In physics, do all particles have a particle-wave duality? And if so, what determines whether they behave as a wave, or become a one-dimensional point in space? I'm familiar with the electron double slit experiment, and it's my understanding that when it's not observed, an electron acts as a wave. But when it's looked at, it acts like a single particle. How about hadrons, like protons and neutrons, that are made of quarks. Even though the are composite objects, can they also behave as waves, while containing their constituents? If the act of being observed has no influence on particle-wave duality, then what causes this property? And how does it ultimately effect our perception of reality?
There's no simple
There's no simple uncontroversial answer to your question, but perhaps a couple of points will be at least somewhat helpful. "Wave-particle duality" is ultimately too narrow a way to think about what you're interested in. The things that get described as illustrating "wave-particle duality" are special cases of the phenomenon of quantum interference, and that, in turn, is a manifestation of the fact that quantum states obey a superposition principle . At the end of the day, there's no substitute for thinking of this mathematically, but I'll do my best to avoid that here. You probably know at least a bit about polarization. If we hold a polarizing filter (e.g., a lens from good sunglasses) up to a light source, the light that gets past it is polarized along a common axis—let's say the vertical axis. In principle, with the right kind of light source, we can turn the intensity down so that only one photon is emitted at a time. If such a photon passes the filter, it will hit a screen in one spot—like a...
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