The speed of Light is all very well. As a measurement, it's useful in gauging distance between stars and galaxies. But to say that nothing in the Universe can travel faster is a statement reminiscent of the age when the Earth was said to be the centre of the Galaxy, or the Solar System, or even at one point the centre of the Universe.
We have a tendency to adopt a hugely inflated opinion of ourselves.
When that opinion comes crashing down to earth we don't much like the effects, so tend to avoid inviting such catastrophes. Sometimes, though, a catastrophe is unavoidable, much as the Ultraviolet Catastrophe was unavoidable in physics. When something absorbs/emits every frequency of everything that Is, something has to give. Constants might well be first in line.
We are constantly bemoaning things. The state of the planet, its governance, our failures in husbandry. Our lot, our position, our responsibility. We bemoan our health, potential, direction of progress and lack thereof. All we do, really, is moan. Perhaps we've been trained this way. Perhaps we're so accustomed to negativity in the news that the new normal is really not very far away from the old one, and we're kidding ourselves that things have changed.
Physics has the same problem. Look at any paper describing an equation and you'll see text that says something like, "If X equals Y then Z can be A, and B will be equivalent to C." Everything the maths tells us is coming from a place of safety, where symbols are sacred and the numbers don't really matter because it's all relative anyway, the solution a product of its own device.
This video slashes the speed of light into silos for further management, asking questions of the constant that even Max Planck might approve of. Where there's light, there are things to be seen. The trouble is, we can only ever see a tiny slice of the bigger picture.
The word 'Super' is all very well but when it precedes a description in physics it means something beyond the state of goodness we generally ascribe to the principle. Something that is 'superb' is a great thing, a positive thing, a thing of beauty. So it should be across the board, one would think, but in quantum mechanics 'Super' is relative, superlative not as an expression of praise, but more often one of despair.
The superlative qualities of the quantum realm are yet to be defined; including as they do Uniqueness and Entanglement, products of Uncertainty and Non-locality - therein being the classic juxtaposition of One versus All, for we do not know to what extent we are subject to entanglement as it's not a measurable commodity in the real world, but we do know that we are all unique. Our uniqueness is something we take for granted unless we're placing ourselves in the bowl of humanity and bemoaning it as we are wont to do.
How many people, I can ask myself now, can sit at their desk with a collared dove on one side and a tawny owl on the other, both more than happy to be there, for the owl is blind and the flightless dove has figured that out, so their relationship with each other is ambivalent while their relationship with me is mutually affable. This situation might be shared by many others with different birds, by people with animals of all kinds accompanying them on the journey without destination. But these birds beside me are unique, and that satisfies the desire to be One which humans seem to possess and other creatures seem to perceive no need of.
Our separation within the Supersystem carves out for us an illusion of grandeur, an unfortunate trait that has led to where we are now, on a planet suffering the consequences. It's okay to eat and drink the products of miserable lives and savage deaths; for some, consuming the by-products of endangered species is the best thing to do. Buying from supermarkets is a normal thing to do - every supermarket buys into the system no matter what you choose to purchase from it. They sell a lot of tuna. Most people buy milk. Coffee. Palm oil - who checks the ingredients? They sell what tastes nice, where pleasure and hunger cement an easy agreement.
No wonder we are fraught with fears of loss on a promise of infinite nothingness. What have we to look forward to, when things are unlikely to change? These relationships of ours, where are they going, when neither can see a way to put right what is so often determined to be wrong? You're more than likely asking now what the hell that has to do with quantum mechanics.
"So, how does quantum mechanics relate to us, then?"
The Question everyone asks. The science is all very well, interesting and everything, but where does it go? Into more Large Hadron Colliders? Into 'defence'? Who are the ones who need to know on a subject inviting a huge audience, defended by mathematicians, opening doors to a realm of reality we know virtually nothing about?
Let's check out the reality we do know something about. Messy and turbulent, a sea of relationships sailing in and out of time zones and occasionally getting lost in the Bermuda Triangle. That place songwriters wax lyrical over where there's no space and time while scientists struggle with words that seem over-empathic for quantum bits.
The messy sea of relationships battles moment by moment with itself, see-sawing between what one sees versus the other, one's impact on the other's roll, standing waves of stand-off with nothing in between. Love Is, that horrendous struggle to stay on top, of what? Ourselves? Someone else? Someone's parent? Someone's child? We don't want to lose control, but we lose control without a moment's hesitation, to have to regain it again, within or without, or both at the same time - baulking the Uncertainty Principle. Meanwhile, it seems that telepathy isn't a wild and crazy assertion after all, but a proven phenomenon, and can happen to you:
These waves we ride, this Entropy, the decay of a system that should stay as it is, right and true, are all we know. We surf a sea of uncertainty continuously, declaring wit to be compassion, strength to be fulfilment of a wealth that has everyone by the balls because it can. Because once upon a time there were shekels of silver and bullocks to sacrifice to a god that didn't care, really, what they did, so they went on doing it, spoiling each other's tents. Every time they repented on killing their neighbours, they went back to bullocks and shekels and earned themselves the freedom to go do it all over again.
We haven't learned much, since this is still happening. We keep talking about 'a god within us' and 'god particles' and trying to keep gods out of the conversation if we're being physicists wanting a sensible conversation. Keeping a belief system out of an equation is a non-starter. Look at the equations and the descriptions surrounding them. The mathematician believes that provided he keeps adding another symbol to a previous set of symbols, he is going to come up with an answer. He is writing Code for himself in an effort to decipher the world that exists around his desk, in his brain, his eyes, his hands. His thoughts. His particle version of humanity.
Wave-particle duality ensures that the version of he, me, you, them out there that existed just now are now a wave form, and will be until the next moment arrives and is gone, advanced and retarded ad infinitum. Uncertainty ensures the next moment won't be like any that have gone before, nor can be exactly as imagined. Imagination brings things into being, makes castles in skies into realities that look very different, makes love a place of safety for a moment, before fear crashes in to sever the connection.
What is imagined has already happened.
Nothing the same way twice.
Entanglement ensures the connections won't be severed in any way other than ordained by the pattern. The order of things. The symmetry. The paradox. For if vision is his only validation, most of our lives are not real. That's probably the only line we need to know, right now.
For a hundred years, Uncertainty has been a cornerstone of quantum mechanics, preventing the measurement of two factors at once. Werner Heisenberg, who first proposed the Principle, needed to explain that the position and momentum of a quantum object (such as an electron) could not be determined simultaneously. If you are measuring one, you cannot concurrently measure the other.
Now, Uncertainty has had an extension built, and the doors are open for further interpretation. Truly, after so many decades of fierce opposition to any extrapolation of the U.P., scientists have come round to the idea that the matter of inescapable fuzziness in the quantum world may well hold keys to other mysteries in Nature. Should you look up 'Expanded Uncertainty' on your search engine, you'll find a lot of maths and very little else, so rather than send you to links that are full of numbers, I'd like to invite you to join an expedition into unchartered territory.
We know that Nature doesn't like straight lines, or symmetry, or identical versions of things. Nature likes uniqueness, asymmetry, and fractal patterns. All natural objects, including snowflakes and sand grains, are unique. That's not to say that randomly across the desert there wouldn't be one or two granules that match, but if you were to look closely at their atomic structure, you would most likely find a difference in there somewhere.
This video explores the ramifications of the Uncertainty Principle and its extensions, wherein your own world may benefit from the opportunities it represents.
Symbiosis is a feature of Nature crossing species and circumstances all over the cosmos. We have little idea of how deep symbiosis may go in quantum terms, but the more we delve into the realms of particle physics, the more symbiosis we seem to find.
In this video, correlation between symbiotic features of the Universe and synchronicity is explored. There is much further to go, we can be sure, in our search for what lies at the depths of physics. While we're waiting for next steps to be taken, enjoy a few minutes with me and my owl...
Albert Einstein is well known for fluency of thought. He came up with General Relativity virtually in his bathtub which as we all know is the place where deep thought gets most traction. Whether that's got anything to do with being surrounded by water molecules has yet to be determined. At least bubblebath formula doesn't seem to impede it.
From his mind came the concept of light speed and the constant that came of it, determined by the maths to be forged into a constraint so that other things could be seen to work around it. The strategy worked for more than 100 years. Light speed as a constant remains unchallenged, except by non-locality and possibly the behaviour of neutrinos.
Neutrino - Little Neutral One in Italian, the beautiful elusive font of all things in the Universe that streams through us from the Sun (and other places of mysterious origin) is a persistent contender for anything going that's odd, from Dark Matter to Majorana. Their oscillation is a mystery, no-one can see it happening any more than they can see the evolution of new species in the rainforest, so everything is guesswork except that it happens.
Einstein knew all about variables. He wasn't, it seems, as dead-set on a Constant as some people want you to believe. He had a more esoteric mind than that, one that could ride light beams and picture the bending mechanism of gravity. We're waiting for another Einstein, one to bend the rules and give Standard Models the slip in searching for what lies beyond the subtle knife.
He's there, you know, somewhere in the quantum soup, waiting for the kettle to boil even though it won't while he's watching it. In such spirit, this seemed the link to share, the only one really necessary, as the research for this piece dug well beyond the topsoil of standard capability and it's worth a couple of minutes of Time in the reading, promise. Even if Time is a relative thing.
It's Behind Him...
There are times when thoughts crash together to make a whirlwind of sense. Tonight, walking the dog down a moonlit country road, was one of those times.
The moon is always facing the Earth the same way. Now, I haven't been able to find much on the odds against this being the case, but I did find a Forbes article on the probability of the moon being as it is at all: www.forbes.com/sites/brucedorminey/2015/06/27/earth-moon-combination-is-likely-very-rare-study-confirms/
You won't find much out there to answer the question of odds. You'll find some stuff about rotation, some arguing that it wasn't always this way, some saying it's gravity. But the actual odds on finding yourself with a moon that always faces (a face, to boot!) towards its planet, well. Well before that line of inquiry everyone seems to draw a line. Howsoever this may be, there's talk of the moon ringing like a bell when something large and metallic like a space probe is crashed into it, on which NASA goes into flights of fancy about moon bases that have to be built to withstand 'moonquakes' on the strength of these astronautical findings. Ask your search engine, "why does the moon ring like a bell," and you will find echoing back to you no answers at all. Not a single one.
The moon shines by reflecting photons from the sun. The surface of the moon from which these photons bounce has a quality that gives an eerie white, bright light, and curious to know if our moon is peculiar in this respect, I was surprised to again find no answer to the simple question, "is our moon brighter than most?" But it is the fifth largest of the 190 (or so) moons in our solar system. There are a lot of moons in our solar system, so they are not uncommon things.
The other planets in the solar system, however, are lifeless (at least by comparison), positioned as they are beyond the Goldilocks Zone. I'd hazard a guess that Mars has been here and Venus is set to arrive next, but at the time of writing, Earth alone occupies the narrow band of life-support promised from the sun. Promised, that is, if the planet hosted therein has the resources necessary to sustain hosts of its own.
Fair to say we're doing a pretty poor job of planetary husbandry. "Could do better," would be written on our Report. Meanwhile, as we scrabble for solutions nobody's taking any notice of, designs like this are appearing on our rural floors with persistent regularity:
...to be met with complaints from farmers over lost cereals and declarations of vandalism by people with planks. Some of these designs are beyond general comprehension, and most would take weeks to complete, were the technology available to alter plant stems this way. Machinery would be necessary, you couldn't reach such precision with sticks and bits of string; as for laying the pattern, planks strapped to people's feet just wouldn't cut it. And nobody's been caught in the act, bar a few little lights skipping around being unidentified. Just ask your search engine for "balls of light around crop circles" - you'll be presented with a wide choice of video footage.
As a final shout on the crop-formation front, there's this one:
The story cannot end there. Designs such as these give hints, if not direct references, to developmental progress and means of obtaining global traction. But they are not being researched or investigated in this way and their geometry is not being analysed; the inherent code within them goes undeciphered while professionals dismiss these vast images as the work of pranksters.
To incorporate the degrees of precise relativity featured in these designs, they would have to be mapped from above. Fine detail within each section of illustration is achieved by laying stems at exact angles to each other; overall, given the size of the vista, this effect could not possibly be made as perfect as it is without visual appraisal at height and a lot of complex mechanics.
Is someone trying to tell us something? Should we not be following up on what that might be?
Do we really have that much time to waste on constant Plank theories?
Now's the time to sit back and see how far we've come. This image - and the post behind it - hark across the 100 years to pass since quantum mechanics came into our realm, when a handful of minds cooked up analogies from arithmetic that would change the course of history, eventually bringing us the LHC and God Particles.
Fifty years ago Hawking and Penrose were delving into territory that many found too mystical to swallow. They were looking at black holes full of information paradox, and figuring out how a singularity could work. They wanted to know what lay at the back of physics, beyond the point where physics didn't exist any more, and using that familiar brickbat the Photon, they plunged into the event horizon to find that it might not look at all as they'd imagined. In fact looking at it in the first place needed the help of photons. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-54439150
Having just won the Nobel, Penrose deserves a bit of credit. At 89, he's well worthy of the accolade, but his thoughts still meet high walls in the halls of academia, where consciousness is a dirty word and anything alluding to it is Woo. The brickbats of Light in any other context would illuminate a lot of ground, physical and metaphysical, were it to be given the time of day, which presently it's not.
Cora is a woman who also delves into black holes. Her thoughts on the matter, while equally evocative, seem to provoke more than elucidate since a tendency of the human mind is to resist change, particularly within itself where illusions quietly incubate carbuncles of untruths.
Unknown is not untrue, it's simply unproven to be so; in time it would be natural for Nature to unburden herself of Truth; she may already have done in a quark teamed up naturally with Beauty.
What we do not know is more tantalising than what we do know, for we are explorers by nature, seeking answers of Creator while thinking for ourselves, questing for a path of sense mapped by a heart given to follow. That each of those quests is individual comes as no surprise, for we know about uniqueness of snowflakes and sand. We know that there will be asymmetry, for there is a difference, however small and imperceptible, between everything that exists in relation to everything else. Here, uncertainty comes into its own. This is a principle preventing symmetry from ordering the Universe.
The principles of physics are on uncertain ground. Brick walls are everywhere, often in infinities, plaguing maths made of symbols that are not enough, not any more, to describe the incredible energy flux that continuously permeates the quantum world. The state of matter is under attack from waves that threaten to be everything, looped in strings or turning gravity to vertigo. The Uncertainty Principle needs another visit. But it's not in any rush, even if we are.
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100 years have passed since the quantum realm was first breached by these physicists, who worked together without the technology we take for granted now. Televisions had just been invented. Telephones were in early stages of development, with the first transatlantic call being made in 1927. They relied heavily on letters and meetings in person. They worked tirelessly on problems in their own institutions. And finally they came to a grinding halt with a unilateral verdict that quantum mechanics was not to be fully understood and if it ever was, it would transform physics beyond recognition.
Here in 2020, we are barely out of the mist. Vast, expensive experiments like the LHC and Super-K have been created to test, trap and interpret the movement of sub-atomic particles, bringing data agreeing or not with 'expected parameters', that's most often seen to follow a bell-curve close to the predicted line. But there's a stumbling block, one that moves unseen through marble halls and sticks to academia like wit to a blanket... a block people talk about but somehow fail to see as such, patting it reassuringly with a fondly held belief that it should somehow be there.
Confirmation bias is prevalent in physics because this is a science reliant on equations. In the early 1900s, equations created to describe quantum mechanics adopted codes taken from ancient Greek, among other sources, as new thoughts led to new symbolism for the new particles, forces and factors being brought to light. While these updates in language were arising, prejudice against the unknown ran rife, and much store was set by any constant or constraint that could be identified as limiting what particles could do. Quantum mechanics was squeezed into a box, from which it had little chance of escape. So it firmly said, instead, that nobody would ever understand it.
The atom itself is a case in point. The image sitting amid the quotes above is a classical view of what an atom would look like, with electrons neatly orbiting a tidy little nucleus tucked in the centre. This view has been trawled through a grinder by the Uncertainty Principle, a wide-ranging (but commonly constrained) tour de force that prevents anything from being exactly anywhere, and may also prevent the same thing ever happening twice (hence uniqueness in snowflakes and grains of sand). So these days, the atom is viewed as a fuzzy groupage of indeterminables, except in the number of electrons, protons and neutrons contained within it. These components of sub-structure are all subject to continuous change. Electrons jump up and down in energy levels (via interaction with photons), protons and neutrons are interchangeable, and the quarks they are comprised of turn from one 'flavour' and 'colour' to another in a constantly shifting sea of mass that is impossible to pin down.
So far, so good. Things have not so much become clearer, as become less tangible.
We've reached a point now wherein physicists are preparing themselves for New Physics, and many are exploring depths never before plumbed - into the realms of consciousness and what constitutes the bedrock of our indeterminable reality. Their theories and findings are still hard-hit by confirmation bias, meeting the battle-cry of "Woo, it's all Woo," with swords from a sheath of "pseudo-science" readily drawn against an onslaught of unknown variables.
Impeccable pedigrees, PhDs and peer reviews appear to be no protection against Trolls, declaring themselves as guardians of all that's respectable in the world of quantum mechanics, even though that world is largely comprised of uncharted territory in very deep waters indeed.
What do you see, beyond the smoke and mirrors?
Come and join the Group to discuss.
Tomorrow at 18.00GMT a six-part series of Live Videos concludes with a roundup of particles and forces covered so far, and what the implications are for our perception of reality.
Where all this is taking us is what Quantumology is all about. How we think about our reality really matters. The quarks and electrons that make up our bodies, together with the neutrinos, gluons and exotics shifting in and out of phase in a manner suggesting multiversal transit, must have a bearing on what we are and what we perceive.
Who we are has a bearing too, for only if this stuff draws you in the first place can you hope to gain a picture of what's really going on in any facet of a scientific sense.
Living in the Now is a mindfulness thing; I've come through a maelstrom of suspicious mental health to emerge 27 years later still passionate about this stuff, having learned about it from sources and circumstances pushing hard at any known boundaries of belief. For sure I'm bound to talk about it one day, but here and now we're here to talk about particles that probably really aren't.
W and Z particles affect the twist and thrust of what goes on, transforming and kicking things into action. Photons regulate energy levels, and are involved in most exchanges and decays (or perhaps more accurate to say, transmuted multiplications) of particles in flux across the quantum fields.
Gluons stick things together and hold that bond while allowing those bonded the freedom to change from one thing to another. Neutrinos, flying through all this and also turning from one thing to another, potentially connect everything to everything else via yet-to-be-determined information exchange.
So in the course of human experience, what could this mean for us? Change happens all the time. One mood, event, contact or priority to the next in a seamless stream of personal data. While this is happening, consensus is tuned towards a consciousness at work with which we exchange information. Most of us are pretty sure there's a Source of some kind, and whatever you make of choice v. destiny, that's a paradox that stumped the very best of those scientists working out quantum mechanics in the early days, who all thought about this stuff too.
We become bonded in relationships and raise/lower our energy levels like electrons do, according to our mood and environment. When motivated, we're Up; demotivated, we're Down. When we are curious, it's Strange and when inspired, that's Charm at work. Really appreciating lets us see Beauty and when the quest reveals itself, that's when we get to the Truth.
Here's a Glossary of Terms mentioned in the previous videos, as commonly interpreted in English:
Up for seeing where this takes us, with so many physicists coming together to share thoughts and observations without prejudice in a closed group, it's strange to me that we've come this far in the course of scientific history without illuminating the New Physics everyone's been whispering about for some decades now. As you'll have gathered if you've been watching carefully, I'm no alumni physicist but I know there's one out there who's going to crack this nut, and if they can bring themselves to trust that I'm sane, some beautiful truths are quite likely to spring from the thinking. See you there...
Kathy is the author of Quantumology. She met up with quantum mechanics in 1997, pledging allegiance to its sources thereafter. These are her personal thoughts and testimonies.