Aduke.2116
net.misc
utzoo!decvax!duke!cjp
Wed May 5 04:21:09 1982
Wave functions and psi similar?
I can think about Alpha Centauri right now, picture it in my mind,
without having to wait for light to get here from there. Is this psi?
Clearly not. What I picture in my mind has no bearing on what
is happening right now at A. Centuri; it can only reflect the
information that has come from there at a speed no greater than c.
I think the wave function description of a particle is similar in
some ways to my description of Alpha Centauri. Not only is the
wave function not physically restricted, it is an incomplete
description of the particle. It is equivalent in power to my
assumption that A. C. is the same now as it was when the light I
see from it was emitted; it is saying "if the center of the
probability distribution of the electron's location is at X, then
*ignoring time*, what is the probability of seeing the electron
at Y".
I think my disagreement with Don boils down to whether a wave function is
constrained by the speed of light. As I understand it, the wave
function uses no notion of time, but only distance. I view it as
a mathematical abstraction merely. It does not say the particle is
everywhere "at the same time", because it says nothing about time at all.
Time is totally left out. So you can't use wave functions to speak
about *when* some observation happens, only about *whether* (i.e., with
what probability) and where it happens.
Say, would someone who really knows about this stuff please shut me up?
Charles Poirier (duke!cjp)
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