The Duality of Particles and Waves: The Split Personality of Electrons

Christopher C. Gerry and Kimberley M. Bruno

in The Quantum Divide

Published in print February 2013 | ISBN: 9780199666560
Published online May 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191748646 | DOI:
The Duality of Particles and Waves: The Split Personality of Electrons

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This chapter discusses the dual nature of small particles, focusing on electrons. It begins by describing how the classical laws of physics, which were mostly established by the start of the twentieth century, did not work very well when applied on the atomic scale. In order to explain the atomic-scale phenomena, a new kind of physics was invented in the 1920s. This new physics was called quantum physics, or quantum mechanics. It applied to the world on the scale of the atom—the microscopic world, or microworld. The discussions then turn to an experiment involving ‘quantum’ coins; the difference between superposition state and mixed state; light, waves, and interference; and interference with electrons.

Keywords: classical physics; quantum mechanics; quantum physics; superposition; mixed state; light; waves; interference

Chapter.  12488 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics

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