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The human species had once been tormented by irrational thoughts called emotions that clouded judgement and made us try to destroy ourselves on numerous occasions, to say the least. Thus this unproductive hindrance ultimately had to be removed to ensure harmony and survival for society. Evolution gradually rewrote our genetic codes to remove our free will, eradicating these impurities once and for all. Finally, mankind was perfect. However, evolution wasn't. There remained the minority of humans who were still haunted by feelings. I was one of those who were born with this defect, one of the astronomical burdens mankind had to bear. My own genetics betrayed me, permanently securing my place in the world as a lesser being. An 'emotional'. The only thing preventing me from being discarded was the age-old tradition of 'human rights', beliefs widely circulated in the past that surprisingly, continued to linger in the shadows of the Parliament House. For now. Peaceful protests for emotional acceptance by groups of them have repetitively struck headlines. Just a bunch of non-contributive persons pulling down everyone else, is all. One of the most successful was the organization Salaam. But a normal citizen like me had nothing to do with them. Thus, provided with minimal education and feeling relatively unsatisfied about my life, I was thrust into the world with no credentials for a job of any kind. Not that they would take an emotional instead of a normal person even if I did. Every day was a convoluted mess of confusion; my varying tone, facial expressions, proneness to crying and my queer squeal they call 'laughing' all but exposed the flaws of my DNA coding. Every day reminded me I was a stranger within my own species, and this hypothesis continued to solidify into concrete theory as the tedium of time bore experience into me. Sitting on the roadside in a pensive, malnourished state I found myself eagerly accepting a request for a sanitation worker from a company that had remained relatively unknown to me until now.
"Megan, isn't it? Call me Joshua." The man gestured to a metallic chair opposite his own identical-looking one. With some hesitation, I followed these instructions and gingerly, placed my weight on the surface. Like all ELECTRONIChairs, it began to pulse with the rate of my heartbeat in colours of glorious abundance. Telling from the irregular way his face would twitch, I could tell he was like me. Cursed with emotions, and born to live and die in the bowels of society. Then his next words hit me. "If you came here looking for a job, I'm sorry to disappoint you. This isn't a job interview, but an invitation to join us- Salaam." An arbitrary meeting to recruit members, I presumed, disgusted. There was a sizeable number of reports of these leftist groups masquerading as companies to recruit job-seeking emotionals, increasing their numbers. Just my luck they're trying me now. Before I vehemently opposed the thought, he added, "Don't object just yet; I would like to add a few words that I hope, will change your mind. We are a pacifist group, and force was never an option for us. We're simply dealing with the pressing issue of us emotionals being denied social acceptance, denied what is blaring simple to achieve- open acknowledgement of OUR rights!" His lungs struggled for oxygen as he sought words to explain, and the chair he sat on flashed in a rapid, spastic manner that made me nauseous. But as the incandescent flashing subsided to a soft glow, Joshua continued. He manipulated the virtual screen in front of us, and said, "That's not all." On the turquoise hologram were the words 'PROJECT PACIFICATION', and my finger instinctively stretched out to open the document. After a brief glimpse of its contents, I instinctively recoiled. It appeared to be an authentic official document from government records, seal and all. However, there was no telling what the consequences could be if I was associated with it. The smartest strategem was to reject this offer and leave. So I decisively stood up and strode to the door. In a swift motion, Joshua slid his fingertips onto my frail arm in a grim posture that suggested he would prefer otherwise. We remained in this position, silence forcing us into place. Finally, his deep voice punctuated the atmosphere: "The truth is, we aren't unevolved like what they say. If you can find uncensored scientific articles, you'll realize evolution takes place over tens of thousands of years for humans, not mere decades. If you can find banned history books, you'll understand how wars started by the common people almost destroyed Earth. And the document I handed to you has evidence of governmental authorities manipulating our genes to make us more compliant, and less volatile. But this only worked for the majority..."
"... And not for us." This idea that possessed Joshua was infectious, and I began to understand. I was normal, but living a hated existence because some officials couldn't mess with my brain. Such a statement, although absurd, held some water. There had to be a reason why life left me to rot. I had nothing to lose. Tilting my bony form towards him, I sought my traditional Arabic language for words. "Salaam- I accept your offer." Joshua smiled.

Megan crumpled too easily under the compliance I coaxed out of her. In my defense, I had told her the truth, although not the complete one. They had come with the promise of better pay, a better life, if only I helped multiply Salaam's numbers. The politicians did their job at pacification well. Providing us with the hope of an organization fighting for their rights, it was almost completely assured there wouldn't be another desperate rebellion, like those which repeated themselves over the fabric of time. Salaam was just another puppet under their power, albeit a very useful one. As I shook her skeletal arm, I smiled. Salaam indeed. 


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Quantum Theories

G is for ... Gluon

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

R is for ... Randomness

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

I is for ... Information

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

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.

K is for ... Kaon

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

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 ... 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!

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.

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!

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.

U is for ... Universe

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

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”.

A is for ... Act of observation

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

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.

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.

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 ... 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.