Four Physics Puzzles & Einstein's Method:

Wave-Particle Duality, Collapse, Probability and Nonlocality

Paul A. Klevgard, Ph.D.
Sandia National Laboratory, Ret.

Einstein's method of analysis was a formal comparison of material quanta (molecules, electrons) with radiation quanta (photons). He used this approach in various papers between 1905 and 1924, most famously in his "Heuristic Viewpoint" paper of 1905 treating the photoelectric effect. In that paper he compares the entropy decrease when molecules (of an ideal gas) or photons (of a photon gas) are squeezed into a smaller volume. Details of how he employed this "method" are available here.

This author has adapted Einstein's method to yield a formal analysis of mass and energy that yields some new insights into the four physics puzzles listed above. If both mass and radiation energy (the photon) are both entities, then it is possible (and advantageous) to compare them at a formal, abstract level: both are quantized, both have a form and both extend in a dimension (space for mass, time for energy). In addition, mass stores and releases energy and energy stores and releases (relativistic) mass. These formal similarities permit some new insights.

Wave - particle dualitywave function collapse, objective probability plus the issue of nonlocality constitute four prominent puzzles in modern physics. Although these four topics may appear unrelated, a closer examination reveals that they do share some common assumptions at the foundational level that have characterized physics for the last 100 years. Progress can be made on these four topics only if we understand and possibly revise some long-held assumptions.

This essay examines physics from the ontological perspective (ontology: what exists and what occurs). Are quantized matter and quantized energy both entities and if so what does that imply? Does matter occupy (require) space and progress in time whereas energy (radiation) occupies (requires) time and progresses in space? If so, what does this tell us? Energy has two identities, potential and kinetic. Does mass have two identities and if not why not? The expectation is that answers to these and similar questions will help us understand the connections between the four puzzles listed above.

This inquiry began as a book (published 2008) for sale in both digital and paper editions. It became apparent than a revision was in order; a shorter version (54 pages plus appendices) is now available to the reader as a free download.

The author has a Ph.D. from Northwestern University, taught for years at the university level
and was a staff member at Sandia National Laboratories


·        Introduction

·        Section I            Wave-Particle Duality for Photons

·        Section II          Wave-Particle Duality for Electrons

·        Section III         Nonlocality – Entanglement

·        Section IV         The Measurement Problem (& Schrödinger's Cat)

·        Section V           Realism versus Anti-realism

Introduction –

Matter and radiation energy are convertible, one to the other, and have a quantitative relationship, namely E = mc2.But they are conjugates: they are inversely or orthogonally related. Hence mass (as matter) exists and occupies (extends over) space. Radiation energy occurs (oscillates) and occupies (extends over) time.

Physics is full of connections and comparisons of mass/matter with energy/radiation. Planck equated resonant frequencies between radiation cycles within a black body cavity and the oscillation of molecules in the walls of the cavity. Einstein compared the photon gas with an ideal gas. And some years later Louis de Broglie inverted this and argued that matter had an energy wave nature in addition to its mass particle nature.

Physicists have thoroughly explored the connections and interactions between mass and energy, between matter and radiation. What has not been explored is the ontological relationship of mass with energy:

  •    Mass is an entity. Is energy an entity or is it merely a quantity?
  •    Can we define “entity” in a formal way to cover both mass and energy?
  •    Can each entity store its opposite? Mass stores energy; how does energy store mass?
  •     Energy comes in two flavors: kinetic and potential. What if mass does the same?

Trying to cover these and other questions has not been easy. This author has spent many years at the task with no wrong turn or blind alley left unexplored. What has kept this pursuit “on track” is the same guiding “method” employed by Planck, Einstein and de Broglie: whatever applies in a generalized (formal) way to the mass quantum must apply to the radiation quantum and vice versa. The guiding principle for this essay is:

  • The radical (foundational, formal) equality of mass and energy.
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