Dual Universe: Eternity | Spacetime

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20 Energy-Momentum Decides

Further support for the dual-universes interpretation is provided if the twin-slit experiment is repeated with electrons. A light would be shone on both slits so that an emerging electron would signal its presence by reflecting a brief flash of light.  For proponents of wave-particle duality, the experiment might show a particle’s method of detecting whether a second slit some distance away from the first is open or shut, and if it is open, how the electron reacts by turning itself into a wave.  

However, when the passage of particles through the slits is signaled by light flashes, the interference pattern of standing waves disappears. It is replaced by the type of pattern expected if each slit produced a smooth distribution of particles. The reason is that when a photon from the light probe hits an emerging electron, an exchange of energy-momentum takes place. With the new value for electron energy-momentum at one slit, the wavelength of the electron’s guiding wave at that slit changes to match it. It no longer matches the wavelength of the wave emerging from the other slit. The two different waves cannot interfere with each other to produce a regular pattern of standing waves. The experiment supports the concept of a guiding wave tuned to a single value of particle energy-momentum.

Why did we have a long history, from Isaac Newton to the 20th Century, of controversy whether light is made up of waves or particles? It is because we have evolved a visual system that is not concerned with picturing the world as it is. Instead it offers a vision of our environment that promotes our survival. If we saw the energy of light as flashes of individual photons, we would be overwhelmed with information and too slow to respond to the challenges of the world around us. It is more efficient to integrate the spray of photons reaching us into a uniform patch of light and evolve a visual system that creates from that the representation of the world we are familiar with. We build up this picture from the average energy of a crowd of photons.  To us, the steering wave guiding the photons of light is as invisible as x-rays or radio waves. We only become conscious of it when we see a rainbow and mistakenly attribute this to refraction light of different colors having different wavelengths. Instead, the origin of the colors comes from photons having different energies, which react with different pigments in cells in the eye to produce nerve impulses on different axon pathways. The photons have been steered to our retinas by invisible waves of different wavelengths.

Updated 3/25/2017

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