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Is it true that an electron is fundamentally probabilistic in nature? That the Heisenberg uncertainty principle is not describing our limited ability to measure the particle's position and momentum but that the electron itself is probability-based? As though dice were constantly being rolled to describe its existence?

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Is the electron constantly acting with some inherent energy "dancing around" and that this dancing creates randomness that is simply to small to measure and thus leads to the electron having a probability-like nature?

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  • $\begingroup$ This belongs on physics.SE, not EE.SE. But the fundamentally-probabilistic view is more accurate. $\endgroup$ – Hearth Nov 24 '18 at 0:34
  • $\begingroup$ maybe you could refer to previous readings to sharpen the scope of an answer. $\endgroup$ – ZeroTheHero Nov 24 '18 at 1:14
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If we describe the electron using a wave function, the wave function evolves in a completely deterministic way until we measure it. In that sense, the electron not jumping around, or evolving random at all.

The process of measurement is what introduces randomness and probability, but not because our measurements aren’t precise enough. They can never be precise enough to get around the uncertainty principle.

The “measurement problem” of what constitutes a measurement, and why randomness enters into the process, is a continuing topic of research into the fundamentals of quantum mechanics. One approach is “decoherence”, where the random “collapse of the wave function” is related to the interaction of the system with its external environment.

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice answer, it might be slightly improved if you just justify the first claim: that the evolution of the wave function is determined by the schrodinger equation and boundary conditions. $\endgroup$ – N. Steinle Nov 24 '18 at 1:42
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Is the electron constantly acting with some inherent energy "dancing around" and that this dancing creates randomness that is simply to small to measure and thus leads to the electron having a probability-like nature?

Before measurement, the electron has no definite position or momentum, so you can't talk about trajectories or dancing around. There really is a probabilistic nature to the measurements, but it is not due to not knowing enough about the system like it is for something like coin flips or rolls of dice. When you try to search for "deeper things" causing the probabilities due to limited knowledge, you find that there is none. It really does seem like it is an inherent part of nature.

That the Heisenberg uncertainty principle is not describing our limited ability to measure the particle's position and momentum but that the electron itself is probability-based?

The HUP is not directly due to the probabilitic nature of measurements of QM systems. The HUP relates simultaneous measurements of position and momentum, but even measurements of single observables have probabilities associated with them. The HUP only deals with the uncertainty of two specific measurements. In other words, the HUP only characterizes the probabilistic nature of measurements of QM systems, it doesn't define it.

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