DOUBLE SLIT EXPERIMENT
In modern physics, the double-slit experiment is a demonstration that light and matter can display characteristics of both classically defined waves and particles; moreover, it displays the fundamentally probabilistic nature of quantummechanical phenomena.
Light famously has two natures: it is wave-like, interfering in the same way that water ripples cross each other; it is also particle-like, carrying its energy in discrete bundles known as photons. If the experiment is sufficiently sensitive, the interference pattern appears grainy, where an individual photon appears on the screen, as you can see in the simulated projection pattern shown. In other words, single photons travel as though they are interfering with other photons, but is itself indivisible. Matter also has this dual character; interference of electrons and atoms has been observed experimentally. All of this is backed up by years of work.
The major difficulty with quantum mechanics is its interpretation. The standard Copenhagen interpretation (named in honor of the home city of Niels Bohr, who first formulated it) takes a simple stance: the reason why photons sometimes seem like particles and sometimes like waves is that our experiments dictate what we see. In this view, photons are products of our experiments without independent reality, so if we're bothered by seemingly contradictory notions of wave and particle properties, it's because we're expecting something unreasonable of the universe.The Copenhagen interpretation was extremely unsatisfying to several prominent physicists of the day (Einstein was the most famous dissenter, of course), and indeed to many working in the field now. Over the years, other scientists have proposed many alternative interpretations, some of which are more viable than others; many fail the Occam's razor test by providing no empirical difference from the Copenhagen interpretation, yet are harder to work with.
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