- Recording (in a communicable and replicable manner) an experiment.
- Interpreting the result to improve our understanding.
At a didactic level, a model normally uses a metaphoric representation of the interpretation. A criteria of success for the improvement of our understanding is whether the proposed didactic model is one (or more) of the following:
- Provides a better platform for predicting future results
- Provides more consistent results
- Without compromising 1 or 2, is easier to grasp
What intrigues me is that if we agree with the above, we do not need to be professional scientists to open new theory, but it helps!
The well-known didactic metaphors for light are particle, wave, and wavicle. All of these have their strengths and weaknesses, and the purpose of this article is to propose an alternative metaphor, (on the lines of point 3) which may be less paradoxical or restricted than current metaphors. Not being a scientist or a mathematician, the goal is not to eliminate current theory, but merely to provide an easier view into current theory, therefore there must be no wild claims that effect experimental evidence.
The idea behind this metaphor is first of all a photon is:
- NOT an itty-bitty thing (aka a classical particle)
- NOT a wave
- NOT a wavelike-itty-bitty-thing or 'wavicle'.
All of these have a commonality which we want to get rid of: The photon travels over time and distance.
This is an important flaw in current models: While we are dealing with the idea of an instance travelling over distance and time, we cannot easily reconcile experimental behaviour.
In this model, we shall bring a wave in, but the wave is NOT the photon. The wave is a 'cone' of potentiality of instance, which propogates at the speed of light. The released photon energy occurs within that cone according to the well-known theories that tell us where a photon will 'arrive'.
Let's trace a photon's life.
- An electron drops an orbit and a photon-event is initiated.
- The photon-event propogates a directed potentiality-of-instance cone at light-speed.
- The photon energy manifests probabilistically within than cone (manifests, such as raising an electron up an orbit).
So, the energy does NOT travel. Merely the probability for the energy to arise.
This may be (remember, I'm not a scientist) similar to the way an electron does NOT travel between one orbit and another; but for the photon distance is not similarly restricted.
Regarding wavelength, this does not need to be covering distance either. It can be considered to be just a part of the shape of the probability cone.
Regarding conservation of energy - the photon exists in zero-time in all models. There is no time for a traveller while moving at light speed; so conservation is preserved, because in order to leave, the photon must always arrive!
Now we can explain light to non-scientists to our hearts desire, with no problem! No wave, no particle! No Paradox! No contradiction of results!
Why is this not different from photon-as-a-wave?
We are not identifying the wave with the photon. If we do, we have problems associated with dispersal of energy. (I.e. the particle's energy is distributed across the wavefront, and then simultaneously absorbed at a single point!)
Why is this not different from a wavicle?
A wavicle is a poor didactic model, because it implies a sort of tilde-shaped particle, which fails when visualising e.g. grating experiments.
Maybe the photon as a particle goes altogether!
Maybe it is nothing more than a function of probability of instantiation of the electron-shell energy propogating at light-speed!