Q Con

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Q Con
 
Q Con…Quantum Conundrum. That was his private label his for the  multitudinous vagaries of Quantum theories crowding the arena of modern Physics, essentially adding to the confusing, and often frustrating lack of coherent comprehension, let alone unity. As one of the leading, if still rising young stars in the most coveted medley of theoretical Physics, Cyrus Ramsey, Professor of physics at the new Hiesenberg Centre in New Jersey should have known. The situation had become similar to modern Religious medley. Confused, frustrating. Small wonder many, including him, had become alienated from all religious thought and practice. Of course, Quantum mechanics was of a different category…But this morning he had suddenly found himself rubbing his eyes in bewilderment. Maybe it was his constant preoccupation with the seemingly irreconcilable facets of the Quantum landscape which may have misled his brain into seeing an apparent impossibility. He could not help cynically smiling. Quantum mechanics did have similar unbelievable, though possibly proven true ‘facts’ and rules. The Wave field syndrome, for example, supposedly creating any number of probabilities, for all to collapse and only one to survive and materialize on observation by an observer. 
 
The occasion for Cyrus’s immediate quandary was a gently rising oval shaped hill called ‘Dave’s hillock, some 80 miles away on North 93, standing in magnificent isolation in a flat grassland. His occasional lapses into salacity made him often think amusedly that if there were two of them, the Society for Protection of Feminine Dignity  would probably label them prurient  for then they would have suggested young girlie breasts. Once again, probably it was this errant recurring salacious thought which may have made him actually see two hillocks…almost like identical twins.  Early mornings are not meant to harbor or project such imaginations. But after lots of pinching and rubbing he had to admit that he was indeed seeing two hills. Which was impossible, of course. No hill could have arisen overnight-that too in a non-seismic, non-volcanic flat grassland.  He decided to conform that he was indeed seeing two hills, and for this he needed eye witness testimony of at least one ordinary person. Unfortunately he lived in a rather isolated farmhouse with no immediate neighbors, so he decided to stop at the first gas station on his way to work and maybe talk to the attendant  there. On the road he did note the curious fact that no driver seemed interested, let alone excited by the sudden appearance of the new appurtenance near the familiar single Dave’s hill. He shrugged and was glad to find the gas station ownersitting on a rocking chair reading the newspaper.
 
“Anything new…?”he asked, to break the ice. The man replied phlegmatically, “the usual, minor wars, poverty, famine, an earthquake, a volcano…”
 
“Yeah, well, h’mm what do you think of that…”he looked out across at Dave’s hill and its twin avatar. “Huh,, well, it’s the usual. Why, you see something new?”, the man asked. Cyrus gulped and mumbled a ‘no’ as he walked back to his car. Well, he thought, he will be driving past the hill soon, and there was bound to be a crowd of curious onlookers which would confirm his own ‘sighting’. Besides he could later count on the excitement of his colleagues at the Centre. 
 
As he drove on, another curious fact passed his mind fleetingly. All cars were moving in one direction, towards the hill. None seemed to be coming from the opposite direction. That was odd. There did seem something vey queer going on here. Well, he thought, the mystery would be solved soon. Dave’s Hill was still about 30 miles away when Cyrus suddenly braked sharply. Fortunately there was no vehicle behind him. He started to move again, albeit slowly. He had braked for he suddenly had a foreboding… of a kind which he could immediately identify as the one ha had got maybe half a dozen times before a horrible nightmare. To have such a feeling in broad daylight when he was wide awake was incomprehensible. And then he saw another sight which made the hair on the nape of his neck quiver. The road in front was rising up suddenly. He knew the road was flat all the way. There was no upslope anywhere. He drove on almost automatically. There were no vehicles other than his own in front or back, or on the other side of the road. Suddenly the road seemed to end and looming before him was a dark void. He stared, and as he squinted he could see faintly twinkling stars ‘going out’, and soon brighter ones too…supernovae? So that’s how the world ends, Cyrus mused. It occurred to him that he was the only person who had observed the anomalous twin hills: was that one of the many probabilities of the Wave fields which only he could perceive, and so the rest simply collapsed into nothingness. But, and this was the rider, it was his world which seemed to be ending as a consequence. Maybe for the rest of humanity, the original probability in which Dave’s hill was just single as always, continued untouched. That world did not collapse. Only his, Cyrus Ramsey’s world became unique, but was destined to end. He couldn’t remember who had said that the Universe was co-existent  with the existence of the observer. As far as Ramsey Cyrus was concerned, his Universe was ending, and of course he had no way of knowing if the rest of the Universe as he had known still continued to exist. Probably it did. Only his was ending since he had glimpsed the truth of the Quantum Realty. As his car inexorably fell into the void, he could only marvel  at his correct identification of Quantum Reality-Q con!
 
             ***********       **********   **********      965 words

About the Author: 
Scientist and writer particularly interested in Cosmology, Evolution and Spirituality. Written several Scientific papers, short stories and novels.

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Quantum Theories

R is for ... Reality

Since the predictions of quantum theory have been right in every experiment ever done, many researchers think it is the best guide we have to the nature of reality. Unfortunately, that still leaves room for plenty of ideas about what reality really is!

I is for ... Interferometer

Some of the strangest characteristics of quantum theory can be demonstrated by firing a photon into an interferometer: the device’s output is a pattern that can only be explained by the photon passing simultaneously through two widely-separated slits.

R is for ... Radioactivity

The atoms of a radioactive substance break apart, emitting particles. It is impossible to predict when the next particle will be emitted as it happens at random. All we can do is give the probability that any particular atom will have decayed by a given time.

A is for ... Atom

This is the basic building block of matter that creates the world of chemical elements – although it is made up of more fundamental particles.

A is for ... Act of observation

Some people believe this changes everything in the quantum world, even bringing things into existence.

U is for ... Universe

To many researchers, the universe behaves like a gigantic quantum computer that is busy processing all the information it contains.

B is for ... Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC)

At extremely low temperatures, quantum rules mean that atoms can come together and behave as if they are one giant super-atom.

G is for ... Gravity

Our best theory of gravity no longer belongs to Isaac Newton. It’s Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. There’s just one problem: it is incompatible with quantum theory. The effort to tie the two together provides the greatest challenge to physics in the 21st century.

K is for ... Kaon

These are particles that carry a quantum property called strangeness. Some fundamental particles have the property known as charm!

M is for ... Many Worlds Theory

Some researchers think the best way to explain the strange characteristics of the quantum world is to allow that each quantum event creates a new universe.

G is for ... Gluon

These elementary particles hold together the quarks that lie at the heart of matter.

T is for ... Teleportation

Quantum tricks allow a particle to be transported from one location to another without passing through the intervening space – or that’s how it appears. The reality is that the process is more like faxing, where the information held by one particle is written onto a distant particle.

B is for ... Bell's Theorem

In 1964, John Bell came up with a way of testing whether quantum theory was a true reflection of reality. In 1982, the results came in – and the world has never been the same since!

Q is for ... Quantum biology

A new and growing field that explores whether many biological processes depend on uniquely quantum processes to work. Under particular scrutiny at the moment are photosynthesis, smell and the navigation of migratory birds.

F is for ... Free Will

Ideas at the heart of quantum theory, to do with randomness and the character of the molecules that make up the physical matter of our brains, lead some researchers to suggest humans can’t have free will.

Z is for ... Zero-point energy

Even at absolute zero, the lowest temperature possible, nothing has zero energy. In these conditions, particles and fields are in their lowest energy state, with an energy proportional to Planck’s constant.

P is for ... Probability

Quantum mechanics is a probabilistic theory: it does not give definite answers, but only the probability that an experiment will come up with a particular answer. This was the source of Einstein’s objection that God “does not play dice” with the universe.

N is for ... Nonlocality

When two quantum particles are entangled, it can also be said they are “nonlocal”: their physical proximity does not affect the way their quantum states are linked.

C is for ... Cryptography

People have been hiding information in messages for millennia, but the quantum world provides a whole new way to do it.

H is for ... Hidden Variables

One school of thought says that the strangeness of quantum theory can be put down to a lack of information; if we could find the “hidden variables” the mysteries would all go away.

I is for ... Information

Many researchers working in quantum theory believe that information is the most fundamental building block of reality.

T is for ... Tunnelling

This happens when quantum objects “borrow” energy in order to bypass an obstacle such as a gap in an electrical circuit. It is possible thanks to the uncertainty principle, and enables quantum particles to do things other particles can’t.

D is for ... Dice

Albert Einstein decided quantum theory couldn’t be right because its reliance on probability means everything is a result of chance. “God doesn’t play dice with the world,” he said.

S is for ... Superposition

Quantum objects can exist in two or more states at once: an electron in superposition, for example, can simultaneously move clockwise and anticlockwise around a ring-shaped conductor.

S is for ... Schrödinger’s Cat

A hypothetical experiment in which a cat kept in a closed box can be alive and dead at the same time – as long as nobody lifts the lid to take a look.

Y is for ... Young's Double Slit Experiment

In 1801, Thomas Young proved light was a wave, and overthrew Newton’s idea that light was a “corpuscle”.

J is for ... Josephson Junction

This is a narrow constriction in a ring of superconductor. Current can only move around the ring because of quantum laws; the apparatus provides a neat way to investigate the properties of quantum mechanics.

V is for ... Virtual particles

Quantum theory’s uncertainty principle says that since not even empty space can have zero energy, the universe is fizzing with particle-antiparticle pairs that pop in and out of existence. These “virtual” particles are the source of Hawking radiation.

A is for ... Alice and Bob

In quantum experiments, these are the names traditionally given to the people transmitting and receiving information. In quantum cryptography, an eavesdropper called Eve tries to intercept the information.

C is for ... Computing

The rules of the quantum world mean that we can process information much faster than is possible using the computers we use now.

L is for ... Light

We used to believe light was a wave, then we discovered it had the properties of a particle that we call a photon. Now we know it, like all elementary quantum objects, is both a wave and a particle!

O is for ... Objective reality

Niels Bohr, one of the founding fathers of quantum physics, said there is no such thing as objective reality. All we can talk about, he said, is the results of measurements we make.

E is for ... Entanglement

When two quantum objects interact, the information they contain becomes shared. This can result in a kind of link between them, where an action performed on one will affect the outcome of an action performed on the other. This “entanglement” applies even if the two particles are half a universe apart.

Q is for ... Qubit

One quantum bit of information is known as a qubit (pronounced Q-bit). The ability of quantum particles to exist in many different states at once means a single quantum object can represent multiple qubits at once, opening up the possibility of extremely fast information processing.

M is for ... Multiverse

Our most successful theories of cosmology suggest that our universe is one of many universes that bubble off from one another. It’s not clear whether it will ever be possible to detect these other universes.

R is for ... Randomness

Unpredictability lies at the heart of quantum mechanics. It bothered Einstein, but it also bothers the Dalai Lama.

L is for ... Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

At CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, this machine is smashing apart particles in order to discover their constituent parts and the quantum laws that govern their behaviour.

S is for ... Schrödinger Equation

This is the central equation of quantum theory, and describes how any quantum system will behave, and how its observable qualities are likely to manifest in an experiment.

X is for ... X-ray

In 1923 Arthur Compton shone X-rays onto a block of graphite and found that they bounced off with their energy reduced exactly as would be expected if they were composed of particles colliding with electrons in the graphite. This was the first indication of radiation’s particle-like nature.

P is for ... Planck's Constant

This is one of the universal constants of nature, and relates the energy of a single quantum of radiation to its frequency. It is central to quantum theory and appears in many important formulae, including the Schrödinger Equation.

U is for ... Uncertainty Principle

One of the most famous ideas in science, this declares that it is impossible to know all the physical attributes of a quantum particle or system simultaneously.

H is for ... Hawking Radiation

In 1975, Stephen Hawking showed that the principles of quantum mechanics would mean that a black hole emits a slow stream of particles and would eventually evaporate.

W is for ... Wavefunction

The mathematics of quantum theory associates each quantum object with a wavefunction that appears in the Schrödinger equation and gives the probability of finding it in any given state.

D is for ... Decoherence

Unless it is carefully isolated, a quantum system will “leak” information into its surroundings. This can destroy delicate states such as superposition and entanglement.

W is for ... Wave-particle duality

It is possible to describe an atom, an electron, or a photon as either a wave or a particle. In reality, they are both: a wave and a particle.