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Ask any question you want about Physics

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posted on Jul, 29 2017 @ 10:23 AM

originally posted by: Peeple
Another thought I would like to have your opinion on:
If the Universe is a wave which collapses as soon as "the observer" shows up, is that maybe what happened instead of the big bang? The birth of the observer the possibility wave collapsed and the material world was born.
...maybe more philosophical than physics, but pretty, right?
Without any further context, I don't know what is meant by "if the universe is a wave...". Part of the support of the big bang theory is the "Cosmic Microwave Background" (CMB), which are "micro-waves" aka microwaves coming from seemingly all directions. You could say each of the numerous photons making up the CMB has a wave function which collapses when we observe them, and you could also talk about countless other wave functions, but I don't see how this adds up to "the universe is a wave" as in singular. There are many wave functions.

Also if you watch the video by Sean Carroll in the OP of this thread, he mentions that the more you think about the true nature of quantum mechanics, the less inclined you are to think that the Copenhagen Interpretation (which proposes collapse of the wavefunction) is the correct interpretation. He favors the Everett interpretation where there is no collapse.

The Many Worlds Theory Today's important to realize that Everett, like all good physicists, did not give theories of consciousness any magical powers in quantum mechanics. Because of the intractability of the measurement problem and several other similar paradoxes in quantum mechanics, some people, especially philosophers, have been attracted to the idea that human consciousness collapses the wave function. That human consciousness is the major actor in the universe, and that without human consciousness, the universe would not exist. Physicists like Everett who are materialist and realist thought that was bunk. They think human consciousness is a quantum-mechanical system like any other quantum-mechanical system. Personally, I agree with that....

Everett was very up on cutting-edge ideas like that when he was writing his thesis in 1954, 1955. He took the basic analysis, that information is physical, and developed a mathematical argument showing how data correlates within itself. That is, what happens in a superposition is that the person looking at a gram of carbon that exists in a superposition of a billion different places at once does not collapse the wave function.

So, does the wave function collapse or doesn't it? The Copenhagen interpretation says yes, the Everett interpretation says no. If you watch the OP video you find there's not a clear consensus on which interpretation is correct, so I think we have to say we don't know, which is Sean Carrol's point; that even though he prefers the Everett interpretation, he's disappointed we haven't figured out which interpretation is correct.

We have to say we don't know the correct interpretation of quantum mechanics. To the larger point implied in your question about an "observer" having some kind of special role, most physicists do "not give theories of consciousness any magical powers" as Byrne said. This paper says no consciousness is needed in quantum mechanics:

Quantum mechanics needs no consciousness

For example, take radioactive decays within the Earth. In the Copenhagen interpretation they began in a superposition of states, but the superposition didn't collapse until interacting with an "observer" which in that case was the surrounding rock.

So in your question when you say "as soon as "the observer" shows up", what does that mean? Does "the observer" mean the rocks inside the Earth that are considered the "observer" which collapsed the superpositions of the radioactive decays inside the Earth?

edit on 2017729 by Arbitrageur because: clarification

posted on Jul, 29 2017 @ 10:47 AM
a reply to: Arbitrageur

The fist matter as observer.

posted on Jul, 29 2017 @ 11:48 AM

originally posted by: Arbitrageur
I don't see how this adds up to "the universe is a wave" as in singular. There are many wave functions.

While I for the most part agree with your assertion, this is a very interesting topic. In the classic hydrogen atom quantum mechanics problem, are we calculating the wave function of the electron? I would say no, we are calculating the wave function of both the electron and the proton. What we first do is to put the problem into terms of the reduced variables for mass and position and then determine the wave function of that reduced variable set. So we really calculate the wave function of both the electron and the proton. When the system radiates, both the electron and the proton change their state. We generally think only of the electron having an "s state" or "p state" or "d state" and so on, and there are even pictures to illustrate the electron cloud in those various states. But really the proton takes on those shapes as well, only it is much smaller, as that is what the reduced variables tell us.

And then we get into the matter of the constituents. What about the quarks? (Or, once humanity is further enlightened, the preons, but for now we'll stick with the superstitions presently believed in by the masses.) Once bound into an entity, the quarks just "go along for the ride". Internally to the proton, each quark will have its own wave function, but the composite entity we call the proton has its own wave function as well, and that is the one that is involved in the above description of the hydrogen atom.

The issue of constituents is well illustrated in neutron diffraction. There the neutron (made up of constituents) diffracts as a whole.

You can also have a wave function of a baseball. Once the mass gets large though, things go over to the realm of classical physics.

In my stream of consciousness that is this post, it emerges that when one has a bound system, the overall bound system itself has its own wave function which is capable of collapse. And since the universe may be bound by gravity I guess it is possible for it to have a single enveloping wave function. But with its mass so much larger than that of a baseball, I don't believe we'll be able to discern any quantum mechanical effects of it. The quantum effects are seen only in the small mass constituents that make up our world.

posted on Aug, 1 2017 @ 07:06 AM
a reply to: Arbitrageur

It seems that the further we look at or examine things, the more we discover smaller and smaller "things" which change what we thought we knew.

For example, the atom. Scientists discovered sub-atomic particles, the building blocks of atoms. Protons, neutrons and electrons. Then scientists looked deeper and discovered (excuse the layman talk) gluons and muons and quarks and other "things" I don't know the name or function of.

Do you (in your educated opinion) think we have discovered, witnessed or seen the lowest level of particles or, if we use even finer and more sensitive devices and we zoom-in further will scientists discover even smaller sub sub sub-atomic particles adding new layers of complexity to physics? Is it turtles all the way down?

Quantum appears to be the latest buzzword. What, in layman's terms, has this done for our understanding of physics? Did quantum throw a lot of theories out that were previously accepted? Does quantum bring new "things" to the table or does quantum just replace the whole table? What are the possible advantages or technologies that quantum could mean to our technology level as it now stands.

Thanks in advance and please reply as if you were speaking to a 13 year old schoolboy who is terrible at physics.

posted on Aug, 1 2017 @ 08:27 AM
a reply to: LightSpeedDriver

Quantum really is often a misused buzzword, though at the fundamental heart of it, all it means is that the energy configuration of a system/thing is Quantized, or, that it takes some kind of integer multiples of some ground state value.

Now, that being said, your question is hard to answer in a complete way without sounding like i am saying either "We know it all" or "We dont know"

In terms of particle physics, the standard model is as close as we have managed to get to a theory of everything, however there are some pretty big holes in it. It doesn't include gravity (which obviously exists), up until fairly recently, the mass of various particles was basically impossible to achieve from a theoretical standpoint, Neutrino physics has a current big question mark over it due to some interesting things those particles appear to do, and the theory doesn't tell us why when we look out into the universe why we only see matter, and not an equal quantity of anti-matter.

Have we found everything? Unknown, though we have found a lot and think we have a fairly good model that can predict the outcomes of many processes at high energy to a very high degree of accuracy.

I definitely think there is more to be discovered, though it is not totally obvious where to look, we have gotten through much of the tall grass (not all of it) and are now getting down into the soil so to speak

posted on Aug, 1 2017 @ 11:22 AM
a reply to: ErosA433

Thank you for your reply. I will think about it for a while and do my best to digest and understand it.

posted on Aug, 1 2017 @ 03:40 PM
a reply to: Arbitrageur

I have a question, but I don't know if you have an answer for it, or if I'm even asking the right question.

When it comes to magnetism, or any other kind of field, what does FIELD INCOMMENSURABILITY mean?

I know what what an incommensurable number is, and what it means in theoretical philosophy, but does it describe a property of certain fields in Quantum Field Theory?

Thanks in advance.

posted on Aug, 1 2017 @ 11:13 PM

originally posted by: BELIEVERpriest
I know what what an incommensurable number is
That is pretty well defined.

and what it means in theoretical philosophy
That is less well defined but is loosely based on the mathematical definiton.

but does it describe a property of certain fields in Quantum Field Theory?
The few times I've seen anything about incommensurable fields I just presumed it had the same context as incommensurable in the philosophy of science, but I don't really know for sure that's the case or if it might have another context I don't know about. When It comes to philosophy of science, I find it difficult to take seriously, and I'm not the only one. Neil DeGrasse Tyson got slammed for expressing his views on that but I sympathize with his comments and I don't find the philosopher's counterpoints very compelling.

Neil deGrasse Tyson Slammed For Dismissing Philosophy As 'Useless'

originally posted by: LightSpeedDriver
Does quantum bring new "things" to the table or does quantum just replace the whole table?
I agree with Eros on the particles. We don't know what we don't yet know. In one way quantum replaces the table, but in another way as Nima Arkani Hamed said the new models always end up simplifying to the old models and that's the case for how quantum applies to most large objects, it simplifies to a classical description quite often with large objects, but everything is quantum. There are exceptions to that like superconductivity which is a quantum effect observed on a large scale such as the superconductors at the LHC.

One breakthrough that I think would be nice if it's ever possible is to have room temperature superconductors. Superconductors have great properties and if we could have those at room temperature there could be many advantages. I don't know if room temperature superconductors are possible, but this article says maybe.

Room-temp superconductors could be possible

Superconductors are the holy grail of energy efficiency. These mind-boggling materials allow electric current to flow freely without resistance. But that generally only happens at temperatures within a few degrees of absolute zero (minus 459 degrees Fahrenheit), making them difficult to deploy today. However, if we're able to harness the powers of superconductivity at room temperature, we could transform how energy is produced, stored, distributed and used around the globe.

edit on 201782 by Arbitrageur because: clarification

posted on Aug, 1 2017 @ 11:53 PM
a reply to: Arbitrageur

IMO, I have reason to believe that room temp superconductors are possible and do exist with certain individuals.

posted on Aug, 2 2017 @ 12:15 AM
a reply to: Hyperboles
Ever hear of Bioelectric Impedance Analysis (BIA) to measure body fat? I have some apparatus which does that and in my experience nobody I've ever tested has come anywhere near superconductivity.

5 Ways to Measure Body Fat Percentage

Five Ways to Measure Body Fat

There are five main types of methods to measure body fat, shown in order of practicality:

Circumference: Waist-to-Hip Ratio (WHR), with a measuring tape
Skinfold Testing (Pinch Test), with skinfold calipers
Bioelectric Impedance Analysis (BIA), with body fat scales
Underwater Weighing (Hydro-densitometry), in a water tank
Computed Tomography (CT), with a X-ray scanner

Why would you start your statement with "IMO" anyway? If you measured superconductivity why would it be a matter of opinion or doubt, unless you don't trust your own measurements? If you're the same guy who used a heater to warp sheet metal and then claimed it was "anti-gravity", I certainly don't trust your measurements.

posted on Aug, 2 2017 @ 01:59 AM
a reply to: Arbitrageur

I'll try and hack that link for you. has been a while since i first saw it

posted on Aug, 2 2017 @ 01:23 PM
a reply to: Arbitrageur

Thanks for the reply. I've got a few more questions, this time about the Speed of Light (c).

1). The equation E=mc^2 says mass accelerated to the Speed of Light x the Speed of Light, becomes energy. Isn't this a contradiction? If the Speed of Light is the speed limit of the universe, how can anything have a velocity of c^2??? I mean aren't photons even limited to c?

2). Magnets have magnetic fields, therefore a rotating magnet causes a rotating magnetic field. When a magnetic field is in motion, electric current is created. In the case of a generator, I'm not sure if the current (flow of electrons) is coming from the magnet, into the conductor, or just displacing the electrons of the conductor...either way, isn't this electromotive force a process which converts mass into electric energy? If so, doesn't that contradict E=mc^2??? I mean, neither the magnet, or the conductor are moving at c^2. Is the electron current then moving at c^2?

posted on Aug, 2 2017 @ 03:26 PM
a reply to: BELIEVERpriest

1) that is not what the equation means

E=mc^2 is the energy equivalence principle. The better form of the equation is either E=(gamma)mc^2 or E^2 = P^2C^2 + M^2C^4

It basically means if you have mass m, and converted it into energy, you would have mc^2 energy.
The base units E is in Joules, which is Kg m^2/s^2

2) Movement of electrons are induced in the conductor, they do not transfer from the magnet to the conductor, the field produces an electro-motive force that drives the electrons. Again the second part of your question is a misinterpretation of the equation, the equation is for a mass conversion.

posted on Aug, 2 2017 @ 04:15 PM
a reply to: ErosA433

Thanks for the clarification, but what does gamma mean? Is it referring to gamma radiation?

And what does P stand for? Planck units?

And can the expanded equation be simplified to E=P+mc^2? Let me know if that is mathematically correct.

edit on 2-8-2017 by BELIEVERpriest because: added point

posted on Aug, 2 2017 @ 04:24 PM
a reply to: Arbitrageur

Have you had a chance to spend some time on my absolute theory article on InfoGalactic? (I thought it might be time to check in on that again.) I'd appreciate any feedback.

I am presently working on an InfoGalactic article concerning my two-component aether model and I will post a separate thread about that here on ATS once that is complete. For both the aether model and my high velocity quantum mechanics equation an Absolute Theory is a prerequisite. So it is best to have an understanding of Absolute Theory prior to going on to my aether and quantum mechanics works and I hope you'll have time for a careful look.

Note that my other works don't require that the prerequisite Absolute Theory be my Absolute Theory, Lorentz's Absolute Theory is also just fine as an underpinning of those works. I really don't know whether a physical length contraction exists or not - experiment should be our guide. But whether it is my theory or Lorentz, the Absolute Theory article on InfoGalactic is a good starting point since I cover both of those theories there.

posted on Aug, 2 2017 @ 06:25 PM
a reply to: BELIEVERpriest

Sorry, I wasn't super clear with the labels

P here is momentum, gamma is short hand for the Lorentz factor which is

Gamma = 1/sqrt(1-v^2/c^2) where v is velocity.

The simplification you made to the formula is also incorrect. It is an addition in quadrature similar to Pythagoras theorem

H^2 = A^2 + B^2
E^2 = P^2C^2 + M^2C^4

The more common (for particle physics) use is a quantity called the Invariant mass

M^2 = E^2/C^2 - P^2 (notice the rearrangement, we divide by C^2 and cancel some of them out)

This notation form say that the mass of an object is invariant under different rest frames and relates the mass of a particle to the total energy of the system E and the momentum of that particle.

posted on Aug, 2 2017 @ 07:01 PM
a reply to: ErosA433

Thanks for clarifying.

posted on Aug, 2 2017 @ 11:32 PM
I have another question for whoever will take it. What is the conceptual difference between Virtual Particles and Aether???

posted on Aug, 3 2017 @ 04:15 AM
a reply to: BELIEVERpriest

Like many things in science you need to be very concise in language what you are asking. Because... Aether covers many things. If you mean some form of spacetime material that does work and has in some alternative way have mechanical properties, then there is a very large conceptual difference.

If you want to switch the word Aether, with field, then 1) thats an abuse of terminology and 2) still has a very large conceptual difference.

Virtual Particles are, by the very concept particles that cannot exist outside an interaction, though do have physical properties that are constrained. In Particle physics a virtual particle for example can mediate the weak force and the properties of the Z and W bosons are 'virtually' exchanged or created and destroyed in such processes. Their mass roughly determines the range of the interactions and the lifetimes of unstable components via interaction probability and propagation. The charge of the particles are carried and directly transferred and conserved.

The concept of a sea of virtual particles bleeping in and out of existence is a more abstract concept and has (unlike so many people thing) not been directly observed or measured in the lab. There are processes which people attribute to it, though the virtual particle concept simply allows for deterministic reasoning rather than being the actual process that is occurring.

posted on Aug, 3 2017 @ 08:13 PM

originally posted by: delbertlarson
a reply to: Arbitrageur

Have you had a chance to spend some time on my absolute theory article on InfoGalactic? (I thought it might be time to check in on that again.) I'd appreciate any feedback.
I read the preface to your paper, but I didn't read your entire paper reproduced there: ""An Absolute Theory for the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies".

Have you ever heard of Amrit Sorli and Davide Fiscaletti? They seem to be making some of the same arguments as you however they don't try to re-introduce aether, rather they still reply on propagation of EM though the vacuum:

Physicists continue work to abolish time as fourth dimension of space

They note that other researchers have investigated abolishing the idea of spacetime in favor of separate space and time entities, but often suggest that this perspective is best formulated within the framework of an ether, a physical medium permeating all of space.
I wonder if they could be referring to your ideas, among others.

In contrast, Sorli and Fiscaletti think that the idea can be better modeled within the framework of a 3D quantum vacuum. Rather than viewing space as a medium that carries light, light's propagation is governed by the electromagnetic properties (the permeability and permittivity) of the quantum vacuum.
I must admit this idea is a little easier for me to swallow.

Regarding the infogalactic article, I have a hard time wrapping my mind around this part:

With the advent of general relativity, gravitation is also proposed to have an affect on time. In absolute theory no such effect occurs. Instead, absolute theory takes the position that clocks (any physical manifestation by which time is measured) will be affected by their gravitational environment but that time itself will not be.
Even if that's true, I'm not sure how it's going to help me model nature any better than relativity does, and I'm not sure that you claim it will. From my perspective it seems to add confusion about time compared to the simpler assumption that it's what atomic clocks measure.

There seems to be some discrepancy between the end of the preface to the paper and the end of the paper. The end of the preface says this:

The choice of relative over absolute theory is predominantly philosophical; it is not a choice based solely on empirical evidence.
This de-emphasizes empirical evidence (I suppose because there isn't any yet to distinguish between the models?) and refers to the choice as philosophical. However near the end of your paper you say this:

It must be admitted that none of the three possible space-time theories are ruled out at the moment, since the experimental picture is not completely clear in those areas where the Lorentz and Einstein theories appear to have difficulties. Nonetheless, it is clear that there are experiments that can be done in the future that can clarify which of the three theories best represents nature.
That gives me a different impression than the preface saying the choice is primarily philosophical, by stating experiments can be done in the future to determine which model best matches nature. If that's true then I find myself awaiting the results of those experiments. I'm not married to Einstein's model but it seems to work well enough and if experiments can show another model works better I'm open-minded enough to consider adopting the better model, but I guess we're not there yet in terms of the experimental evidence.

One aside I would add is that when you talk about so called "faster than light" correlations in quantum entanglement, it's necessary to assume an unproven interpretation of quantum mechanics such as the Copenhagen interpretation. In the Everett interpretation discussed by Sean Carroll in the video in the opening post of this thread, it's not faster than light and of course that interpretation is also unproven, but with that uncertainty I wouldn't weigh the "faster than light" problem you talk about too seriously when I don't know that to be the case. I have no idea which interpretation of quantum mechanics is correct, and I don't think anybody knows for sure.

a reply to: ErosA433
Good answer. I think one reason Einstein's description of relativity's "new aether" (which we now call space-time) didn't stick was because of all the confusion surrounding what aether was. Before Einstein's new aether and the luminiferous aether there were other kinds of aether, I had a list at one point of half a dozen types of aether.

If a non-physicist wants some insight on virtual particles I'd suggest reading Matt Strassler's blog on the topic:

Virtual Particles: What are they?

I agree they don't seem to have much in common with any of the "aethers".

edit on 201783 by Arbitrageur because: clarification

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