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Heinz von Foerster 100
Organizing Institutions:
Heinz von Foerster Gesellschaft / Wien
ASC – American Society for Cybernetics
WISDOM – Wiener Institut für
  sozialwissenschaftliche Dokumentation und Methodik

Institut für Zeitgeschichte | Universität Wien
AINS – Austrian Institute for Nonlinear Studies
Alexander Davydov

Wave-Particle Duality in Classical Mechanics

AlgoTerra LLC, Rockville, MD 20852, U.S.A.

At present wave-particle duality is widely believed to be purely of quantum-mechanical nature, an attribute of behavior of matter at small length and energy scales which does not have any counterparts in classical mechanics. The recently discovered "walkers" - droplets that bounce on a vertically vibrated bath of the same fluid and can become coupled to the surface waves they generate - do not seriously challenge the indicated belief since these wave-particle symbiotic structures can exist only on two-dimensional surfaces and require constant inflow of energy. In my presentation, I expose classical objects in arbitrary dimensions that can display both wave and particle properties simultaneously while strictly obeying laws of the Newtonian mechanics. No influx of energy is required for their existence. For an observer, these objects behave deterministically provided that all their degrees of freedom are known. If, however, part of the degrees of freedom is not accessible for observation (hidden), such objects can be described by an observer only probabilistically and exhibit weird features similar to that of quantum particles. As the simplest example, consider a compact 'cloud' of identical point particles (monads) interacting pairwisely with attractive central force proportional to the distance. The monads are destined to be confined to the cloud as a whole since parting the cloud into peaces separated by large distances would require huge amount of energy. At the same time, since there is no other coupling between any pair of monads except attractive potential proportional to the distance squared, we have to conclude that monads can penetrate through each other effortlessly (cf. asymptotic freedom). Thus the dynamics of monads is 'collisionless' and allows for analytical treatment. One possible mode of collective motion of monads can be described as a 'pulsating cloud': in the absence of any external spatially-varied potential, the size of the cloud oscillates with constant frequency completely determined by the coupling potential between monads. If we place this pulsating cloud in some smooth potential field (which monads can 'feel'), the cloud's center of mass will exhibit behavior strikingly similar of that of a quantum particle in the same potential. I present evidence of existence of classical analogs of such quantum-mechanical phenomena as particle diffraction, interference, tunneling, resonant tunneling, coherent destruction of tunneling, field-induced barrier transparency, over-the-barrier reflection, and the Hartman effect. In the light of these findings, the prospects of the point of view that quantum mechanics is an incomplete theory that 'emerges' from the underlying classical sub-dynamics will be discussed.


Born in Moscow, February 9, 1964

Foundations of quantum mechanics and quantum-classical boundary
Unconventional methods of computing: new paradigms, architectures, devices, and algorithms
Time-frequency analysis of transient signals
Hard combinatorial optimization problems

1989 - Gubkin Oil and Gas Institute, Moscow, Physics Department, M.S.
1995 - Institute of Physical Chemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences, Statistical Physics, Ph.D.

Chief Scientist, AlgoTerra LLC, 2009 - Present
Lead Scientist, Intelligent Automation Inc., 2008 - 2009
Senior Scientist, Intelligent Automation Inc., 1998 - 2008
Systems Engineer, Belam Inc., 1997
Research Scientist, Department of Physics, Oil and Gas Research Institute, 1990 - 1996