@Freak
Many of you may have heard of something called "The double slit experiment" basically it is an experiment that is used to determine whether something is a particle (matter) or a wave, the experiment is basically that you take a sheet of metal (or some other material) and shoot through it what you wish to test and look how it lands on a back wall. If you shoot matter through a double slitted material obviously you will get two bands produced on the back wall, pretty simple. If you shoot waves through the slits, however, the waves will radiate out of each slit and interfere with each other, when the crest of one wave hits the crest of another they will have a high intensity, and if you plot the intensity on the back wall you will get multiple bands on the back wall for each "super crest" lol
Matter:
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waves:
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video that explains it fairly well, (watch it, I'm going to talk about it next):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfPeprQ7oGc
i really like that video, I've probably watched it at least 20 times, however the video implies that we have absolutely no idea why it does that in the least, which is not true, we basically know why it happens why just don't know how it does the thing that makes it do that. So here it is, when a conscious observer is not observing something such as a photon, an electron, or an atom it can [i]become[/i] a wave that is confined to its wave function, so lets say that this next picture is the wave function of our example we will be using, a photon from my awesome flash light :blink:
http://min.us/mb9J7bT
New term: the "waviness" of this awesome photon is the probability of [i]finding[/i] the photon any place within its wave function, it is [b]not[/b] the probability of it [b]being[/b] there because according to quantum mechanics the photon wasn't there until you looked at it, many take this as your looking at it created its being there. Here's an example of our photon and the quantum wave function...
http://min.us/mbDPYoD
so lets say my magical flashlight has managed somehow to only emit 1 single photon, and that the boxes at the end somehow manage to keep the photon suspended within. so when the photon shoots from the flashlight it hits the semi translucent mirror, note: since the photon is not being observed by a conscious observer it is a wave. when a wave hits a semi translucent mirror half of the wave goes through and half of it bounces off, now since this wave is actually the photons wave function, half of its wave function is in the bottom box and half is in the top box, the photon is in a state called superposition, meaning that the photon is actually simultaneously in both boxes at the same time and the waviness is 1/2 for each box (remember it is the probability of [i]finding[/i] the photon there not that it is there, because right now the photon is in both boxes) so if you look in one of the boxes there's a 50 50 chance it'll be in that box, and once you find out what box its in not only do you "create" the photons being there, but by finding it there you also create an appropriate history for it being there. you could be thinking "... if when you look its in one box or the other and there's a history of it getting there, then how do you know it was even in superposition? how do you know it wasn't just in one box or the other?" well that is a good question, and here is your answer:
we can treat this situation just as though we were about to do the double slit experiment, we can do it twice, once unobserved before opening the boxes and once observed, so that the photon will be a wave one time, and the other time it will have properties of matter (since the photon is a single object, however its not quite correct to say that the photon [i]is[/i] matter)
unobserved:
http://min.us/mKrxPr
you get an interference pattern, proving that it was a wave
observed: (meaning we peeked inside before opening them)
http://min.us/mcRtZxv
after repeating this you will get a regular pattern on the back of just 2 lines
=O