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Anonymous

Subatomic physics
    #978372 - 10/21/02 12:43 AM (14 years, 1 month ago)

I don't know much about it this and I have a hard time with highly scientific documents, otherwise I would try to figure this out myself. The gist of what I have read about it is this:

When the smallest pieces of matter, subatomic particles, are observed, their behavior changes. The act of observing them changes their behavior. So what physical reality looks like literally depends who's doing the looking.

If you have a good grasp on this please let me know if what I just said is correct at all. If it is, lets discuss the implications.


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: Subatomic physics [Re: ]
    #978447 - 10/21/02 01:13 AM (14 years, 1 month ago)

You missed the idea a little, I think. But you're close.

Certain parts of quantum mechanics (the uncertainty principle) state that you can never know exactly where a particle is and what it's velocity is. The more you know any one of these the less you know the other. So we can only say that a particle is probably in a certain location, or has a certain velocity.

Here's my best shot at explaining it  :smile:

Say we have a single electron (a subatomic particle with negative electrical charge) and we want to know where this electron is. The standard method is to bounce light waves off of the electron to get a picture of where it is. An electron is a very small particle, smaller by far than the wavelength of visible light. This is where precision comes in. A measurement can only be as accurate as the smallest precision of the measuring tool. If I have a ruler with milimeters as the smallest measurement, then I can not accurately measure anything smaller than one mm. This also applies to light: we cannot get an accurate "picture" of anything smaller than the wavelength of light we are using. Smaller wavelengths have higher precision.

So if we want to know exactly where our electron is, we have to use a wavelength of light that is very close to the diameter of an electron. Smaller wavelengths have a higher frequency and energy than larger wavelengths (which is why gamma rays are dangerous and visible light isn't). So now we have the problem of what happens when we bounce these high-energy light rays off a very small particle. The light will push the particle and alter it's course. So the more precisely we try to measure the electron's location...the less precisely we can measure it's velocity (speed and direction) because we change it's velocity when we observe it.

A related idea is that until you observe a particle you have no way of knowing exactly where it is. So instead we use probability waves to determine where the particle probably is. But this probability includes any possible location for the particle. Say I fire an electron at a target accross the room from me. Classical thinking would have it that the electron, a particle, flies from my electron gun straight to the target. Quantum physics says that the electron takes every possible path to get to the target. The electron does fly straight to the target, but it also zips around the room in a nearly infinite set of motions before hitting the target. Every possible path is taken simultaneously by the electron.

This all changes the moment we attempt to observe the electron. The very act of observing it seems to make the electron "choose" one path from the many and follow only that path.

So yes: according to new physics we are, in a sense, changing reality by observing it.


--------------------
You're here because you know something.
What you know you can't explain,
But you feel it;
You've felt it your entire life.
That there's something wrong with the world.
You don't know what it is, but it's there....
Like a splinter in your mind...
Driving you mad.


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Anonymous

Re: Subatomic physics [Re: trendal]
    #978466 - 10/21/02 01:24 AM (14 years, 1 month ago)

OK, fuck, thanks for trying to explain that, you sort of lost me but you did good.

So unless a particle is observed, it takes every possible path simultaneously? But if you observe it, it takes only one path? That's trippy.


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OfflineSoulecho
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Re: Subatomic physics [Re: ]
    #978505 - 10/21/02 01:50 AM (14 years, 1 month ago)

It was hypothesized in 1923 by Louis de Broglie that electrons exhibit both the proberties of matter and the properties of waves (like photons, they have mass, but they are a quanta of energy also). I'ts pretty much accepted now in quantum physics that when associated with an atom, electrons exhibit the properties of a 3 dimensional standing wave (standing wave meaning always there). so think of it like this: electrons "fold" themselves around the nucleus of an atom, in layers, much like the layers of an onion, or the peel of an orange. it's a bit more complicated than my simple 30 second explanation (it took 3 weeks to teach this concept to us in my chemistry class) but i think it will help you get the point easier.


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Offlinepattern
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Re: Subatomic physics [Re: ]
    #978681 - 10/21/02 04:25 AM (14 years, 1 month ago)

In reply to:


When the smallest pieces of matter, subatomic particles, are observed, their behavior changes. The act of observing them changes their behavior. So what physical reality looks like literally depends who's doing the looking.





If "observing" is shining a light on something, then yes. But don't mistake that for what the human body does. Eyes don't send photons at atoms. When you look at something, you aren't changing it; at least, not in the sense that you are talking about.


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Offlinegnrm23
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Re: Subatomic physics [Re: ]
    #978931 - 10/21/02 06:44 AM (14 years, 1 month ago)

physicist fred alan wolf (author of _taking the quantum leap_, & several other books aimed at non-scientists) calls this "the watched pot effect" :wink: ...
other books by other authors...
stalking the wild pendulum
space, time, and beyond
the dancing wu li masters
the tao of physics


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InvisibleSclorch
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Re: Subatomic physics [Re: gnrm23]
    #979402 - 10/21/02 10:54 AM (14 years, 1 month ago)

I definitely recommend "the Dancing Wu Li Masters" by Gary Zukav. Every chapter is chapter 1.

His argument is really clean. Not perfect, but clean.


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Re: Subatomic physics [Re: Sclorch]
    #979699 - 10/21/02 01:41 PM (14 years, 1 month ago)

Wu Li was a great book! I stand amazed Sclorch! You are the first other human I have known to read this short but sweet bit of work.BTW have you read any Michael  Talbot?(holographic universe) Another interesting but questionable peice is called" 2.8 Angstroms" the authors name eludes me right now.Very cool! We have much to discuss and argue my well read friend! BTW I really recomend Time,Space and Knowlege by Tarthang Tulku.He really explores the interaction between information and manifestation.It is a wonderfuly complex and challenging read and the Tulku is a Zen Master so he may help increase your knowlege of some of Neitchze's work.Peace WR :grin:


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: Subatomic physics [Re: pattern]
    #979727 - 10/21/02 01:57 PM (14 years, 1 month ago)

If "observing" is shining a light on something, then yes. But don't mistake that for what the human body does. Eyes don't send photons at atoms. When you look at something, you aren't changing it; at least, not in the sense that you are talking about.

In order for us to observe a particle, we have to interact with it in some way: be it by bouncing light off it or some other method. What I was trying to get at is that any interaction with a particle changes that particles motion/position. So any attempt at observation ends in a change in the particle.


--------------------
You're here because you know something.
What you know you can't explain,
But you feel it;
You've felt it your entire life.
That there's something wrong with the world.
You don't know what it is, but it's there....
Like a splinter in your mind...
Driving you mad.


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Offlinevaporbrains
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Re: Subatomic physics [Re: trendal]
    #980543 - 10/21/02 08:19 PM (14 years, 1 month ago)

don't electrons spawn positrons and positrons electrons and so on ad infinitum in a recursive manner as they travel? i'm getting this from Holfstadler.


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Re: Subatomic physics [Re: vaporbrains]
    #980680 - 10/21/02 09:13 PM (14 years, 1 month ago)

I've never heard that before, no.

As far as I know electrons stay electrons and positrons stay positrons until they break down.

Electron/positron pairs are constantly being created which immediately annihilate eachother, but it isn't a case of one particle turning into another, just two new ones appearing out of nowhere.


--------------------
You're here because you know something.
What you know you can't explain,
But you feel it;
You've felt it your entire life.
That there's something wrong with the world.
You don't know what it is, but it's there....
Like a splinter in your mind...
Driving you mad.


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Anonymous

Re: Subatomic physics [Re: trendal]
    #980709 - 10/21/02 09:23 PM (14 years, 1 month ago)

OK, so observing them by shining a light on them is considered interacting with em and thus changes what they do. But say I am just looking at them, am I still interacting with em?


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Offlinericyjo
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Re: Subatomic physics [Re: ]
    #980717 - 10/21/02 09:25 PM (14 years, 1 month ago)

Do a search on string theory...


--------------------
"Re-examine all that you have been told...
dismiss that which insults your soul." -Walt Whitman


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OfflineTraveller
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Re: Subatomic physics [Re: whiterasta]
    #981103 - 10/21/02 11:28 PM (14 years, 1 month ago)

i came across the dancing wu li masters while travelling and wasn't able to finish it, same with the tao of physics...but - here's my big claim to fame everyone - one of my tai chi teachers was a fellow (tai chi) student of the author! amazing. their tai chi's good anyway, as was what i read of the books.


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OfflineTraveller
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Re: Subatomic physics [Re: ]
    #981126 - 10/21/02 11:33 PM (14 years, 1 month ago)

they are too small to look at, in fact they are too small to actually observe THEM, we can only observe their EFFECTS. no one has seen an electron, in fact an electron does not seem to exist in space as a particle until it is observed!


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InvisibleXibalba
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Re: Subatomic physics [Re: ]
    #981376 - 10/22/02 12:35 AM (14 years, 1 month ago)

It's a little weirder than just "the photon moved it." Electrons, photons, even molecules going through an intereference slit will behave as if they "know" whether their position is going to be measured or not before they even get to the measuring device.


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Re: Subatomic physics [Re: Xibalba]
    #981858 - 10/22/02 05:02 AM (14 years, 1 month ago)

I recommend Robert Anton Wilson. He likes to talk about quantum theory, but talks about it in a very down to earth way, easy to understand.


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Re: Subatomic physics [Re: Xibalba]
    #982488 - 10/22/02 12:17 PM (14 years, 1 month ago)

In reply to:

It's a little weirder than just "the photon moved it." Electrons, photons, even molecules going through an intereference slit will behave as if they "know" whether their position is going to be measured or not before they even get to the measuring device.




This is an effect of wave-partical duality. A single electron passing through a double-slit experiences the same type of interference as a wave passing through a double slit. So the electron is acting like a wave in this instance.


--------------------
You're here because you know something.
What you know you can't explain,
But you feel it;
You've felt it your entire life.
That there's something wrong with the world.
You don't know what it is, but it's there....
Like a splinter in your mind...
Driving you mad.


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Re: Subatomic physics [Re: ]
    #982492 - 10/22/02 12:19 PM (14 years, 1 month ago)

In reply to:

OK, so observing them by shining a light on them is considered interacting with em and thus changes what they do. But say I am just looking at them, am I still interacting with em?




You can't observe anything without having light bounce off of it. With something as small as an electron we are unlikely to ever see it by just hoping a photon of the right wavelength will bounce off it, the light has to be purposefully aimed.


--------------------
You're here because you know something.
What you know you can't explain,
But you feel it;
You've felt it your entire life.
That there's something wrong with the world.
You don't know what it is, but it's there....
Like a splinter in your mind...
Driving you mad.


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Re: Subatomic physics [Re: ricyjo]
    #982496 - 10/22/02 12:20 PM (14 years, 1 month ago)

A good book on all this (mostly string theory, but the first few chapters are about quantum mechanics) is The Elegant Universe, by Brian Greene.


--------------------
You're here because you know something.
What you know you can't explain,
But you feel it;
You've felt it your entire life.
That there's something wrong with the world.
You don't know what it is, but it's there....
Like a splinter in your mind...
Driving you mad.


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