The wave-like properties of the electron and the scientific proof

Electrons are particles spinning and revolving around the nucleus of the atom similar to the earth rotating on its own axis as it also revolves around the sun. This rotation, like that of the planets, is realized ceaselessly and in perfect order on paths we call orbits. Yet, the proportion of the size of the earth and the sun is very different from the atomic scale. To make a comparison between the size of electrons and the size of the earth, if we enlarge an atom as big as the earth, the electron would be in the size of an apple.

Tens of electrons revolving in an area so small as to be invisible even to the most powerful microscopes create a very complex traffic inside the atom. The most remarkable point here is that these electrons surrounding the nucleus like an armor of electrical charge do not have even a small accident. In fact, any small accident inside the atom would cause a disaster for the atom. However, such an accident never takes place. The whole operation runs flawlessly. The electrons revolving around the nucleus at the mind-boggling speed of 1,000 km/second never collide with each other. It is extremely amazing that these electrons, which are no different from each other, follow separate orbits, and it is obviously the result of a conscious creation. If they had different masses and velocities, it might be natural for them to settle in different orbits around the nucleus. For instance, the order of the planets in our solar system follows this logic. Planets that have totally different masses and velocities are naturally settled in different orbits around the sun. But the case with the electrons in the atom is totally different from that of these planets. The electrons are exactly alike but have different orbits around the nucleus: how do they follow these paths unerringly, how do they not collide though they have incredibly small dimensions and move at incredible speeds? These questions lead us to a single point: the only truth we face in this unique order and delicate equilibrium is the perfect creation of Allah (God).

Electrons are small particles, almost two thousandth the size of neutrons and protons. An atom has the same number of electrons as protons and each electron bears a negative (-) charge equal to the positive (+) charge borne by each proton. The total positive (+) charge in the nucleus and the total negative (-) charge of the electrons cancel each other and the atom becomes neutral.

When electrons were first discovered, they were thought to be particles like the protons and neutrons found in the nucleus. In the experiments that followed, however, it was discovered that they display wave characteristics like light particles, that is, photons. Subsequently, quantum physicists came to the conclusion that every particle is simultaneously a wave form with its own distinct frequency.

The most significant experiment revealing the interesting nature of the sub-atomic particles was the double-slit experiment. This was conducted to see how light and electrons both behave like waves, and how they both manifest this surprising feature to the same extent.
In order to gain a better understanding of the subject, assume that this experiment was conducted with grains of sand rather than electrons.
First, bring a source of sand grains, such as a sand-blower, behind a wall. Let there be two slits in the wall. And let there be on the other side of the wall a screen to detect the particles passing through these slits. Each sand grain impelled by the blower travels through one slit and strikes the screen.

Once a large number of grains have passed through the slits and hit the screen, we see that two clusters of points have appeared on the screen; one made up of grains passing through the first slit, and the other of those passing through the second. Events have transpired as we expected.

Now, imagine that we have conducted a similar experiment in a different way. Let us fill the experimental environment between the source and the screen with a pool of water, and use a vibrating object instead of the source of sand particles. This object sets the water in motion and continuously generates waves, spreading in all directions.

Unlike grains of sand, these waves are not localized in space. They are spread throughout the whole pool. As a result, the waves passing through both slits simultaneously spread out, encounter one another and interfere with each other.

When the crest of one wave combines with the trough of another, they neutralize each other. The wave effect disappears, leaving nothing. This interference is a basic characteristic of waves.

When the experiment was performed with electrons, instead of a cluster of particles striking the screen—as with the sand grains—the electrons were observed to interfere with one another. The expected result failed to occur if the electrons were regarded as particles only. Therefore, since the electrons displayed the wave-like feature of interfering with one another, they cannot be particles. Yet they cannot be waves either—because, just like particles, they struck the screen in discrete groups.

In this instance, the observations suggest that the electrons are localized particles when they leave the source and when they arrive at the screen, but that they act as waves everywhere in between. This is really very counterintuitive. 1

This experimental evidence did away with materialism, according to which, every particle must possess an objective existence somewhere in space. Again according to materialism, an electron must follow a single course through a space and cannot move through both slits like a wave which is not localized. Yet materialists’ expectations did not correspond to experimental reality.

The wave we are referring to here is different from a physical wave that occurs in water. Electron waves do not exist in the three-dimensional space in our physical world.

Fred Alan Wolf describes the wave concept in question:

When quantum physicists determine the probability of an event, they calculate a number. This number arises from the multiplication of two mathematical functions called quantum wave functions—or, as I call them, qwiffs. Qwiffs are imagined to be real waves moving through space and time. However, they are not real waves; they are purely imaginal. They are not fields like magnetic fields or gravitational fields. They cannot be measured. They have neither mass nor energy. They exist in our minds and imaginations. That is, they do not exist as we observe real material things existing. . . . The dynamic laws governing time loops bring a story into being. In other words, when a time loop is created, the world we commonly and uncommonly experience as “out there” arises both in our minds and in what we believe is objectively shared reality. 2

According to Wolf, the definite scientific truth regarding electrons cannot possibly be comprehended in terms of known physical or mathematical concepts. In any case, however, we are never in direct contact with the realities in the outside world. It is impossible for us to step beyond our own perceptions.

The double-slit experiment can be repeated with all sub-atomic particles. The results will always be the same, because quantum mechanics rules the entire universe. True, when billions of atoms combine to give rise to any large object or a human being, the probability of this interference effect ever being observed decrease sharply. But this does not mean that the laws of quantum physics have ceased to apply. This process is now just not observable. Therefore, this fact applies to all of matter.

According to the Washington University mathematician Thomas McFarlane, the large objects we encounter in our daily lives are not objectively existing matter, either. According to him, the appearance of an objectively existing world independent of observation is an illusion. 3

What quantum mechanics has scientifically proven is that the objective world exists in a concentrated wave form. According to physicists, the main problem that misleads people is that the world observed through our perceptions is high in convincing detail, sharpness and clarity. Yet the outside world never actually reaches us. We can never see the external reality, the original of the material world existing out there.

Our daily lives present an image highly inconsistent with the external realities. Therefore, the question arises of which one—whether the physical reality or what appears to us so sharp and clear—should be regarded as valid.

Thomas J. McFarlane states that the answer can be found by drawing a comparison.

According to him, we can imagine modern-day scientists going back 3000 years in the past and meeting with people who imagine the Earth is flat. The scientists politely tell them that they are in error on the subject, and that the Earth is actually spherical.

These people then ask the scientists, how could you have come by such an insane idea? The scientists will be unable to provide a single piece of evidence to prove their thesis, under the conditions and state of knowledge of that time. They, on the other hand, are quite capable of explaining that the Earth is flat, on the basis of all their experiments and the evidence they’ve gathered. They use the concept of plane geometry to measure out land and chart road maps, and find nothing in this that conflicts with their daily experience. In the same way, when they look at a wide open expanse or the sea, they say that they can see no curvature and so claim that there is no evidence showing that the Earth is round. The idea that The Earth is round thus remains a delusion. The scientists return to their time machine and to the present day, without having proved anything.

According to McFarlane, the reason why these time-travelers were unable to convince anyone the Earth is round is that we humans are so very small in comparison to the Earth. Since our experiment is confined to a geographically very small area, the Earth appears to be flat, even though it is not actually so. In other words, the flatness observed on Earth is not a true flatness at all, because the Earth is not flat. This is only an illusory flatness caused by the immense size of the Earth.

In order to prove that the Earth is round, we need to go beyond our day-to-day limitations. For instance, we could fly around the world in a plane, or we could go up into space in a rocket. But when limited to our day-to-day experiences, we have no evidence that the flatness we perceive is an illusion. Similarly, we have no reason not to believe that the Earth is flat.

After citing this example, McFarlane goes on to say:

If people have been so deluded about reality in the past, how can we be so sure that we are not deluded now? As we have seen, just because our present notions of reality are consistent with our ordinary experience, does not make them true. Since our experience certainly has its limits, perhaps our idea of the objective world really is an illusion, just as much an illusion as the idea of a flat Earth. 4

Allah created every 'where' both that which we are able to see and that which we cannot, with boundless artistry and He gave innumerable favors to be at our service, whether we are aware of them or not. It is undeniable that scientific development and progress ought to cause everyone who uses his wisdom and conscience to believe in the existence of Allah. Nonetheless, people still exist who ignore the superior artistry and wisdom observable at every point in the universe.

As a person learns more about the examples of creation surrounding him, he grasps much better that Allah encompasses him from every direction, He directs all affairs in heaven and Earth, and holds everything under control. He understands that his life will certainly be taken and he will be answerable for everything he has done on Earth. As a believer becomes more acquainted with the innumerable phenomena taking place around him, his admiration for Allah's knowledge increasingly grows. This admiration is a very important step on the way to perceiving the infinite power and might of Allah as much as possible and fearing Him as required. This is stated in the Qur'an:

Do you not see that Allah sends down water from the sky and by it We bring forth fruits of varying colors? And in the mountains there are streaks of white and red, of varying shades, and rocks of deep jet black. And humanity and beasts and livestock are likewise of varying colors. Only those of His slaves with knowledge have fear of Allah. Allah is Almighty, Ever-Forgiving. (Surah Fatir: 27-28)

2. Fred Alan Wolf, Mind into Matter: A New Alchemy of Science and Spirit, 2001, Moment Point Press, p. 105
4. Ibid.

2008-03-15 19:54:48

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