Philosophy Of The Cosmos - Electrons
I was thinking about the double slit experiment and the general behavior of an electron. I have an idea about it. What if electrons somewhat 'lag' as they move through space. That is, the path that they trace out as they move leaves behind a sort of 'trace' of the electron, almost as if it is still there, even though the electron has moved on.
A way to explain this is to think of a bullet. As it travells through a solid object, it leaves behind a hole, which alters the way particles would behave in that vicinity, even though the bullet is long gone.
This may go towards explaining how one can never know the exact position of an electron.
I am interested to hear peoples thoughts on this, feel free to point out any problems with this.
Ben u 4868271
Good idea.
But: "This may go towards explaining how one can never know the exact position of an electron." — what makes you think that? It's part of the Copenhagen interpretation, but it's not part of quantum mechanics in general.
Jason
Well I thought that if it does lag in that manner, it would be very hard to determine its position. You would never know if you are 'measuring' the electron itself, or where it was before. So in that sense it would seem as though it is in more than one place at once.
Ben
When you say that the trace is left as the electron passes through space, do you mean only when travelling at close to the speed of light (as in the two slit experiment) or at all times? And what would happen if another electron follows the same point? Do the two traces combine?
Tim (u 4311243)
At all times I was thinking. If another electron is going to go through the same point, it would be repelled by this residual effect, which is I guess the point of this idea. They cannot really combine because the electron would be repelled as if there was another electron at that point to repell it.
Ben
Good. This is starting to sound just like the de Broglie / Bohm "guiding wave" theory, which I described very briefly in lectures (and some of the tutorials). In that theory, there is a wave associated with each particle which guides the motion of that particle and which can also interact with other waves/particles. In the 2-slit experiment, for example, the particle goes through one slit or the other, while the wave goes through both slits.
There are many descandants of this theory. One is the Transactional Interpretation, which got almost a whole lecture to itself. It's very similar to the de Broglie / Bohm theory mathematically, but different in (a) the way it describes the waves and (b) the fact that it's time-symmetric. There are many other descendants too. The original de Broglie / Bohm theory is no good on its own because it conflicts massively with relativity.
I like this theory, but it does have problems. In order to get the details right you need something weird like backwards causation … or so it seems so far. Maybe we just haven't found the right theory yet, or if we have I haven't heard about it yet.
Jason

What may be an alternative way of thinking about this is that instead of treating the electron as something that exists, we should treat it more like a 'hole,' (the idea of conventional current in electricity). Its the motion of nothing though 'something' (I wont call it a field) rather than something though nothing. So rather then the electron being repelled by its 'trace', it just has a higher affinity for the 'something' it is travelling though. A trace is still made, but its 'empty' patch in the 'something'. I understand this is similar to what Ben suggested but i think this model would better treat the electron as a probability in the 'something' rather than a point particle (as an electron is both) and thus different results may arise if we view it this way - just like how treating the electron itself as a particle or a wave gives it very different properties.
Adam u 4839484