Tuesday, June 09, 2015
Effect then Cause?
Before you read any of what I'm about to write, you first need to visit this link and read the article to know where I'm coming from. Don't worry...I'll wait for you.
If your head hurts after reading that, I completely understand. Apparently it has that effect on some people. For others, like me, all it did was create more questions.
So, basically, in a nutshell, what scientists discovered was that when observing a helium atom passing through a slit, the atom could behave like a particle or a wave as it then passed through one grate towards a wall. But as it became possible to randomly drop a second grate behind the first one, the atom would behave like a wave every time the second grate was dropped. The mind-blowing part about all of this is that the atom didn't change as the second grate was dropped...it changed seemingly in anticipation of the dropping of that second grate. More simplified: it's as if the atom KNEW that the second grate would be there, so the atom changed immediately into a wave upon its release. Quantum physicists believe this is an example of a future event affecting the past, but they're not sure how or why it happens.
After reading this, I began to formulate my own questions. The article brought up the experiments done in the large particle accelerators, like the Hadron super collider, and I wondered if this new information could be applied to this situation. When particles are sent around the super collider, energy is given off in different forms by the traveling particles. I'm wondering if the same can be said for atoms traveling in wave form. In wave form under conditions of a vacuum, would two atoms in wave form be fluid enough to pass through each other or would they collide in the same way particles do? If they do, indeed, slip by as two people passing on the street, is there any friction inside that vacuum which would cause the waves to slow? If they didn't slow by any type of friction force and if they gave off energy as they traveled the accelerator, would that energy be able to be harnessed for usage? Saying all that is possible, we could be looking at a sustainable form of energy yet to be explored. Obviously, we'd have to weigh the cost factor involved with building accelerators, as well as investigating possible health risks, but it would be worth a try.
The article also brought up Schroedinger's cat, one of my favorite quantum quandaries. As some of you may know, the theory of Schroedinger's cat states that in a box exists a cat that is possibly alive or dead. Until we actually open the box to see which statement is true, both statements coexist and are true. I'm sure others have already thought of this, but I suggest that there are more than just those two possibilities. If the box is never opened, how are we sure that what's inside is actually a cat? Could it be some other sort of animal or inanimate object? Could there be NOTHING in the box? Being that this is a quantum physics issue, could a tiny black hole have opened in the box, causing all matter inside to be sucked in, thus leaving nothing there? Perhaps my favorite one of all, though, is this one. What if we opened the box and immediately we found ourselves inside the box looking out? Is there a possibility we are already in the box, waiting for it to be opened, or would the act of opening the box cause us to switch inside? Maybe when the box is opened and we're inside, we'll see Schroedinger's cat on the outside observing us.
So, yeah, I'm sure a lot of you will just pass this off as an over-active imagination trying to find something to do while performing repetitive tasks at work, but others of you might take my questions and try to answer them or maybe come up with questions of your own. To me, this is what science should be: people coming up with the whys and why-nots and discussing them. With this type of science, even the greatest minds still don't have the answers, so in a lot of ways they are in the same boat (or box) as us. That should give you a vote of confidence to use your brain on issues like this and not feel as if you need a degree in quantum physics to join the conversation.
As you come up with your own ideas, please feel free to comment here or on one of my various forms of social media. I look forward to see what you think...or is it backward? Seems we may have to revisit the order of how things happen from here on out.