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Invisiblewolfiewolfie
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The Observer effect of Quantum Mechanics explained
    #26990093 - 10/17/20 03:29 PM (3 days, 18 hours ago)

The Observer Effect is a phenomenon in Quantum Mechanics that has been misunderstood by many groups and often misused as 'evidence' to support and promote certain 'woo woo' concepts and associated with 'magic' or 'powers' as such. A quick Google search will give you results such as:

Quantum Theory Demonstrated: Observation Affects Reality

The Observer Effect: Seeing Is Changing

The Observer Effect & The POWER of YOUR THOUGHTS!

In the interest of combating the spread of misinformation, I am going to attempt to explain what the Observer Effect actually is in a way that will hopefully be easily understood.

(I just want to make it clear that I am not arguing the legitimacy of the concepts themselves, only the distorted use of the Observer Effect.)

Let's begin.

The Observer Effect is a term used to describe the phenomenon where the act of observation has an effect on what is being observed. Now, what does that actually mean? Firstly we must understand what it means to 'observe'. Here I'll give two definitions;

www.dictionary.com defines it as "to watch, view, or note for a scientific, official, or other special purpose"

www.dictionary.cambridge.org defines it as "to watch carefully the way something happens or the way someone does something, especially in order to learn more about it"

Although most definitions differ somewhat, the common element involved is the use of eyesight, which would not be possible without light. The act of ‘seeing’ an object is the result of photons of light being emitted from any luminous source e.g. the Sun, a glowing candle or a torch, radiating outwardly from the source until it strikes the object and is reflected to travel to the observer’s eyes where it will form an image on the retina at the back of the eye to be interpreted by the brain.

In other words, when you look at an object what you are actually 'seeing' is the light reflecting off that object and not the object itself.

This is the key to understanding the Observer Effect!

Now imagine we want to observe a particle that exists at a certain location in space. You can think of this particle as a single pool ball on a pool table, say the black 8 ball. In order for us to observe the particle, we must first bounce a photon of light off of it, which we can think of as the white pool.

When we do this, what happens to the particle? The same thing that happens if you were to bounce the white ball off the black ball. It changes location! That is the Observer Effect, plain and simple.

And as a bonus if you want to understand Quantum Mechanic's Uncertainty Principal, think of it like this; when the photon returns to the observer it shows the particle's location to be where they interacted. However, in reality the particle has since changed location as a result of the collision. Because of this, the observer can never truely know the location of the particle and so we call this the Uncertainty Principal.

Thankyou for anyone who took the time to read this. I'll admit it started off as a kind of rant but if at least one person learns something new from it then it was worth it.

"Nothing is as it seems, nor is it otherwise." -- Alan Watts


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Anybody who has undertaken the journey of creating their own heaven has found the strength to do so in their own hell.

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Invisibleredgreenvines
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Re: The Observer effect of Quantum Mechanics explained [Re: wolfiewolfie]
    #26990187 - 10/17/20 04:42 PM (3 days, 17 hours ago)

hmmm.

not that I am into the wrong extrapolation of observer effect in Quantum mechanics into mysticism, but I doubt that the observed waveform becomes a photon particle because of an incident light ray being reflected off of it.

much more likely - the operation of observation techniques cause an obstruction to the waveform, which adopts it's particle format while passing the obstacle.
even if it shifts back to a wave (and it may well be shifting back and forth continuously - and this could help resolve confusion re fields as well) the misalignment is enough to deform the wave interference scatter pattern from two holes so that we do not get banding as much as we get scatter on the target.


separate from all that, yes if you let a person know you are watching them they do behave differently on many occasions, and that observer effect is not Quantum, it's psychology and sociology.


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Invisiblewolfiewolfie
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Re: The Observer effect of Quantum Mechanics explained [Re: redgreenvines]
    #26990403 - 10/17/20 07:34 PM (3 days, 14 hours ago)

I was waiting for you to come and keep me honest :grin:

In order to explain the Observer Effect, or Observer Paradox as it is sometimes called, in the simplest and most easily understandable way I chose to stick with the Newtonian physics model.

Quote:

redgreenvines said:
I doubt that the observed waveform becomes a photon particle because of an incident light ray being reflected off of it.





In my Newtonian based explanation the observed 'particle' is struck by a seperate photon 'particle' which bounces back to the observer.

This post was mainly aimed at those who have little to no understanding of Quantum physics and so in order to minimise confusion I chose not to get into collapsing wave functions, super positions, entanglement etc.

However, if you are interested in discussing any of these in depth I would be more than happy to take the conversation to a new thread where we could really get into it :wink:

As always, I appreciate your input.


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Anybody who has undertaken the journey of creating their own heaven has found the strength to do so in their own hell.

My Drawings


Edited by wolfiewolfie (10/17/20 07:35 PM)


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Invisibleredgreenvines
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Re: The Observer effect of Quantum Mechanics explained [Re: wolfiewolfie]
    #26990491 - 10/17/20 08:47 PM (3 days, 13 hours ago)

hopefully you can complete here what was started here unless it is not about "The Observer effect of Quantum Mechanics explained".

If you want; it's not really my call.


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Invisiblewolfiewolfie
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Re: The Observer effect of Quantum Mechanics explained [Re: redgreenvines]
    #26990500 - 10/17/20 08:50 PM (3 days, 13 hours ago)

If you don't mind pointing out what is 'incomplete' about my explanation of the Observer Effect I would be more than happy to accommodate.

My goal was to debunk the misconception that it is the observers mind somehow affecting what is being observed, when in reality it is the photon of light used to observe that is affecting what is being observed.


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Anybody who has undertaken the journey of creating their own heaven has found the strength to do so in their own hell.

My Drawings


Edited by wolfiewolfie (10/17/20 08:56 PM)


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Invisibleredgreenvines
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Re: The Observer effect of Quantum Mechanics explained [Re: wolfiewolfie]
    #26990610 - 10/17/20 10:15 PM (3 days, 11 hours ago)

i agree it is not woo woo magic.


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InvisibleRahz
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Re: The Observer effect of Quantum Mechanics explained [Re: wolfiewolfie]
    #26990674 - 10/17/20 10:56 PM (3 days, 10 hours ago)

Quote:

wolfiewolfie said:
If you don't mind pointing out what is 'incomplete' about my explanation of the Observer Effect I would be more than happy to accommodate.

My goal was to debunk the misconception that it is the observers mind somehow affecting what is being observed, when in reality it is the photon of light used to observe that is affecting what is being observed.




I think in the experiments, it is generally the photon itself that is the object of observation?

At any rate, the double slit experiment is interesting. I don't know if there's a way to suggest whether all photons fired make it through the slits. This could be important because if there's some condition in which the material can "observe" the waveform, it would collapse as it impacted with the material. If the trajectory was right, the photon in wave form might experience part of it's quanta going through each slit, effect itself and form the interference pattern via a semi-random trajectory when the waveform collapses.

It's reasonable that if you set up an experiment where the photon was emitted at a 90 degree angle to the slits you would have many fewer photons actually making it through. While this makes sense, a true wave seems to propagate in a 360 degree pattern which makes me wonder whether photons truly act as waves, or whether their quanta simply get's "fuzzy" until there's an interaction sufficient to collapse it into a particle.

This may just be me not understanding what is meant by the waveform. But assuming there is a fuzzy aspect to photons, adjusting the size of the slits and/or distance from emission, one might learn something, maybe.


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rahz

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