Found in 8 comments on Hacker News
sillysaurusx · 2020-12-10 · Original thread
The diffraction bands are approximately the Fourier transform of the slit function.

Is this correct from a physics standpoint? Feynman had a lot to say about light in his book (QED and never framed it this way. At one point he remarked that the explanations in the book were related to diffraction, and the explanation there was very different from the Fourier transform.

amit_m · 2015-05-20 · Original thread
"QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter" by Richard Feynman:

I read this book in high-school and learned about as much as I did in 4 undergrad physics courses about quantum mechanics. There's no mathematics in this book, so it doesn't teach you how to calculate anything (for this, a physics degree helps), but the principles are presented very nicely.

drjesusphd · 2014-08-20 · Original thread
This is actually a very deep question. If you want a better answer than I'm about to give, read Feynman's QED lecture videos [1] or read the book [2].

The short answer is, they don't. They emit the photon in a random direction.

Fine, you say, but what about refraction and reflection, there the photons are emitted in another direction. What makes the atom "decide" what direction to emit a photon after it's absorbed?

They don't decide anything, they still just emit in a random direction. The mind fuck is that on the whole, statistically, almost all photons except for those travelling in the direction of refraction/reflection destructively interfere!

[1] [2]

nilkn · 2013-09-13 · Original thread
By far my favorite piece of writing from Feynman is QED:

Out of all his writings, this is the one that has always stuck with me.

Feynman long held that one does not understand something if one cannot explain it to someone who is not deeply steeped in the subject already. I regard this lecture as probably the culmination of that philosophy for Feynman. Anybody with a deep mathematical background will be stunned on reading this book to realize that, oh, he was actually just talking about complex numbers and the path integral formulation all along.

Taken from one of those reviews, I don't need to say much more than this: "He does close to the impossible by explaining the rudimentary ideas of Quantum Electro Dynamics (QED) in a manner that is reasonably accessible to those with some physics background"

Jun8 · 2013-07-25 · Original thread
I think a good way to think about sentences like that is that the word quantum is short for "belonging to quantum mechanics", like how "classical gravitation" doesn't mean that there's anything classic about gravitation. The quantum quantifier is there to differentiate the superposition they mention from "classical" wave superposition.

It's very complicated stuff but not "very, very complicated" stuff, you can read Feynman's QED book (, <$9 used with shipping) and obtain a pretty good working knowledge of things.

Recommmended reading: Feynman's classic QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter.

If you don't really understand what this article is talking about, Feynman can help you.

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