The Quantum Annihilator

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Of all the words in the English language, the one I hate most is "Oops". Oops always precedes something bad. No one ever says Oops, I won the lottery, or Oops, my stock just went up 20 points. Oops is always followed by a crash or smoke or the need for a major product redesign. And right now I'm trying to figure out how to avoid my own Oops moment.

If I told you I'd invented a universal solvent, your reaction would probably be "Oh yeah! And what'll you store it in"? Everyone says that 'cause they assume that a solvent must be a liquid. Mine isn't. Then again mine isn't really a solvent, it's an atomizer: a Quantum Atomizer. It doesn't dissolve things it "unmakes them". It neutralizes the interatomic and intermolecular bonds of compounds so the compounds break down and the constituent atoms just float away.

This isn't pie-in-the-sky. It really works! I've tested it! I went to the trash dump outside of town, set the QA at low power, swept it across a far corner of the dump and disappeared about five feet of trash and an old kitchen sink - it was childish but I had to get everything including the kitchen sink. Then I took it out into the woods, turned up the power and cut a new, three-foot wide, four-foot deep path for one of the streams there. If anyone ever notices it they'll probably just blame the Aliens. Those poor Aliens; if they ever do show up here they're going to have a lot of explaining to do!

The theory behind he QA is simple. Chemical bonds are not hard links between atoms; they're the result of the interactions of the fields generated by the electrons of the atoms. Electrons themselves act as both waves and particles (if you don't believe me, check with Schrodinger or Born or Oppenheimer - or their papers anyway). If you interfere with the wave portion of a bond, everything gets messed up, the bond fails and the molecule separates back into its constituent atoms. Well, I figured out how to generate an "Unfield" - a wave field 180° out of phase with that of an electron bond; and it's tunable and works on any bond - C-C, C-H, C-O, H-Cl, etc. The two fields interact and neutralize each other. No more fields - no more bonds. No more bonds - no more molecules. No noise, no smoke, nothing. Just gone!

Everything around us - the Eiffel Tower, the Sphinx, Machu Picchu - only exists in the arrangement of its components. Separate the components and the construct ceases to exist. That is also true of chemical compounds. Separate the atoms and there is no longer a compound; no rubber, no plastic, no kitchen sink.

Imagine you could "disappear" - not bury, not hide, but eliminate totally without leaving any residue at all - anything: dioxins, PCBs, nerve gas, toxic waste of any kind, acres and acres of old tires, garbage piles, condemned buildings, enemy military installations, anything. I haven't tried it but if I aimed it at a raging inferno and disappeared the fuel, the fire would stop instantly. That would be a good thing. Now suppose it got into other hands - drug czars, certain government agencies with "sensitive missions" or just some crazy who hated everybody? In that case it could become a weapon of mass destruction. It could be used to eliminate anything and

everything: rival gangs, anti-government rebels, pro-government forces, police, criminal prosecutors, trains, nightclub patrons, anything. Just like an electron, the QA also has two components - good and evil. Oh! And one last thing to remember - There Are No Secrets!

Now! About avoiding my OOPS moment. What do I do? If I announce publically that I have an invention that can do what the QA can do, what do you think will happen? Do you think the awards dinner could happen before I was extraordinarily rendered and secretly shipped to Gitmo, (How long do you think a kid from Brooklyn could last in Gitmo?) or maybe I'd just be kidnapped by some group or other? Maybe I could work out some sort of quid pro quo - one toxic waste dump in return for destroying some despot's air base or some rival drug gangs headquarters. Nah! Won't work. Why settle for half when they can have it all? Of course, if I'm fast enough, I could use the QA for self-defense. Poof! No more attackers and evidence left behind (could lack of evidence be used as evidence?) except a suspicious hole where my bedroom wall used to be. "Gee! I guess it was ball lightening - or maybe those pesky aliens again". See! It ain't easy bein' me!

So here are my choices: Destroy the QA and never mention it again; try and work out some sort of highly paid destruction/hit man/contractor deal with - Oh I don't know, the CIA, the FBI, Seal Team 6 - or become a secret, high tech Toxic Avenger - the Toxic Annihilator.

I'm leaning toward becoming a new TA. There won't be any fame, glory or riches but just imagine the joy I could bring to the people of a neighborhood if they were to wake up one morning and that smelly garbage dump nearby was gone. Just gone! No residue, nothing, just an empty lot. Suppose that eyesore of a tire dump was suddenly an empty field or the Superfund site down the block was not only empty, but empty to a depth of 15 feet deep and all the toxic soil & residue gone? I could do that. My motto would be: You'll know I was here because there's nothing here!

Oh! One more thing; just because you can't find something doesn't mean it was my fault! 


About the Author: 
I am a retired Engineer who tries to keep up with current technology. Sometimes I even succeed.

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Quantum Theories

K is for ... Kaon

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

R is for ... Randomness

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

U is for ... Universe

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

G is for ... Gluon

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

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.

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.

I is for ... Information

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

A is for ... Act of observation

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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”.

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.