Bruce Harvey's Alternative Physics site

Quantum Mechanics

I believe that Quantum Theory works in describing the chemical and spectral properties of the atom because it describes a statistical phase space. I do not accept the idea that electrons cannot experience the effects of each others electric fields. The uncertainty principle applies to our attempts to observe charged particles. The only reason to extend this idea into the internal workings of the atom was the fact that the mathematics of the motion of electrons within the atom was too difficult to deal with. With modern computers, it is now possible and I have done some modelling of chaotic pseudo orbits of electrons.

I believe that we will be able to account for the inner workings of the atom and of the nucleus in terms of purely electric and magnetic phenomena, only needing to take into account the effects of scale and chaos.

Quantum theory is based on a number of basic assumptions. It all started when Bohr produced a model of the atom in which the electrons moved in nice regular orbits such that they could only possess exact amounts of angular momentum.

At some point, we get Feynman's interpretation of the electric force as being conveyed by virtual photons. This seems to make much more sense of the idea that electrons do not know where other electrons are within the same atom.

My problem with Feynman's idea is that it leads to a universe which is just too complex to function. Rather than providing a neat explanation of the way in which the electric force is able to act at a distance, it gives us an explanation which requires quantum waves to travel backwards and forwards in time conveying information.

If we assume that electrons can see each other then they will no longer move in nice orbits and their motion will be chaotic. Quantum theory overcomes this problem by the use of a wave equation which is related to the probability of finding an an electron at a given point with a given momentum. Is this the nature of reality? It sees to me that there are two possibilities. Either the electron does not know where it is, or it does know where it is, but its motion is chaotic because all the electrons of an atom repel each other but are attracted to the nucleus. Either way we are dealing with probabilities. Chaotic motion defies direct mathematical analysis and we are forced into the use of phase space diagrams which are conceptually not too unlike the methods of the wave mechanical model of the atom which was developed from the quantum theory.

The picture of a photon as described by the solution to the field interaction equations is one of a bundle of electromagnetic energy characterised by loops of magnetic flux about the line of motion and electric fields pointing towards or away from the line of motion is very similar to the picture of a high speed charge surrounded by its magnetic field. As we come to understand the formation and internal dynamics of photons, we will probably hit upon an electromagnetic explanation of particle wave duality.

Since first writing this, I have developed my thoughts on particle wave duality a little more. When we say that light in the form of a photon has particle like properties, all we mean is that the photon contains a finite amount of energy and that although it is in a sense mass-less, in the sense that mass and energy are equivalent, we can attribute a mass equivalent to the photon. This explains why it has momentum and makes sense of the observation that light falling on a surface exerts a very small but finite pressure.

If we consider the pure charge model of an electron, the concept of mass is completely different from the internalised concept which we have of mass. The old billiards ball concept lingers on and the idea of mass is the last hope that we cling to as matter losses its solidness in the Rutherford atom and electrons, neutrons and protons merge into the quantum theory. Thump the table and it is solid. Such a fundermental property of the world cannot be erased from the deeper recesses of the mind by a knowledge of physics. We cling doggedly to the concept of mass as this lost solidness. There is no room for such superstitions to linger in the pure charge theory. Electrons and quarks resist acceleration because the movement of their electric fields generate magnetic fields of motion and acceleration affects the energy stored in their fields of motion. The only difference from an external point of view between a fast electron and a photon is the geometry of their electric and magnetic fields.

We assume that the photon has wave like properties and are mystified by its particle like properties. To me this is wrong. The field interaction equation predict the particle like nature of the photon as a bundle of electromagnetic energy travelling at the speed of light. That bundle can assume any shape within the limits that the magnetic field must be free of divergence and that both magnetic and electric fields must be perpendicular to each other and to the line of motion. This does not preclude the photon from taking on the form of a wave train, but it does not give any good reason to assume that it will. The mystery to me is not that photons should behave like particles and electrons like waves, but that either should behave like a wave.

Since consolidating my understanding of magnetism (The paper on this is still in first draft form), it seems that the idea that the universe contains only one universal magnetic field, with a lot of local variation, is important. The magnetic field of a photon does not exist in isolation. It travels through the local situation and the magnetic field of the photon is temporality incorporated into the local situation or vice versa depending on the relative field strengths. As I understand Maxwell's equations, the electric and magnetic fields do not move, but change in magnitude. A picture which is somewhat complicated by relativity and my mind boggles to see them as being stationary in every frame of reference. The solution of the field interaction equations on the other hand suggests that the electric and magnetic fields of the photon both move with it. It seems to me to increasingly probable that Maxwell's equations and the field interaction equations apply to different situations. In regions where the magnetic field of the photon is dominant, the field interaction equations dominate, but in regions where the strength of local magnetic fields dominates, then Maxwell's equations apply. Of cause nature is not that simple and it would seem to me that their is some kind of interaction between the two rather similar to the way in which waves in water behave and the wave produced by a single impulse develops into a wave train.

In the phenomena of diffraction, the very close proximity of the slit edge brings the magnetic field of the photon into regions where the local situation predominates and all sorts of thing can happen. (Except a sudden splitting of the universe into two alternative quantum realities - that is science fiction.) If we see the bending of the path of the photon as it passes close to the slit edge as an interaction between its magnetic field and local electric and magnetic fields, then the situation becomes increasingly similar for high speed electrons as their velocity increases and the energy content of their field of motion becomes increasing significant. All this is highly speculative and I do not expect the problem to be solved in the near future, but I can a possibility of showing how even an electron might be teased into a wave train.

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© Copyright Bruce Harvey 1997.