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This article proposes solutions to two riddles of quantum mechanics (QM): (1) What is the physical analog of a quantum amplitude?, (2) Why do electrons in a double slit experiment act differently if we look at them? The Theory of Elementary Waves (TEW) is an unconventional view of how nature is organized. Elementary ray amplitudes precede and travel in the opposite direction as particles, which then follow these amplitudes backwards. The amplitude A = |A| eiθ is a vector in Hilbert space, but it moves through Euclidean space. This makes explicit something implicit in Feynman’s thinking, although Feynman had the amplitudes traveling in the wrong direction. In double slit experiments, the amplitude of elementary rays going though the two slits interfere before they reach the electron gun. Any experiment that detects which slit the electron uses, destroys the coherence of those two rays, destroying the interference. Because there is no interference, the target screen displays no interference fringe pattern. TEW represents a paradigm shift of seismic proportions, in both classical and quantum physics. Thomas Kuhn warns that paradigm shifts of this magnitude are usually rejected as preposterous. That is exactly what happened to Alfred Wegener’s idea of “continental drift.”
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