PLANCK’S (ħ) HIGHWAY "An Explorer's Journey"

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In a secret basement under a barn on the land I purchased last year, I discovered an experimental craft which apparently had never been tested. Otherwise, Quantum Theory would have become Quantum Fact. Apparently, the craft scared the inventor so much that he hid it away from the world, supposedly to keep it out of the hands of the wrong people. A plaque near the pilot’s seat read, “This is an exploratory vehicle. It will not be used for war, domination, or gain of anything but pursuit of knowledge.” “Agreed!” I thought to myself as I climbed into the craft. Inside the craft I found a handwritten instruction manual. I eagerly began reading: DIRECTIONS: There are 3 simple buttons that operate the craft. • YELLOW (AKA “START” Button): Stage 1 - Shrinks craft to Planck scale and prepares the M.R.Q.G.D.M. (Manipulative Repulsing Quantum Gravitational Drive Mechanism). • GREEN (AKA “GO” Button): Engages M.R.Q.G.D.M. for propulsion through the quantum foam between dimensions that lead to the universes you will be exploring. • RED: This is your “ESCAPE” or “OFF” button. If you have just entered a hostile universe, this button will send you back into the quantum field immediately; OR, if you wish to explore, open the door and push this button. This action will disengage system and craft will be in hibernation mode until re-activated. NOTE: Only you who first operate craft will be able to solely operate it, as it is DNA specific. Bring supplies. The unknown is an extreme variable. Light Hearted Adventurer Beware: This craft will take you to places only dreamed of and others never before conceived. BE ADVISED: Should you wish to embark on this journey, be aware you will never return to this universe you are in now. There are infinite numbers of universes to explore, and you will never return “full circle” to this one. You control the craft fully, but beware, should you (or anyone) try to reverse engineer the craft, it will self-destruct. The technology within will not be extorted in any way. For one person, the chance of a lifetime awaits. I thought about it for a moment. All I have here is this ranch. No wife, kids, or anyone who really needs me. My last girlfriend gave me the ultimatum to choose either her or my Star Trek collection. I chose to “go where no man has gone before”, so she left. I supplied the craft (which I named MR. Q), said goodbye to the cow, packed my Star Trek collection and DVD player, and sat in the pilot’s seat glistening with unparalleled anticipation and wonder. Cautiously, while holding my breath, I hit the YELLOW button. Heart pounding in my head, the world as I have always known it began to shrink around me. I had no idea the awesomeness that perspective could have on a person when it is changed so drastically. Not being one for complex math, I pondered the “time gauge” which told me I am shrinking at a rate of 50% per minute, from 200 centimeters to my goal of 10-33 centimeter (a millionth of a billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a centimeter), which is called the “Planck Length”. Days, it seems, are lost in the distance where I only see myself traveling along other paths that I had never known existed. I cannot help but wonder about the possibilities of my future encounters. Flashing by a fiery ball of plasma, I can taste the energy of the electron on my tongue as I pass near. I am breathless amongst such beauty. I feel I am becoming incorporeal as even my thoughts are beginning to carry weight. I am afraid to speak out loud for I fear sound at this level will rupture my very being. I can see now what I believe is consciousness itself. It moves amongst me inside and out, giving me a direction of purpose and will. I am utterly fascinated to be able to touch my thoughts and project them into the sub-space of the either itself. Understanding, it seems, is not an option. It is difficult to explain. I feel I am in two places at once, simultaneously viewing myself from the perspective of my other self. My conscience is not divided but duplicated somehow. I wave to myself, seeing myself wave. I am in the craft I see, just like the one I am in now. I realize they are one-in-the-same!! Reality seems not so real anymore. I question the sanity of my decision and reality itself. I am committed, however, to my endeavor. I sense solidity is merely the symmetry of space held together by the adhesiveness of consciousness itself. Finally, I stop, hit the GREEN button, and experience a sudden leap from one state of motion to another. I have jumped from one place to another without traveling. I have heard of this…it is a “Quantum Jump” where the “when” and “where” are governed by “probability”. I instantly find myself in a universe of infinite beauty and feel the tranquility of euphoric expressions amongst my thoughts. I must beware, because with beauty comes danger, and infinite beauty brings forth infinite danger. I open the door and hit the RED button. I take my first step into a New Universe!

About the Author: 
I am a white male, 42 years of age, and live on a ranch in the heart of Texas USA.

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Quantum Theories

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

I is for ... Information

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

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.

K is for ... Kaon

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

R is for ... Randomness

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

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”.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

U is for ... Universe

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

G is for ... Gluon

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

A is for ... Act of observation

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

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.

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.

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.

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.