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New Quantum Paradox Throws The Foundations of Observed Reality Into Question

By | Live Science

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Perhaps not, some say.

And if someone is there to hear it? If you think that means it obviously did make a sound, you might need to revise that opinion.

We have found a new paradox in quantum mechanics — one of our two most fundamental scientific theories, together with Einstein’s theory of relativity — that throws doubt on some common-sense ideas about physical reality.

Quantum mechanics vs. common sense

Take a look at these three statements:

  • When someone observes an event happening, it really happened.
  • It is possible to make free choices, or at least, statistically random choices.
  • A choice made in one place can’t instantly affect a distant event. (Physicists call this “locality”.)

These are all intuitive ideas and widely believed even by physicists. But our research, published in Nature Physics, shows they cannot all be true — or quantum mechanics itself must break down at some level.

This is the strongest result yet in a long series of discoveries in quantum mechanics that have upended our ideas about reality. To understand why it’s so important, let’s look at this history.

The battle for reality

Quantum mechanics works extremely well to describe the behavior of tiny objects, such as atoms or particles of light (photons). But that behavior is … very odd.

In many cases, quantum theory doesn’t give definite answers to questions such as “where is this particle right now?” Instead, it only provides probabilities for where the particle might be found when it is observed.

For Niels Bohr, one of the founders of the theory a century ago, that’s not because we lack information, but because physical properties like “position” don’t actually exist until they are measured.

And what’s more, because some properties of a particle can’t be perfectly observed simultaneously — such as position and velocity — they can’t be real simultaneously.

No less a figure than Albert Einstein found this idea untenable. In a 1935 article with fellow theorists Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen, he argued there must be more to reality than what quantum mechanics could describe.

The article considered a pair of distant particles in a special state now known as an “entangled” state. When the same property (say, position or velocity) is measured on both entangled particles, the result will be random — but there will be a correlation between the results from each particle.

For example, an observer measuring the position of the first particle could perfectly predict the result of measuring the position of the distant one, without even touching it. Or the observer could choose to predict the velocity instead. This had a natural explanation, they argued, if both properties existed before being measured, contrary to Bohr’s interpretation.

However, in 1964 Northern Irish physicist John Bell found Einstein’s argument broke down if you carried out a more complicated combination of different measurements on the two particles.

Bell showed that if the two observers randomly and independently choose between measuring one or another property of their particles, like position or velocity, the average results cannot be explained in any theory where both position and velocity were pre-existing local properties.

That sounds incredible, but experiments have now conclusively demonstrated Bell’s correlations do occur. For many physicists, this is evidence that Bohr was right: physical properties don’t exist until they are measured.

But that raises the crucial question: what is so special about a “measurement”?

The observer observed

In 1961, the Hungarian-American theoretical physicist Eugene Wigner devised a thought experiment to show what’s so tricky about the idea of measurement.

He considered a situation in which his friend goes into a tightly sealed lab and performs a measurement on a quantum particle — its position, say.

However, Wigner noticed that if he applied the equations of quantum mechanics to describe this situation from the outside, the result was quite different. Instead of the friend’s measurement making the particle’s position real, from Wigner’s perspective the friend becomes entangled with the particle and infected with the uncertainty that surrounds it.

This is similar to Schrödinger’s famous cat, a thought experiment in which the fate of a cat in a box becomes entangled with a random quantum event.

For Wigner, this was an absurd conclusion. Instead, he believed that once the consciousness of an observer becomes involved, the entanglement would “collapse” to make the friend’s observation definite.

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8 Ways You Can See Einstein’s Theory of Relativity in Real Life

By Jesse Emspak | Live Science

1. Profound implications

Relativity is one of the most famous scientific theories of the 20th century, but how well does it explain the things we see in our daily lives?

Formulated by Albert Einstein in 1905, the theory of relativity is the notion that the laws of physics are the same everywhere. The theory explains the behavior of objects in space and time, and it can be used to predict everything from the existence of black holes, to light bending due to gravity, to the behavior of the planet Mercury in its orbit.

The theory is deceptively simple. First, there is no “absolute” frame of reference. Every time you measure an object’s velocity, or its momentum, or how it experiences time, it’s always in relation to something else. Second, the speed of light is the same no matter who measures it or how fast the person measuring it is going. Third, nothing can go faster than light. [Twisted Physics: 7 Mind-Blowing Findings]

The implications of Einstein’s most famous theory are profound. If the speed of light is always the same, it means that an astronaut going very fast relative to the Earth will measure the seconds ticking by slower than an Earthbound observer will — time essentially slows down for the astronaut, a phenomenon called time dilation.

Any object in a big gravity field is accelerating, so it will also experience time dilation. Meanwhile, the astronaut’s spaceship will experience length contraction, which means that if you took a picture of the spacecraft as it flew by, it would look as though it were “squished” in the direction of motion. To the astronaut onboard, however, all would seem normal. In addition, the mass of the spaceship would appear to increase from the point of view of people on Earth.

But you don’t necessarily need a spaceship zooming at near the speed of light to see relativistic effects. In fact, there are several instances of relativity that we can see in our daily lives, and even technologies we use today that demonstrate that Einstein was right. Here are some ways we see relativity in action.

2. Electromagnets

Magnetism is a relativistic effect, and if you use electricity you can thank relativity for the fact that generators work at all.

If you take a loop of wire and move it through a magnetic field, you generate an electric current. The charged particles in the wire are affected by the changing magnetic field, which forces some of them to move and creates the current.

But now, picture the wire at rest and imagine the magnet is moving. In this case, the charged particles in the wire (the electrons and protons) aren’t moving anymore, so the magnetic field shouldn’t be affecting them. But it does, and a current still flows. This shows that there is no privileged frame of reference. 

Thomas Moore, a professor of physics at Pomona College in Claremont, California, uses the principle of relativity to demonstrate why Faraday’s Law, which states that a changing magnetic field creates an electric current, is true.

“Since this is the core principle behind transformers and electric generators, anyone who uses electricity is experiencing the effects of relativity,” Moore said.

Electromagnets work via relativity as well. When a direct current (DC) of electric charge flows through a wire, electrons are drifting through the material. Ordinarily, the wire would seem electrically neutral, with no net positive or negative charge. That’s a consequence of having about the same number of protons (positive charges) and electrons (negative charges). But, if you put another wire next to it with a DC current, the wires attract or repel each other, depending on which direction the current is moving. [9 Cool Facts About Magnets]

Assuming the currents are moving in the same direction, the electrons in the first wire see the electrons in the second wire as motionless. (This assumes the currents are about the same strength). Meanwhile, from the electrons’ perspective, the protons in both wires look like they are moving. Because of the relativistic length contraction, they appear to be more closely spaced, so there’s a more positive charge per length of wire than negative charge. Since like charges repel, the two wires also repel.

Currents in the opposite directions result in attraction, because from the first wire’s point of view, the electrons in the other wire are more crowded together, creating a net negative charge. Meanwhile, the protons in the first wire are creating a net positive charge, and opposite charges attract. 

3. Global Positioning System

In order for your car’s GPS navigation to function as accurately as it does, satellites have to take relativistic effects into account. This is because even though satellites aren’t moving at anything close to the speed of light, they are still going pretty fast. The satellites are also sending signals to ground stations on Earth. These stations (and the GPS unit in your car) are all experiencing higher accelerations due to gravity than the satellites in orbit.

To get that pinpoint accuracy, the satellites use clocks that are accurate to a few billionths of a second (nanoseconds). Since each satellite is 12,600 miles (20,300 kilometers) above Earth and moves at about 6,000 miles per hour (10,000 km/h), there’s a relativistic time dilation that tacks on about 4 microseconds each day. Add in the effects of gravity and the figure goes up to about 7 microseconds. That’s 7,000 nanoseconds.

The difference is very real: if no relativistic effects were accounted for, a GPS unit that tells you it’s a half-mile (0.8 km) to the next gas station would be 5 miles (8 km) off after only one day.

4. Gold’s yellow color

Most metals are shiny because the electrons in the atoms jump from different energy levels, or “orbitals.” Some photons that hit the metal get absorbed and re-emitted, though at a longer wavelength. Most visible light, though, just gets reflected.

Gold is a heavy atom, so the inner electrons are moving fast enough that the relativistic mass increase is significant, as well as the length contraction. As a result, the electrons are spinning around the nucleus in shorter paths, with more momentum. Electrons in the inner orbitals carry energy that is closer to the energy of outer electrons, and the wavelengths that get absorbed and reflected are longer. [Sinister Sparkle Gallery: 13 Mysterious & Cursed Gemstones]

Longer wavelengths of light mean that some of the visible light that would usually just be reflected gets absorbed, and that light is in the blue end of the spectrum. White light is a mix of all the colors of the rainbow, but in gold’s case, when the light gets absorbed and re-emitted the wavelengths are usually longer. That means the mix of light waves we see tends to have less blue and violet in it. This makes gold appear yellowish in color since yellow, orange and red light is a longer wavelength than blue.

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3 Things Quantum Wave Theory Can Teach Us About Unity [VIDEO]

Energy is space in motion. Space is energy at rest.” – Amy Robinson

Physicists have always had trouble defining exactly what “stuff” is made of. As technological advances are made and we allow ourselves access further down the atomic rabbit hole, we learned that matter acts not only as particles, but also as waves. Physics discovered this via double-slit experiments and termed this conundrum as Wave/Particle Duality. It demonstrates the perfect balance between the states of the Universe; that in motion and that at rest…both ever connected and inter-twined.

The Small Stuff…

So, what is a particle? Particles are the tiniest bits of matter (although even they have tinier parts such as electrons, protons, etc.) And when particles become entangled, they are forever connected, across all time and space. The pair unites in a dance of “quarked” interaction, with the second (or even third, fourth…) particle taking on the opposite state of the first particle; proving they are linked together. Talk about a tale of electron-microscope romance!

The Medium Stuff…

“Stuff” just so also happens to act like waves which can travel out in all directions simultaneously. Waves travel in space as energy in motion and can appear to us in the physical world as sound, light, even “vibes” from another person. We’ve all heard the story about a butterfly flapping its wings on one side of the world and causing a windstorm on the other side of the world, but is there really any truth to it? Quantum Wave Theory would say yes and firmly acknowledges the “Butterfly Effect”. By means of “interference”, when two waves touch one another they can either cancel one another out, distort one another (adding or reducing to strength) or even create an entirely new wave. It’s all connected! Einstein took this and ran with it with his Unified Field Theory which was his attempt to unify the general theory of relativity with electromagnetism. [Source: Wikipedia.]

The Big Stuff…

The Big Bang Theory shows us that the Universe is expanding outward from the Singularity. This brings into play the dimension of Time and shows how all events unite to one expansive “Now”. When we see energy and space as one simultaneous unit, we begin the see that they are the tools upon which the waves and particles create their magic. Waves are all around us, (as is space) and some might say they are more valid than energy or particles because they cover more ground or deal with “the big stuff”. However, waves would be literal zombies…just mindlessly waving infinitely over and over and over and over again if it wasn’t for particles. For once a wave hits a particle; it collapses and becomes “stuff”. It has made its mark on the Universe so to speak by taking on the state of the particle it ran into. And in this process that “space” that was just sitting around became energy in motion. Well, it’s almost like these cosmic forces were somehow uniformly designed to work together in unity! 😉 Perhaps behind the scenes, where it would take mankind years and years of cursing the stars and fearing the “spooky action” before we realize that as strange as Quantum Wave Theory is, it is the model of unity in our Universe. And what a gorgeous model it is! 🙂

Check out this video which provides even more awesome info on Quantum Wave Theory:

 

TamaraRantTamara Rant is a Co-Editor/Writer for CLN as well as a Licensed Reiki Master, heart-centered Graphic Designer and a progressive voice in social media activism & awareness. Connect with Tamara on Facebook by visiting Prana Paws/Healing Hearts Reiki or go to RantDesignMedia.com

Tamara posts new original articles to CLN every Saturday.

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Did Time Start at the Big Bang?

Video Source: PBS Space Time

Our universe started with the big bang. But only for the right definition of “our universe”. And of “started” for that matter. In fact, probably the Big Bang is nothing like what you were taught.

A hundred years ago we discovered the beginning of the universe. Observations of the retreating galaxies by Edwin Hubble and Vesto Slipher, combined with Einstein’s then-brand-new general theory of relativity, revealed that our universe is expanding. And if we reverse that expansion far enough – mathematically, purely according to Einstein’s equations, it seems inevitable that all space and mass and energy should once have been compacted into an infinitesimally small point – a singularity.

It’s often said that the universe started with this singularity, and the Big Bang is thought of like the explosive expansion that followed. And before the Big Bang singularity? Well, they say there was no “before” because time and space simply didn’t exist. If you think you’ve managed to get your head around that bizarre notion then I have bad news. That picture is wrong. At least, according to pretty much every serious physicist who studies the subject. The good news is that the truth is way cooler, at least as far as we understand it.




Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity Confirmed By Researchers Aided By a White Dwarf

This illustration reveals how the gravity of a white dwarf star warps space and bends the light of a distant star behind it. Credit: NASA, ESA, and A. Feild (STScI)

Source: phys.org

Albert Einstein predicted that whenever light from a distant star passes by a closer object, gravity acts as a kind of magnifying lens, brightening and bending the distant starlight. Yet, in a 1936 article in the journal Science, he added that because stars are so far apart “there is no hope of observing this phenomenon directly.”

Now, an international research team directed by Kailash C. Sahu has done just that, as described in their June 9, 2017 article in Science. The study is believed to be the first report of a particular type of Einstein’s “gravitational microlensing” by a star other than the sun.

In a related perspective piece in Science, entitled “A centennial gift from Einstein,” Terry Oswalt of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University says the discovery opens a new window to understanding “the history and evolution of galaxies such as our own.”

More specifically, Oswalt adds, “The research by Sahu and colleagues provides a new tool for determining the masses of objects we can’t easily measure by other means. The team determined the mass of a collapsed stellar remnant called a white dwarf star. Such objects have completed their hydrogen-burning life cycle, and thus are the fossils of all prior generations of stars in our Galaxy, the Milky Way.”

Oswalt, an astronomer and chair of the Department of Physical Sciences at Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach, Florida campus, says further, “Einstein would be proud. One of his key predictions has passed a very rigorous observational test.”

Oswalt, an astronomer and chair of the Department of Physical Sciences at Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach, Florida campus, says further, “Einstein would be proud. One of his key predictions has passed a very rigorous observational test.”

Understanding ‘Einstein Rings’

The gravitational microlensing of stars, predicted by Einstein, has previously been observed. Famously, in 1919, measurements of starlight curving around a total eclipse of the Sun provided one of the first convincing proofs of Einstein’s general theory of relativity – a guiding law of physics that describes gravity as a geometric function of both space and time, or spacetime.

“When a star in the foreground passes exactly between us and a background star,” Oswalt explains, “ results in a perfectly circular ring of light – a so-called ‘Einstein ring.'”

New confirmation of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity
Astronomers made the Hubble observations of the white dwarf, the burned-out core of a normal star, and the faint background star over a two-year period. Hubble observed the dead star passing in front of the background star, deflecting its …more

Sahu’s group observed a much more likely scenario: Two objects were slightly out of alignment, and therefore an asymmetrical version of an Einstein ring formed. “The ring and its brightening were too small to be measured, but its asymmetry caused the distant star to appear off-center from its true position,” Oswalt says. “This part of Einstein’s prediction is called ‘astrometric lensing’ and Sahu’s team was the first to observe it in a star other than the Sun.”

Sahu, an astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, took advantage of the superior angular resolution of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). Sahu’s team measured shifts in the apparent position of a as its light was deflected around a nearby white dwarf star called Stein 2051 B on eight dates between October 2013 and October 2015. They determined that Stein 2051 B – the sixth-closest to the Sun – has a mass that is about two-thirds that of the sun.

“The basic idea is that the apparent deflection of the background star’s position is directly related to the mass and gravity of the white dwarf – and how close the two came to exactly lining up,” explains Oswalt.

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Quantum, Chaos or Relativity: Which Persona-Reality Theory Are You?

Physics is an amazing branch of science in and of itself, but when we relate it to the human personality type it can get even awesome-er. It is here we see bits of ourselves in this all-encompassing, multi-faceted, many-branched faculty of understanding the reality of our working world. And in surprising ways, it offers some pretty cool insight into understanding ourselves.

According to Quantum Theory, if we simply rely on “common sense” to understand the nature of reality, we refuse ourselves the chance to see the whole picture; which takes a bit of being open to…well, a little bit of weirdness. It says that our rational minds simply cannot perceive the ultimate truth of reality and to even begin to understand, we need to expand, go deeper and think outside of the box. In fact, we need to go past the idea there even is a box; out past our own intuition and perceptions of the universe. Quantum Theory works as long as it remains incomplete, for it is one theory whose existence heavily relies on what we have yet to discover about the working relationships of the “physical” world from quarks to quasars. Quantum Theory invites us to push science to the edge of reality and pries open the door for spiritual concepts to intertwine with the laws of physics.

Quantum Persona-Reality: You tend to be open-minded and willing to explore new ideas. You are will to try new things and enjoy a balance life of peace and adventure. You take bits and pieces from various sources and use what works for you to make sense of things. You like to bring things together. You can see the beauty within a paradox. You tend to feel connected to everything and everyone and believe you are a vital part of something greater; a drop in the cosmic ocean.

How to Have a More “Quantum” Life: Embrace your weirdness and your unique talents and abilities and how they make you a special part of the whole of existence. Be willing to question all that you’ve been taught. Look at your beliefs to ensure they are truly your own and discard those that do not serve you. See how others reflect back to you, that which you feel most about yourself. Realize that the answers we seek are always within us and sometimes it’s just about asking the right questions.

Chaos Theory is the science of surprises. It studies that which is unpredictable and nonlinear; unconstrained to specific predetermined guidelines. And while some may think it refers to randomness, it would more accurately be described as an apparent randomness. Often referred to as “Fractal Mathematics”, Chaos Theory is like the anarchist theory of reality. What is awesome about it, however, is the order it reveals within in a system, no matter how complex (or small) that system may be. For instance, if we run simple equations on a computer in large enough numbers, we begin to see patterns emerge. The most famous of these patterns is represented in the fractals produced by the Mandelbrot set. What we know as “The Butterfly Effect” also illustrates Chaos Theory in stating that a butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil could ultimately set off a tornado in Texas. This is a perfect example of a small system being responsible for the ultimate creation of a distant and much larger system.

Chaos Persona-Reality: You tend to go against the grain and do not conform to the constraints of society. Some might call you a rebel. You are most likely a creative free-thinker, out-spoken and strong-willed. You are not afraid to get your hands dirty. You tend to have a voice that attracts attention and do well in leadership roles. Justice and integrity are quite important to you. You may like abstract art or beatnik poetry. You tend to be anxious if forced to abide by too many rules or expectations.

How to Have a More “Chaotic” Life: Take more leaps of faith and push yourself to try new things. Use your voice to express your ideas, wants and needs to the world. Don’t be afraid to make messes. Start a hobby where you can get your creative juices flowing. Take a speaking class. Network with people you normally wouldn’t to broaden your horizons. Visit art museums. Volunteer for a good cause. Live out loud!

 

Einstein’s Theory of Relativity unified time and space. And it was the pretense for what would go on to be nearly 30 years of his life spent trying to develop a unified theory that explained all of the forces of nature. While Einstein admittedly had a deep spiritual sense and belief in God, he was also firm in his stance that the world was fully accessible to the reason within the human mind. And Einstein, while self-confined to the tangible, workable mathematics of physics, was not afraid to stretch and expand them, although he insisted they keep walking a straight linear path of reason. He was the first to unite the force of gravity with the introduction of a fourth dimension into his equations, and was a pioneer as he laid the groundwork for future physicists working on understanding what we know to be “black holes”.  But because of his unwavering refusal to abandon his work on finding a unified theory, many of his peers went so far to dismiss his work as a waste of time and even called him a fool for trying. Years later, we now see scientists all over the world re-opening his case, with the birth of string theory.

Relative Persona-Reality: You tend to stick to your gut and have been said to be “stuck in your ways”. You are opinionated and will fight for what you believe in stubbornly. You usually have to see things to believe them. You tend to be more of an observer; an introvert, but if asked your opinion, will not hesitate to take the spotlight. You have great attention to detail and like things planned out. You are analytical and have a hard time changing your mind. You do not give up and work very hard for things you believe in.

How to Have a More “Relative” Life: Learn to self-motivate and not expect encouragement from others. Don’t be afraid to like something, just because it’s unpopular. Stick to your guns and do not be so easily swayed by the opinions of others. Be willing to speak up and share your opinions and ideas, even if people criticize you. Ground yourself daily so you can better focus on tasks at hand.

“Amazingly when you add life and consciousness to the equation, you can actually explain some of the biggest puzzles of science.” – Robert Lanza

 

TamaraRantTamara Rant is a Co-Editor of CLN as well as a Licensed Reiki Master, heart-centered Graphic Designer and a progressive voice in social media activism & awareness. Connect with Tamara on Facebook by visiting Prana Paws/Healing Hearts Reiki or go to RantDesignMedia.com

Tamara posts new original articles to CLN every Saturday.