small localized object in physical sciences
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- ... Where was the particle just before I made the measurement? There are three plausible answers to this question, and they serve to characterize the main schools of thought regarding quantum indeterminacy: ... realist ... orthodox ... agnostic ... Until fairly recently, all three positions (realist, orthodox, and agnostic) had their partisans. But in 1964 John Bell astonished the physics community by showing that it makes an observable difference whether the particle had a precise (though unknown) position prior to the measurement, or not. Bell's discovery effectively eliminated agnosticism as a viable option ...
- David J. Griffiths, Introduction to Quantum Mechanics (2nd ed., 2016), pp. 3–4
- One of the fundamental concepts of mechanics is that of a particle. By this we mean a body whose dimensions may be neglected in describing its motion. The possibility of so doing depends, of course, on the conditions of the problem concerned. For example, the planets may be regarded as particles in considering their motion about the Sun, but not in considering their rotation about their axes.