Particle wave duality

Sub atomic particles can be thought of as particles and waves

Particles, even though we think of them as point like objects, can act like waves.

This is strange when you consider the different between each idea; one is like a solid little ball and the other is something that undulates and is spread out. But the proof is indisputable. Scientists have carried out a famous test, called the double slit experiment, that shows time and time again that sub atomic particles do indeed act like waves as well as particles.

The French physicist Louis de Broglie was one of the first to suggest that matter could act in this way. Considered as one of the founding fathers of quantum mechanics he went on to receive a Nobel Prize in 1929.

The Nobel Prize was also awarded to J.J. Thompson in 1906 for proving that electrons were particles and later, in 1937, his son won a Nobel Prize for proving that electrons acted like waves.*

*For more detail and a greater understanding of the historical context, see p119-126 of John Gribbin’s book, ‘In Search of Schrödinger’s Cat’


By Graham Foster
Graham is a graphic designer with a passion for science

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Sub atomic particles can be thought of as particles and waves

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