# Why the wave-particle duality cannot be explained as a traveling-standing wave duality?

This would explain why speed and position cannot be measured at the same time, since either the wave would be traveling (speed) or enclosed and standing (position). The act of enclosing it (to be observed) could explain the effects of observation as well.

I asked a similar question some time ago and apparently it was deleted.

In the previous question I asked for the name of the theory that holds this.

Apparently there was something I misunderstood, there is no such a theory and this is impossible for some reasons that were not specified (because that was not the question).

So that is the question now.

I understand the reasons may be long to explain. If that is the case then a reference should be enough and the pointer would be greatly appreciated. If it is possible to provide a short explanation then the explanation will be even more appreciated.

In any case thank you very much for your answers and sorry for my ignorance.

• Your idea of having a wave that is either standing or travelling doesnt make any sense in connection to an uncertainty principle: if it were true, then a standing wave would simply have velocity 0. Furthermore, a standing wave is NOT localized, it can still be infinitely long.
– Danu
Sep 21, 2013 at 12:41
• @Danu I see, thank you for the clarification. Would this make more sense if we spoke about standing enclosed waves? Sorry for not being clear from the start, my bad. The boundaries of the enclosing could move, not having velocity 0. Sep 21, 2013 at 13:23

## 2 Answers

You idea of "standing enclosed waves" with moving boundaries sounds exactly like the wave packet description of particles in QM.

There's a point missing here, which is that in electron diffraction experiments, the detected intensity, say, for diffraction through a small hole in an opaque screen, forms a diffraction pattern that looks 'optical' in its character. However, when examined closely, it is found that the loci of detected intensity are composed of distinct, microscopic dots. That is, the traveling electron seems to diffract like a pure wave, but when it hits the detector screen, it collapses into a point particle.

There is a quote attributed to Feynmann: "I think I can safely say that none of us understands quantum mechanics." The wave particle duality is at the heart of that, I think. The electron is not a smear, it is not a wave packet, it is (at least when we detect it) a point particle, which nonetheless propagated in space and time as if it had been a wave packet.

There are things in quantum mechanics which cannot really be explained by analogy.