We are learning about the wave/particle duality of electrons, and how electron orbitals are just standing waves each with a different discrete amount of energy, which got me wondering, is quantum mechanics just a mathematical trick?
That is, are electrons just a particle but move around like waves due to the forces acting on it, a phenomenon that just happens to be explainable by waves? Or, is there any deeper, more fundamental physics governing the physics of elementary particles?
I watched a Veratasium video on pilot-wave theory, which I think kind of explains my answer, but I had one problem with it, which was the existence of physical waves. Where would such waves exist in real life(in the video, it was in a tub of some kind of oil)? Also, Veratasium said that this is not actually how elementary particles behave in real life, so I also wanted to know if we actually know that to be true.
So basically my question is: what are elementary particles, and why is their behavior described by wave functions?
Sorry if this is a really basic/bad question. I don't really know much about quantum mechanics and I'm just trying to understand why things are the way they are.