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In principle two objects can never meet,because of electromagnetic repulsions for example if I touch something, I am not actually touching it considering the fact that there is a small region left due to the repulsions of electrons present in my skin and the object which force us to remain a finite distance apart.

Then how do water waves interfere when they never meet? How do light waves interfere when they never meet? How can two waves interfere without actually meeting or reaching the same point.

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  • $\begingroup$ When you say "at a single point", do you mean a single mathematical point, or at a physically real point; which in realty doesn't exist per Heisenberg's uncertainty principle ? $\endgroup$
    – user26165
    Sep 29, 2013 at 2:30
  • $\begingroup$ The answers to this question should enlighten you : physics.stackexchange.com/questions/78933/… . In effect the interferences are found in the functions representing the photons and come about because of the form of the equations describing the photons. $\endgroup$
    – anna v
    Sep 29, 2013 at 3:32

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This is a very good question. To my mind, what you mean by "meeting" is occupying the same space at the same time. If that is the case, matter (fermions) cannot exist in the same place at the same time as explained by the Pauli Exclusion Principle. When you are taking about light however, you are talking about bosons, and there in no limitation as to how many you can put in a given space. Therefore, two waves do actually meet and that is why their fields of different phase components interfere, whether constructively or destructively.

I suggest you read more about the bosons and fermion statistics to gain a deeper understanding.

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Wave is a transfer of energy through medium. So the case that you mentioned can be explained that the EM force(repulsion) transferred the energy in the direction of the wave progression. The waves meeting can be explained as multiple EM forces due to transfer of energies meet at the same point at the same time or exerted to the particle at the same time. Now, your question can be abbreviate as how multiple EM forces force the particle at the same time or exist at the particular space at the same time. This phenomenon called superposition or superposition principle. The superposition is the intrinsic property of the nature. It's more like postulate rather than explanation.

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