Open Defense of Thesis by Mr. Varun S Bhatta on 'Philosophical Analysis of Wave-Particle Duality of Photons'




Title: Philosophical Analysis of Wave-Particle Duality of Photons


Candidate: Mr. Varun S Bhatta

         School of Humanities


Advisor:  Prof. Sundar Sarukkai

Date:  Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Time:  11:00 am


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This thesis is a study about the insights and challenges raised by the concept of wave-particle duality for the understanding of physical entities. I specifically analyse the duality claim of photons and the related phenomena of interference. I begin by conceptually clarifying the notion of duality by first analysing several notions of duality found in various branches of science and present the similarities and differences amidst them. After this, with regard to wave-particle duality of radiation, I highlight the plurality associated with this concept based on a few important interpretations of duality. I then focus on the wave-particle duality claim about photons articulated in the context of two experiments: the anti-correlation experiment and photons' behaviour in the Mach-Zehnder interferometer experiment. I argue that this claim can neither be substantiated through the complementarity principle nor by claiming that photons behave analogously to classical waves and particles. This detailed examination of the experiments brings to the forefront yet another confusion about photons that I subsequently evaluate. I discuss the controversy concerning the interpretation of the interference phenomenon of photons and identify the sources of this confusion. Through these arguments and conclusions drawn in the thesis, I demonstrate how philosophical analysis is crucial for the understanding of scientific entities.



All are invited to attend

Wednesday, December 9, 2020