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Sound is usually referred to as just "sound waves" - we do not talk about a "sound particle" and only as a wave or "matter wave."

Could something similar apply to light i.e. that there really is no "light particle" (photon) and that the wave respresentation is what applies both to sound and light?

We say light is an electromagnetic movement, could it be that light is an electromagnetic movement with just movement and similarly to sound like there is no "sound particle" (only a movement that makes some sound from vibration and movement of particles that are "ordinary" particles in the air and not in fact any particular "sound particle" so similarly the photon could be just a name or just a concept in fact used to describe what is similar to sound and just a wave and not a special particle?

I know this seems controversial like saying that there is no photon and I say it might be not that controversial since there is no particular particle for sound and a waveform only.

Thanks for any insight!

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Sound particles are phonons. –  Colin K Sep 2 '11 at 11:33
Particles so-called "phonons" are bosons interestingly which seems to be since they are symmetric similarly to a mathematical group with an operand –  Niklas rtz Sep 2 '11 at 15:11

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

There is a difference even in the classical wave framework between sound and light.

Sound propagates on a medium, light propagates in vacuum with no problem . Where would we be if sunlight were like sound, never propagating through vacuum? In the classical framework, before special relativity was posited and proved, in order to make the equivalence you like, people had invented the ether. The Michelson Morley experiment , the first in a series, showed there was no ether.

It is interesting though that sound/vibrations can also be like a particle in the medium it propagates, called a "phonon".

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Thanks for the important reminder of the Michelson Morley result and letting me know that there is something called a phonon. I read phonons are also bosons and the equations look like wave equations (trigonemetric) and since it's presumed that a phonon has a neighbour then I think there can not be only one phonon since then it wouldn't have a neighbour. –  Niklas rtz Sep 2 '11 at 15:14

I had, like you, a similar question. when we speak of sound that undulates is the space filled with particles (molecules) that transmit the oscillations of air pressure, which are converted into mechanical waves. instead to light what is the interaction range of magnetic and electric field.

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