I have started looking into quantum mechanics and immediately was fascinated by how observing Electrons causes them to react like particles while otherwise they are like waves. Could someone please specify the cause?

The only answer I got via Google was that the photons being directed at it causes it to change, but if this were the case would not the normal photons not bouncing off your eyes hit it and cause it to change as well?

Or is this one of those "Let me get back to you on that." or "We got top guys working on that." That Neil DeGrasse Tyson is so fond of.

  • $\begingroup$ To maintain our sanity....a slightly silly answer, I appreciate, but if your hand for example, did not appear looking pretty much the same every time you looked at it, that would not be good. Going forward, to use another terrible phrase, we may have a more comprehensive answer, but this question, and various explanations has been studied for 120 plus years. But as yet, we don't know. $\endgroup$
    – user140606
    Feb 9, 2017 at 20:47

1 Answer 1


The wave of the electron is not actually a true wave, but a wave that describes the possibility of finding the electron at a certain location.

When we say that the electron is somewhere on the wave, we meant to say that the electron is simultaneously everywhere on the wave. We can't say that the electron is on a certain position on the wave because then we lose the wave analogy, which means the "wave" is no longer spread out, the wave function of the electron collapses.

When no one is looking

When nobody is looking at the particle, the particle is said to be in a superposition, which means all the possibilities that could happen does happen at the same time. The possibilities are happening simultaneously due to all that the particle also simultaneously exist on every part of the wave.

When someone is looking

However, when someone is looking, the nature has to choose, the particle has been detected, therefore its wave no longer exist, because once the particle is found, there is no need to indicated the possibilities of finding a particle!

Now the location of the electron is set, there is no longer the wave function of the electron, it now acts like a particle!!


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