Who Says Light Behaves as a Particle?

4 views
Skip to first unread message

Nathan Urban

unread,
Oct 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/25/99
to
In article <Fh8R3.14742$Ua7.5...@news2.rdc1.on.home.com>, trans...@hotmail.com wrote:

> I'd just like to have someone show me proof, beyond the shadow of a doubt
> (pun intended), light behaving as a particle.

I'm told that spontaneous emission is pretty good proof.

[Note followups.]

Gregory L. Hansen

unread,
Oct 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/26/99
to
In article <7v362e$nlo$1...@crib.corepower.com>,


Of course, the photoelectric effect is what started it all.

For proof beyond a shadow of a doubt, he might need to get his own
photomultiplier and damp down a light source until the signal becomes
discrete.

--
No electrons were harmed in the posting of this message.

srp

unread,
Oct 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/26/99
to
Gregory L. Hansen wrote:

No, but quite a bunch of them might be knocked silly if he follows
your instructions. :o]

André Michaud
Service de Recherche Pédagogique http://www.microtec.net/~srp/

Katie Schwarz

unread,
Oct 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/26/99
to
Gregory L. Hansen <glha...@steel.ucs.indiana.edu> wrote:

>Nathan Urban <nur...@vt.edu> wrote:
>>trans...@hotmail.com wrote:
>>
>>> I'd just like to have someone show me proof, beyond the shadow of a doubt
>>> (pun intended), light behaving as a particle.
>>
>>I'm told that spontaneous emission is pretty good proof.
>
>Of course, the photoelectric effect is what started it all.
>
>For proof beyond a shadow of a doubt, he might need to get his own
>photomultiplier and damp down a light source until the signal becomes
>discrete.

Actually neither of these is really solid proof. The photoelectric
effect can be explained by a semiclassical theory where the energy of
the atoms is quantized but the electromagnetic field is classical.
And spontaneous emission can be explained by a "neoclassical" theory
where there is a random classical electromagnetic field present
everywhere with some appropriate spectrum, inducing transitions in
atoms at random times. To rule out both of these theories, you need a
coincidence experiment, where a beam is split and detected by two
detectors:

detector #1 ----- coincidence
^ counter
| |
| |
| |
incident light-----------> / --------->detector #2

If exactly one photon falls on the beam splitter, it must go to
detector #1 or 2, but not both, so the coincidence count rate will be
zero. Classical theories predict that any wave can be split into two
smaller ones, so the coincidence rate would never be zero. This kind
of experiment supports the existence of photons.

--
Katie Schwarz
"There's no need to look for a Chimera, or a cat with three legs."
-- Jorge Luis Borges, "Death and the Compass"

Gregory L. Hansen

unread,
Oct 27, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/27/99
to
In article <7v5bjl$5gk$1...@agate-ether.berkeley.edu>,

Katie Schwarz <k...@socrates.berkeley.edu> wrote:
>Gregory L. Hansen <glha...@steel.ucs.indiana.edu> wrote:
>>Nathan Urban <nur...@vt.edu> wrote:
>>>trans...@hotmail.com wrote:
>>>
>>>> I'd just like to have someone show me proof, beyond the shadow of a doubt
>>>> (pun intended), light behaving as a particle.
>>>
>>>I'm told that spontaneous emission is pretty good proof.
>>
>>Of course, the photoelectric effect is what started it all.
>>
>>For proof beyond a shadow of a doubt, he might need to get his own
>>photomultiplier and damp down a light source until the signal becomes
>>discrete.
>
>Actually neither of these is really solid proof. The photoelectric
>effect can be explained by a semiclassical theory where the energy of
>the atoms is quantized but the electromagnetic field is classical.

Are you sure? The reason the photoelectric effect was important because
they tried to explain it with classical electromagnetism by assuming
energy will build up over time until an electron is excited. But the
response of the electrons was immediate, and no intensity of light would
create the effect if it was the wrong color.

>And spontaneous emission can be explained by a "neoclassical" theory
>where there is a random classical electromagnetic field present
>everywhere with some appropriate spectrum, inducing transitions in
>atoms at random times. To rule out both of these theories, you need a
>coincidence experiment, where a beam is split and detected by two
>detectors:
>
> detector #1 ----- coincidence
> ^ counter
> | |
> | |
> | |
> incident light-----------> / --------->detector #2
>
>If exactly one photon falls on the beam splitter, it must go to
>detector #1 or 2, but not both, so the coincidence count rate will be
>zero. Classical theories predict that any wave can be split into two
>smaller ones, so the coincidence rate would never be zero. This kind
>of experiment supports the existence of photons.

Yeah, I think that would convince me.

Nathan Urban

unread,
Oct 27, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/27/99
to
In article <7v5bjl$5gk$1...@agate-ether.berkeley.edu>, k...@socrates.berkeley.edu (Katie Schwarz) wrote:

> >Nathan Urban <nur...@vt.edu> wrote:

> >>> I'd just like to have someone show me proof, beyond the shadow of a doubt
> >>> (pun intended), light behaving as a particle.

> >>I'm told that spontaneous emission is pretty good proof.

> And spontaneous emission can be explained by a "neoclassical" theory


> where there is a random classical electromagnetic field present
> everywhere with some appropriate spectrum, inducing transitions in
> atoms at random times.

The last time this subject came up on sci.physics, I seem to recall
someone citing Milonni's book for an argument that sponteneous emission
could _not_ be explained by a "neoclassical" theory in this way.
However, not having read the book, I can't say whether this is true,
or whether I'm accurately representing Milonni's claim.

Bruce Richmond

unread,
Oct 29, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/29/99
to
In article <7v5q1g$cle$3...@flotsam.uits.indiana.edu>,

glha...@steel.ucs.indiana.edu (Gregory L. Hansen) wrote:
> In article <7v5bjl$5gk$1...@agate-ether.berkeley.edu>,
> Katie Schwarz <k...@socrates.berkeley.edu> wrote:
> >Gregory L. Hansen <glha...@steel.ucs.indiana.edu> wrote:
> >>Nathan Urban <nur...@vt.edu> wrote:
> >>>trans...@hotmail.com wrote:
> >>>
> >>>> I'd just like to have someone show me proof, beyond the shadow
of a doubt
> >>>> (pun intended), light behaving as a particle.
> >>>
> >>>I'm told that spontaneous emission is pretty good proof.
> >>
> >>Of course, the photoelectric effect is what started it all.
> >>
> >>For proof beyond a shadow of a doubt, he might need to get his own
> >>photomultiplier and damp down a light source until the signal
becomes
> >>discrete.
> >
> >Actually neither of these is really solid proof. The photoelectric
> >effect can be explained by a semiclassical theory where the energy of
> >the atoms is quantized but the electromagnetic field is classical.
>
> Are you sure? The reason the photoelectric effect was important
because
> they tried to explain it with classical electromagnetism by assuming
> energy will build up over time until an electron is excited. But the
> response of the electrons was immediate, and no intensity of light
would
> create the effect if it was the wrong color.
>

As far as the immediate response of the detector, isn't it possible
that a resonance built up so quickly that it could not be measured by
the equipment used?

How does particle theory explain the sensitivity to only certain
colors? It's easy for wave theory to explain. The atom's electrons
resonate at certain frequencies. Particle theory uses the number of
particles per second to establish the intensity. And we can have
different colors of the same intensity. So how can the same variable
also be used to explain color?

> >And spontaneous emission can be explained by a "neoclassical" theory
> >where there is a random classical electromagnetic field present
> >everywhere with some appropriate spectrum, inducing transitions in

> >atoms at random times. To rule out both of these theories, you need
a
> >coincidence experiment, where a beam is split and detected by two
> >detectors:
> >
> > detector #1 ----- coincidence
> > ^ counter
> > | |
> > | |
> > | |
> > incident light-----------> / --------->detector #2
> >
> >If exactly one photon falls on the beam splitter, it must go to
> >detector #1 or 2, but not both, so the coincidence count rate will be
> >zero. Classical theories predict that any wave can be split into two
> >smaller ones, so the coincidence rate would never be zero. This kind
> >of experiment supports the existence of photons.
>
> Yeah, I think that would convince me.
>

If the detectors are resonating and periodically discharging when they
reach a certain level, what are the chances that the same wave is going
to put them both over the edge at the same time? Also how do we know
that each detector is getting exactly half the energy from each wave?
--
Bruce Richmond


Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.

Gregory L. Hansen

unread,
Oct 29, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/29/99
to
In article <7vattc$qlc$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,

The time it takes to build up enough energy has been calculated and didn't
agree with experiment. There's also the matter that when the electron
drops back down and releases energy, that energy is not released over time
and does not consist of a continuum of frequencies.

>How does particle theory explain the sensitivity to only certain
>colors?

The energy is proportional to the frequency.

>It's easy for wave theory to explain. The atom's electrons
>resonate at certain frequencies.

A resonance would give a response to one particular color, with a
decreasing response as the frequency increases or decreases. What's
observed in photoelectric experiments is that there is no photoelectric
effect at all when you shine light of too low a frequency on the plate, no
matter how bright the light is. But the smallest intensity of
sufficiently blue light creates a response that continues for increasingly
higher frequencies.

>Particle theory uses the number of
>particles per second to establish the intensity. And we can have
>different colors of the same intensity. So how can the same variable
>also be used to explain color?

Energy of a photon is E=hf, Planck's constant multiplied by the frequency.
Total energy of light in a region is U=nE, number of photons multiplied by
the energy of a photon. Intensity is I=U/A=nE/A=nhf/A, energy divided by
area.

If there are many different colors you need to sum over all the colors.

I = (n1 f1 + n2 f2 + n3 f3 + ...) h / A

>> >And spontaneous emission can be explained by a "neoclassical" theory
>> >where there is a random classical electromagnetic field present
>> >everywhere with some appropriate spectrum, inducing transitions in
>> >atoms at random times. To rule out both of these theories, you need
>a
>> >coincidence experiment, where a beam is split and detected by two
>> >detectors:
>> >
>> > detector #1 ----- coincidence
>> > ^ counter
>> > | |
>> > | |
>> > | |
>> > incident light-----------> / --------->detector #2
>> >
>> >If exactly one photon falls on the beam splitter, it must go to
>> >detector #1 or 2, but not both, so the coincidence count rate will be
>> >zero. Classical theories predict that any wave can be split into two
>> >smaller ones, so the coincidence rate would never be zero. This kind
>> >of experiment supports the existence of photons.
>>
>> Yeah, I think that would convince me.
>>
>
>If the detectors are resonating and periodically discharging when they
>reach a certain level, what are the chances that the same wave is going
>to put them both over the edge at the same time? Also how do we know
>that each detector is getting exactly half the energy from each wave?

Use a beam splitter that passes exactly half the light energy in each
direction. Set up the experiment with bright light so a continuous signal
is produced. And you should use several different types of detectors, and
swap detector A with detector B to check for a bias. Ultimately your
analysis will involve some statistics. You want to determine if there is
a time dependence as you'd expect for energy to build up and release, or
if the time dependence is entirely random. And you'll want to check that
the detector firings are anti-correlated. That is, if you're passing one
photon at a time at a sufficiently slow rate, the detectors should almost
never fire anywhere near the same time. But a wave theory lets them do
that.

Matt Kennel

unread,
Oct 29, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/29/99
to
Gregory L. Hansen <glha...@steel.ucs.indiana.edu> wrote:
:In article <7v5bjl$5gk$1...@agate-ether.berkeley.edu>,

:Katie Schwarz <k...@socrates.berkeley.edu> wrote:
:>Gregory L. Hansen <glha...@steel.ucs.indiana.edu> wrote:
:>>Nathan Urban <nur...@vt.edu> wrote:
:>>>trans...@hotmail.com wrote:
:>>>
:>>>> I'd just like to have someone show me proof, beyond the shadow of a doubt
:>>>> (pun intended), light behaving as a particle.
:>>>
:>>>I'm told that spontaneous emission is pretty good proof.
:>>
:>>Of course, the photoelectric effect is what started it all.
:>>
:>>For proof beyond a shadow of a doubt, he might need to get his own
:>>photomultiplier and damp down a light source until the signal becomes
:>>discrete.
:>
:>Actually neither of these is really solid proof. The photoelectric
:>effect can be explained by a semiclassical theory where the energy of
:>the atoms is quantized but the electromagnetic field is classical.
:
:Are you sure? The reason the photoelectric effect was important because
:they tried to explain it with classical electromagnetism by assuming
:energy will build up over time until an electron is excited. But the
:response of the electrons was immediate, and no intensity of light would
:create the effect if it was the wrong color.

But the build-up of energy over time in a
classical-E-coupled-to-quantized-atom theory is about the atomic
size/c which is approximately the same as the fully quantized answer.

I asked a colleague who is an optics professor at Georgia tech who
confirmed that it is possible to demonstrate quantization of fields as
well as electrons with a photo-electric type of experiment, but it has
to be done carefully and analyzed carefully in the circumstance of
very dim emission so that the photon number is low.

Which after you think about it makes sense because quantized E fields
only behave differently than classical ones in just that circumstance.

:>And spontaneous emission can be explained by a "neoclassical" theory


:>where there is a random classical electromagnetic field present
:>everywhere with some appropriate spectrum, inducing transitions in
:>atoms at random times. To rule out both of these theories, you need a
:>coincidence experiment, where a beam is split and detected by two
:>detectors:
:>
:> detector #1 ----- coincidence
:> ^ counter
:> | |
:> | |
:> | |
:> incident light-----------> / --------->detector #2
:>
:>If exactly one photon falls on the beam splitter, it must go to
:>detector #1 or 2, but not both, so the coincidence count rate will be
:>zero. Classical theories predict that any wave can be split into two
:>smaller ones, so the coincidence rate would never be zero. This kind
:>of experiment supports the existence of photons.

:Yeah, I think that would convince me.

Me too---almost; one could imagine semiclassical theories such that
the cross section between classical light and the quantized atoms in the
detector would not permit coincidence.

I.e. given conservation of energy if the energy of the E field is
sufficiently small then there will be no atomic transition hence no
possibility for detection.

I think the basic answer comes down to the fact that the equations of motion
are distinct for quantized fields vs classical fields in the limit of
low photon number and you have to detect that.

The point is that the typical freshman physics description of the
photoelectric effect is somewhat wrong.

What it does demonstrate is that stronger EM waves of low frequency
cannot substitute for dimmer EM waves of higher frequency in producing
an atomic transition. Something surely has to be quantized then, but
it may not be the field.

--
* Matthew B. Kennel
* Institute For Nonlinear Science/University of California, San Diego

I would not, could not SAVE ON PHONE,
I would not, could not BUY YOUR LOAN,
I would not, could not MAKE MONEY FAST,
I would not, could not SEND NO CA$H,
I would not, could not SEE YOUR SITE,
I would not, could not EAT VEG-I-MITE,
I do *not* *like* GREEN CARDS AND SPAM! MAD-I-AM!


Katie Schwarz

unread,
Oct 29, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/29/99
to
Nathan Urban <nur...@vt.edu> wrote:

>k...@socrates.berkeley.edu (Katie Schwarz) wrote:
>
>
>> And spontaneous emission can be explained by a "neoclassical" theory
>> where there is a random classical electromagnetic field present
>> everywhere with some appropriate spectrum, inducing transitions in
>> atoms at random times.
>
>The last time this subject came up on sci.physics, I seem to recall
>someone citing Milonni's book for an argument that sponteneous emission
>could _not_ be explained by a "neoclassical" theory in this way.
>However, not having read the book, I can't say whether this is true,
>or whether I'm accurately representing Milonni's claim.

I ought to really read that book. Thanks for the incentive. After
skimming that section, as far as I understand it, the neoclassical
theory (due to Jaynes in the seventies) got the Lamb shift wrong.

Katie Schwarz

unread,
Oct 29, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/29/99
to
Gregory L. Hansen <glha...@steel.ucs.indiana.edu> wrote:
>Katie Schwarz <k...@socrates.berkeley.edu> wrote:
>>
>>The photoelectric

>>effect can be explained by a semiclassical theory where the energy of
>>the atoms is quantized but the electromagnetic field is classical.
>
>Are you sure? The reason the photoelectric effect was important because
>they tried to explain it with classical electromagnetism by assuming
>energy will build up over time until an electron is excited. But the
>response of the electrons was immediate,

That's what it says in Eisberg and Resnick's textbook, but on thinking
about it, this doesn't make sense to me: if energy comes in packages
instead of continuously, you still have to wait for a photon to come
along. I couldn't find anything about a time delay in semiclassical
treatments in books such as Loudon or Mandel & Wolf; anyone have
details?

> and no intensity of light would
>create the effect if it was the wrong color.

This can be explained by a semiclassical theory: Fermi's golden rule
gives a delta function of the frequency of the incident light, even if
you treat the incident light classically.

c.h.thompson

unread,
Oct 29, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/29/99
to
Hi

There seem to be some sensible ideas here, but I wonder how many people
realise just how important it is to the current state of fundamental
physics?

I mean, it is obviously important, but the consequences of what I regard as
a totally false view stretch far beyond the immediate issue. The
assumption of particle behaviour is, I have found, at the root of the
current official line re "quantum entanglement", "action at a distance",
"EPR correlations" or whatever. These have opened the door to corruption
and magic ...

Experiments such as Alain Aspect's have been interpreted as supporting
quantum weirdness, but if you look at the actual details you find that this
is only if you refuse to investigate properly the possibility that you might
be dealing with classical waves, not photons! Aspect and his colleagues did
do an experiment (on much the same lines as Katie suggested) to investigate
this, but it does not bear close scrutiny (See Grangier, P, Roger, G and
Aspect, A, Europhysics Letters 1, 173-179 (1986) and criticism by realists:
Marshall, T W and Santos, E, Europhysics Letters 3,
293-6, (1987). There have been others, e.g. Mizobuchi, Yutaka and Ohtake,
JJAP Series 9, 201-204 (1993)).

Katie Schwarz <k...@socrates.berkeley.edu> wrote


> Gregory L. Hansen <glha...@steel.ucs.indiana.edu> wrote:
> >Katie Schwarz <k...@socrates.berkeley.edu> wrote:
> >>
> >>The photoelectric
> >>effect can be explained by a semiclassical theory where the energy of
> >>the atoms is quantized but the electromagnetic field is classical.
> >
> >Are you sure? The reason the photoelectric effect was important because
> >they tried to explain it with classical electromagnetism by assuming
> >energy will build up over time until an electron is excited. But the
> >response of the electrons was immediate,
>
> That's what it says in Eisberg and Resnick's textbook, but on thinking
> about it, this doesn't make sense to me: if energy comes in packages
> instead of continuously, you still have to wait for a photon to come
> along. I couldn't find anything about a time delay in semiclassical
> treatments in books such as Loudon or Mandel & Wolf; anyone have
> details?

I don't think you will find the details in any text book, but there are
hints of them in published papers if you read between the lines!

And there's quite a lot in Alain Aspect's thesis (Paris Sud, 1983) but this
is not readily available. Besides, it is in French. I've translated some
of the important sections and put them on my web site as PostScript files.
Perhaps I should put them in quant-ph, then people could hopefully see them
in other formats.

Anyway, the net result of my studies is that Aspect did not try and
investigate the exact time of detection. He used coincidence windows of
around 15-20 ns. It seems entirely possible, in view of the fact that he
states that the electric pulses emitted by his detector were vary variable
in shape and size, that much of this variation was due to varying intensity
of individual pulses, each of which was supposed to a single photon. From
the way in which the "discriminator" worked, it is inevitable that on
average a large pulse would be detected earlier than a small one, though
only very slightly.

I doubt, though, if this is the most important factor in determining time of
detection. The picture that has built up in my mind is of the presence of
considerable background of electromagnetic noise, and of detection happening
when random noise added to signal exceeds some threshold. A small amount of
resonance might be involved, but it does not seem to matter what frequency
the noise is. The detectors are sensitive to heat, to cosmic rays, probably
to radiation from electronic equipment, and to the voltage applied.

The picture that seems to fit Aspect's observed time spectra is of the
signals comprising pulses of e/m waves, each starting at high intensity and
trailing off exponentially, with half-life (for one of his frequencies)
about 4-5 ns. (The other frequency, detected on the other side of the
experiment, may have had much shorter pulses.) Noise might vary on a scale
less than this.

Detection can occur any time during the time when the signal is fairly
strong (and also when there is no signal - there is a "dark count"). So
long as the distribution of noise intensities is reasonable (i.e. broad and
smooth), the probability of detection at any point in time will be roughly
proportional to the amplitude of the wave.

Given that the detectors only register the FIRST detection in a period of
100 ns or so (they have a considerable dead time, and later electronics
imposes other dead times), it is clear that weak signals will tend to be
detected later than strong ones.

I do not believe this has been properly tested! The belief has always been,
ever since the 1920's, that experiments showed no variation, but I don't
think they investigated times of less than about 3 ns, and, besides, it is
quite clear that you can get a vast range of different answers depending on
both you light source and your detector!

Timing, incidentally, is just one of the grey areas in the EPR experiments.
Probably the most important one is the "detection loophole", and this is
intimately tied up with this same matter of whether we have waves or
photons.

If we are dealing with photons then it seems plausible to assume that none
are lost at a two-channel polariser though at the detector a (considerable!)
proportion fail to register. You can assume that at such a polariser the
photon must go one way or the other. Under this assumption, it seems
reasonable to assume that the number of detections stays a constant
proportion of the number of emissions, regardless of the polarisation
direction of the photons relative to the axis of the polariser.

But if light is pure wave it's another matter! It may look as if we should
get a constant proportion of the pulses detected, but as soon as you allow
for real experimental conditions you find that this is most unlikely. If
the detectors turned intensities EXACTLY into probabilities, with linear
resonse curves, then one might think that one would get "fair sampling"
(another term for "no detection loophole") since one would be dealing with
sin^2 + cos^2 = 1 as a result of Malus' Law. But if you think about my
description above of how real detectors work, it is not possible to get
exacly this behaviour. It would require an impossible distribution for the
noise intensity, which cannot be flat over its entire range!

Is the response curve ever investigated? Well, it was not one of the things
reported in a recent study on detectors: Ribordy, G et al, Performance of
InGaAs/InP avalanche photodiodes as gated-mode photon counters, Applied
Optics 37, 2272-77 (1998). One of the co-authors of this article was
Nicolas Gisin, who was on the team that did those Bell tests over 10k in
1997 http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/quant-ph/9707042 ...

Enough for now! Do look at my web site:

<http://www.aber.ac.uk/~cat>

I've spent the past 6 years studying these matters (scarcely looking at text
books, much more at published papers).

Caroline

Gregory L. Hansen

unread,
Oct 29, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/29/99
to
In article <7vb7t9$61g$1...@agate-ether.berkeley.edu>,

Katie Schwarz <k...@socrates.berkeley.edu> wrote:
>Gregory L. Hansen <glha...@steel.ucs.indiana.edu> wrote:
>>Katie Schwarz <k...@socrates.berkeley.edu> wrote:

>> and no intensity of light would
>>create the effect if it was the wrong color.
>
>This can be explained by a semiclassical theory: Fermi's golden rule
>gives a delta function of the frequency of the incident light, even if
>you treat the incident light classically.

I would have to review Fermi's golden rule, and I don't have my books
here. But the delta functions enforce conservation of energy and
conservation of momentum. They don't have anything else to do with how
the electrons respond to the color of a wave. Now that you mention it, I
think Fermi's golden rule predicts a photoelectric effect for all colors
no matter how red. Any step function would have to be imposed
artificially.

--
"That's not an avacado, that's a grenae!" -- The Skipper


Gregory L. Hansen

unread,
Oct 29, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/29/99
to
In article <38197...@news2.vip.uk.com>,

c.h.thompson <c.h.th...@newscientist.net> wrote:
>Hi
>
>There seem to be some sensible ideas here, but I wonder how many people
>realise just how important it is to the current state of fundamental
>physics?
>
>I mean, it is obviously important, but the consequences of what I regard as
>a totally false view stretch far beyond the immediate issue. The
>assumption of particle behaviour is, I have found, at the root of the
>current official line re "quantum entanglement", "action at a distance",
>"EPR correlations" or whatever. These have opened the door to corruption
>and magic ...

Before you change the theory to remove the corruption and magic, make sure
the corruption and magic are disproved experimentally. For instance, some
of the recent EPR experiments that show the corruption and magic exist.

And quantized fields are deeper than the photoelectric effect.
Semiclassically, excited atoms should never de-excite when their
temperature goes to zero, but they still do. And there's the whole of
quantum field theory. It's an internally consistent and eperimentally
verified theory that's derived from a small number of first principles.
It's not so hard to imagine replacing one phenomenon or another with
waves, but it's more difficult to imagine replacing the whole darn thing
with a classical theory that's internally consistent, experimentally
verified, and derived from a minimum number of first principles rather
than a whole bunch of ad hoc additions and special cases.

Jon Bell

unread,
Oct 29, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/29/99
to
Katie Schwarz <k...@socrates.berkeley.edu> wrote:
>Gregory L. Hansen <glha...@steel.ucs.indiana.edu> wrote:
>>
>> The reason the photoelectric effect was important because
>>they tried to explain it with classical electromagnetism by assuming
>>energy will build up over time until an electron is excited. But the
>>response of the electrons was immediate,
>
>That's what it says in Eisberg and Resnick's textbook, but on thinking
>about it, this doesn't make sense to me: if energy comes in packages
>instead of continuously, you still have to wait for a photon to come
>along.

Yes, but not nearly as long. As an example from Beiser, "Concepts of
Modern Physics":

| A detectable photoelectron current occurs when 10^-6 W/m^2 of
| electromagnetic energy is absorbed by a sodium surface. [...] if the
| incident light is absorbed in the uppermost atomic layer, each atom
| receives energy at an average rate of 10^-25 W. At this rate over a
| month would be needed for an atom to accumulate energy of the magnitude
| that photoelectrons from a sodium surface are observed to have.

A simple calculation shows that for light with photon energy 2 eV
(approximately the work function of sodium) on the order of 10^12 photons
strike the surface per square meter per second, so any delay between
photons is going to be very small in this case.

--
Jon Bell <jtb...@presby.edu> Presbyterian College
Dept. of Physics and Computer Science Clinton, South Carolina USA
[ Information about newsgroups for beginners: ]
[ http://www.geocities.com/ResearchTriangle/Lab/6882/ ]

c.h.thompson

unread,
Oct 29, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/29/99
to

Gregory L. Hansen <glha...@steel.ucs.indiana.edu> wrote
> c.h.thompson <c.h.th...@newscientist.net> wrote:

> >There seem to be some sensible ideas here, but I wonder how many people
> >realise just how important it is to the current state of fundamental
> >physics?
> >
> >I mean, it is obviously important, but the consequences of what I regard
as
> >a totally false view stretch far beyond the immediate issue. The
> >assumption of particle behaviour is, I have found, at the root of the
> >current official line re "quantum entanglement", "action at a distance",
> >"EPR correlations" or whatever. These have opened the door to corruption
> >and magic ...
>

> Before you change the theory to remove the corruption and magic, make sure
> the corruption and magic are disproved experimentally. For instance, some
> of the recent EPR experiments that show the corruption and magic exist.

If you took the trouble to read the rest of my message you'd find that for
the past 6 years I have been studying these experiments! They do NOT show
magical action at a distance. If the various realist objections to the
experiments had been followed up instead of ignored, the world would by now
have an entirely different attitude! Magic would have been laughed off the
scene.

The experiments have simply been misinterpreted, largely as a result of the
false assumption that light is a particle.

Of course high-energy radiation possibly does come in packets of rather more
definite energy. The "magic" (quantum entanglement) has only actually been
"demonstrated", though, using moderate frequencies and very low intensities.
These low energies can only be detected after the addition of e/m noise.

There may have been one of two supposed demonstrations of entanglement using
whole atoms. A case in point is Hagley, E et al, "Generation of
Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Pairs of Atoms", Physical Review Letters 79, 1
(1997). But if you read this paper you will find that the "visibility" of
the coincidence curves was well within the range allowed under local
realism. Some experimenters seem to forget that local realism is quite
happy with correlations that arise as a result of a common cause. Even in
the simplest of models, these correlations can achieve 50% visibility.

> And quantized fields are deeper than the photoelectric effect.
> Semiclassically, excited atoms should never de-excite when their
> temperature goes to zero, but they still do. And there's the whole of
> quantum field theory. It's an internally consistent and eperimentally
> verified theory

I suspect that that can be challenged, but I am not qualified to do so
myself.

> that's derived from a small number of first principles.
> It's not so hard to imagine replacing one phenomenon or another with
> waves, but it's more difficult to imagine replacing the whole darn thing
> with a classical theory that's internally consistent, experimentally
> verified, and derived from a minimum number of first principles rather
> than a whole bunch of ad hoc additions and special cases.

I've made a good start!

The first thing to do is satisfy oneself that the "verifications" are not as
conclusive as they make out. They depend on a great pyramid of assumptions.
If enough people were to accept that there is a need to start afresh, and if
physicists had the same humble attitude toward Nature that biologist do -
recognising that there is more to it than we are likely to be able to model
in our elegant mathematics - then progress would soon start to be made. It
would not matter that at first the new system looked a mess! With enough
brains working on it, and a ban on monopolies, models that enabled
understanding (as opposed to just prediction) would gradually emerge.

Caroline
<http://www.aber.ac.uk/~cat>


c.h.thompson

unread,
Oct 29, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/29/99
to

Jon Bell <jtb...@presby.edu> wrote in message news:FKD9K...@presby.edu...

> Katie Schwarz <k...@socrates.berkeley.edu> wrote:
> >Gregory L. Hansen <glha...@steel.ucs.indiana.edu> wrote:
> >>
> >> The reason the photoelectric effect was important because
> >>they tried to explain it with classical electromagnetism by assuming
> >>energy will build up over time until an electron is excited. But the
> >>response of the electrons was immediate,
> >
> >That's what it says in Eisberg and Resnick's textbook, but on thinking
> >about it, this doesn't make sense to me: if energy comes in packages
> >instead of continuously, you still have to wait for a photon to come
> >along.
>
> Yes, but not nearly as long. As an example from Beiser, "Concepts of
> Modern Physics":
>
> | A detectable photoelectron current occurs when 10^-6 W/m^2 of
> | electromagnetic energy is absorbed by a sodium surface. [...] if the
> | incident light is absorbed in the uppermost atomic layer, each atom
> | receives energy at an average rate of 10^-25 W. At this rate over a
> | month would be needed for an atom to accumulate energy of the magnitude
> | that photoelectrons from a sodium surface are observed to have.

But we don't KNOW that the photoelectrons are emitted by individual atoms!
It seems much more likely to me that they are produced by the whole
electromagnetic field of a large region when, as a result of incoming waves
bouncing around a bit and suffering self-interference, or the addition of
noise and general chance events, some natural threshold is exceeded. Never
mind the details - they, I admit, are speculation. The fact is that a wave
theory does not have to assume an even spread of energy among the atoms.
Light can come in pulses, and it can suffer self-interference so that
locally there are high intensities. And "lumpy" noise can be added from
the environment, or along with applied voltages.

> A simple calculation shows that for light with photon energy 2 eV
> (approximately the work function of sodium) on the order of 10^12 photons
> strike the surface per square meter per second, so any delay between
> photons is going to be very small in this case.

Under a wave model, local hot-spots could emit with negligible time-delay.
Average energy figures tell us little.

Caroline
<http://www.aber.ac.uk/~cat>


Ken Muldrew

unread,
Oct 29, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/29/99
to
k...@socrates.berkeley.edu (Katie Schwarz) wrote:

>Gregory L. Hansen <glha...@steel.ucs.indiana.edu> wrote:

>>Katie Schwarz <k...@socrates.berkeley.edu> wrote:
>>>
>>>The photoelectric
>>>effect can be explained by a semiclassical theory where the energy of
>>>the atoms is quantized but the electromagnetic field is classical.
>>

>>Are you sure? The reason the photoelectric effect was important because


>>they tried to explain it with classical electromagnetism by assuming
>>energy will build up over time until an electron is excited. But the
>>response of the electrons was immediate,

>That's what it says in Eisberg and Resnick's textbook, but on thinking
>about it, this doesn't make sense to me: if energy comes in packages
>instead of continuously, you still have to wait for a photon to come

>along. I couldn't find anything about a time delay in semiclassical
>treatments in books such as Loudon or Mandel & Wolf; anyone have
>details?

If I understand the semiclassical theories (and I have had only the
most superficial contact with these) then matter can only absorb
energy from the field in discrete quanta so there will be a time
delay.
Possibly you can find some answers in:

Jaynes, E. T., and F. W. Cummings, 1972, ``Comparison of Quantum and
Semiclassical Radiation Theories with Application to the Beam Maser,''
in Laser Theory, F. S. Barnes (ed.), IEEE Press, pp. 173-203.

Ken Muldrew
kmul...@acs.ucalgary.ca


Joe Rongen

unread,
Oct 29, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/29/99
to
c.h.thompson <c.h.th...@newscientist.net> wrote in
message news:3819f...@news1.vip.uk.com...>

> Jon Bell <jtb...@presby.edu> wrote in message
news:FKD9K...@presby.edu...
> > Katie Schwarz <k...@socrates.berkeley.edu> wrote:
> > >Gregory L. Hansen <glha...@steel.ucs.indiana.edu> wrote:
> > >>
> > >> The reason the photoelectric effect was important because
> > >>they tried to explain it with classical electromagnetism by
> > >>assuming
> > >>energy will build up over time until an electron is excited.
> > >>But the response of the electrons was immediate,
> > >
> > >That's what it says in Eisberg and Resnick's textbook, but on
> > >thinking
> > >about it, this doesn't make sense to me: if energy comes in
> > >packages
> > >instead of continuously, you still have to wait for a photon to
> > >come along.
> >

Support for the photon interpretation is provided by the time delay
between the instant the light beam is turned on and the onset of a
photoelectric current.

According to the wave picture; the energy of the light beam is
uniformly distributed in both space and time. On the other hand,
according to the photon hypothesis, the radiant energy arrives as
individual quanta, randomly distributed, and there is some chance
that the very first photon to arrive will liberate a photoelectron.

Experiment confirms the photon picture: Lawrence and Beams
showed in 1928 that photoelectrons are sometimes emitted less
than 3*10^(-9) sec after initial illumination, even with an incident
light beam so weak that the expected time delay according to
the wave picture would be much longer.

See: E.O.Lawrence and J.W.Beams, Phys. Rev. 32, 478 (1928)

Regards Joe

Katie Schwarz

unread,
Oct 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/30/99
to
Gregory L. Hansen <glha...@steel.ucs.indiana.edu> wrote:
>Katie Schwarz <k...@socrates.berkeley.edu> wrote:
>>
>>[Photoelectric effect]

>>This can be explained by a semiclassical theory: Fermi's golden rule
>>gives a delta function of the frequency of the incident light, even if
>>you treat the incident light classically.
>
>I would have to review Fermi's golden rule, and I don't have my books
>here. But the delta functions enforce conservation of energy and
>conservation of momentum. They don't have anything else to do with how
>the electrons respond to the color of a wave.

No, the delta function comes directly from an approximate solution of
Schroedinger's equation. You don't have to assume anything about
conservation of energy, but if you already know that the light energy
comes in units of hnu, you can then *interpret* the result as energy
conservation.

Fermi's golden rule is really simple, you can probably find it in
whatever quantum texts are available. It's just a first-order
approximation; integrate Schroedinger's equation once to get the
coefficient of the excited state, square the modulus, and you get

|H'|^2 sin^2 [(wfi - w)t/2]
probability of excitation = ---- --------------------
hbar^2 (wfi- w)^2

where wfi is the electron energy difference, and w is the frequency of
the *classical* electromagnetic field. The sin^2 is sharply peaked at
w = wfi for t large compared to the inverse frequency.

> Now that you mention it, I
>think Fermi's golden rule predicts a photoelectric effect for all colors
>no matter how red. Any step function would have to be imposed
>artificially.

It predicts a photoelectric effect for hnu = energy difference between
the initial and final states of the electron. If the *electron*'s
energy is quantized, so that there is a gap between the bound state
and the lowest possible free state, then Fermi's golden rule says
there will be no photoelectric effect for frequencies that are too
low. The incident light doesn't have to be quantized to get that
result.

c.h.thompson

unread,
Oct 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/30/99
to

Joe Rongen <joer...@whisp.com> wrote
> c.h.thompson <c.h.th...@newscientist.net> wrote
> > Jon Bell <jtb...@presby.edu> wrote

> > > Katie Schwarz <k...@socrates.berkeley.edu> wrote:
> > > >Gregory L. Hansen <glha...@steel.ucs.indiana.edu> wrote:
> > > >>
> > > >> The reason the photoelectric effect was important because
> > > >>they tried to explain it with classical electromagnetism by
> > > >>assuming energy will build up over time until an electron is
> > > >>excited.
> > > >

You don't seem to have read what I said: there is not just one "wave
theory". You can have "lumpy wave theories"! For a start, you can get
regions of high and low intensity due to interference; you can allow for
emission in pulses; you can assume that the receptor is "primed" by local
(lumpy) noise. One way or another, these influences can cause an
effectively immediate response.

> On the other hand,
> according to the photon hypothesis, the radiant energy arrives as
> individual quanta, randomly distributed, and there is some chance
> that the very first photon to arrive will liberate a photoelectron.

Now QT allows for a "work function", does it not? This means that it does
not in practice assume that every photon is converted to an electron of
fixed energy. There is not so very much difference between the theories. I
don't see time of detection as a barrier to a wave theory.

> Experiment confirms the photon picture: Lawrence and Beams
> showed in 1928 that photoelectrons are sometimes emitted less
> than 3*10^(-9) sec after initial illumination, even with an incident
> light beam so weak that the expected time delay according to
> the wave picture would be much longer.

Yes, I know of Lawrence and Beams work. To my shame, I have not looked up
the paper and don't know what energies they looked at. All that I am saying
is based on careful inspection of experimental details of recent
"single-photon" experiments such as Alain Aspect's. I can find nothing to
contradict the idea that detection in these cases is a matter of signal plus
noise exceeding a threshold. The appearance of "photons" is caused
artificially, in Aspect's experiments, by the "discriminator", which simply
thresholds the variable pulses and counts those whose voltage exceeds a
limit set by the experimenter. Aspect takes several pages of his PhD thesis
to explain just how he decided how to chose him setting of all the factors
involved. Though he rationalised this, there was a lot of personal
judgement involved.

Modern detectors, I gather (from correspondence with experimenters) try and
relieve the experimenter from this responsibility. Apparently they produce
pulses of very uniform size. I would deduce that the thresholding is done
within the detector. (Alternatively, that they are not dealing with such
low light intensities as Aspect was: a strong light pulse might be able to
induce emission with no addition of noise.

> See: E.O.Lawrence and J.W.Beams, Phys. Rev. 32, 478 (1928)

Yes, 1928! I believe there have been checks since, but there is scope for
more! If you look at my web site (or at, say,
http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/quant-ph/9611044) you will find that I believe that
(in Bell test experiments and similar) weak signals that have passed through
a polariser whose axis was almost at right angles to their polarisation
direction are, on average, detected later than those with polarisation
parallel to the polariser axis. This may or may not be a significant
factor. I think it is the most likely cause of the Bell test violations of
one of the early tests, Freedman and Clauser's of 1972 (Freedman, S J and
Clauser, J F, Physical Review Letters 28, 938 (1972)), in which a rather
short coincidence window was used.

Of course, the QT model of polarisation is so peculiar that it may be hard
for anyone who has accepted it to even see what I mean! What I'm trying to
say is that the crucial difference between QT and wave theories is not the
minimum time to detection, as lumpiness can make this very small. The
average time is different. This is associated with the fact that classical
light does not emerge from a polariser in units of "photons" but in waves of
the same frequency as those that went in. They simply emerge with lower
amplitude.

A repeat of the kind of experiment Katie was suggesting, with beamsplitters
and checking for coincidences, is urgently needed, as so long as people
continue to believe that these demonstrate particle behaviour we have
deadlock.

So we need:
(a) beamsplitter experiment
(b) analysis of "response curves" of detectors as we alter light intensity
(c) analysis of detection times

If we were to have a rational (local realist) approach to EPR experiments,
the setup of these could be adapted to aid in these investigations.

Caroline
<http://www.aber.ac.uk/~cat>


c.h.thompson

unread,
Oct 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/30/99
to

Ken Muldrew <kmul...@acs.ucalgary.ca> wrote

> If I understand the semiclassical theories (and I have had only the
> most superficial contact with these) then matter can only absorb
> energy from the field in discrete quanta so there will be a time
> delay.
> Possibly you can find some answers in:
>
> Jaynes, E. T., and F. W. Cummings, 1972, ``Comparison of Quantum and
> Semiclassical Radiation Theories with Application to the Beam Maser,''
> in Laser Theory, F. S. Barnes (ed.), IEEE Press, pp. 173-203.

Jaynes had some very interesting things to say about the whole state of
fundamental physics in an article in 1990, mainly on the electron:

Jaynes, E, Scattering of light by free electrons, To be published by Kluwer
in proceedings of workshop on "The electron 1990" held at St Francis Xavier
University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Editors: A Weingartshofer and D
Hestenes.

Presumably this has now been published. If now I can probably get hold of
an electronic copy in a brand of Latex or as a ps file.

My notes from the introductory sections include:

Practical men often have no need for theories.
QT is deeply into epicycles, so that one can hardly blame them for ignoring
it.

Dirac's quantisation of the e/m field leads to some right answers but also
some "horrendously wrong" ones.

The "claim that all phenomena must be described in terms of Hilbert spaces,
energy levels etc. .. [has] captured the minds of physicists for over sixty
years." In practice, they have been content with phenomenology, and
deprecated all efforts at studying the real, nonlinear, underlying systems.

QT is not restrained by any physical principles. "The present QM is only an
empty mathematical shell in which a future physical theory may, perhaps, be
built."

P4: QM is claimed to be logically complete, yet has to admit that it is
observationally incomplete - in all experiments one can observe things the
theory can't predict.

"Even the EPR paradox failed to force retraction of this claim [of
completeness], and so currently taught QT still contains the schizoid
elements of local acausality on the one hand - and instantaneous action at
a distance on the other! We find it astonishing that anyone could seriously
advocate such a theory."

"Not surprisingly, there has been no really significant advance in basic
understanding since the 1927 Solvay Congress ."

" . for 60 years Bohr's teachings have been perverted into attempts to
deprecate and discourage any further thinking aimed at finding the causes
underlying microphenomena. Such thinking is termed 'obsolete mechanistic
materialism' ."

p5: This workshop might be held to be out of the mainstream, but "there is
no mainstream today; it had long since dried up and our vessel is grounded."
" . our efforts are much closer to the traditional mainstream of science
than much of what is done in theoretical physics today ."


CT: But Jaynes was interested in mathematical models, and personally I find
these too restrictive. He has produced mathematical semi-classical theories
of light, but I don't think it reasonable to talk as if these were the only
possible ones. His idea of the electron, incidentally, does not seem to
have been very definite!

The idea of absorption happening in discrete quanta is not forced on us by
any facts that I know of. The energy absorbed can always come from many
sources at once, parts of many emissions (plus "noise", which is what is
left that is too messy to account for or cannot be assumed to come from the
same general source).

Caroline
<http://www.aber.ac.uk/~cat>


Gregory L. Hansen

unread,
Oct 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/30/99
to
In article <381aa...@news2.vip.uk.com>,
c.h.thompson <c.h.th...@newscientist.net> wrote:

>You don't seem to have read what I said: there is not just one "wave
>theory". You can have "lumpy wave theories"! For a start, you can get
>regions of high and low intensity due to interference; you can allow for
>emission in pulses; you can assume that the receptor is "primed" by local
>(lumpy) noise. One way or another, these influences can cause an
>effectively immediate response.

How does the lumpy wave theory hold up experimentally? It seems to me
that the lumpy wave theory still doesn't lead to a cut-off when the light
is too red.
--
"That's not an avacado, that's a grenade!" -- The Skipper


Joe Rongen

unread,
Oct 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/30/99
to
c.h.thompson <c.h.th...@newscientist.net> wrote
in message news:<381aa...@news2.vip.uk.com
> Joe Rongen <joer...@whisp.com> wrote

> >
> > Experiment confirms the photon picture: Lawrence and Beams
> > showed in 1928 that photoelectrons are sometimes emitted less
> > than 3*10^(-9) sec after initial illumination, even with an
> > incident light beam so weak that the expected time delay according
> > to the wave picture would be much longer.
>
> Yes, I know of Lawrence and Beams work. To my shame,
> I have not looked up the paper and don't know what energies
> they looked at.

See: E.O.Lawrence and J.W.Beams, Phys. Rev. 32, 478 (1928)
Your time looking for their work may be well spend.

Also, keep in mind that QM is pervaded by one great theme:

'The predictions of quantum mechanics are expressed
in terms of probabilities.'

Regards Joe

c.h.thompson

unread,
Oct 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/30/99
to

Gregory L. Hansen <glha...@steel.ucs.indiana.edu> wrote in message
news:7vepte$99a$2...@flotsam.uits.indiana.edu...

> In article <381aa...@news2.vip.uk.com>,
> c.h.thompson <c.h.th...@newscientist.net> wrote:
>
> >You don't seem to have read what I said: there is not just one "wave
> >theory". You can have "lumpy wave theories"! For a start, you can get
> >regions of high and low intensity due to interference; you can allow for
> >emission in pulses; you can assume that the receptor is "primed" by local
> >(lumpy) noise. One way or another, these influences can cause an
> >effectively immediate response.
>
> How does the lumpy wave theory hold up experimentally? It seems to me
> that the lumpy wave theory still doesn't lead to a cut-off when the light
> is too red.

Admittedly it has to be quite a complicated theory, but who said the
universe was simple?

Insofar as it really is true that you don't get emissions unless the
frequency exceeds a threshold, my lumpy wave theory will need two factors.
Remember, it applies to light that requires to be boosted by noise as
otherwise individual pulses are just too weak to be detected. To get a
detection we must need a combination of:
(a) coupling of the field of the cathode to the incoming field, and
(b) an extra "kick" from noise.

It is possible that (a) just does not happen if the frequency is too low,
but I'm not God! I don't know.

"There is more in heaven and earth than is dreamt of in your philosopy!"

Anyway, if you want to try and visualise (a) and (b) in detail, try thinking
of a toy swing, very light, that can be set in motion by puffs of wind.
Obviously this works best if the frequency of the puffs equals the natural
frequency of the swing. So far we have part (a). But now along comes a
larger puff. This is noise, (b). It does not matter what its frequency is
as it need only be a single burst. So long as it happens to come at a
suitable time it may push the swing beyond its limits and break it! Hey
Presto: your electron is released!

But in point of fact the rule of no emission below a certain frequency is
not hard and fast. What about that "dark count"? It does not require any
input pulse at all to produce that!

Caroline
<http://www.aber.ac.uk/~cat>


c.h.thompson

unread,
Oct 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/30/99
to

Joe Rongen <joer...@whisp.com> wrote in message
news:IdFS3.319$u45...@198.235.216.4...

> c.h.thompson <c.h.th...@newscientist.net> wrote
> in message news:<381aa...@news2.vip.uk.com
> > Joe Rongen <joer...@whisp.com> wrote
>
> 'The predictions of quantum mechanics are expressed in terms of
probabilities.'

And it can't even get those right!

Look, probabilities are things you measure, but they are not physical
objects. You can't have a genuine fundamental theory that only deals in
such things! Such a theory is, as Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen so rightly
said, incomplete.

Underlying those parts of QM that do give the right answers (interference
patterns etc) there are real waves behaving as real waves always have done.
The detectors that are used artificially turn these into probabilities. In
the cases I've studied (the EPR experiments using very low intensity light)
it seems clear that it would be possible to use essentially the same
detectors and extract more information. There is some quantatitive
information relating to each detection that is simply thrown away by the
"discriminator". If all you want is to study an individual interference
pattern, though, it does not matter if you throw a lot of info away. There
are always so many "photons" that the pattern will emerge anyway. It may be
distorted, but who cares? One is generally only interested in whether or
not it is there and what scale it is on.

As I said, the probabilities of QM are not even right all the time. They
are wrong in the EPR case, and experiments have unjustifiably been
interpreted as if they are right. As a consequence it is generally believed
that the real world does not allow a theory based on "hidden variables",
such as the real amplitudes, phases and frequencies of the waves that are
claimed to be mere probability waves.

Caroline

<http://www.aber.ac.uk/~cat>

Nathan Urban

unread,
Oct 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/30/99
to
In article <381b3001$1...@news1.vip.uk.com>, "c.h.thompson" <c.h.th...@newscientist.net> wrote:

> > > Joe Rongen <joer...@whisp.com> wrote

> > 'The predictions of quantum mechanics are expressed in terms of
> > probabilities.'

> And it can't even get those right!

> Look, probabilities are things you measure, but they are not physical
> objects. You can't have a genuine fundamental theory that only deals in
> such things!

What incredible arrogance, to claim to be able to dictate the laws that
the universe can and cannot follow.

c.h.thompson

unread,
Oct 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/30/99
to

Nathan Urban <nur...@crib.corepower.com> wrote in message
news:7vfjmr$urc$1...@crib.corepower.com...

> In article <381b3001$1...@news1.vip.uk.com>, "c.h.thompson"
<c.h.th...@newscientist.net> wrote:
>
> > > > Joe Rongen <joer...@whisp.com> wrote
>
> > > 'The predictions of quantum mechanics are expressed in terms of
> > > probabilities.'

> > You can't have a genuine fundamental theory that only deals in


> > such things!
>
> What incredible arrogance, to claim to be able to dictate the laws that
> the universe can and cannot follow.

Perhaps I should have quoted higher authority in this. Einstein, for
example. Do you just dismiss him for arrogance for writing a paper entitled
"Can Quantum-Mechanical Description of Physical Reality be Considered
Complete?" (His famous one with Podolsky and Rosen, Physical Review 47,
777-780 (1935)).

What he was saying was that a fundamental theory would not just predict
probabilities but would describe physical entities that caused the observed
probabilities. Quantum Mechanics, as we have so often been told, is not
compatible with their existence, but his argument was nevertheless valid.
It is QM that is wrong. The community made a big mistake scientifically
when they accepted Niels Bohr's rejoinder to the EPR paper.

But presumably you are happy with the status quo? Everything in the
garden's lovely? QM predictions never fail? The fact that nobody
understands it (not my words but Richard Feynman's, Niels Bohr's and many
others!) does not matter?

I'm sorry if I come over as arrogant but this whole farce makes me angry. I
don't like to see people wasting such huge amounts of mental energy trying
to understand the "quantum mysteries" when they could just look at the
actual experiments and say to themselves: "But isn't there a perfectly
ordinary explanation?"

This is what I've been doing for the past few years. In every case I've
found that there is. There are always "hidden variables" that can exist
comfortably beneath the probabilities. Not the predicted probabilities,
mind you, or not always. Hidden variables are completely compatible with
the experimentally estimated probabilities - a subtly different matter!

It was well understood in "the good old days" that a theory based on the
underlying variables would be stronger, have more predictive power, be
comprehensible, even (dare I say it?) have a chance of being a reasonable
model of "reality"!

You can derive the probabilities from such a theory, but you can't do the
reverse. Once you've reduced your data to just a probability estimate
you've lost information on individual entities.

Do you dispute this?

Caroline
<http://www.aber.ac.uk/~cat>

Nathan Urban

unread,
Oct 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/30/99
to
In article <381b6...@news1.vip.uk.com>, "c.h.thompson" <c.h.th...@newscientist.net> wrote:

> Nathan Urban <nur...@crib.corepower.com> wrote in message
> news:7vfjmr$urc$1...@crib.corepower.com...

> > In article <381b3001$1...@news1.vip.uk.com>, "c.h.thompson"
> <c.h.th...@newscientist.net> wrote:

> > > > > Joe Rongen <joer...@whisp.com> wrote

> > > > 'The predictions of quantum mechanics are expressed in terms of
> > > > probabilities.'

> > > You can't have a genuine fundamental theory that only deals in
> > > such things!

> > What incredible arrogance, to claim to be able to dictate the laws that
> > the universe can and cannot follow.

> Perhaps I should have quoted higher authority in this.

Perhaps you should leave argument-by-authority out of this altogether;
it only weakens your position.

> Einstein, for
> example. Do you just dismiss him for arrogance for writing a paper entitled
> "Can Quantum-Mechanical Description of Physical Reality be Considered
> Complete?"

I don't look highly on him for rejecting a perfectly possible viewpoint
simply because it didn't sit well with his own philosophy. It's well
known that Einstein never accepted non-deterministic quantum mechanics.
Most people don't view it as the highlight of his career, either.

> What he was saying was that a fundamental theory would not just predict
> probabilities but would describe physical entities that caused the observed
> probabilities.

That is what _he_ wanted in a fundamental theory. The universe is not
required to obey.

> Quantum Mechanics, as we have so often been told, is not
> compatible with their existence, but his argument was nevertheless valid.

He didn't have an argument. His "argument" was "I don't like the
following implication of quantum mechanics, therefore there's a problem
with quantum mechanics".

> It is QM that is wrong.

Too bad you can't prove that.

> But presumably you are happy with the status quo? Everything in the
> garden's lovely? QM predictions never fail?

They haven't yet.

> The fact that nobody
> understands it (not my words but Richard Feynman's, Niels Bohr's and many
> others!) does not matter?

Nope. I don't expect to be comfortable with a fundamental theory.

> I'm sorry if I come over as arrogant but this whole farce makes me angry.

That sounds like someone who's far too emotionally attached to their
own worldview. Like Einstein.

> This is what I've been doing for the past few years. In every case I've
> found that there is. There are always "hidden variables" that can exist
> comfortably beneath the probabilities.

Yes, hidden variables theories can exist compatible to standard quantum
theory (e.g. Bohmian QM). This is well known. It's simply that people
view them as having to go through far more contortions to make sense than
biting the bullet and accepting nondeterminism. (Plus, to my knowledge,
no one has ever presented a convincing _relativtistic_ hidden variables
theory.)

> It was well understood in "the good old days" that a theory based on the
> underlying variables would be stronger, have more predictive power, be
> comprehensible, even (dare I say it?) have a chance of being a reasonable
> model of "reality"!

The point of a hidden variables theory is that it _isn't_ any stronger
or more predictive than quantum mechanics. It is identical in its
predictions. (Unless you're proposing an alternative theory that has
testable differences?) When you have two interpretations, it's possible
to pick either, and most people today pick nondeterminism because they
find it _less_ weird than deterministic QM.

> You can derive the probabilities from such a theory, but you can't do the
> reverse.

That doesn't make a hidden variables theory "more fundamental", because
by definition the hidden variables are hidden. In terms of what you
can actually _observe_, there is no gain if the only difference is the
presence of deterministic hidden variables. It's like special relativity
vs. Lorentz aether theory -- you can derive SR from LET, but you can't
derive an aether from SR. Guess one which people picked, and why?
The aether has no observable consequence; it is unnecessary in the model.

> Once you've reduced your data to just a probability estimate
> you've lost information on individual entities.

You can't get that information anyway in a hidden variables theory.
Physics is the science of the _observable_.

Gregory L. Hansen

unread,
Oct 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/30/99
to
In article <381b3...@news1.vip.uk.com>,

c.h.thompson <c.h.th...@newscientist.net> wrote:
>
>Gregory L. Hansen <glha...@steel.ucs.indiana.edu> wrote in message
>news:7vepte$99a$2...@flotsam.uits.indiana.edu...
>> In article <381aa...@news2.vip.uk.com>,
>> c.h.thompson <c.h.th...@newscientist.net> wrote:
>>
>> >You don't seem to have read what I said: there is not just one "wave
>> >theory". You can have "lumpy wave theories"! For a start, you can get
>> >regions of high and low intensity due to interference; you can allow for
>> >emission in pulses; you can assume that the receptor is "primed" by local
>> >(lumpy) noise. One way or another, these influences can cause an
>> >effectively immediate response.
>>
>> How does the lumpy wave theory hold up experimentally? It seems to me
>> that the lumpy wave theory still doesn't lead to a cut-off when the light
>> is too red.
>
>Admittedly it has to be quite a complicated theory, but who said the
>universe was simple?
>
>Insofar as it really is true that you don't get emissions unless the
>frequency exceeds a threshold, my lumpy wave theory will need two factors.
>Remember, it applies to light that requires to be boosted by noise as
>otherwise individual pulses are just too weak to be detected. To get a
>detection we must need a combination of:
>(a) coupling of the field of the cathode to the incoming field, and
>(b) an extra "kick" from noise.
>
>It is possible that (a) just does not happen if the frequency is too low,
>but I'm not God! I don't know.

If the energy of light were not quantized, I don't see why you shouldn't
be able to demonstrate the photoelectric effect for waves of arbitrarily
long wavelength, just as long as the intensity is high enough. There's
certainly nothing in the pseudo-classical treatment of the photoelectric
effect that suggests a cut-off frequency. I've just checked in Shankar,
and Fermi's golden rule gives a frequency dependence but the rate never
goes to zero or has anything suggesting even a smoothed-out step function.

>Anyway, if you want to try and visualise (a) and (b) in detail, try thinking
>of a toy swing, very light, that can be set in motion by puffs of wind.
>Obviously this works best if the frequency of the puffs equals the natural
>frequency of the swing. So far we have part (a). But now along comes a
>larger puff. This is noise, (b). It does not matter what its frequency is
>as it need only be a single burst. So long as it happens to come at a
>suitable time it may push the swing beyond its limits and break it! Hey
>Presto: your electron is released!
>
>But in point of fact the rule of no emission below a certain frequency is
>not hard and fast. What about that "dark count"? It does not require any
>input pulse at all to produce that!

For one thing, the noise, or thermal motion of the atoms, could cause a
bona fide photon to be blueshifted into a knockout energy. And, again due
to temperature, some atoms are going to have electrons in excited states
so they'll be easier to knock out, even boil off on their own.
Measurements done while varying the temperature and bringing it as close
to zero as you can should help you eliminate the temperature dependence.

I think using very thin films will help you check for interference
effects.

Gregory L. Hansen

unread,
Oct 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/30/99
to
In article <381b3001$1...@news1.vip.uk.com>,
c.h.thompson <c.h.th...@newscientist.net> wrote:
>
>Joe Rongen <joer...@whisp.com> wrote in message
>news:IdFS3.319$u45...@198.235.216.4...
>> c.h.thompson <c.h.th...@newscientist.net> wrote
>> in message news:<381aa...@news2.vip.uk.com
>> > Joe Rongen <joer...@whisp.com> wrote
>>
>> 'The predictions of quantum mechanics are expressed in terms of
>probabilities.'
>
>And it can't even get those right!

It can't?

>Look, probabilities are things you measure, but they are not physical

>objects. You can't have a genuine fundamental theory that only deals in
>such things! Such a theory is, as Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen so rightly
>said, incomplete.

Einstein objected to certain interpretations of quantum mechanics, but he
had no problem with actually doing calculations with it. Personally, I
tend to follow the "shut up and calculate" interpretation. Einstein is
also the one that suggested light energy is quantized.

>As I said, the probabilities of QM are not even right all the time. They
>are wrong in the EPR case, and experiments have unjustifiably been
>interpreted as if they are right. As a consequence it is generally believed

Uh, which experiments, and what's incorrect about the interpretatins? Are
you talking about the EPR experiments that have been done in the last year
or so?

Bruce Richmond

unread,
Oct 31, 1999, 2:00:00 AM10/31/99
to
In article <7vavmc$i8n$1...@jetsam.uits.indiana.edu>,

glha...@steel.ucs.indiana.edu (Gregory L. Hansen) wrote:
> In article <7vattc$qlc$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,
> Bruce Richmond <bsr...@my-deja.com> wrote:

> >Particle theory uses the number of
> >particles per second to establish the intensity. And we can have
> >different colors of the same intensity. So how can the same variable
> >also be used to explain color?
>
> Energy of a photon is E=hf, Planck's constant multiplied by the
frequency.
> Total energy of light in a region is U=nE, number of photons
multiplied by
> the energy of a photon. Intensity is I=U/A=nE/A=nhf/A, energy
divided by
> area.
>

Thank you for trying to clarify this for me, but I still have a few
questions.

How is the frequency defined? It must include n/t and I would think
the n would have to be per unit of area.

Does Planck's constant have any units attached to it?

What is the difference in energy for individual photons of different
frequencies attributed to? They all have the same velocity.

c.h.thompson

unread,
Oct 31, 1999, 2:00:00 AM10/31/99
to

Nathan Urban <nur...@crib.corepower.com> wrote:
"c.h.thompson" <c.h.th...@newscientist.net> wrote:
Nathan Urban <nur...@crib.corepower.com> wrote:
"c.h.thompson" <c.h.th...@newscientist.net> wrote:
> > > > > > Joe Rongen <joer...@whisp.com> wrote
>
> > > > > 'The predictions of quantum mechanics are expressed in terms of
> > > > > probabilities.'
>
> > > > You can't have a genuine fundamental theory that only deals in
> > > > such things!
>
> > > What incredible arrogance, to claim to be able to dictate the laws
that
> > > the universe can and cannot follow.
>
> > Perhaps I should have quoted higher authority in this.
>
> Perhaps you should leave argument-by-authority out of this altogether;
> it only weakens your position.

Fair enough, as Einstein was both hero and villain of the EPR story. Hero
in standing up for the law of (local) cause and effect - in point of fact he
was not so much against the indeterminate nature of QM as against its
"nonlocal" predictions - but villain in inventing the "photon".

> I don't look highly on him for rejecting a perfectly possible viewpoint

Now lets get down to hard facts. For more please do look at my web site,
and you might do worse than to start by glancing at "The Tangled Methods of
Quantum Entanglement", http://www.aber.ac.uk/~cat/Tangled/tangled.html ,
which describes the way in which my attempts to publicise KNOWN weaknesses
in the EPR experiments have failed to reach the pages of PRL and PRA. Some
of my papers are in http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/quant-ph: 9611037, 9711044,
9903066.

Parts of QM are perfectly OK, but the part that Einstein was rejecting
predicted nonlocality. He interpreted this as implying that it was wrong.
If science is taken as being the identification of the causes of things then
he was right. (You seem to be saying, with Bohr, that science is just the
manufacture of prediction formulae.)

Perhaps I'll leave you to look at my web site rather than say much more now.
The point is that in order to explain the actual experiments, from Clauser
and Freedman's of 1972 to Aspect's of 1981-2 and the present, the "hidden
variables" you need are just the classical variables of polarisation, phase,
amplitude etc.. No new physics - or none of any significance - is needed!
You just need slight updating of old ideas, to accomodate the new
information that the dominance of QM has caused to be omitted.

"My" hidden variable explanations (shared in all essential aspects by
Stochastic Electrodynamics) is totally common sense, nothing to do with
Bohm's ideas. Bohm, as so many others, was trying to make a theory that
predicted exactly the same formulae as QM. This is not necessary. All that
science demands is explanations for observed facts, which is not the same
thing!

The "experts" know this, but don't seem able to accept that it really does
rock the boat.

> > It is QM that is wrong.
>
> Too bad you can't prove that.

If you take the trouble to read a couple of my papers - and do ask for more
explanation if necessary - you will see that in this instance the hidden
variable explanation is so obviously right that QM must be wrong!

Of course, you are unlikely to accept this straight away, and there are a
number of experiments that could be done to help you on the way. Some
critical ones would have the aim of proving that the light used, though in
most cases coming in pulses, was not in the form of "photons". When light
is split at a "two-channel polariser" it does not divide in the form of
whole photons, of fixed energy. It keeps its same frequency, yes, but the
amplitude (the ordinary, classical, wave amplitude) is decreased.

> > QM predictions never fail?
>
> They haven't yet.

Only (in the EPR case) because (a) it is not possible to get the "failed"
results published and (b) there is a certain amount of spontaneous, perhaps
subconscious, massaging of experimental parameters and/or the data! In
support of (a), take Holt and Pipkin's experiment, back in 1974, which is
only available as a Harvard University preprint.

> > You can derive the probabilities from such a theory, but you can't do
the
> > reverse.
>
> That doesn't make a hidden variables theory "more fundamental", because
> by definition the hidden variables are hidden. In terms of what you
> can actually _observe_, there is no gain

The gain is in understanding. Without the possibility of this you are
liable to make gross errors.

> It's like special relativity
> vs. Lorentz aether theory -- you can derive SR from LET, but you can't
> derive an aether from SR. Guess one which people picked, and why?
> The aether has no observable consequence; it is unnecessary in the model.

Not true, for the same reason. Given an aether, it is clear that light
exists as a wave in it (by definition, one might say) and hence that you
must have a theory in which its speed is always that relative to the aether.
If Einstein had stuck consistently to this idea he would never have
invented SR! (See also "The Einstein Hoax" thread.)

> Physics is the science of the _observable_.

Your physics may be, mine is not. The physics of the observable can make
gross errors if the instruments are not properly calibrated! And how can
you objectively calibrate a light detector?

Caroline

c.h.thompson

unread,
Oct 31, 1999, 2:00:00 AM10/31/99
to

Gregory L. Hansen <glha...@steel.ucs.indiana.edu> wrote
> c.h.thompson <c.h.th...@newscientist.net> wrote:
> >Gregory L. Hansen <glha...@steel.ucs.indiana.edu> wrote
> >> c.h.thompson <c.h.th...@newscientist.net> wrote:
> >>
> >> How does the lumpy wave theory hold up experimentally? It seems to me
> >> that the lumpy wave theory still doesn't lead to a cut-off when the
light
> >> is too red.

> >Insofar as it really is true that you don't get emissions unless the


> >frequency exceeds a threshold, my lumpy wave theory will need two
factors.
> >Remember, it applies to light that requires to be boosted by noise as
> >otherwise individual pulses are just too weak to be detected. To get a
> >detection we must need a combination of:
> >(a) coupling of the field of the cathode to the incoming field, and
> >(b) an extra "kick" from noise.
> >
> >It is possible that (a) just does not happen if the frequency is too low,
> >but I'm not God! I don't know.

I repeat, I don't know! And thinking about it the above is not very
satisfactory as it places too much emphasis on a resonance effect. It does
not explain why you get emission at all frequencies above a minimum.

But I have not time to read this all up, and have no lab to do experiements,
so I can't say more than that I simply doubt whether we have any
satisfactory theory yet. And until we get a clearer idea of whether or not
photons (and electrons?) exist, we are just a tiny bit stuck. We're in a
circular argument, escape from which will demand a leap of faith.

> If the energy of light were not quantized, I don't see why you shouldn't
> be able to demonstrate the photoelectric effect for waves of arbitrarily
> long wavelength, just as long as the intensity is high enough.

Nor do I, for that matter!

> >But in point of fact the rule of no emission below a certain frequency is
> >not hard and fast. What about that "dark count"? It does not require
any
> >input pulse at all to produce that!
>
> For one thing, the noise, or thermal motion of the atoms, could cause a
> bona fide photon to be blueshifted into a knockout energy.

Hmm ... I've nothing against Doppler shifts ...

> Measurements done while varying the temperature and bringing it as close
> to zero as you can should help you eliminate the temperature dependence.

Aha! But if you reduce the temperature I've a shrewd suspicion that the
kind of detector used in "single-photon" work goes on strike! It outputs
nothing.

Temperature is one of the parameters that the experimenter is free to choose
so as to get behaviour that appears to obey QM predictions!

As you may gather, I'm pretty ignorant of general work on the photoelectric
effect. I just know a little about what goes on in the detectors Aspect and
later workers (Kwiat, Tittel, Zeilinger ....) used and quite a lot about the
implications for the "demonstrations of nonlocality". For more on this (re
your other message) see my reply to Nathan Urban.

Caroline
<http://www.aber.ac.uk/~cat>

c.h.thompson

unread,
Oct 31, 1999, 2:00:00 AM10/31/99
to

Gregory L. Hansen <glha...@steel.ucs.indiana.edu> wrote
> c.h.thompson <c.h.th...@newscientist.net> wrote:
> >>
> >> 'The predictions of quantum mechanics are expressed in terms of
> >probabilities.'
> >
> >And it can't even get those right!
>
> It can't?
>
> >As I said, the probabilities of QM are not even right all the time. They
> >are wrong in the EPR case, and experiments have unjustifiably been
> >interpreted as if they are right.
>
> Uh, which experiments, and what's incorrect about the interpretatins? Are
> you talking about the EPR experiments that have been done in the last year
> or so?

All of them! See more in my reply to Nathan Urban. They use Bell tests
(or, in many recent experiments, simple "visibility" tests) that are not
valid.

Take visibility, which is an easy concept. We are dealing with sine waves,
or almost sine waves. The visibility is just (max-min)/(max+min). Now this
quantity is critically dependent on the min! If min is zero, visibility is
1. Yet just by altering the settings of the detector you can alter the
minimum, and you most certainly produce a drastic change if you "subtract
accidentals"! Ignoring the latter for the present (see for example
http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/quant-ph/9903066 or various papers with titles such
as "EPR, Magic and the Nature of Light"
http://www.aber.ac.uk/~cat/Html/vigier.htm on my web site if you are
interested), the point is that Bell tests are critically dependent on the
shape of the response curve of the detector as you vary the input intensity.

Under QM, there is no interest in this response curve, since (by an act of
faith) we have inputs that are all identical. The Bell tests used in real
experiments are weak in many respects as they don't use quantities that
anybody pretends are true unbiased estimates of probabilities. Actual
detector "efficiencies" being low, the relative frequencies observed are
tiny and would not have a ghost of a chance of causing a violation of a true
test. Therefore they use different tests that use ratios that are not
probability estimates - or not unless certain assumptions are true.

The visibility test is one of these, and depends among other things on the
detectors having exactly linear reponses to variations in intensity. (By
this, I mean classical intensity, not "photon number".) To investigate it
one needs to take "weakened photons" that have passed through a polariser or
similar.

Nobody seems interested in doing this. I have discussed it with people at
Innsbruck (now in Vienna). They have offered to do experiments but nothing
has come of it ...

Caroline
<http://www.aber.ac.uk/~cat>

Charles Francis

unread,
Oct 31, 1999, 2:00:00 AM10/31/99
to
In article <381b3001$1...@news1.vip.uk.com>, c.h.thompson <c.h.thompson@n
ewscientist.net> writes

>
>Look, probabilities are things you measure, but they are not physical
>objects. You can't have a genuine fundamental theory that only deals in
>such things! Such a theory is, as Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen so rightly
>said, incomplete.

Absolutely.


>
>Underlying those parts of QM that do give the right answers (interference
>patterns etc) there are real waves behaving as real waves always have done.

And you accuse other people of being illogical! There is absolutely no
way you can deduce any such thing from "interference" patterns. So
called interference comes from hypothetical statements made in quantum
mechanics about what would happen if an experiment were to be done, not
from physical waves.

>
>As I said, the probabilities of QM are not even right all the time. They
>are wrong in the EPR case,

You may have evidence that the experiment is inconclusive in the EPR
case. If you are correct it is scientifically important, and should have
be published. But to suggest that you can show the predicted
probabilities are wrong is nothing short of a lie, which, unfortunately
destroys your credibility, along with your refusal to acknowledge
experiments which demonstrate the particulate nature of light.
Experiments far more conclusive than interference patterns, which only
demonstrate the validity of a mathematical formula, not the existence of
a wave.
>

--
Charles Francis
cha...@clef.demon.co.uk


c.h.thompson

unread,
Oct 31, 1999, 2:00:00 AM10/31/99
to

Charles Francis <cha...@clef.demon.co.uk> wrote
c.h.thompson <c.h.th...@newscientist.net> writes

> >
> >Underlying those parts of QM that do give the right answers (interference
> >patterns etc) there are real waves behaving as real waves always have
done.
>
> And you accuse other people of being illogical! There is absolutely no
> way you can deduce any such thing from "interference" patterns. So
> called interference comes from hypothetical statements made in quantum
> mechanics about what would happen if an experiment were to be done, not
> from physical waves.

Have you never seen interference patterns on the surface of a pond?

Are these due to "hypothetical statements made in QM??????" How ridiculous
can you get! It is QM that invented the crazy idea of interference of
probability waves ....

But isn't it about time you looked at my web site? I thought you had.

> >As I said, the probabilities of QM are not even right all the time. They
> >are wrong in the EPR case,
>
> You may have evidence that the experiment is inconclusive in the EPR
> case. If you are correct it is scientifically important, and should have
> be published.

My dear Charles, may I suggest that you read my essay (published in the
journal Accountability in Research) on the subject of my difficulties in
getting the facts I and other realist have unearthed published! See
http://www.aber.ac.uk/~cat/Tangled/tangled.html and my contributions to
sci.physics in other threads in the past week - and two years ago, if you
can find them. Though most of my work is not published, I have written to
many of the experimenters concerned and had considerable discussion with
them.

> But to suggest that you can show the predicted
> probabilities are wrong is nothing short of a lie,

Please read my paper "The Chaotic Ball, An Intuitive Analogy for EPR
Experiments", published as Found. Phys. Lett. 9, 357 (1996), and available
at http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/quant-ph/9611037 .

Quite a number of sane people in this world think I'm right! I've
presented papers on the subject at conferences of quantum theorists and been
applauded with considerably more enthusiasm than most!

> destroys your credibility, along with your refusal to acknowledge
> experiments which demonstrate the particulate nature of light.

Have you studied the experimental reports yourself?

> Experiments far more conclusive than interference patterns, which only
> demonstrate the validity of a mathematical formula, not the existence of
> a wave.

Uh? Brainwashed? Sorry, I give up! I shall not respond to any more of
your messages unless you do actually read what I say and discuss it
intelligently. In the unlikely event that you succeed in "destroying my
credibility" you will not have done any service to the long-term future of
physics. (Sorry, that is going a bit further than perhaps you meant, but I
really am exasperated!)

Caroline

z@z

unread,
Oct 31, 1999, 2:00:00 AM10/31/99
to
Charles Francis wrote:
| c.h.thompson wrote:

| >As I said, the probabilities of QM are not even right all the time. They
| >are wrong in the EPR case,
|
| You may have evidence that the experiment is inconclusive in the EPR
| case. If you are correct it is scientifically important, and should have

| be published. But to suggest that you can show the predicted
| probabilities are wrong is nothing short of a lie, which, unfortunately


| destroys your credibility, along with your refusal to acknowledge
| experiments which demonstrate the particulate nature of light.

If Caroline's claim is "nothing short of a lie" then Bohr's solution
of the EPR paradox is even worse.

Prior to the EPR paper, the orthodox exponents of QM such as Bohr
and Heisenberg had subscribed to these principles:

1) no actions at a distance
2) the polarisation direction of emerging photons is undetermined
3) photon pairs with the same "polarisation" are possible

That these statements are logically inconsistent was shown in
the EPR paper. Bohr's rather enigmatic reply was a masterpiece
of rhetoric and sophistry, but not much more.

In the meanwhile physicists have become accustomed to these strange
EPR actions at a distance, and the EPR correlations are sold as
experimentally confirmed, original QM predictions.

I ask you, Francis, does it make sense to sacrifice at first
so much of physical simplicity and of common sense to the
belief that actions at a distance are impossible, and later
reintroduce actions at distance in such a special context.
I think it was only face saving of those who had claimed that
QM is the best and most complete description of reality ever
possible.

If actions at distance are part of nature (and there is a lot
theoretical and empirical evidence), then we must restart
physics from its state at Maxwell's time.

Albert Einstein, 'Das Fundament der Physik', 1940, around p.2

"... Während aber bei einem schweren Sturm oder einer Springflut
ein Gebäude schwer beschädigt werden mag, ohne dass das Fundament
schaden erleidet, ist in der Wissenschaft das logische Fundament
in grösserer Gefahr, durch neue Erfahrungen oder sonstige neue
Erkenntnisse erschüttert zu werden als die in engster Fühlung mit
den Erfahrungstatsachen gewachsenen Teildisziplinen. In der
Verbundenheit mit allen Teilen liegt die Bedeutung des Fundamentes,
aber auch seine gefährdete Stellung allem Neuen gegenüber. Hält
man sich dies lebhaft vor Augen, so kann man sich nur darüber
wundern, dass die sogenannten Revolutions-Perioden der Physik das
Fundament nicht öfter und in stärkerem Masse verändert haben, als
es tatsächlich der Fall gewesen ist ..."

Cheers, Wolfgang

Jon Bell

unread,
Oct 31, 1999, 2:00:00 AM10/31/99
to
Bruce Richmond <bsr...@my-deja.com> wrote:
>In article <7vavmc$i8n$1...@jetsam.uits.indiana.edu>,
> glha...@steel.ucs.indiana.edu (Gregory L. Hansen) wrote:
>>
>> Energy of a photon is E=hf, Planck's constant multiplied by the
>>frequency. Total energy of light in a region is U=nE, number of photons
>>multiplied by the energy of a photon. Intensity is I=U/A=nE/A=nhf/A,
>>energy divided by area.
>
>How is the frequency defined? It must include n/t and I would think
>the n would have to be per unit of area.

Frequency is the number of cycles per second. When a light wave passes a
point, the electric and magnetic fields at that point oscillate back and
forth at a rate of f cycles per second. You can write it as f = n/t, but
keep in mind that this n is different from the n in U = nE above (which is
the number of photons in a given volume of space).

>Does Planck's constant have any units attached to it?

Yes, it has units of energy*time e.g. Joule*seconds. This makes Planck's
formula for the energy of a photon work out properly. E = hf so Joules =
(Joule*seconds)*(1/seconds). Cycles don't "count" when doing dimensional
analysis.

>What is the difference in energy for individual photons of different
>frequencies attributed to? They all have the same velocity.

I assume you're thinking of the classical kinetic energy formula K =
0.5mv^2. Relativistically the general relationship between mass, energy
and momentum of a particle is E^2 = (pc)^2 + (mc^2)^2 where m is what many
people call the "rest mass" of the particle. For a photon m = 0 so this
becomes E = pc. Photons (and other massless particles) have energy and
momentum, even though they have no (rest) mass.

Jon Bell

unread,
Oct 31, 1999, 2:00:00 AM10/31/99
to
Gregory L. Hansen <glha...@steel.ucs.indiana.edu> wrote:
>
>The difference in energy for photons of different frequencies is
>attributed to the frequency!

Right, that was Planck's big *assumption*, borne out by the results of his
theory.

>It's a result of classical wave mechanics
>that waves with higher frequency have higher energy.

??? For a classical electromagnetic wave at least, the average energy
density of the wave depends only on the amplitude of the electric and
magnetic fields: u = 0.5 * epsilon_0 * c * E_max^2 (and a similar
equation with B_max).

Bruce Richmond

unread,
Oct 31, 1999, 2:00:00 AM10/31/99
to
In article <FKH0J...@presby.edu>,

jtb...@presby.edu (Jon Bell) wrote:
> Bruce Richmond <bsr...@my-deja.com> wrote:
> >In article <7vavmc$i8n$1...@jetsam.uits.indiana.edu>,
> > glha...@steel.ucs.indiana.edu (Gregory L. Hansen) wrote:
> >>
> >> Energy of a photon is E=hf, Planck's constant multiplied by the
> >>frequency. Total energy of light in a region is U=nE, number of
photons
> >>multiplied by the energy of a photon. Intensity is
I=U/A=nE/A=nhf/A,
> >>energy divided by area.
> >
> >How is the frequency defined? It must include n/t and I would think
> >the n would have to be per unit of area.
>
> Frequency is the number of cycles per second. When a light wave
> passes a point, the electric and magnetic fields at that point

> oscillate back and forth at a rate of f cycles per second.
> You can write it as f = n/t, but keep in mind that this n is
> different from the n in U = nE above (which is the number of
> photons in a given volume of space).
>

We were discussing light being modeled as individual particles, and a
single particle as we normally think of a particle cannot have a
frequency. That's why I assumed f represented a count of the particles
hitting a given area per unit of time. The area must be taken into
account or you could vary the frequency by changing the area of your
detector.

In practice I imagine that frequency is not determined with a detector
actually counting photons but by using a prism to select a particular
frequency for study. IMHO though, if light is to be described as a
particle it should be done without any reference to waves or fields.

The only way I could see wave like descriptions as being acceptable
would if the model included the particles being emitted in bursts, like
volleys of gunfire. This model would also need some way of keeping the
particles in bunches, otherwise the frequency would quickly drop with
distance.


> >Does Planck's constant have any units attached to it?
>
> Yes, it has units of energy*time e.g. Joule*seconds. This makes
> Planck's formula for the energy of a photon work out properly.

> E = hf so Joules =(Joule*seconds)*(1/seconds). Cycles don't


> "count" when doing dimensional analysis.
>
> >What is the difference in energy for individual photons of different
> >frequencies attributed to? They all have the same velocity.
>
> I assume you're thinking of the classical kinetic energy formula K =
> 0.5mv^2. Relativistically the general relationship between mass,
> energy and momentum of a particle is E^2 = (pc)^2 + (mc^2)^2 where
> m is what many people call the "rest mass" of the particle. For a
> photon m = 0 so this becomes E = pc. Photons (and other massless
> particles) have energy and momentum, even though they have no
> (rest) mass.
>

If photons have no mass why are they affected by a gravitational field?

Gregory L. Hansen

unread,
Oct 31, 1999, 2:00:00 AM10/31/99
to
In article <FKH0u...@presby.edu>, Jon Bell <jtb...@presby.edu> wrote:
> Gregory L. Hansen <glha...@steel.ucs.indiana.edu> wrote:
>>
>>The difference in energy for photons of different frequencies is
>>attributed to the frequency!
>
>Right, that was Planck's big *assumption*, borne out by the results of his
>theory.

And it seems to have worked out pretty well. The photons can be frequency
seperated by a diffraction grating and their energies measured.

>
>>that waves with higher frequency have higher energy.
>
>??? For a classical electromagnetic wave at least, the average energy
>density of the wave depends only on the amplitude of the electric and
>magnetic fields: u = 0.5 * epsilon_0 * c * E_max^2 (and a similar
>equation with B_max).

The energy of everyone's favorite prototypical wave, the wave on a string,
depends on frequency and amplitude. That result carries all over the
place in wave mechanics. For instance if a cork were bobbing up and down
in the water, it seems evident that its energy would depend on how quickly
it's moving, which in turn depends on the frequency. In electrodynamics
remember that the gradient of one field depends on the time derivative of
the other, and that the power radiated by an oscillating electric dipole
goes as the fourth power of frequency.

c.h.thompson

unread,
Oct 31, 1999, 2:00:00 AM10/31/99
to

Gregory L. Hansen <glha...@steel.ucs.indiana.edu> wrote
> > c.h.thompson <c.h.th...@newscientist.net> wrote:
> >Gregory L. Hansen <glha...@steel.ucs.indiana.edu> wrote
>
> Temperature dependence is one of the most important things to measure! If
> the experiment only obeys QM predictions at a certain temperature, you
> need to find out why.

Agreed! But even by careful reading of both Aspect's and Freedman's PhD
theses (the former in French, which was hard going) I have been unable to
find out what happened to the Bell test statistics at different
temperatures. I can guess that the temperatures actually used - room
temperature for some detectors, liquid nitrogen or some such for others -
were necessary in order to keep dark rates reasonably low and at the same
time maintain the "right" level of sensitivity.

Can you access PostScript files? All the technical details from Aspect's
thesis are in the part of Section 6 that I translated and put on my web
site. See http://www.aber.ac.uk/~cat/Aspect/thesis.ps .

> Sometimes particular temperatures are chosen, but
> not arbitrarily so that the experiment will match predictions.

True. In Aspect's case it seems to have been an important criterion that,
when one of the beams from the source was passed first through a polarising
filter then through the experimental one, the orientation of which was
varied, the resulting curve for the "singles counts" was as expected if
Malus' Law were being obeyed.

So far as wave theory is concerned, one would expect Malus' Law to be obeyed
as regards intensities, no matter what range these cover. Output intensity
from the experimental polariser should be cos^2 theta times input, where
theta is the angle between the axes of the initial filter and the moveable
polariser.

But this will only translate into a high-visibility sine curve for
PROBABILITIES if the detector is mimicking the QT prediction. To get the
desired result, the probability of detection has to be - as QT assumes it
automatically is - proportional to input intensity. QT assumes this because
it assumes the input intensity can only vary when the number of photons
varies. Classical theory says it can vary from a combination of several
causes, including number of pulses and, most importantly, amplitude of each
pulse. In the case in question, it is the amplitudes that vary.

So Aspect thought he had set his system to obey Malus' Law, but in reality
he had calibrated his instrument using this beam that had first passed
through a polarising filter. It therefore, according to classical theory,
consisted of a mixture of pulses of different amplitudes, since it is
assumed that the source produced a mixture of pulses of different
polarisations! Weak inputs could be producing one curve, strong ones
another, and we only see the average. This is one reason the calibration is
suspect.

Another is that it is not 100% clear that he kept the same intensity of
source all the time ...

The grave omission in Aspect's and all the EPR experiments is that only one
result is published for each. In some cases absolutely no information is
published about the actual data, only the derived Bell test statistic. It
is rare indeed to see more than a graph of summarised data, in all
likelihood "normalised" in some way. It is not possible for any but the
most dedicated to find out what really happened.

Caroline

c.h.thompson

unread,
Oct 31, 1999, 2:00:00 AM10/31/99
to

z@z <z...@z.lol.li> wrote

> Charles Francis wrote:
>
> If Caroline's claim is "nothing short of a lie" then Bohr's solution
> of the EPR paradox is even worse.
>
> Prior to the EPR paper, the orthodox exponents of QM such as Bohr
> and Heisenberg had subscribed to these principles:
>
> 1) no actions at a distance
> 2) the polarisation direction of emerging photons is undetermined
> 3) photon pairs with the same "polarisation" are possible
>
> That these statements are logically inconsistent was shown in
> the EPR paper.

Hmm ... it was not exactly that. They were talking about position and
momentum, but I expect you're roughly on the right lines.

>Bohr's rather enigmatic reply was a masterpiece
> of rhetoric and sophistry, but not much more.

Agreed! Much of Bohr's writing was like this. It impressed but without
conveying much meaning. I've got some beautiful quotes lying around
somewhere ...

> In the meanwhile physicists have become accustomed to these strange
> EPR actions at a distance, and the EPR correlations are sold as
> experimentally confirmed, original QM predictions.
>
> I ask you, Francis, does it make sense to sacrifice at first
> so much of physical simplicity and of common sense to the
> belief that actions at a distance are impossible, and later
> reintroduce actions at distance in such a special context.
> I think it was only face saving of those who had claimed that
> QM is the best and most complete description of reality ever
> possible.

> If actions at distance are part of nature (and there is a lot
> theoretical and empirical evidence), then we must restart
> physics from its state at Maxwell's time.

Now you've got me mystified! In another message (EPR Paradox - explanation
requested. 25 October) you said "There is a huge difference between "common
sense" actions at a
distance and "spooky" EPR actions."

I took this as meaning that you rejected all spooky ones. So to what kind
does the above statement that they are a part of nature refer? "Common
sense" ones, presumably - ones that are not really instantaneous effects but
the result of waves at some finite speed, though they may be modelled by
approximate formulae that ignore speed of propagation.

> Albert Einstein, 'Das Fundament der Physik', 1940, around p.2
>

> "... Während aber bei einem schweren Sturm oder einer Springflut ..."

Any chance of a translation?

Cheers
Caroline

Jim Carr

unread,
Oct 31, 1999, 2:00:00 AM10/31/99
to
In article <381aa...@news2.vip.uk.com>,
c.h.thompson <c.h.th...@newscientist.net> wrote:
}
} You don't seem to have read what I said: there is not just one "wave
} theory". You can have "lumpy wave theories"! For a start, you can get
} regions of high and low intensity due to interference; you can allow for
} emission in pulses; you can assume that the receptor is "primed" by local
} (lumpy) noise. One way or another, these influences can cause an
} effectively immediate response.

In article <7vepte$99a$2...@flotsam.uits.indiana.edu>

glha...@steel.ucs.indiana.edu (Gregory L. Hansen) writes:
>
>How does the lumpy wave theory hold up experimentally? It seems to me
>that the lumpy wave theory still doesn't lead to a cut-off when the light
>is too red.

It would be equally important to ask how the proposed theory differs
from classical E+M in dealing with the Compton Effect, which cannot
be attributed to bound-state energy levels (it concerns continuum
states) and where the angular distribution of scattered photons is
not what you get from standard classical E+M theory.

--
James A. Carr <j...@scri.fsu.edu> | Commercial e-mail is _NOT_
http://www.scri.fsu.edu/~jac/ | desired to this or any address
Supercomputer Computations Res. Inst. | that resolves to my account
Florida State, Tallahassee FL 32306 | for any reason at any time.

Jim Carr

unread,
Oct 31, 1999, 2:00:00 AM10/31/99
to
In article <381c0...@news2.vip.uk.com>
"c.h.thompson" <c.h.th...@newscientist.net> writes:
>
>Now lets get down to hard facts. For more please do look at my web site,
>and you might do worse than to start by glancing at "The Tangled Methods of
>Quantum Entanglement", http://www.aber.ac.uk/~cat/Tangled/tangled.html ,
>which describes the way in which my attempts to publicise KNOWN weaknesses
>in the EPR experiments have failed to reach the pages of PRL and PRA. Some
>of my papers are in http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/quant-ph: 9611037, 9711044,
>9903066.

Your complaint here is not, _strictly_ speaking, accurate.

Your preprint in quant-ph/9711044 was cited in Tittel's Physical
Review Letter [PRL 81, 3563 (1998)] in reference 10 and there is
a 'live' link to your preprint from the PRL-online version of the
Tittle paper. So it is "in" the journals in that sense.

Some of the loopholes you (and others) have talked about have been
addressed -- IMO the Weihs experiment, which shows no need to do
background subtraction deals with one of yours -- while others are
harder to deal with in the real world of experiment. Tittel's
latest (??) paper in Phys. Rev. A [PRA 59, 4150 (1999)] talks
about this extent.

Is your "tangled methods" article just a cutely titled rehash of the
things you have written about before, or do you have something specific
to say about, for example, the Weihs experiment and the need for the
subtraction of background to get non-local effects?

Jim Carr

unread,
Oct 31, 1999, 2:00:00 AM10/31/99
to
Joe Rongen <joer...@whisp.com> wrote
in message news:IdFS3.319$u45...@198.235.216.4...
}
} 'The predictions of quantum mechanics are expressed in terms of
} probabilities.'

In article <381b3001$1...@news1.vip.uk.com>

"c.h.thompson" <c.h.th...@newscientist.net> writes:
>
>And it can't even get those right!

Overstatement to the point where your assertion is nonsense does
not help your case. For example, in Rep. Prog. Phys. 51, 299
(1988) you can see an example of exactly one such probability
graph compared to data that does an extremely good job of
predicting the probability distribution of the electron in the
hydrogen atom. Note that since this was the first wavefunction
calculated by Schroedinger, the application of the interpretation
of the wavefunction as a probability applitude to it would make
this a test of the _first_ such prediction.

Note further that all of the 'Bell' tests are further examples,
and that QM does better than your chaotic ball.



>Look, probabilities are things you measure, but they are not physical
>objects.

Not a particularly important distinction. And I would say that
in the sense of the words you are using, probabilities are not
_things_ that you measure. They are precisely what the name
says they are -- the accumulated statistics of some set of
experimental measurements.

>You can't have a genuine fundamental theory that only deals in
>such things!

You would argue that you cannot have a fundamental theory that
only deals "in such things" as the probabilities of dice combinations
or of drawing a particular card? Because you are, arbitrarily,
defining statistics as not being fundamental? Fine. Then just
drop the loaded words and focus on what experiment says about
local hidden variable theories.

>Such a theory is, as Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen so rightly
>said, incomplete.

Maybe, but if they are right about that, they were wrong about
what experiment would show when certain kinds of tests were done.

The EPR argument, the Bell inequality, and the CHSH special case
that is particularly amenable to precision experimental tests, are
about whether an entire class of theories can be used as a replacement
for QM. The answer is pretty clear that they cannot.

>Underlying those parts of QM that do give the right answers (interference
>patterns etc) there are real waves behaving as real waves always have done.

Only if those real waves are complex probability amplitudes.

I include such things as BEC, neutron interferometry, 'Bell' tests,
and scattering experiments as falling in that category.

>The detectors that are used artificially turn these into probabilities.

In the same way that recording a series of dice throws is some sort
of "artificial" act? I don't see the point of your casual use of
such terms. Sounds more like propaganda than physics.

People have _counted_ events since long before QM came along. It is
called a spectrum.

>As I said, the probabilities of QM are not even right all the time.

Examples, please, and please be careful to separate the cases
where one knows the Hamiltonian from those where H is still not
well understood. However, this _very_ strong statement is not
at all consistent with the weaker remark you follow with as a
point of support:

>They


>are wrong in the EPR case, and experiments have unjustifiably been
>interpreted as if they are right.

They are not "wrong" in the published experiments I have seen,
where the probabilities agree within uncertainties with QM and
clearly exclude local hidden variable theories.

>As a consequence it is generally believed

>that the real world does not allow a theory based on "hidden variables",
>such as the real amplitudes, phases and frequencies of the waves that are
>claimed to be mere probability waves.

That is not so. Note the word "local" above. Now what you say
may be what is _generally_ believed in some subset of the population
that reads only certain popularizations of physics, but let us try
to talk about specific experiments here.

Jim Carr

unread,
Oct 31, 1999, 2:00:00 AM10/31/99
to
In article <381c0...@news2.vip.uk.com>
"c.h.thompson" <c.h.th...@newscientist.net> writes:
>
>Of course, you are unlikely to accept this straight away, and there are a
>number of experiments that could be done to help you on the way. Some
>critical ones would have the aim of proving that the light used, though in
>most cases coming in pulses, was not in the form of "photons".

So examine the experiments with neutrons that show interference.

In what way do you think that the results of scattering particles
from a crystal differ from those where you scatter photons from a
crystal?

>When light
>is split at a "two-channel polariser" it does not divide in the form of
>whole photons, of fixed energy. It keeps its same frequency, yes, but the
>amplitude (the ordinary, classical, wave amplitude) is decreased.

So you think the same thing happens to neutrons? BECs?

If so, why do you think this view is "simpler" or somehow
less exotic than QM? (I'm also curious what you think of
the Sansbury theory that detectors know how far away the
target is.)

If not, how do you explain the results of those experiments?

Jim Carr

unread,
Oct 31, 1999, 2:00:00 AM10/31/99
to
Charles Francis wrote:
| c.h.thompson wrote:
|
| >As I said, the probabilities of QM are not even right all the time. They

| >are wrong in the EPR case,
|
| You may have evidence that the experiment is inconclusive in the EPR
| case. If you are correct it is scientifically important, and should have
| be published. But to suggest that you can show the predicted
| probabilities are wrong is nothing short of a lie, which, unfortunately
| destroys your credibility, along with your refusal to acknowledge
| experiments which demonstrate the particulate nature of light.

In article <7vhhgm$qs6$1...@pollux.ip-plus.net>

"z@z" <z...@z.lol.li> writes:
>
>If Caroline's claim is "nothing short of a lie" then Bohr's solution
>of the EPR paradox is even worse.
>
>Prior to the EPR paper, the orthodox exponents of QM such as Bohr
>and Heisenberg had subscribed to these principles:
>
> 1) no actions at a distance
> 2) the polarisation direction of emerging photons is undetermined
> 3) photon pairs with the same "polarisation" are possible
>
>That these statements are logically inconsistent was shown in

>the EPR paper. Bohr's rather enigmatic reply was a masterpiece


>of rhetoric and sophistry, but not much more.

Yes, which is why his philosophical arguments are pretty much
ignored today. You need to go searching in scientific biographies
for references to those remarks. Better to focus attention on
what QM predicts, and formal theorems like Bell's or the CHSH
relation, than all of those "interpretations".

>In the meanwhile physicists have become accustomed to these strange
>EPR actions at a distance, and the EPR correlations are sold as
>experimentally confirmed, original QM predictions.

You mean that they have gotten used to the agreement between
the predictions of QM and the results of experiment? Yes.

Jim Carr

unread,
Oct 31, 1999, 2:00:00 AM10/31/99
to
In article <381c8...@news2.vip.uk.com>
"c.h.thompson" <c.h.th...@newscientist.net> writes:
>
> ... I can guess that the temperatures actually used - room

>temperature for some detectors, liquid nitrogen or some such for others -
>were necessary in order to keep dark rates reasonably low and at the same
>time maintain the "right" level of sensitivity.

Yes. Some detectors will not work, will just spew noise, or even
be damaged, if not kept within some temperature range.

> ... To get the


>desired result, the probability of detection has to be - as QT assumes it
>automatically is - proportional to input intensity.

The efficiency of detectors is measured using a known source.

>The grave omission in Aspect's and all the EPR experiments is that only one
>result is published for each. In some cases absolutely no information is
>published about the actual data, only the derived Bell test statistic. It
>is rare indeed to see more than a graph of summarised data, in all
>likelihood "normalised" in some way. It is not possible for any but the
>most dedicated to find out what really happened.

This is not true for _all_ EPR experiments.

Some (e.g. Weihs) have put the raw data files on the web and others
include much more than one result.

z@z

unread,
Oct 31, 1999, 2:00:00 AM10/31/99
to
c.h.thompson wrote:
| z@z (Wolfgang) wrote:

| > If actions at distance are part of nature (and there is a lot
| > theoretical and empirical evidence), then we must restart
| > physics from its state at Maxwell's time.
|
| Now you've got me mystified! In another message (EPR Paradox - explanation
| requested. 25 October) you said "There is a huge difference between "common
| sense" actions at a distance and "spooky" EPR actions."
|
| I took this as meaning that you rejected all spooky ones. So to what kind
| does the above statement that they are a part of nature refer? "Common
| sense" ones, presumably - ones that are not really instantaneous effects but
| the result of waves at some finite speed, though they may be modelled by
| approximate formulae that ignore speed of propagation.

I reject EPR actions at a distance. But I think that nobody
should accept EPR actions at a distance and reject the actions
at a distance of pre-Maxwellian physics, because the latter are
more general than the former.

We can think of "material" models leading to the well-known
instantanous inverse distance square laws. We only have to
assume incompressible fluids. If the whole universe were filled
with such a fluid, the simple assumption that matter draws
in (and annihilates) fluid proportionally to the mass leads to
instantanous attraction obeying the inverse distance square law.

The important point is not whether all forces are mediated by
material causes, but whether they act instantanously or at the
speed of light.

If one calculates the actual vectors by which the earth is
accelerated by other planets, we find out that these vectors
point to the locations where these planets are now, and not
where they have been when photons arriving now were emitted.

So if we explain gravitation by gravitons (or by a field
propagating at c), we must assume that gravitons originating
from e.g. Jupiter must remain in telepathic connection with
Jupiter. Only such a telepathic link (or complicated calculations
in advance) can garantee that the gravitons accelerate the
earth in the direction where Jupiter is now.

See once again http://www.deja.com/=dnc/getdoc.xp?AN=538880440

Gruss, Wolfgang

Nathan Urban

unread,
Oct 31, 1999, 2:00:00 AM10/31/99
to
In article <7vikeb$uvu$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, Bruce Richmond <bsr...@my-deja.com> wrote:

> If photons have no mass why are they affected by a gravitational field?

FAQ:

http://www.corepower.com/~relfaq/light_mass.html

[Note followups.]

Bruce Richmond

unread,
Nov 1, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/1/99