Consciousness, Physics, and the Holographic Paradigm
Essays by Alan T. Williams
Part II: Conditional Relativity
Section 2: Young's double-slit experiment
The modern scientific history of light begins with Newton and the history of energy begins with Thomas Young (1773-1829). Following his work in physiological optics and the transmission of sound in the late 18th century, Young discovered the interference principle of light waves in 1801. Young also introduced the concept of energy in 1801. In his 1820 effort to solve the puzzling double refraction of light discovered in calcite by Erasmus Bartholin (1625-1698), Young devised and performed his famous double-slit experiment, the results of which led him to conclude that light is a transverse wave.
The modern version of Young's double-slit experiment is so refined that a recording device or photographic film placed behind the slits in line with a controlled source (emitter) can record the activity of a single photon (or electron) at a time. The single photon (or electron) double-slit experiment produces the expected particle-like results when only one slit is open; i.e., when slit A is closed and every photon (or electron) must pass through slit B, or vice versa. But with both slits A and B open the device or film records a totally unexpected wave diffraction pattern with bright and dark interference bands (A ± B) – a well-known characteristic of electromagnetic radiation (waves) – rather than the expected sum of the two trials (A + B) through alternate open slits (A or B) which produce particle-like results. This extraordinary wave-like result when both slits are open at the same time has remained unexplained since Young first performed the double-slit experiment in 1820. Indeed, the phenomenon has been called the central mystery of quantum theory by Richard Feynman (pronounced FINE-man), co-recipient of the 1964 Nobel Prize in physics.
It would seem that every physicist and every student of light and electromagnetic radiation has learned of Young's enigmatic double-slit experiment. Thus the inexplicable inabilility to explain the unexplained double-slit results is not due to lack of awareness. Unresponsive even to the mathematical subtleties of quantum mechanics (QM), the solution would also seem to be beyond the QM scope of action. This implies that the explanation of Young's mysterious results is more complex – thus more fundamental – than previously suspected.
A vast improvement over classical (Newtonian) mechanics, quantum physics basically describes probabilistic or statistical particle interactions on the subatomic level of our finite local spacetime continuum and predicts experimentally attainable results within the limits of quantum indeterminancy and uncertainty. Indeed, the validated equations of QM and relativity have been so extraordinarily successful within the limits of their own scope of action that some individuals seem to believe that mathematics per se drive, control, and/or organize physical reality itself. That is not the case. Mathematics is a science of abstract symbols invented by human beings and can only describe the laws of nature, not control them. Just as classical physics was surpassed by relativity and quantum physics, it now seems that the scope of physics per se must again be extended to include what was once thought to be not only unthinkable but also unattainable.
Continued in Chapter 7, Section 3: The Comprehensive Primordial Energy Hologram
Back to Chapter 7, Section 1: Gabor Discovers / Invents Holography
Last Edit: June 17, 2004.
Comments and suggestions welcome.
This paper is a work in progress.
Copyright © 2004 by Alan T. Williams. All rights reserved.