Sometimes you have a new thought, an idea, or eureka moment, but it’s not gutsy enough to expand into a reasonable length article or essay. So, here’s another potpourri of thoughts dealing with quantum physics and related, too good not to record, but with not enough meat available to flesh out. People reading this will hopefully be somewhat familiar with the terms and jargon used. If not, well that’s why dictionaries exist!
The Double-Slit Experiment
Of course you know all about the paradox with the Double-Slit Experiment. Say you rapid-fire actual particles (i.e. – Carbon-60 Bucky-Balls*) as your ammo. If one slit is open, you get particle behaviour (as expected). If two slits are open, you get wave behaviour (that’s weird). If Bucky-Ball particles are fired at both slits one at a time (i.e. – one passes through the slits before the next is fired) you get wave behaviour (that’s crazy). Now bring in the observer. If an observer looks to see which slit of the two slits the one-at-a-time Bucky-Ball particle actually goes through, at the time it goes through, you get particle behaviour (which contradicts the previous results). If an observer looks to see which slit of two slits the Bucky-Ball particles go through AFTER the particles go through, you again get particle behaviour (contradicting the previous results). That’s totally crazy, since how can the Bucky-Ball particles change behaviour from wave to particle AFTER they have already passed and gone through the slits?
If a particle were at the core in essence a wave, you should always get wave behaviour in the Double-Slit Experiment and that’s clearly not the case. Something is screwy somewhere! If I were a quantum physicist, methinks I’d end up being an alcoholic quantum physicist! It’s enough to drive you to seriously drink.
*Otherwise more formally known as Buckminsterfullerene.
More About the Double-Slit Experiment
Ah, the $64,000 question! One photon, or electron, or Bucky-Ball or whatever, that is faced with an either/or choice when approaching two side-by-side slits, exhibits a dual personality and goes through both thus resulting in a classic wave interference pattern. That of course is Twilight Zone physics. Of course if Richard Feynman didn’t understand this, I’m not sure I should be expected to either, but here goes a few possibilities.
The first is that perhaps there might be leakage of photons, etc. through micro-wormholes from parallel universes such that while the experimenter thinks there is just one photon in the picture, there actually isn’t. Okay, thumbs down.
The second is what happens in the delayed double-slit experiment? Well apparently if one allows the single photon or electron or Bucky-Ball or whatever to pass through the double-slits, but then pulls a swiftly and removes the broad screen detector revealing instead two detectors that are aligned with each of the two slits, then one or the other detector will detect the photon, etc. each and every time. In other words, after the photon, etc. passed through the double-slits, it somehow realised the gig was up and changed its mind and thus passed through just one of the two slits. How is this explained? Either the photon, etc. has awareness and a limited amount of free will (panpsychism), or else it time travels back into the past to the starting point and hence travels through one or the other slit. Harking back to the standard double-slit experiment with a both slits open scenario, the photon, etc. passes through one slit, then doubles back (in time) and then passes through the other slit. You have just crossed over into “The Twilight Zone”.
Thirdly, and probably the traditional explanation, is that at point of emission and detection the photon or electron or Bucky-Ball is a particle, but in-between its alpha and omega it is a wave. That is of course unless there is only the single-slit option open when the wave fails to manifest itself which again implies consciousness or awareness on the part of the photon, etc. It knows in advance whether or not one or both slits are open and shape-shifts accordingly. IMHO that’s also nuts.
Fourthly, it is all a computer simulation. Be it Hollywood special effects, or software programming, the required illusion or paradox can be easily achieved. I’ve gone on record as saying that the anomalies that are part and parcel of quantum physics can best be explained via the Simulated (Virtual Reality) Universe scenario. No double-slit experiment shows BOTH wave behaviour AND particle behaviour at the same time. One slit open and two slits open are two separate experiments. The former shows particle behaviour; the later wave behaviour. The question is how to explain the duality which seems paradoxical. Even Richard Feynman by his own admission couldn’t explain it. IMHO programmed software does the trick rather neatly!
Superposition-of-State and Collapse-of-the-Wave-Function
So no doubt you believe, even with qualifiers, that Schrodinger’s Cat is both alive and dead at the same time (however short that interval might be) since it is entangled with that radioactive nucleus that has both decayed and not decayed at the same time (however short that interval might be).
Here’s a lesson in common sense, or more formally logic if you will – something cannot both be and not be at the same time in the same place for however briefly a time. To suggest otherwise is just pure ignorance. If you make the claim to the contrary, show me the evidence that superposition-of-state and the so-called (alleged and associated) ‘collapse’ of the wave-function is experimentally true. You can’t because when you allegedly ‘collapse’ the wave-function with your observation or measurement, how do you know the alleged wave-function wasn’t already ‘collapsed’ by the time you peeked or more to the point perhaps in reality had always been in a ‘collapsed’ state on the logical grounds that the wave-function can’t ‘collapse’ since there was no superposition-of-state with an associated wave-function that required ‘collapsing’ in the first place. The ‘collapse’ is pure fiction.
Further, there’s no experiment that demonstrates a superposition-of-state that something is simultaneously BOTH in this state AND in that state at the same time and place. That’s because experimental results always show that you end up with this state OR that state. Experiments designed to detect particles find particles; experiments designed to detect waves detect waves, even if the experiments are closely related, like the Double-Slit experiment and variations on the theme.
So how do I explain wave-particle duality? I explain duality via the simulation hypothesis. Simulating the anomalous results inherent in the Double-Slit experiment(s) is no big deal to a software programmer. I’ve consistently stated that the best evidence for the Simulated (Virtual Reality) Universe resides in quantum physics.
I’m sure astronomers would agree that galaxies and stars and planets and associated debris exist independently of their own existence. Palaeontologists would acknowledge the existence of the trilobites and the dinosaurs even if humans had never evolved to discover their fossil evidence. Meteorologists would be convinced that thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards and even sunny days existed before the word meteorologists was thought of in anybody’s philosophy.
But can quantum physics, as described by quantum physicists exist independently of quantum physicists, physicists who play the role of observer? Did quantum physics exist the way quantum physicists say quantum physics exists before there were any quantum physicists? What if quantum physicists got the quantum mathematics right but the quantum mechanisms wrong? After all, even the late Nobel Laureate and quantum physicist Richard Feynman said that nobody (including himself) really understood quantum physics, that is, how it actually works, a sentiment echoed by many others both before and after.
It would appear to me that no other physical science is as dependent on observers and measurements as quantum physics. A cat exists independently of a biologist, but the state of Schrodinger’s Cat is dependent on the quantum physicist making an observation.
Now the question is, what is the state of reality of quantum physics if there are no quantum physicists to act as observers, who make no measurements, have no awareness or consciousness that’s present and accounted for to account for the quantum mechanisms – if any exist independently that is.
IMHO, quantum physics minus quantum physicists, well then everything is in an either this OR that state. There are no probabilities then associated with quantum physics. Probability is just a mathematical expression; an invention by consciousness entities (like quantum physicists or gamblers) to deal with their limitations and uncertainties. The abstract and mentally invented concept of probability has no independent reality. There is of course entanglement in selected scenarios like the creation of matter-antimatter particles that can arise out of the vacuum energy, but no such thing as a superposition-of-state or a collapse of the wave-function which requires an observation or measurement by quantum physicists who have all gone AWOL from this little exercise.
Now if this is the state of quantum affairs without quantum physicists, then that has to be the state of affairs even when quantum physicists are present and accounted for. As in the case of astronomy, palaeontology and meteorology, the objects and their mechanisms exist independently of the astronomers, the palaeontologists and the meteorologists and it matter not one jot if to the cosmos whether or not astronomers, palaeontologists, meteorologists and of course quantum physicists exist or don’t exist.
More About the Observer Effect
Whether measurements and observations/observers are entangled or not, measurement is 100% irrelevant and observation is 100% irrelevant to any status quo since no thing (like a coin) can both be (heads-up) and not be (simultaneously heads-down) at the same time and in the same place. It’s either heads-up or it is heads-down irrespective of whether any measurement or observation of the state of the coin has, is, or ever will take place.
Thus the existence or non-existence of observers, observations and associated measurements throughout the lifetime of the cosmos has absolutely no relevance or bearing to my most basic of basic premises which is that something, anything, can NOT both be and not-be at the same time and in the same place. Superposition-of-state is a human invention and has as much reality as Alice’s “Wonderland”. No superposition-of-states means no collapses of wave-functions and thus no spooky actions at a distance.
In short, the Moon continues to exist even if no one is looking at it. End of story, or at least this is now the end of my story. If you wish to view reality differently, I have no issue with that.
Four Physical Forces
Actually, when you stop and ponder the issue, all of the four fundamental forces are mysterious. You can read textbook after textbook written by prominent particle physicists filled from beginning to end with equations and all you will find is what happens or what will happen. The textbooks and the authors and the equations never tell you how the forces actually operate and especially why what happens, happens. Of course things are way less mysterious if all this forceful activity is just software programming. Perhaps action-at-a-distance is just a feature of our virtual landscape, part of the overall Simulated (Virtual Reality) Universe.
The Macro vs. the Micro
If a coin is freely falling, maybe spinning or tumbling in a chaotic fashion, I feel it could take on a near infinite number of orientations with respect to the observer (camera or person). It could of course be face on (heads or tails) to the viewer or it could be edge on or tilted to the left or right or to the top or bottom either slightly or extremely, etc. The central point though is that in every passing interval of time, however short you wish to make that interval, the orientation is either this or that or the next thing. It’s never two or more orientations at the same time.
To sum up my philosophy here, one cannot view or treat the micro, the realm of the quantum, any differently than the realm of the macro since there is no distinguishable line-in-the-sand that can be drawn between them. One softly-softly merges into the other. So if something doesn’t make sense in the macro (i.e. – something of structure and substance being in two places at the same time), then it makes no sense in the micro either.
The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle
Where does the uncertainty reside in the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle? In every definition or description of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle I’ve come across, it is stated explicitly or implied that there is an observer or stand-in proxies measuring device that’s part and parcel of the overall Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle picture.
A common example of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle is that a photon bounces off an electron. The photon enables the observer to ‘see’ the electron, but that bouncing off bit alters the trajectory of the electron so the electron isn’t where the photon that the observer sees says it is – thus the uncertainty.
Thus, the uncertainty rests with the observer or associated proxies. It’s the observer who is uncertain or in a position of uncertainty.
Now remove the observer from the scenario leaving just the photon and the electron doing their thing. Is there any quantitative or qualitative amount of uncertainty left? If you eliminate or remove the observer then where does that leave the uncertainty? That’s not just an academic question since once upon a time the Universe contained no observers and even today 99.99999% of the cosmos is free of observer peeping toms.
IMHO, once the observer is eliminated from the picture there is no longer any uncertainty inherent in the picture.