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Thread: An interesting problem

  1. #1 An interesting problem 
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    On Wolfs Blog, i had to post this question here.

    ''Question: I'm listening to your audio course from Sounds True. I have a question about what you say relative to electrons growing along a pulse and in a minute they would be the size of the Pentagon, and that the reason they don't get that big is that they are observed, and observation "cuts them down to size". Well, my question is, what observes them to change them? Obviously it would be absurd to say human beings. That would be incredibly species-centric! But in any case, plenty of electrons go unobserved for periods of time, no? Like an electron on the underside of my floor or behind a wall, etc. So when you say it keeps its small size because it's observed, by what? "God"? Consciousness?

    Answer: Great question. That is the big mystery. It has been a research goal for me to find out. I am sure other physicists are equally interested and pondering this. In a certain sense atomic electrons are observed weakly be humans when they observe objects made of atoms in their everyday lives. Once a thing is observed having any mass at all, for example, a mass of a pea, that object tends to not spread very fast and only doubles its probable size in a universal lifetime of 20 billion years or so. But for smaller objects the time is much shorter--a gate molecule in the human nervous system doubles in 0.2 millisecond or so. From this varied time of doubling, and the fact that we do observe consequences of such doublings in quantum physics (the double slit experiment is just one experiment showing this--the electron becomes spread out over an area to cover two slits), we must conclude that an observer lurks somewhere.''


    The qoute is not complete, because he goes on to talk about his personal belief that it is the mind of God that is reducing this electron, however, i personally feel it would be wrong to introduce that in the physics part.

    I've known for a while that the electron exhibits infinite qualities when not being observed... so what is it that keeps it that way? I have a thought of my own, but i wondered what other people thought on this subject of QM that is currently unsolved?


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    Forum Radioactive Isotope MagiMaster's Avatar
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    I'd like to know how you can know something exhibits a property only when it's not being observed. (This is a serious question, BTW. I'm not saying it's impossible.)

    In answer to the question posed, I'd say that it can't go very long without bumping into some other particle, at which point it has been observed by something. At the very least, the cosmic microwave background is everywhere.


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    Quote Originally Posted by MagiMaster
    I'd like to know how you can know something exhibits a property only when it's not being observed. (This is a serious question, BTW. I'm not saying it's impossible.)

    In answer to the question posed, I'd say that it can't go very long without bumping into some other particle, at which point it has been observed by something. At the very least, the cosmic microwave background is everywhere.
    Bravo! This is my contention.

    I would go as far to say that from a Dirac Model the electron is actually being observed constantly by virtual particles located in the vacuum.

    Excellent answer though! Really impressed.
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    I'd hazard a guess that the conclusions we draw from these experiments are a little off, in that we see what we want to see and don't necessarily have the absolute right answer... Personally, this all seems a bit far fetched to me
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathamatition
    I'd hazard a guess that the conclusions we draw from these experiments are a little off, in that we see what we want to see and don't necessarily have the absolute right answer... Personally, this all seems a bit far fetched to me
    It's not just a mathematical necessity, but this ''doubling'' Wolf speaks of is in fact a consequence of the wave function. For some reason in nature, (that we come to observe) the ''doubling'' i cut down to size - i would bet by decoherence.
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    and by mathematical necessity, I assume you mean, a necessity to our current accepted mathematical model of these events and experiments, right? I highly doubt that it is fundamentally necessary for the volume and/or mass of an electron (I'm not sure which you mean) to double, in any circumstance, and all of these experiments you quote, (double slit, delayed choice, and I know there are a few others from the Thought Experiment thread) have consequences and results that seem to be just pulled right out of some scientist's bum... I have nothing to back up my opinion other than the classical physics approach and my own thoughts on the subject, nor do I intend to go searching for examples that say these experiments are bollucks, because the nature of them is real, and the conclusions are VERY open to interpretation, depending of course on the model you wish to use.
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    If I may, I think we'll first have to work out what you mean by 'observed'. Let's take it simply to be the act of letting photons strike the electron.

    If so, then we've already solved the problem. Electrons are practically never isolated; they are surrouned by other electrons, and interact with them by virtual photons. So, from our above definition, other electrons 'observe' each other electrons by letting virutal photons hit them, keeping them in check.

    However, this is just a hypothesis of mine, so pay no attention to it...
    In control lies inordinate freedom; in freedom lies inordinate control.
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    I only have limited knowledge on the subject, and I'm a bit confused. By 'size' of an electron, do you mean the it's probability distribution?
    If so, is the position of a particle determined as soon as it interacts (or does not interact) with another particle? By determined position I mean that the probability distribution changes to include only the interaction (or exclude the interaction).

    Couldn't you say that all those interacting particle fill a large dimensional probability distribution space, and all the particles and all past (since the last observation) and present interactions are only determined at the moment there is an observation (a special kind of interaction which involves us). In that case, you might even say that only the observation of any individual ego counts for that individual, and the observations by other individuals are only determined at the moment it influences you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liongold
    If I may, I think we'll first have to work out what you mean by 'observed'. Let's take it simply to be the act of letting photons strike the electron.

    If so, then we've already solved the problem. Electrons are practically never isolated; they are surrouned by other electrons, and interact with them by virtual photons. So, from our above definition, other electrons 'observe' each other electrons by letting virutal photons hit them, keeping them in check.

    However, this is just a hypothesis of mine, so pay no attention to it...
    It seems that ''observer'' and just below you a poster is wondering about the nature of the ''size'' or ''distribution'' of it wave function. The term observer can be a little off-putting... but what might Wolf think? Well, i've always seen the way he describes it as either a physical interaction or one made by a conscious measuring system. He was once posited the question of what an observer was:

    ''Question: What is the Observer?

    Answer: The observer is anything that experiences. An experience always has two components; an inner one and an outer one where the dividing line between them is not always absolutely determined. Usually human beings take it that the dividing line is the skin of the body.
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    What is so special about a 'conscious' measurement system. Isn't our mind and our consciousness simply a result of electrical-chemical-biological reactions in our brains? If it's just particles interacting with other particles, there is really nothing that makes 'conscious' measurement systems different from 'non-conscious' systems.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bender
    What is so special about a 'conscious' measurement system. Isn't our mind and our consciousness simply a result of electrical-chemical-biological reactions in our brains? If it's just particles interacting with other particles, there is really nothing that makes 'conscious' measurement systems different from 'non-conscious' systems.
    I'll answer this to a ground-breaking point Doctor Wolf shows. I will link it (and yes john with the edit button).

    Instead of me going into the trouble of downloading everything again, here is an excerpt from ''Taking the Quantum Leap,'' an award-winning book by Doctor Wolf:


    ''Quantum physics is the theory of the
    behavior of matter and energy, particularly
    at the level of atoms and subatomic particles.
    It is nearly impossible to imagine the
    strange behavior of matter at this level. An
    electron in an atom, for example, performs
    a trick much like the crew on Star Trek
    when it “beams” from one energy level to another without
    going in between. But if we aren’t watching it jump, we have
    no control as to when it will happen.
    But suppose we do watch? Well, if current experiments in
    quantum physics are relevant to our everyday experiences, we
    will actually be able to alter the matter—and thereby the
    crapshoot of life. But there is a catch to all this: To do it, you
    need to begin to see things quantum mechanically.
    Take the old proverb “A watched pot never boils.” Now
    imagine a tiny, quantum-sized “pot of water” being heated on
    a really tiny stove. We all know pots of water boil, given a
    few minutes or so. You would certainly think the watched
    quantum pot would also boil. It turns out, however, that if
    you vigilantly watch the pot, it will never boil. In fact, all vigilantly
    watched “quantum pots” never boil, even if they are
    heated forever. The only requirement for this to happen is
    that observers must have the intent to see the object in its initial
    state. This intent is determined by the frequency of their
    observations. The observers must look repeatedly in very
    short time intervals to find the object in the same state. Suppose
    physicists don’t watch vigilantly, or suppose they do, but
    with the intent of seeing the quantum pot boil naturally. Then
    what? If the physicists look intermittently, expecting it to boil
    eventually, the pot will follow its natural course and will boil.
    Infrequent observations have little effect on the result. Or if the
    physicists wish, they may vigilantly observe the object along its
    natural evolution and will observe the same result. In other
    words, a watched pot boils if you intend it to.
    Finally, there is another bizarre aspect to all this. What if
    you want the watched pot to do something weird? If your
    intent to observe that occurrence is vigilant enough, the object
    actually will follow the strange path. Hence a watched pot
    boils on a cake of ice, if you intend it to.
    Here I need to point out that “intent” and “intentions” are
    not the same thing. By “intent,” I am referring to a person’s
    active observation. To make what you desire come true you
    need to pursue your vision vigorously, not passively dream
    about it and hope it will come true. If this “watched-pot” theory
    turns out to be correct at the human level, then our
    desires and accompanying actions are what actually govern
    our daily lives. Luck has nothing to do with it.''
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    Sounds awfully like newagers that want to link quantum theory with spiritualism.

    A quick search already reveals the link: Wolf starred in "What the bleep do we know", a new age film bursting with pseudoscience. The producers come from Ramtha's School of Enlightenment.
    Ramtha is a warlord who ruled over Atlantis 30000 years ago, and he recently reincarnated and founded a school.

    I'm sorry Manynames, but I cannot take such a source seriously.
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    It sounds exactly like that heap of excrement "The Secret" as well.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bender
    Sounds awfully like newagers that want to link quantum theory with spiritualism.

    A quick search already reveals the link: Wolf starred in "What the bleep do we know", a new age film bursting with pseudoscience. The producers come from Ramtha's School of Enlightenment.
    Ramtha is a warlord who ruled over Atlantis 30000 years ago, and he recently reincarnated and founded a school.

    I'm sorry Manynames, but I cannot take such a source seriously.
    No... it's not spiritual... i will will be back later... but no, it is not.
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