When you deal with things at the quantum scale, where things are very small, the world is quite fuzzy and bizarre in comparison to our everyday experiences.
When you hear the term “radioactive” you likely think “bad news,” maybe along the lines of fallout from an atomic bomb. But radioactive materials are actually used in a wide range of beneficial applications. In medicine, they routinely help diagnose and treat disease. Irradiation helps keep a number of foods free from insects and invasive pests. Archaeologists use them to figure out how old an artifact might be. And the list goes on.
Our notion of reality is built on everyday experiences. But wave-particle duality is so strange that we are forced to re-examine our common conceptions. Wave-particle duality refers to the fundamental property of matter where, at one moment it appears like a wave, and yet at another moment it acts like a particle. To understand wave-particle duality it’s worth looking at differences between particles and waves.
Chemist John Dalton proposed the theory that all matter and objects are made up of particles called atoms, and this is still accepted by the scientific community, almost two centuries later. Each of these atoms is each made up of an incredibly small nucleus and even smaller electrons, which move around at quite a distance from the centre.
For millennia, scientists have pondered the mystery of life – namely, what goes into making it? According to most ancient cultures, life and all existence was made up of the basic elements of nature – i.e. Earth, Air, Wind, Water, and Fire. However, in time, many philosophers began to put forth the notion that all things were composed of tiny, indivisible things that could neither be created nor destroyed (i.e. particles).