Sunday, August 31, 2008

Art Hobson's Selected Papers

I found the link to Art Hobson's selected papers a while back and added it to my favorite Physics Links, but if you've missed it, it might be very educational and useful for you to look at it. He covers quite a bit of material that you might find interesting. One in particular is his treatise on the so-called wave-particle duality or paradox. Read that, and compare that with what I had written earlier about his wave-particle duality. I think we both are of the agreement that there's no such thing as a paradox or a duality, since ALL of the phenomena associated with light can be described via a single-consistent theory without having to change a picture from "wave" to "particle" and back to "wave". This is not the sign of a "duality".

There are other great essays to read on that page.



Peter Morgan said...

Thanks for these links. Hobson looks very useful indeed to me. Your link to your old post, however, doesn't seem to be saying the same as Hobson suggests for the teaching of QM. It seems that Hobson is advocating an emphasis on fields when explaining why we might use the Hilbert space formalism, whereas you seem to want to place an emphasis on the formalism as a single consistent theory (which I can agree that it is, but I think more can be helpful as justification for its use).

Although I share Hobson's belief that an emphasis on a field approach is helpful, for both boson and fermion fields, Hobson has something of a lacuna, I find, in his treatment of how fields cause the isolated events that are a large part of the empirical basis of QM. The appeal to quantization in his papers, effectively as a justification for the discreteness of the events that constitute the interference patterns we observe, is too vague and mysterious. He needs to further develop the consequences of an emphasis on fields. The first step is to better understand the similarities and differences between quantum fields and classical random fields (classical continuous fields are not adequately comparable).

ZapperZ said...

I think this is more of an agreement of principle. Both Hobson and I agree that we can describe every aspect of particle/wave using one single formalism. Thus, no "duality", whereby we don't have to switch from one picture to another to describe wave-like and particle-like observations.