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The Tragedy of the Observer and Quantum Theory

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posted on Jan, 23 2006 @ 11:25 PM
Well, recently I was thinking about the universe, and quantum theory, and existance, and the like. During my thought wanderings I came across the tragedy of the observer.

First, to explain the Tragedy, first I must explain some things about Quantum Physics.

First, nothing actually touches anything else. Really. Not your butt to your bed, not your breath in the air, not even the cell walls of your body to other cell walls in your body. Everything is held together, so to speak, by the electro-magnetic force. Smaller things still are held together by the Strong and Weak nuclear forces, and other forces, and still these things also never touch each other - they just come really close to each other.

Next, electrons don't spin around an atom, nor do they jump orbits by moving from Orbit A to Orbit B. Nor do they cause chemical changes by moving between the space from atom 1 to atom 2. No, instead they disappear out of our universe and reappear, effectively instantaneously, back in our universe - but in a spot that allows them to exist.

Probability Fields within a single atomic orbit will deduce your chances of seeing an electron in a certain area.

The Tragedy of the Observer is, though, that whenever we go to look at something, we are inputting energy into it, and thus the results we have aren't 100% correct. The moment a photon hits an electron, it is absorbed and then emitted from the electron, which is actually a different photon. So trying to see an electron by throwing photons at it with a super-microscope produces an image which is most certainly wrong.

However, this leads to a very interesting thing in Quantum Mechanics. A particle can be in more than one places at the same time. At the same moment, an electron is on one side of an atomic nucleus, and at the same time is everywhere else around the nucleus.

In effect, this is the law:
Electrons don't exist in one place until we observe them.

This is to reflect the wave-particle duality of electrons. However, we know find that this duality continues on to all of matter - even protons, neutrons, and quarks. It turns out that matter is, for all intents and purposes, strangely organized energy that up close (REALLY up close) is a wave, but at far away distances (from the sub-atomic level and higher) acts as a particle.

This is then to say that all matter only exists once we observe it.

So the question now becomes, what/who is the observer?

Does an observer require intelligence? Or a soul?
Or is the Observer something else?

I have now thought that, perhaps, the Observer is Time (as a physical dimension - not as the "notion of" or anything metaphysical like that). Without Time, there is no observation, and the electron COULD be anywhere around an atom. However, when Time is present, then the electron then exists in certain locations.

This would also explain multiple universe theories, since Time could also have an "up" and "down" to it - not just the forward and back we exist through - as well as a "right" and "left". It could be in these other "times" that spawn off from our time-line, that the electrons are appearing elsewhere in other universes.

This would also explain why we can sometimes see two particles, which are actually just one particle, but there appears to be two of them. It's that one particle is following one quantum path for this universe, while we're observing the event of the splitting off of another universe where that quantum path differed. Since one of the particles is "virtual" (does not actually exist in our universe), this is why the laws of mass and energy conservation are not destroyed in the process.

If this were true, and Wikipedia's estimate of these being 10^79 electrons in the universe is true, and these electrons were the only thing that skipped around it's area (not passing through space inbetween - simply disappearing and appearing again elsewhere), and then we take the possible locations for an electron to be in one of 46656000 (360 * 360 * 360) different positions around an nucleus, then the minimum number of other universes being generated EVERY moment (where a moment is one change in quantum events) would be:

(10^79)^79 * 46656000

or 4.6656 * 10^6248 per moment

Now, you also have to then factor in that regular matter also does this, and that there are billions of these quantum events occuring every second, and the number of universes generated since the Big Bang is easily larger than a googleplex (1 with a google zeros).

I know this number is insanely large, and that it's increasing evermore, exponentially, every moment. But it's what I'm starting to think may be the truth - despite it's sheer massiveness.

posted on Jan, 24 2006 @ 09:23 PM
It's not that that the electron is existing in many places at once, it's that by the uncertainty principle that we can't pinpoint its exact location if we know it's momentum. However, if we know its exact location, we don't know its momentum. Electrons aren't seen as spinning around a nucleus, it's all based on probability (which depends the type of orbitals) - an "electron cloud" if you will.

I don't know how to explain it, but it's incredibly hard to discuss q.m. if you haven't taken a course.

posted on Jan, 24 2006 @ 09:29 PM
"what the bleep do we know?"

And we can't be an observer, cause we're in it.

you can't be the "Ultimate Observer", cause your in the project being observed.


posted on Jan, 25 2006 @ 09:59 AM
Very nice Yarium, Very well said.

posted on Jan, 25 2006 @ 11:18 AM
so whats you point dude. and can you back it with math?

posted on Jan, 25 2006 @ 11:36 AM
Good stuff yarium.

One disagreement from me though:

I don't think the objective observer myth is a tragedy. IMO - it's a comedy. A bad joke in contemporary society, but still, a comedy.

posted on Jan, 25 2006 @ 01:38 PM
Yarium, you just blew my mind. Lol, posts like these make me want to learn more about quantum mechanics and the universe in general. Really fascinating.

posted on Jan, 25 2006 @ 04:56 PM
i've thought something like this as well. well, mainly that the number of universes should be virtually infinite, but i never though it on a quantum level as my understanding on that part isn't something to be proud about.

i cant wait the day man will understand all this

posted on Jan, 26 2006 @ 04:26 AM
Because of the vast complexity of our universe if one "law" was slightly off, the universe would never have come to be. If the electro-magnetic force was stronger, atoms could never come close to eachother, and if the strong-nuclear force was weaker atoms could never have formed. Even though there are an unlimited amount of possible universes, there are a very limited amount of universes in which intelligent life could evolve to the point of questioning the universe.

Every decision limits the amount of possible universes. When a decision is made to experience a certain event, all the other possibilities collapse into the one event. So at the present time there is only one reality. But in the past and future there are multiple realites, some more probable than others especially as we move closer to them; until only one is possible.


On a quantum level all possibilites are examined, but only the one we experience crystalizes out into reality. So many choices are being made that affect our collective future, that we really narrow down the possibilities. I cant imagine any universe where the exact location of an elecrton could change an event. Although technically it would be a different reality if the electron was here or there; the truth is that the location is never solid and always a probability. So every possible universe depending on electron locations would all co-exist as one universe with a probability cloud. Just as we experience it now. Only universes with above-quantum differences would appear different, and qualify as alternate realities.

The Observer is certainly a mind-numbing enigma. Thankfully since its impossible to know for sure what it is, much as its impossible to know what God really is, I can rest easily knowing that I do not know. And thats ok.

posted on Jan, 26 2006 @ 04:29 AM

[edit on 26-1-2006 by sardion2000]

posted on Jan, 26 2006 @ 05:48 AM

I enjoyed your writing very much. I think it brings home the problems that can emerge when the uncertainty theory is misused.

I can write an equation for the domain of a given electron, and that equation will represent all of the places that electron can be but still only get me to a domain rather than all of the universe - but not the position of the electron. It is not until I interject myself into that system, thereby contaminating it, that I can say for one instant in time where it was.

But what is more interesting about your writing is the Tragic Observer you speak of. All of a sudden I realized a secondary tragedy. Before we had our equation of the domain of our electron, the electron could have been anywhere in the universe. It was only after we learned the equation of its domain that we - the observer - locked it into an infinitesimal region of space.

The same is true for the vast expanse of the universe. Right now around half of a trillion stars there is at least one planet orbiting and for each planet we haven't found it is free to make its trek around whatever star it chooses, at whatever distance it chooses (within limits that we've already applied
). But the minute we observe it we harness it to its star and to its orbit and forever more through the mind of man our knowledge does not allow that planet but relatively infinitesimal region of space to travel for eternity (barring really weird novas and collisons

As I realized this I thought to myself that mankind has never been so unconstrained as it may have been when nothing was known of the universe. As our knowledge increases, our abilities become locked in place. We are galvanizing our universe, and how we can perform it, and what is achievable by us, through our own seeking of its workings.

The tragedy (or as soficrow offered, the comedy) of the Observer is that he enslaves the observed and had he not looked, in the mind of the ignorant eye, the enslavement would have never occurred.

And that's a strange thing to consider.

[edit on 1-26-2006 by Valhall]

posted on Jan, 26 2006 @ 10:23 AM
delta x * delta p >= h
delta E * delta t >= h
delta v * delta t >= 1

note that delta E = h * delta v

x = position of electron (m)
p = momentum (m*v)
E = energy (J)
t = time (s)
v = velocity (m/s)
h = Planck's constant = 6.626 E-34 (J/s)

Don't forget the Schrodinger equation either. I will not even attempt to derive it on here.

posted on Jan, 26 2006 @ 04:54 PM

Originally posted by Valhall
As I realized this I thought to myself that mankind has never been so unconstrained as it may have been when nothing was known of the universe. As our knowledge increases, our abilities become locked in place. We are galvanizing our universe, and how we can perform it, and what is achievable by us, through our own seeking of its workings.

The tragedy (or as soficrow offered, the comedy) of the Observer is that he enslaves the observed and had he not looked, in the mind of the ignorant eye, the enslavement would have never occurred.

And that's a strange thing to consider.

[edit on 1-26-2006 by Valhall]

Be as an uncarved block.
It has infinite potential.

posted on Jan, 29 2006 @ 01:12 PM

You have voted Yarium for the Way Above Top Secret award. You have one more vote left for this month.

posted on Jan, 29 2006 @ 02:16 PM
I ain’t no fysicist, uh fhysisists, uh phycistis, un one o them scientists with patches on they sport coats but, I think you may have misread the theory (and it is a popularly accepted theory), regarding the phenomenon of attempting to observe a subatomic particle.
We can see lots of things, in fact, almost everything on the non subatomic scale. The problem you mentioned involves the attempt of observing, say, an electron (if it were a particle) and having it’s future altered by the energy of the photon causing the observer to only find one of two bits of information namely, either the direction of travel of the electron or its position. We can’t know both, if the theory holds and right now it looks as if it will.
Just thought I’d add my read and like I said I ain’t no physasyst, uh psycicsist, uh one o those fellows with patches on his coat.

posted on Jan, 29 2006 @ 07:11 PM
I had an interesting idea like this a while ago, requires technology to communicate with an alternate reality/universe, think "The One" with Jet Lee

Observe the location of a particle in one universe and in an alternate reality observe it's velocity.

Ok, I realize it is flawed in many ways, first being, the particle in question may not be the same particle observed in both realities, but its was still an interesting concept

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