity” of the iron atom is due to the electromagnetic fields generated by these protons, neutrons and electrons. But again, physicists tell us that these “particles” are just the effect of the electromagnetic fields of smaller “particles” which are themselves made up of smaller particles. At which point does any conversation about “particles” become nonsensical? I would suggest that it is at the level of of subatomic particles because at this level, the electromagnetic fields generated by the subatomic “particles” inside the atom must be the same at the electromagnetic fields generated by the randomly created subatomic “particles” of the Zero Point Field. So, where is “matter” in all of this, or is it just a sleight-of-hand trick by “energy”?

      A very simple example of energy appearing to be solid that many people have experienced is the shockwave from (say) an earthquake. My friend recounted his experience of an earthquake. He was lying in his bed and suddenly, the windows started shaking as did anything that was loose – ornaments, pictures, etc. As soon as it began, it stopped. After a short pause, the bed leaped across the room from one side to the other as the earthquake's shock wave hit. As far as he was concerned, it was no different from being hit by a bus. Any time that energy is compressed, it acts like a solid. Take the example of the sonic boom from a supersonic object. That shockwave will do real damage. Again, we have to ask, where is the “matter” or is it just energy in a different state?

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      Kirui 7 years ago

      Thanks for the answers but there is still one thing , I don't see how a particle can be energy. May be you mean a 'sack' full of of even smaller energetic particles which physicist do not consider may be becuse they have not discovered.

    • philmaguire profile image

      philmaguire 7 years ago from Jersey, Iles de la Manche

      Phew those are a lot of questions

      According to conventional wisdom, anti-particles are the same mass but opposite charge. Further than that, it is difficult to say. Part of the problem is that anti-matter is very difficult to collect and study because of its tendency to want to explode (see below). Atoms of anti-hydrogen have only been captured and stored as recently as 2010 by the ALPHA collaboration at CERN and experiments have yet to start. The other part is that it is impossible to be definitive about atomic and subatomic particles precisely because of the Zero Point Field. So, I am sorry I am going to have to disappoint you because no one can tell you exactly what anti-particles are.

      When a particle and its anti-particle combine, they convert back into energy as per Einstein's famous equation E=MC2 leaving behind empty space – well, as empty as space can be when it is filled with the Zero Point Field and Dark Matter. I find it easier to think of matter as nothing more than compressed energy, in other words, particles are nothing more than energy “scrunched” up pretending to be solid.

      P. A. M. Dirac first predicted antimatter in 1928 and, yes, he was a theoretical physicist working in the field of Quantum Mechanics

      The Zero Point Field does not disprove Quantum Mechanics. What it does do, is severely limit the usefulness of the subject by preventing experimental enquiry. So, it does not say that Quantum Mechanics is wrong, it just asks the question: “What can Quantum Mechanics actually tell us that is actually meaningful and useful?” My personal answer to that would be: not much, certainly not enough to warrant its continued existence.

      It should not come as a surprise that a consequence of the theory should end up disproving it. It is my opinion that this is the very point and remit of a good theory and of good scientific practice. Karl Popper defined a science (as opposed to an art) as based on the principle of falsifiability ie: that a scientist devises a theory based on existing evidence and then tries to design an experiment that disproves that very theory. In fact, Popper goes further and states that any theory that cannot be disproved by experiment is not scientific in nature but becomes a religious assertion. I have yet to find a better definition of science and the Scientific Method. The problem is that if you follow that definition, you suddenly realise how few scientific theories there are and how few so-called scientists are actually scientists. There have been a number of books comparing modern physics to ancient oriental beliefs (like The Dancing Wu Li Masters). They are right but only because modern science has ceased to be falsifiable and has become little more than religious belief. This is a great shame because science still has a valuable place in our future. There are still many mysteries that science can and should address. But that should probably be the subject of a different article

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      Kirui 7 years ago

      Now, i have a problem with antiparticles. Exactly, what are these? What do they become when they compine with particles and do not tell me an empty space. Perhaps an ether, a fluid or what are these people talking about? Why doesn't the whatever medium prevent us from moving. I also thought that antiparticles is a theory in quantum, so, how can it be used to debunk its own father?

    • philmaguire profile image

      philmaguire 7 years ago from Jersey, Iles de la Manche

      Thank you for entering the debate Mohana. That is a very fascinating angle. Have you shared this with any Quantum physicists and, if you did, what did they have to say on the matter?

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      Mohana Prabath 7 years ago

      In my view, the determinism in relativity which is mainly based on Tensor Calculus and 1 st and 2 nd Cristoffel's symbols cannot ever correlate with the probabilistic nature of Quantum Therory.

    • philmaguire profile image

      philmaguire 7 years ago from Jersey, Iles de la Manche

      Thank you both Biligaede and Spartanking1978 for arguing my point so eloquently

      You may think that that is a strange thing to say about your comment in particular Spartankling1978 so let me expand further: this article is not about the light but the space between the source of the light and its observation. If all space everywhere is indeed an ever-changing and unpredictable mass of particles and anti-particles, then nothing can be stated about what is happening at the quantum level at any time with any degree of confidence. You would have impressed me more if you would have claimed that repeating the experiments many times would mitigate for the changing background - except that I do not believe that we will ever know that because the experiments are not designed to take fuzzy space into account. Perhaps with your years of research, you could come up with one. That would be truly interesting

    • spartanking1978 profile image

      spartanking1978 7 years ago from Earth

      A true double-slit experiment must include a z test with the photon under observation. This validates that light is indeed in a quantum flux state...

    • billgaede profile image

      billgaede 7 years ago

      You are too kind to QM by calling it nonsense, phil. You should really state that Quantum in all of its forms is 100% garbage! It has no place in Science.

    • philmaguire profile image

      philmaguire 8 years ago from Jersey, Iles de la Manche

      Thank you, tim-tim, for your kind words and encouragement as always.

      Thank you, also Ioua. If I understand you correctly, I have a couple of hubs on that very subject that I am working on that you may find interesting.

    • loua profile image

      loua 8 years ago from Elsewhere, visiting Earth ~ the segregated community planet

      Like the electrons in a wire; the energy is conveyed through the continuum of the medium. In the case of space it is the matrix of existence that is the continuum; this I believe to be the case...

    • tim-tim profile image

      Priscilla Chan 8 years ago from Normal, Illinois

      Interesting and informative! Thanks for sharing:)