X-Message-Number: 21057
Date: Tue, 4 Feb 2003 20:21:36 EST
Subject: trajectories

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Yesterday I wrote:

>(Again, two gamma photons in two different cloud chambers will show two 
>trajectories. And please don't say that the trajectories existed only after 

Today a private email said that trajectories do indeed exist only after 
observation, and I replied:
I guess I expressed myself poorly again. When I said, "And please don't say 
that...." I meant that this would be irrelevant to my point. Two electrons or 
two anything at different locations are distinguishable. Some writers use 
"indistinguishable" as synonymous with "identical," while others do not. 
Whether in reality particles, and systems in general, "exist" before 
observation, is a complex and fairly subtle question about which debate 
continues as it has for a century. I have already pointed out that words like 
"particle" in the quantum arena are only metaphors, to be handled with tongs 
while holding your nose. 

Robert Ettinger 


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