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Jack Woehr

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Archie Goodwin and the Bohm Interpretation

February 01, 2010

electrons thru a two-slit experiment - public domainFictional detective Nero Wolfe's equally fictional sidekick, Archie Goodwin , was more interested in babes and baseball than science, but he displayed the epistemological wherewithal to tackle quantum physics, in particular the Bohm Interpretation.

Archie opined (in Rex Stout's Fer-de-Lance) that the clues are always found where the light isn't shining.

Bohm and DeBroglie suggested that the answer to the puzzle of the two slit experiment (in which individual quanta exhibit intereference behavior on a target) was that the quantum, e.g., the photon or electron went through one slit, and the wave function went through both. While Bohm's Interpretation is not mainstream, it is not heretical as far as the math has been worked out.

There's a more obvious interpretation of Bohm's objection to the mainstream explanation than Bohm's own, however.

What are these quanta? Assume that the interplay between matter and energy on descending scales exists without limit that we can perceive, to wit, that matter examined closely enough is revealed to be energy, and that selfsame energy, examined on even a finer scale, is found to be particles in motion, ad infinitum.

In this case, what is, say, a photon? A whorl passing through an ambient universe like a cyclone through the atmosphere, accreting, disbursing, yet the form remaining identifiable whether the actual subsconstituent atoms are the same or different from some time-click of observation before. It is not a thing, it is a phenomenon of the "dark place" undetected below/beyond our focal range.

So the two-slit experiment has a simpler explanation than either the classical or Bohm interpretations:

A photon is a phenomenon within our infinitely subsconstituent universe.A swirling phenomenon of its micro-weather, as it were. It's made of stuff ... indescribably small stuff of every description that itself comes and goes as the storm whirls, yet the storm abideth.

This phenomenon burbles through both slits.

Because of the range of focus and the theoretical predisposition to binary intetrpretations we bring to the experiment, we adjudge the photon, really a notional entity, to have passed through one or the other of the slits, where as in reality, the phenomenon we're studying is, overall, passing through both slits, whether our experimental methodology reveals this to us or not.

This suggests some surprising results in the opposite direction of focus and scale. Perhaps the gravitron exists. A single one might be bigger in diameter than our solar system and very sparse in subconstituency, effectively the Earth and its Solar System themselves being recursive elements of the subconstituency as the gravitron expands outwards.

The epistemological battle here is correct visualisation and assessment of indescribably complex composite phenomena.

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