It's a Quantum
by: Maya Talisman Frost
We don't need to understand
quantum physics entirely in order to appreciate it. Even those who have devoted
their lives to the study of the universe and its atomic structure will admit
that many mysteries remain. Well, I love mysteries, so let's set the scene for
There's a Big Bang.
"Whoosh!" go all the molecules. Much swirling commences. Fast forward
12 billion years (give or take a billion) to present day. People all over the
world watch sci-fi movies, read physics texts, attend harmonic convergence
gatherings, study nanotechnology, and gaze at the stars. Our questions: How did
we get here? Who are we? Where is here? Why? What next?
If you’re expecting quantum
theory to answer those questions, you’re going to be disappointed. However, it
does give us some heady new ways to anticipate those answers.
Let’s take a look at some terms.
Back in the fifth century BC, our Greek friend Democritus had the idea that all
matter is ultimately made up of tiny grains that cannot be divided into smaller
pieces. He called these little pieces “atoms” for the Greek phrase “a-tomos”
which means “uncuttable”. Poor Democritus didn’t have the advantage of
sophisticated microscopes, so it’s not surprising that, centuries later, it was
discovered that atoms are actually cuttable. In fact, atoms are themselves made
up of tiny particles we’ve dubbed neutrons, protons, electrons and neutrinos.
But it doesn’t stop there. Now
we’re thinking that leptons, along with quarks, are the tiniest of particles of
all and currently considered the ultimate building blocks of nature. Since we
keep finding particles inside particles and adding new names to pieces of
atoms, it’s easier to refer to the smallest chunks into which something can be
divided as quanta. The German physicist Max Planck first proposed that energy
might come in little pieces called quanta back in the early 1900s. So when we
talk about quantum theory, we’re just referring to the whole set of ideas
surrounding the microscopic world of atoms.
Along comes Albert Einstein, who
recognizes that this whole idea of quantum physics turns classical physics on
its head and spins it around. Here all these scientists had developed theories
and precise formulas for calculating predictably and consistently the ways in
which bodies move. Now there’s this idea that little particles actually behave
in ways we can’t predict with certainty. These tiny quanta are mysterious. They
respond sometimes as particles, and sometimes as waves, and we can’t always
tell which way they’re going to go. If a particle is traveling from point A to
point B, we can guess its path, but the tinier the particle, the less sure we
are that that exact path is the one taken. In fact—hold on to your hat
here—we’ve come to understand that not only do we not know the exact path, but
that the particles may actually be in two places at once.
Think that’s radical? Back in
1957, a Princeton graduate student named Hugh Everett proposed what is called
the “Many Worlds” interpretation. According to his dissertation, quantum theory
(the variable behavior of atoms) is true not just for atoms but for
everything—like tables, flower pots, SUVs, and even people. Everett was
actually stating that these big things could, like tiny pieces of atoms, be in
many places at once.
It gets wilder. Everett
hypothesized that if you observe a sports utility vehicle (SUV) which is in two
places at once, your mind will also end up in two states at once—one which
perceives that SUV in one place, and another which perceives it in another
place! So, really, there would be two versions of you and each one would
perceive a world in which there is a different version of the SUV. Not only
that, but these two selves and these two SUVs don’t exist in a vacuum. They
actually interact with each other!
This whole concept of multiple
realities was a big boon for science fiction writers. The truth is that these
ideas are generally considered plausible but not in relation to the large-scale
world. We don’t have a way of manifesting alternate universes full of multiple
SUVs (thankfully) so we can’t really test it.
But there is one area of the Big
World (that which we can see without microscopes) that will be completely
revolutionized by quantum theory, and that’s the development of quantum
computers. In quantum computers, experimenters are taking advantage of the
ability of particles such as atoms to be in many places at once to do many
Talk about high-speed
connections. Quantum computers could solve in seconds problems that would take
conventional computers millions of years to decipher.
We’re talking WAY beyond quickly
downloading your email, obviously. What does this mean for the world? What will
these quantum computers do? The staggering truth is that a quantum computer
will actually perform in different realities—it will be engaging huge numbers
of versions of other computers in alternate universes.
Freaky, huh? But real, and
coming soon—or at least, eventually.
Next time you find yourself
daydreaming about how your life could be different, ramp it up a notch. Think
about quantum physics and the Many Worlds theory. Consider that your life might
already be different in some other reality! If it’s possible that it exists
exactly as you dream it, there’s no reason you can’t create it here. And heck,
you only have to do it in one universe. Piece of cake!
Make that multiple pieces.
About The Author
Maya Talisman Frost is a mind
masseuse. Her work has inspired thinkers in over 90 countries. To subscribe
to her free weekly e-zine, the Friday Mind Massage, visit http://www.massageyourmind.com.
NuPathz.com – Your affordable source for self improvement and self help books & materials
Illuminating the path for personal motivation, growth and development
SUCCESS = TAKING THE STEPS TO DO THE THINGS YOU WANT TO DO!
JUST GO FOR IT!