The Quantum Redefined
It has occurred to me recently that the quantum, defined aptly by Wikipedia as “an indivisible entity of energy,” is not.
In fact, I have currently talked myself into believing that this whole idea of the quantum is absolutely wrong.
I’ve decided to post this as a way of getting a little feedback, either via the Comments section, or to my email at email@example.com.
Here is my current interpretation:
1. The quantum is a unit of energy contained in the difference between atomic electron energy states. When an atom interacts with electromagnetic energy, it can only do so by absorbing, or releasing, energy in quantum amounts.
There is no other, deeper, more universal meaning to the quantum. Light does not, per se, come in quantized packets of energy.
2. All of the original experiments which led Planck and Einstein to the discovery of and description of the quantum (Phillip Leonard’s work, black body radiation, other photoelectric measurements) measured energy that had been quantized by atomic interactions. For instance, in the black body problem, the energy being released is released by atoms in the walls of the container. In the photoelectric effect, a carbide lamp was used, so that the incoming light was quantized by atoms before hitting the metal plate; additionally, the electrons in the metal plate were captured by atoms.
3. Unlike all other units of measurement, the quantum can assume any number, and it can have an infinite number of values, all measuring h x freq. In this sense, it is neither basic, nor a real unit of measure.
4. EM radiation can, and I would propose, does exist free of quantization. Such radiation coming off a mast antenna would be an example of the generation of EM radiation which is not inherently quantized.
Well, that’s about it. There is more, but this should get the ball rolling. I realize that this is heresy, for which I should be flayed before the Queen, if not the Stanford board of regents, but I expect it may be correct. I would very much like to hear any thoughtful arguments pro or con which could help elucidate this claim.
If you wish to discuss this new idea elsewhere, please point back here as part of the conversation. I have come to this understanding while working to expand my own Resonance Theory, which was the first Theory of Everything based on string-like (resonance) models, and which does not require light quantization.