The Quantum World - God's little joke?
Most of you will be familiar with aspects of Quantum physics. You may not fully understand it and that is because no one does. It defies our thorough comprehension. It is also quite difficult to explain to someone who is isolated from the idea. If you want to brush up first, I found a site which gets over the key points in relatively simple language here. It might be worth a quick visit to follow the rest of my article? It may also help to consider the light through two slits demonstration/experiment: is light a wave or is it made of particles, or is it both? The double-slit experiment, sometimes called Young's experiment (after Young's interference experiment),
is a demonstration
that matter and energy can display characteristics of both waves and particles, and demonstrates the fundamentally probabilistic nature of quantum mechanical phenomena. See below for a summary...
A coherent light source, a laser beam, illuminates a plate with two parallel slits. Light passing through the slits is seen on a screen behind the plate. The wave nature of light causes the light waves passing through the two slits to interfere, producing bright and dark bands on the screen, an effect not expected if light consisted strictly of particles. However, the light is always found to be absorbed at the screen at discrete points, as individual particles
(not waves), the interference pattern appearing via the varying density of these particle hitting the screen. This result establishes the principle known as wave–particle duality. Furthermore, versions of the experiment that include particle detectors at the slits find that each bit of light passes through one or the other slit (as particles would), but not through both (as waves would). Other particles such as electrons are found to exhibit the same behavior when fired toward a double slit.
LARGE FILE. ALLOW LOAD TIME. REFRESH IF ANIMATION SHOWS
BLACK FLASHED OR ABRUPT END.
Point-by-point computer simulation with a mass-less wave packet in 2D. The following simulation
shows an instance where a wave-packet passes the double-slit. The wave packet is generated with a Fourier synthesis with a Gaussian frequency kernel.. by Claus.Wimmer
(wiki creative commons licence)
The more you find out about Quantum Strangeness, the more you doubt your own sanity but this area of science has proven to be the most powerful piece of knowledge our species has ever discovered. It is the application of our awareness of Quantum behaviour which is pushing our technology forward faster and more usefully. One important contribution to electronics (and now light microscopes) is Quantum tunneling. I won't get into this as there is a lot of information
on the web to try and explain the phenomena. It works. The explanation for what happens to make it work, I regard as very 'iffy' indeed. The solution is linked to a mathematical solution which defies the ability to model within a human mind what actually goes on. Put simply, our minds can't grasp the effect in a classical way. Mathematics can qualify it, which is great. And the words on the can stating what happens, does happen.
This is what it's all about...
You launch electrons towards a target where one or more barriers stand in the way, which are impossible for the electrons to pass through. And they don't. Instead, the wave 'function' associated with the particle leak (tunnel) through, and so energy is transmitted to the other side of the barrier. Now if anyone tells you they understand how that happens... laugh. They don't. They think they do because they understand the maths which describes how the effect takes place. But they are incapable of constructing
a visual model in their minds which makes sense.
My daughter was able to turn on a light switch for years knowing that electricity reached the bulb and energy from the electric source heated up the element. She knew the effect worked. I tried to teach her ohms law. She didn't get it. I drew a diagram of water flowing through pipes running from high to low (electrical potential) and she got it. The reason why she understood it, is her mind could construct a workable and acceptable model (a simplified analogy of what happens in the circuit). You
can't really do that with most quantum effects.
And I am afraid the ball bouncing against the wall analogy cited for Quantum tunneling doesn't work for me either. There is only one way that packet of energy can get to the other side of an insurmountable barrier, as far as I am concerned, and probabilistic results of mathematical wave functions do not prove the packet of energy has an associated wave in real terms, it suggests to me that packages of energy are manifest in more than one physical reality at any given time. The energy arrives on
the other side of the barrier not as a result of maths but as a result of something which maths is able to model effectively but leaves human beings ignorant of regarding a complete understanding of the real event.
We are all left believing the maths involved is describing a truth, when actually it is only the variables and their relationships working eloquently and emulating something which may be happening for different reasons. The phenomena is exotic. The mathematical model also. The only proof that the maths predicts the results is that the set of variables and their correlation with observed events pan out. That is not a truth, nor knowledge, it is a working tool. I may not understand how wood grows
I know how to cut it.
But maybe that is just me and my lack of ability to do mathematics well? What about you? Do you understand it? This is only the tip of an iceberg. Let's tunnel deeper (sorry).
Oh, what's this got to do with microscopy? Maybe go back to page 4 and follow the links and dig deep into the concept of Evanescent waves. It's an effect transforming optical microscopy into something never thought possible
by Mr Abbe. What we thought as light in a classical world is flawed. What we think about most of the exciting stuff in a classical 'model' is flawed too. Science just jumped 70 years and whatever you were taught at school about energy, was based on simple and incorrect models. They worked, but because our models for why they worked were flawed, so too were the incorrect limitations we imposed on ourselves regarding many of their applications - for example: the resolution of objects under a microscope was
confined (restrained??) by the simple wavelength of coherent light.and therefore 'glass' and light were limited in what was thought possible to see with them of the small scale world. We can now 'see' much more than was limited by previous assumptions.
But I digress. The speed of light for example, which was theorised, then measured, and is accurate, and thus lmposes limits on the speed and time it takes to transfer information from a to b is an incorrect conjecture. Light is also bottom-up derived from quantum mechanics and in the quantum world, information is able to be transmitted and received across physical space instantaneously (evidence and proofs exist). There is no speed. There is no space to travel
through. It doesn't change the speed of light. It says an assumption we made in the past is wrong. You don't need light to carry information. You need quauntum entanglement. There is no wait time, no distance which needs to be traversed.
It is within this apect of science, I suspect, that a very big clue about what reality truthfully is has remained hidden. Until we figure out reality properly and without hidden flaws in our comprehension of it, we cannot rule out any possibilties which a human mind can imagine or intuit to be possible. And there is a very practical and logical reason why that is a good stance to take.
Am I staying on the topic? I hope so. Microscopy and what I saw from my interest in it using my uneducated mind helped me to see a bit further. Reality is not sculptured out of a block of granite: it is assembled bottom up.
If you have explored the 'Quantum World' the language used to describe it, and the counter intuitive, zany ways in which some particles can behave and the properties they exhibit, you will - like me - suspect we are grappling with something outside our real capability to understand. The scientic lanuage and the labels for properties, say of quarks, would suggest that scientists associated with Quauntum physics are talking about magic.
Magic or supernatural events when when something is observed to occur which eludes our ability to explan it rationally. Quatum effect are real, but they are also 'magic'. Particles behave in certain ways where all we can do is invent, once again, mathematical models through experimentation and application which enable a loose understanding of the real processes in our minds, and a capabity to apply the maths and the effects they represent to our advantage.
The strangest Quantum effect
is quantum entanglement. This is a physical phenomenon that occurs when particles such as photons, electrons, molecules as large as buckyballs and even small diamonds interact and then become separated. This interaction is such that even though beforehand each particle was described by its own quantum state, after the interaction, although the pair can still be described with a definite quantum state, each member of the pair can only be described relative to one another. The quantum
state of each member of this pair is indefinite in terms of important factors such as position, momentum, spin, polarization, etc in a manner distinct from the intrinsic uncertainty of a quantum superposition.
You can influence a property of one of the entangled system, spin, say - and instantly - the entangled particle (system?) will take on the opposite state. This provides the capabity to communicate instantly across infinite distances in zero time,. If you can get one of the entangled particles to where on earth, or in the universe, you wish to communicate with, and keep the other one at home, the impossible has been achieved: information transferrence faster than the speed of light! It is considered
behavior is characteristic of the geometry of high-dimensional spaces. Take a look at my diagram below...
|I don't really need to understand the maths involved explaining quantum states, and even if I did, I still would not understand the quantum world just through the maths. For me, it's easy to model the quantum state of entanglement: make up my own model. This is how it works. Every atom and sub-atomic particle of anything in our space-time reality, including all macro objects, also has a 'leg' into another and
dimensional space. The particles we see here are an extension of a property of something outside our dimension. That dimension has no property of Time. (The line Y represents zero time). If you entangle two particles here and effect one, because they are joined in X reality (without time), the other particle is influenced in X reality, and manifests that changed state here instantly. Imagine Particle A and Particle B as the ends of a bit of infinite string. They are not really just points
in our space
time, but a geometrical 'something' passing through more than one dimension (a hidden part of reality?).
|Mol's Quantum Entanglement model
||Mol's cheeky entanglement model, but it has the same outcome as the accepted duality of wave function of particles, and the uncertainty principle. And a wave function is not a real wave by the way. It it was, one electron has an infinite wave state, which occupies all of space and can resolve a position instantly in it. A real wave has to travel, so it's a mathematical function of a wave. Two different things.
I don't have any maths for it but my model is as effective and as accurate as any other scientific model currently being applied. And I understand mine! I can construct similar models to explain quantum tunneling. Electrons do not pass through the impossible-to-pass barrier. Just like my model above, some electrons energy pass through the barrier, only because some of their real other 'leg' parts in another dimension determine to do so because
some of the barriers
atoms other 'legs' in the X dimension (reality?) are not in the way there.
And that model works too! Now if I observe the effect enough times and take measurements, I can construct (if I was a good mathematician) a perfect working set of rules and apply them to discover they worked. Hey Presto: Quantum Tunneling is REAL and powerful. And I explained it! I have explained how electrons or at least the charge they carry 'leak' through the barrier. Hey I can make tunneling diodes and tunneling effect transistors! I can be rich?
Thinking and information
Do you remember I was discussing the human brain and how we manipulated information. We were considering the question of 'do you only get out information you took in through your physical sensors: eyes, ears, etc'? What if quantum effects take place within the human brain? And supposing a two way form of influence takes place pertaining to information arriving in your brain from a quantum defined reality?
I think not! When I last spoke to Sir Roger Penrose (yes, the man in person... I kid you not) just before the year 2000, this is what he was working on. I was at a lecture in Edinburgh where he was explaining his hypothesis (and being heckled a bit by other 'learned' people), he was convinced our brains not only have brain cells, but microtubules, where-in quantum effects took place. Quantum
Consciousness as well as classical Consciousness. Your brain, your
mind, is possibly receiving some information not through your classical world senses, but by tapping into something which although may not be having a major effect on your thinking - might be having a profound impact on what we call intuitive thought and may be one of the triggers for ground breaking ideas and fresh, unexpected insights.
I may not just be an intuitive Mol, I might be a quantum Mol :)
Jesting apart, Roger Penrose is one of the finest mathematicians alive. I think he was born in 1933. His work earlier in life with Stephen Hawkins was a major contribution to the many insights Hawkings has given to the world. He has critics to his idea, but make up your own mind by reading about him here. It is a very difficult thing to prove! You might wish to read his early book The Emperor's New Mind or his follow up 1994 book Shadows of the
Mind, or The Large, the Small and
the Human Mind. In those works, he also combined his observations with
that of anesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff. You can look the books up on Amazon.
But first watch and listen to one of his very objective presentations here...
If his convictions are proven correct, the implications are truly astounding. Maybe that's why he has so many critics, because to me - it opens up the idea (when I think about this and couple it with MY model of quantum effects, or the scientists model, that what we appear to be is not all that we are. And more... bits (nay - a great big important chunk) of ourselves may already exist in a different dimension or state of reality which we are completely blind to... er... that is, unless you are
a believer in a spiritual connection to life. Maybe, stretching the idea further, the reason why we have never detected a soul within or leaving a human body, is that it doesn't need to be in it... just connected through a quantum world to it! When you die, that part there, just loses the dead weight and connection to its physical manifestation here. And if that dimension, reality, 'place?' has no time in it, or physical biology, you could be truly immortal?
The whys are a different story and the answers may be one of many possibilities, but I'll have a think about that and a connection with Microscopy and see if I can make a connection and output it in another article.
Okay, until next month, when I'll try harder and bring in more microscopy (help me out scientists who are spiritually biased like me), I'll say ta-ta and await the hate mail which is highly likely to appear in my inbox. Don't worry. I'll love you anyway :)
Oh.. I forgot to mention, I do not believe in any religion currently formulated. I am not saying any of them are right or wrong. I created my own belief to encompass all the best of the classical ones. I do however believe an 'intent' exists for the creation of our Universe and us living beings, an 'intent' which cannot currently be exposed by our doctrine of science alone. I would define this as 'spiritual'. Many religions and many areas of science may well touch aspects of the
truth but few people attempt to bring these aspects together, which is something quite interesting
to attempt, and often the subject of ridicule by many people who have already answered their own questions instead of continuing to ask them. Which is really very sad.
Your input, if given to me through objective argument and not emotionally-fuelled rants, is most welcome and invited. We can all get a bit hot under the collar on these things, but I am not advocating a religon versus science debate. There is no reason for doing that. Both disciplines have a belief system filled with unprovable assumptions, but both work to attempt to add to our lives when they are employed by good people with good intent. I suspect most other folks practicing microscopy will have informed
opinion and views which I will take seriously. Hate or love me here.