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SciTech Will We Ever Understand Quantum Theory?

Discussion in 'Breaking News' started by spnadmin, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Even physicists say they don't understand it. They just "shut up and calculate."

    Will we ever .........understand quantum theory?

    Phillip Ball
    http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20130124-will-we-ever-get-quantum-theory


    If the baffling behaviour of subatomic particles leaves you scratching your head with confusion, don’t worry. Physicists don’t really comprehend it either.

    Quantum mechanics must be one of the most successful theories in science. Developed at the start of the twentieth century, it has been used to calculate with incredible precision how light and matter behave – how electrical currents pass through silicon transistors in computer circuits, say, or the shapes of molecules and how they absorb light. Much of today’s information technology relies on quantum theory, as do some aspects of chemical processing, molecular biology, the discovery of new materials, and much more.

    Yet the weird thing is that no one actually understands quantum theory. The quote popularly attributed to physicist Richard Feynman is probably apocryphal, but still true: if you think you understand quantum mechanics, then you don’t. That point was proved by a poll among 33 leading thinkers at a conference in Austria in 2011. This group of physicists, mathematicians and philosophers was given 16 multiple-choice questions about the meaning of the theory, and their answers displayed little consensus.

    That’s because quantum theory poses all sorts of strange questions that stretch the limits of our imagination – forcing us, for example, to conceive of objects like electrons that can, in different circumstances, be either waves or particles.

    One of the most controversial issues concerns the role of measurements. We’re used to thinking that the world exists in a definite state, and that we can discover what that state is by making measurements and observations. But quantum theory (“quantum mechanics” is often regarded as a synonym, although strictly that refers to the mathematical methods developed to study quantum objects) suggests that, at least for tiny objects such as atoms and electrons, there may be no unique state before an observation is made: the object exists simultaneously in several states, called a superposition. Before measurement, all we can say is that there is a certain probability that the object is in state A, or B, or so on. Only during the measurement is a “choice” made about which of these possible states the object will possess: in quantum-speak, the superposition is “collapsed by measurement”. It’s not that, before measuring, we don’t know which of these options is true – the fact is that the choice has not yet been made.

    This is probably the most unsettling of all the conundrums posed by quantum theory. It disturbed Albert Einstein so much that he refused to accept it all his life. Einstein was one of the first scientists to embrace the quantum world: in 1905 he proposed that light is not a continuous wave but comes in “packets”, or quanta, of energy, called photons, which are in effect “particles of light”. Yet as his contemporaries, such as Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg and Erwin Schrodinger, devised a mathematical description of the quantum world in which certainties were replaced by probabilities, Einstein protested that the world could not really be so fuzzy. As he famously put it, “God does not play dice.” (Bohr’s response is less famous, but deserves to be better known: “Einstein, stop telling God what to do.”)

    Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen

    Schrodinger figured out an equation that, he said, expressed all we can know about a quantum system. This knowledge is encapsulated in a so-called wavefunction, a mathematical expression from which we can deduce, for example, the chances of a quantum particle being here or there, or being in this or that state. Measurement “collapses” the wavefunction so as to give a definite result. But Heisenberg showed that we can’t answer every question about a quantum system exactly. This is Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle: the more precisely you determine an electron’s momentum (as measured by mass multiplied by velocity), the less you can know about its position in space, and vice versa. In other words, there are some pairs of properties for which an increasingly accurate measurement of one of them renders the other ever fuzzier.

    Uncertainty principle in doubt

    Pioneering experiments have questioned a founding idea of the branch of physics called quantum mechanics
    What’s more, no one really knows what a wavefunction is. It was long considered to be just a mathematical convenience, but now some researchers believe it is a real, physical thing. Some think that collapse of the wavefunction during measurement is also a real process, like the bursting of a bubble; others see it as just a mathematical device put into the theory “by hand” – a kind of trick. The Austrian poll showed that these questions about whether or not the act of measurement introduces some fundamental change to a quantum system still cause deep divisions among quantum thinkers, with opinions split quite evenly in several ways.

    Bohr, Heisenberg and their collaborators put together an interpretation of quantum mechanics in the 1920s that is now named after their workplace: the Copenhagen interpretation. This argued that all we can know about quantum systems is what we can measure, and this is all the theory prescribes – that it is meaningless to look for any “deeper” level of reality. Einstein rejected that, but nearly two-thirds of those polled in Austria were prepared to say that Einstein was definitely wrong. However, only 21% felt that Bohr was right, with 30% saying we’ll have to wait and see.

    Nonetheless, their responses revealed the Copenhagen interpretation as still the favourite (42%). But there are other contenders, one of the strongest being the Many Worlds interpretation formulated by Hugh Everett in the 1950s. This proposes that every possibility expressed in a quantum wavefunction corresponds to a physical reality: a particular universe. So with every quantum event – two particles interacting, say – the universe splits into alternative realities, in each of which a different possible outcome is observed. That’s certainly one way to interpret the maths, although it strikes some researchers as obscenely profligate.

    One important point to note is that these debates over the meaning of quantum theory aren’t quite the same as popular ideas about why it is weird. Many outsiders figure that they don’t understand quantum theory because they can’t see how an object can be in two places at once, or how a particle can also be a wave. But these things are hardly disputed among quantum theorists. It’s been rightly said that, as a physicist, you don’t ever come to understand them in any intuitive sense; you just get used to accepting them. After all, there’s no reason at all to expect the quantum world to obey our everyday expectations. Once you accept this alleged weirdness, quantum theory becomes a fantastically useful tool, and many scientists just use it as such, like a computer whose inner workings we take for granted. That’s why most scientists who use quantum theory never fret about its meaning – in the words of physicist David Mermin, they “shut up and calculate”, which is what he felt the Copenhagen interpretation was recommending.

    So will we ever get to the bottom of these questions? Some researchers feel that at least some of them are not really scientific questions that can be decided by experiment, but philosophical ones that may come down to personal preference. One of the most telling questions in the Austrian poll was whether there will still be conferences about the meaning of quantum theory in 50 years time. Forty-eight percent said “probably yes”, only 15% said “probably no”. Twelve percent said “I’ll organize one no matter what”, but that’s academics for you.
     
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  3. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    I downloaded a movie called Quantum Consciousness and watched it on the plane today ( long flight ) I highly recommend if interested in Quantum Physics! !
     
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  4. dalvindersingh grewal

    dalvindersingh grewal India
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    Astronomy helps us searching the unrevealed world above; quantum theory helps us searching the unrevealed world underneath
     
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  5. spnadmin

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    What you say is actually the case in a poetic way. Quantum theory is a means to investigate the actions of subatomic particles using mathematical predictions. Quantum theory is all mathematics based on stochastic models, and it makes no claims to give an explanation of the universe at large. In a way it attempts to explain nothing because it studies uncertainty, that which can not be predicted and therefore cannot be explained.

    Quantum theory is not a study of the realms of planets and khands, but a study of particles whose behavior is not constant; whereas the motion of planets is constant, describable and explainable.

    If we think about hukam as the over-riding causality of Kartar Purakh, then all things are determined, even if the human mind cannot understand how that works. Quantum theory uses mathematics to describe conditions under which unexpected events occur. These phenomena appear to be disorderly; hukam is the order that holds the universe together. So in my hunble opinion quantum theory cannot be a stand-in for the workings of Waheguru. It is only a small part.
     
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    #4 spnadmin, Jan 29, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2013
  6. harmanpreet singh

    harmanpreet singh India
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    i really need to understand quantum theory as m doing Phd in Quantum Optics :happymunda: . its very challenging and uphill task . i need sangats blessings .
     
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  7. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    harmanpreet singh ji

    Blessings for you. Congratulations on pursuing a Ph.D. You are going to prevail. Did you read the article at the start of the thread. It states that physicist themselves do not understand quantum theory. Yet there is a big crowd of intellectuals out there who claim that they do. Don' t worry if it all seems strange. When you don't know, your mind is fresh.

    Science is not the business of proving anything. It is not the business of being "right."Nor is it the business of promoting itself like a religion. The business of science is asking questions in order to find better answers. Science is about the tools and path of discovery. The important ingredients for your success: ask good questions; use mathematics to examine your research problem in many different ways, from many different angles; keep questioning yourself and your answers; have a keen sense of the limitations of your approach; convince others of your logic, not of your conclusions; start with questions and end with questions. That is what makes good science and other scientists will respect you.

    Always doubt your conclusions, but never doubt yourself. You are going to do important work!

    p/s Anytime you want to tell us about your work in quantum optics, please do. We have a place for that.
     
    #6 spnadmin, Jan 29, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2013
  8. Luckysingh

    Luckysingh Canada
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    I've been checking other material that is also based on what is given in the OP, which is very strong and inspiring.
    I must say that it is all very interesting, but I find that most of it could have been derived without complicated formulas!!
    Maybe I assume that ignorantly since there is so much more awareness than previously thought !!

    What I can say is that the consciousness discussions and research are all very fascinating and very difficult to fault especially the theories that 'time' does not exist in a world of pure consciousness !!

    Sometimes, it makes you feel that they are getting very close, but ten you think again and ask ''closer to what exactly ??''

    The funny thing is that my own personal experience confirmed to me that there is no time concept in the world of consciousness and that it is only part of the illusion.

    However, what still confuses me is the 'memory' aspects !
    Since, without a functioning brain, we can't confirm where or what the consciousnes was doing ??
    But,then again they do realise that time is only confirmed to one-self because of memory !!
     
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  9. harmanpreet singh

    harmanpreet singh India
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    Thanks Admin ji for kind words ,

    our work is mainly focused on Cavity Quantum Electrodynamics ( CQED) ,interaction of electromagnetic field with Quantum Dots .

    we are at Indian Institute of Technology (I.I.T Mandi-Himachal) , My Guides profile

    http://www.iitmandi.ac.in/institute/facultyhomepages/pKPathak.html


    Waheguru ji ka Khalsa ,Waheguru ji ki fateh .
     
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  10. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Well harmanpreet singh ji

    I did not understand one word you wrote, but then I don't have too. The profile of your Guide shows you are in very good hands.

    Me neech tells me that you know a lot about quantum theory. Please when you have time post in science and technology some of your own work and discoveries. Everyone here at SPN is your moral support. We are blessed to read what you have to say.
     
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  11. dalvindersingh grewal

    dalvindersingh grewal India
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    Quantum Theory is being applied in nano-electronics in a big way. nanoelectronics is the future science to watch. Since I have taught Nanotechnology to M.tech students and wrote number of research papers and gave TV talks, I find immense use of this. I am sending to you two quantum theory papers. You may like to publish these.
     
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  12. chazSingh

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    the reason why they can't understand quantum theory is that when they look deeper into so called matter and break it all apart, they end up seeing the unified field...waves...thoughts, the universal mind from which we all manifest....call it naam if you like.

    Now the 'Ego' loves individuality, it will not take to this information very lightly. people have a lot invested in this ego infested land :)
    the mere thought that only one consciousness exists behind everything just freezes the brain, causes a short circuit :)

    The few that understand, realise that we are all god, 'having a human experience'...we are all just one ocean of consciousness (God).
    just like when we dream, there could be thousands of characters in our dream...yet there is only One dreamer :)

    Just my thought on things :)

    god bless
     
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  13. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    dalvinder singh grewal ji

    Thank you. And they will be posted. One of the best things is when SPN members share their original work.
     
    #12 spnadmin, Jan 29, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2013
  14. dalvindersingh grewal

    dalvindersingh grewal India
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    I have sent my paper 'Theory of everything according to Sr Guru Granth Sahib' and a paper on nanotechnology to Sikh Philosophy network for the purpose of making this theory better understood. If the editor likes it he can put it on the net.
     
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  15. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Did you send it to me? I did not get any private messages with articles? Post to my visitor's messages with attachments. Or you could alert Aman Singh ji of the reason for sending it.
     
  16. dalvindersingh grewal

    dalvindersingh grewal India
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    Dear Sir
    I have sent the paper alongwith my reply to your correspondence since I have no other address of yours. If you have; please send me the e mails; I can resend it.
     
  17. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    ChazSingh Ji once again..... u and I think alike!!!!!!! :)
     
  18. Luckysingh

    Luckysingh Canada
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    It is very much like the dream or a movie at the cinema (theatre).
    Just like in a dream it seems very real and we are the observer and participant, it makes it all ''my' dream.

    In the same way the illusion of life is just being observed and interpreted by signals in the brain.

    However, when we dream we know that our eyes are closed so the eyes are not witnessing anything physically or interpreting visual signals to the brain.
    In the same way, this life or the illusion is telling us and convincing us that 'my' eyes are interpreting to 'my' brain !
    It is all about the ''I'' and ''Me''.

    We must remember that what we see and feel, we think is ''real''.
    But what we are actually seeing and feeling is the simple perception of the brain.
    Therefore, when your consciousness can be free and not attached to the brain, is when you experience the ''REAL REALITY'' !!
    That is when you get the True Realisation, that your consciousness is part of ONE Supremes Conscious !!

    You could say that this illusion of life is just like a 'dream of the brain' !


    Whilst watching a movie, we are aware that ''real'' is outside of this screen. But whilst watching from the eye of the camera we feel, respond and interact in the same way as if it were a real experience until the moment you pull your eyes off the screen, when you feel you have returned to the real world.


    I know that when I have mentioned this before, a lot of people wonder what exactly is an ''Illusion'' or ''could it all really be an illusion??''
    -
    The simple answer is-- That an 'illusion' is when we know that the mind was just tricking us into believing what is real and what is not.
    The mind is very good at tricking us in believing that ''I am'' and ''I control''...
    An illusion is like a misleading image, that indeed exists, but is seen as something else, just like the 'mirage ' you see on a hot day.


    BUT, now quantum scientists seem to be recognizing that it is only the true consciousness that actually exists for real.
    This itself does not experience what ''Ego I'' experiences throught senses and brain signals and it doesn't even have a concept of time because everything is now, now, now......




    I know that we discussed this on another thread before, but I can't remember which one!!
    However, I find this absolutley fascinating and very much aligned with the 'Truth' that a sikh learns about.


    What is even more interesting Chazji, is that studies have and are being conducted where one can get totally immersed within their consciousness via meditation and thus become detached from their very own body !!
    It has been said, that devotees immersed in very deep meditative bhagti have been known to do this at will !!
    It makes some very interesting research to conduct.
     

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