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Physics/Evanescent Waves


Are evanescent waves actual exist as energy? Are they physically real? If not, would it be fair to say that they are merely quantum probabilities rather than anything physical? In addition, how do they manage to affect physical matter if they aren't actual expressions of energy?

They are physically real and have physical effects (see the Wikipedia page for a laundry list of their uses in optics).  They're wave solutions.  They're subject to limitations of reality, such as our inability to violate conservation of energy by observing a particle in an energetically forbidden region during tunneling (which comes right out of the math), but the electromagnetic ones have been used for a lot of applications now.


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Dr. Stephen O. Nelson


I can answer most basic physics questions, physics questions about science fiction and everyday observations of physics, etc. I'm also usually good for science fair advice (I'm the regional science fair director). I do not answer homework problems. I will occasionally point out where a homework solution went wrong, though. I'm usually good at explaining odd observations that seem counterintuitive, energy science, nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, and alternative theories of physics are my specialties.


I was a physics professor at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, research in nuclear technology and nuclear astrophysics. My travelling science show saw over 20,000 students of all ages. I taught physics, nuclear chemistry, radiation safety, vacuum technology, and answer tons of questions as I tour schools encouraging students to consider careers in science. I moved on to a non-academic job with more research just recently.

Ph. D. from Duke University in physics, research in nuclear astrophysics reactions, gamma-ray astronomy technology, and advanced nuclear reactors.

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