[-empyre-] the first story of deceleration
David Hughes 19
davidhughes19 at btinternet.com
Mon Oct 31 22:28:50 EST 2011
Oh I love this posting, Akram. Lots of things.
Two right away. I love the idea that I am born alive and born dead at the
same time. That I am light and dark, matter and antimatter, at the same
Also isn't the corollary of the Heisenberg (is it indeterminacy theory?) or
the Copenhagen Interpretation that the universe is only its real self when
it is not observed. Or further, isn't it the case that the universe (or a
phenomenon) is both itself and not itself because it is both either actually
or potentially observed and not observed at the same and at all times. Isn't
that the implication of Schrodinger's Cat? And isn't it possible that it
makes no sense to talk of the 'real' universe at all, anyway?
As you'll have gathered by now my grasp of science is that of someone rather
far down the line in a game of Chinese Whispers and someone with a hearing
problem at that.
Anyway. Maybe you'll have the grace to go along with me until midnight
But seriously. I am finding your posts really fascinating and provocative.
PS is it indeterminacy? The composer and theorist John Cage coined the term
indeterminacy for work that grew out of a series of instructions. It was not
possible to determine exactly what the work would sound like because the
interpretation of the rules by each player would be unpredictable. The
scores were structures to be free in.
PPS would you agree with this partially deaf whisperer that it makes no
sense to talk of 'deceleration' (or acceleration, of course) in a
PPPS do we live in a relativistic universe?
From: empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
[mailto:empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au] On Behalf Of Akram Khan
Sent: 30 October 2011 22:43
Subject: Re: [-empyre-] the first story of deceleration
> How do you drive at top speed on all lanes at once? On all tracks?
> I don't know. Not even in retrospect.
Not only is it possible for you to be at two different locations
simultaneously, but Quantum Mechanics (QM), through its most fundamental
quality that leads to the strangest consequences, actually demands your
simultaneous existence at infinitely many places, through what is known as
the 'Superposition Principle'. Though the resulting effects are most
manifest in the subatomic realm for atoms and fundamental particles such as
electrons, the whole of reality is governed by this principle; so everything
is possible, i.e. we could be here and at the other side of the Universe,
The laws of quantum physics are not some esoteric nicety that we can safely
ignore; they affect our everyday lives, being fundamentally operative in
a many areas ranging from particle accelerators, the nuclear reactions
within the Sun, to the chemical processes that are at the foundations of
When Young carried out his experiments and observed that when a beam of
light was projected onto a double slit cut into an opaque barrier and then
onto a screen, a series of dark and light stripes were produced; this
phenomenon was explained by describing light as like a wave and like waves
in a pond it was understood that the pattern observed was as a result of
interference between waves coming from the two slits i.e. crest meeting
crest to produce a white stripe and crest meeting trough, through
cancellation producing darkness.
In the early 20th century, with the advance of QM, physicists understood
that light, as well as possessing wave-like qualities also behaved as if it
was composed of particles, which they called photons.
They discovered that if you repeated Young's double slit experiment, but
this time firing only single particles of light, the photons, individually,
through the same slit but with the other slit open as well, then these
photons should go through one slit only and so not yield an interference
pattern on the screen, but a distribution of light with the maximum
intensity behind the slit through which they've been fired, attenuating to
darkness on either side of this slit. However, it was found that the pattern
expected from the interference of waves emanating from two slits built up
over time anyway! The only way this could happen is if the single photon
went through both slits at the same time and then interfered with itself.
Since then it has been found that a number of experiments performed using
electrons, atoms and bigger particles such as molecules (containing 70
carbon atoms) produce the same weird result, that each particle travels
through both slits simultaneously.
To solve this problem physicists evoke the "Copenhagen Interpretation",
developed by Neils Bohr and Werner Heisenberg. This states that we do not
see quantum mechanical effects in the everyday world because the very act of
observation collapses the infinity of possibilities allowed by QM to the one
that is actually observed. It suggests that the universe does not become
fully real, fully itself, until someone observes it. Einstein did not like
this idea, "I like to think that the moon is there even if I'm not looking
There is another interpretation, first proposed in 1957 by Hugh Everett,
that has gained widespread credibility. It interprets the equations of QM as
allowing the actual existence of every possible quantum outcome but in
worlds parallel to our own. This leads to the terrifyingly sublime
implication that all possible alternative histories and futures are real and
each is represented by an actual "world" or "universe".... so when you were
born alive you were also born dead!
empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
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