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Posted: Tue May 04, 2010 10:19 am
by joe
The reason why the observer effects the experiment is that the particle being detected has to interact with another particle so that the observer can actually know anything about it. For example (roughly); to "see" a proton you have to hit it with a photon. This interaction changes the behaviour of the proton. You cannot see the proton, or other subatomic particles, without first changing it.

This is related to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle and the aforementioned wavefunction collapse.

Posted: Tue May 04, 2010 12:43 pm
by brian livesey
Thanks, Joe. Don't you mean the observer "affects" the experiment? Stella?! :lol:

Posted: Tue May 04, 2010 12:49 pm
by joe
Brian, ssshhht! With some luck it might slip through the net unnoticed.

Posted: Tue May 04, 2010 2:38 pm
by brian livesey
If Miss does notice, m' lad, she'll march you to the front of the class. :twisted:

Posted: Tue May 04, 2010 2:54 pm
by stella
Can we have a little less chat at the back, there?