Spooky interaction and spongy space

While reading an excerpt from “How the Hippies Saved Physics: Science, Counterculture, and the Quantum Revival [Excerpt]” from Scientific American, I again started pondering on spooky-interaction.

Einstein saw a problem with quantum spooky-interaction at a distance, i.e., quantum entanglement. An observer can’t measure neither position or speed (momentum) accurately (noncommutativity) at the same time, because we are outside the reference frame or system of an individual particle being measured; outside the looking glass so to speak, existing within our own snow shaker (reference frame). Although we are made of lots of elementary particles, collectively they work as their own system, within a larger framework of another system.

Just as we can’t see outside our observable Universe or inside a black-hole, the same fuzz occurs with an individual elementary particle because we are not part of that system, which exists in a different phased space from what we exist within. We see a shadow or ghost of that individual particle and we appear reflected to the observed particle’s true nature also as a shadow or ghost.

Within quantum mechanics an elementary particle is said to have spin; that is spin direction. Wolfgang Pauli first proposed the concept of spin, who later formulated a mathematical theory in 1927. Quantum mechanics uses two types of angular momentum: orbital angular momentum and spin. So why is spin important? Spin has no direct analogous classical mechanical equivalent, however quantum mechanical spin does contain information about direction.

Elementary particles have no measurable internal structure, and therefore no common centre to rotate about, unlike a solar system. The spin of an elementary particle is an inherent physical property of that individual elementary particle, which is analogous to electrical charge and rest mass of the elementary particle. The value of an elementary particle’s spin quantum number can be a non-negative integer or a fraction, such as 0, ½, 1, 3/2, 2, etc.

This is where things get really interesting with quantum mechanical spin. The system of measurement used to describe a spin vector, will determine the amount of rotation that is required to see the elementary particle as it was originally measured. So if one rotates a spin-½ particle by 360 degrees, the elementary particle will not display the same quantum characteristics as originally measured, the spin-½ particle has to turned a further 360 degrees to return it back to its original measured state.

Electrons need to be turned through 720 degrees to be measured with the same electrical charge and position, this is somewhat analogous to gravity acting like a mirror on the structure of space-time. Within geometric-scape of space-time, we see a shadow of an individual particle, that exists within its own spatial reference frame inside of Einstein space-time, a reflective copy mirrored by gravity. We do not exist as part of an elementary particle’s internal reference-frame, however elementary particles exist within our reference frames as more than just shadows and ghosts.

This is one possible explanation as to why elementary particles interact differently and why we cannot measure both position and or momentum accurately. I am now going to bolster the ingredients to this gedankenexperiment to make a sponge, well spongy space. Postulate the following: Cracks between the spaces.

Maybe space-time is like a honeycomb sponge, where certain particles can pass through, such as neutrinos, depending upon space-time’s configuration. An elementary particle while in wave form may stretch through cracks like entangled string. However when observed, it ‘slows down’ to reveal its shadow properties. As elementary particles clump together to form atoms, cells, plants, animals planets and stars, a collection of matter becomes too large to pass through space-time’s sieve-like honeycomb sponge structure.

After all, if gravity acts like a mirror, could this space-scape reflect, hide and shadow the true nature of elementary particles? George Musser, Scientific American, 2 February 2012 describes the problem as:

“it is not just any old force, but a reflection of the structure of space-time, on which all else depends”.

A possible experiment could be confirmed by building scientific apparatus to test the sponginess of space-time. Take a particle that rotates, (not spin as in electrical charge, but rather has angular momentum) or an atom like caesium so its decay can be measured as a clock. Place this atom into an interferometer at very a cold temperature (near absolute zero) inside a totally reflective sphere, with a very strong rotating magnetic field surrounding. Outside the sphere is a rotating electrical field ‘spinning about’, lets see what results this produces for measuring quantum gravity.

If the wave function collapses with an entangled atom, it should produce a measurable change to the total energy of the system inside the apparatus. Of course this experiment could be closer to science fiction than physics.


What constitutes time?

A definition of time can be found within the second law of thermodynamics, in entropy. From entropy we can establish a direction for the flow of time within the classical physics world. Entropy at its core is about energy and heat transfer. Heat can be transferred from one body to another by electromagnetic radiation.

Electromagnetic radiation has several measurable components, wavelength, electron volt and frequency and its energy can be calculated using classical and quantum methods, seen as a wave or a particle. Waves and oscillations permeate the universe and are present in whatever form of tool we use to describe the world about us.

One component of a wave or an oscillation is its frequency. We can experience frequency in the form of an earth tremor, as the ground shakes and the earth’s mantle vibrates. The word frequency is defined as being, “The rate of repetition of a regular event. The number of cycles of a wave, or some other oscillation or vibration”, source: Oxford Dictionary of Science, John Daintith, Elizabeth Martin, et al., 2005, Oxford University Press.

Subatomic particles can be broken down into smaller and smaller components. LHC at CERN is attempting to confirm experimentally what theoretical physicists postulate for the structure of matter. I am proposing a thought experiment as to postulate further what time is.

Under General Relativity, time is experienced through the curvature of space; space is curved by mass (matter) essentially. Within quantum mechanics, matter is divisible down to quantum – a discrete packet or quantity of energy proportional in magnitude to the frequency of radiation it represents. The energy packet that forms the quantum also has a frequency property. This can be seen in atoms which have their own corresponding characteristics, including a different frequency for every type of atom.

So is it frequency (or vibration) of a discrete quantum what shapes or rather creates the geometry (spatial configuration) of that discrete particle or atom?

For example take the humble electron, an elementary particle of matter. An electron has a specific vibration pattern, wave function or frequency (they shake at a specific rate); is it this specific wobbling what makes an electron an electron? Is it a distinctive frequency that shapes the geometry of this quantum, an internal pattern to its energy wave structure what makes us ‘see’ an electron? An electron has to rotate through 720 degrees to look the same as it did before, not 360 degrees as with a normal Lorentz symmetry transformation; as do neutrinos.

Lets take a carbon atom. The sub-atomic particles which form an atom like carbon-12 are 6 electrons, 6 neutrons and 6 protons. Protons and neutrons are themselves made up of smaller elementary particles called quarks. Beneath quarks? Well supposedly nothing, but maybe loopy bits of string. A proton can be seen as a box containing a set of 3 additional boxes (quarks) all giggling about. Is it the combined vibrations of all those sub-components, boxes within boxes including the space between boxes being shaken about, that shapes an atom’s geometry making the structure that we see as a carbon atom?

Think of a boxed system made with elastic walls, like balloons of water that vibrate, all held together with a field; the strong nuclear force, also known as strong interaction. As each balloon vibrates, they rub against the local space and in some circumstances one another. Their jiggling within a confined space creates their composition, which in turn shapes their configuration, their geometry and shapes the permeating waves of energy outside that balloon acting like a force.

Like throwing a stone into a still pond, those vibrations ripple out and transmit, through the balloon’s membrane. As the vibrations ripple out of each balloon’s shell, they interact like ripples on a pond with multiple stones being thrown in, where waves vibrations clash against one another, creating interference patterns. Collectively all of these vibrations form the energy signature we know as the atom carbon-12.

Each atom has its own unique frequency and consequently appears different. It is this unique set of different vibration patterns, their frequency, that shapes the geometry for each different elementary particle, sub-atomic particle, atom, collection of atoms… that ultimately shapes their geometry and in turn describes a distinctive structure for matter; this is what constitutes the different elements and helps to shape time.

New Scientist reported in issue 2772, pp28-31, 7th August 2010, (cover story) The end of Space-time: Rethinking Einstein, that a group of research physicists took graphene (a 1 atom layer of graphite) and placed it into a Bose-Einstine condensate state; a temperature near absolute zero. They noticed something strange happening. Further experiments were run in computer simulated models and to their surprise, they discovered that at a distance (macro), space-time behaves as prescribed in Lorentz symmetry. However looking at space-time with a quanta level (micro) perspective, they noticed that time plays a far greater role than space.

Consider the following: is time (interchangeable with a spatial dimension in General Relativity,) the very composite vibrations of those discrete building blocks of matter? Or to put it another way, when one looks at a quantum level, does time play a far greater role because we are looking more closely at the vibrations of matter representing ghostly echos of time itself?

If these composite vibrations is what shapes an atom and in turn an element, (a box within a box within another box, that creates the geometric structure of what we see,) then by looking in closely at the structure of matter, are we seeing a temporal component of matter? And is it those same quantum fluctuations that make space-time what it is?

Could this also help to explain phenomena such as electrons being able to be in two places at once, or Carbon-60 atoms being able to go through a two slit experiment? To get even weirder, if you supercooled (to near absolute zero) or superheated (to many thousands of degrees) matter, it becomes more active. Matter vibrates more, with greater frequency and vigour. Is this increased vibration the effect of additional oscillations jiggling the box or balloon of matter, feeding into its space additional vibrations and becoming part of the box-within-a-box system or even permeate the box’s shell?

Think of a small pond, with water filled balloons floating inside. However these water filled balloons also contain smaller subsets of water filled balloons within. Then think of throwing in a pebble or two into the pond. The oscillations will shape the internal geometry of the pond and affect the position of the balloons as well as their internal structure. Then start throwing in lots of pebbles into the pond, adding more energy into the system. Resonance may occur within some of the balloons within balloons. The frequency of not only how many pebbles are being thrown in but where they are being thrown into the pond will shape its geometry, like ripples in space-time.

Do these ghost like properties tell us more than just the amount of energy contained within a quantum of something; are these ghost echos revealing the clockwork mechanics of the Universe?

Many-worlds interpretation

On the matter of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, I came across this fascinating article; below is an abstract:

“Or at least one of your future world-paths will… In the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, all outcomes of any experiment are realised. Rather than the wave function, a superposition of all possible outcomes, “collapsing” to a single outcome, in the many-worlds interpretation the universe itself branches into all the possible outcomes. … The physics world thought this interpretation came along with a bit too much metaphysical baggage to be taken completely seriously. Nevertheless the mathematics are certainly self-consistent, I think.” Source: Play the Quantum Lottery!

Personally I find the idea of the Many Worlds interpretation of Quantum Mechanics unpleasant for this reason: A logical conclusion which one can draw from every outcome occurring in the many-worlds interpretation, it that all possible outcomes have been determined or played out.

Whether you do or do not subscribe to theological or secular systems, the many-worlds interpretation leads to a logical conclusion in that there is no free-will. Under this interpretation, you have no choice, as the outcome of what you do has been pre-determined and will be accounted for in every possibility (or universe). So if you decide to turn right one day, instead of left, the world you then ‘exist’ within may be less favourable than you might expect. It could be argued that free will has not been removed, as any choice you make, will make, or had made, will all be played out and without an (external) observer to keep everything ticking over.

So you do have free will within a multiverse? Well I suppose it all depends upon what your definition of free will is. To me a multiverse does not allow free will. An example of free will, excluding acts that create closed loop paradoxical (grandfather) systems, would be when you turned left instead of right. The scenario that played out is then not repeated within another universe, but exists solely in one universe only – assuming that other universes exist.

What about if I am not looking or there is no external observer and I don’t know about other choices being played out, surely then I am still choosing? Well not really, by lacking the knowledge of a system does not mean that it does not still exist. So if no one was looking at the stars at night, would they still be there the following night? It all comes down to what the ‘truth’ about the wave function collapsing is. And having an external observer within a multiverse framework, can point to a conclusion that all paths are predetermined. But an external observer is still outside of the multiverse, so how would you know? It just comes back to Bishop Berkeley’s philosophical  argument on the existence of an external observer.

Under the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, the wave function contains all information one can know of a quantum object, both its position and speed. However the wave function resolves with its own deterministic resolution, in that only a quantum object’s speed or position can be accurately measured at once; as one cannot measure both the quantum object’s speed and position accurately simultaneously (the uncertainty principle), all that can be predicted is the wave function (Schrödinger equation) and our knowledge of any quantum object from a classic perspective is halved.

However even with our knowledge being limited, it is not so limited under the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics that predictions cannot be made. Even within this acquired knowledge there are limitations, such as where space-time becomes so severely warped by strong gravitational fields, our knowledge can become opaque and or obscured by such regions of space-time.

Key to any system’s knowledge is the observer; the observer them-self becomes entangled with an experiment to measure a quantum object’s position or speed accurately, or to even obtain both with a certainty degree of predictable accuracy. The observer becomes an extension of the quantum complexity, however as the observer exists within a classical framework within space-time, the quantum object becomes juxtaposed and closed off from an entire view to the classical world, but information will leak into the classical world from the quantum world due to entanglement.  The observer does not only interfere with an observation, they also become part of that system and the knowledge contained within it. However as quantum objects exist or are perceived within the geometry of space-time, knowledge of a system is also restricted as to how fast that information can be transmitted beyond the local region in which the observation took place; in classical observable terms, this is determined by the speed of light.

Light coming from the Sun takes approximately 8 minutes to reach the Earth; from distant galaxies, light can take thousands (or greater) years to reach the Earth in which an observer can see, for example, a quasar galaxy. The information accumulated from observations of a quasar galaxy, then becomes part of a knowledge state to those who have that information. What I am trying to reach at in this thread is that, space-time itself has a direct effect on quantum observations. Just as Einstein pointed out that space can be experienced different for different observers, the quantum information within a system in which an observer inhabits, also becomes tied into those same classical observational limitations.

Further more, as any system is within the Universe, there is a further limitation placed on the observer. As the observer is part of the system itself (and therefore part of the Universe), not only is the observer entangled within any observation, the knowledge of the system is restricted to limitations of space-time localisation. As the observer cannot step out-side of the Universe to observe it as a whole, they cannot know all the information at once; they them-self are trapped within and become part of the wave function itself.

By observing an object’s quantum state, classical information can be obtained which will lead to information of a system; as the psi wave collapses the information becomes ‘fixed’ and systems knowledge can be known with certainty (quantum decoherence results); the quantum object’s information becomes ‘revealed’. However this information still does not always lead to a full understanding of the system itself – for example, the two slit experiment – as you will only ever obtain partial results if you view the information from a classical perspective.

Where as With the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, choice is allowed, spatial-temporal events are not ’set-in-stone’ until observed and that information becomes knowledge of the (local) system. But as mentioned before, this knowledge is still limited, in the quantum world it is the wave function which is revealed; in the classical world, our interpretation of events are understood by accurately knowing either a quantum object’s position or speed.

To complicate matters, experiments have been carried out which demonstrate that larger objects may also exhibit quantum properties. So not only photons, electrons and other small objects, but also larger discrete objects within space-time events, such as Buckminsterfullerene and bacteria.

Einstein once said, ‘God does not play dice’; personally I don’t like the many-worlds interpretation. Although I favour the Copenhagen interpretation, I would say that I agree with it about 75%; there is still something missing, and maybe the search for a unified theory will answer the missing questions, but I have my doubts. I like the idea of having choice and not being a marionette existing within the many-worlds interpretation.

However, the whole point is to keep on debating, as there are many chasms in knowledge. Science is the search for truth and understanding and interpreting information.  There are lots of theories, and all too often, theories can become ’set-in-stone’ and new ideas discarded. You only have to look at examples in ‘history’ for this, such as Faraday, Tesla, el. al.

One of our Dinosaurs, or is that Universes, is missing?

Like the accolade to Disney in its heyday with the great comedic British Actor… I feel a certain sense of nostalgia to the missing Universe debate; an article published at http://physicsweb.org/articles/world/19/6/5/1 discusses how “dark matter” is still nowhere to be found.

If astronomers are correct in that only 4% of the known visible universe is made up of ordinary matter, with the rest being made up of dark matter and or dark energy {which is responsible for the universe’s expansion}, then one might sensibly ask, where is the rest of the missing matter? Or is it missing?

It is good to debate, discuss and form hypothesis, as this keeps people thinking; though to describe dark matter in scientific journals as though it was “real” as normal matter that we can see and touch, is stretching it a bit. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for debates, discussions and hypothesis, but also, there is nothing wrong in saying: “we don’t know” where the rest of the missing matter is.

So is the current models that describe the Universe, from quantum mechanics through to general relativity missing something? Some scientists currently believe that general relativity is not currently complete as it does not encompass all aspects of quantum mechanics.

As scientists discovered, Newton’s predictions of gravity have a limited accuracy. Einstein’s general relativity expanded on this and can describe galaxies and  cluster of galaxies within the cosmos, but this too has its limits, such as with the theoretically predicted black holes.

With our current boundary limit of knowledge, now that we can peek further “back in time” into the depths of the great expanse of the universe that seems to keep going on, we are learning that it is approximately 28 billion light years across and about 14 billion years old.

Membrane theory has made some inroads into unifying a few elements of quantum mechanics with general relativity, however the picture is still incomplete within membrane theory {a predecessor of string theory}.

Could it not be the case then that the “multi-verse” might exist, similar to membrane theory but not the same as described within, where other “branched versions of universes”, are not just bumping next to one another, but existing in similar space and time; not the same, but similar. The universes could all co-exist in the same space and be made of the same or similar fabric, but be phased out from one another, like one of the other bane explanations which accounts for neutrinos. Or is space-time folding back on itself and the different objects we see are the same, like the weird properties {information} of a photon being entangled in two different places at once? As Bishop Berkeley {Berkeley, George (1685–1753), Irish philosopher and bishop who argued that material objects exist only by being perceived} philosophised, reality is not all it seems!

An article published in New Scientist, “Is space-time actually a superfluid?” 09 June 2006, Marcus Chown, Magazine issue 2555, discusses the possibility of space-time being a super-fluid. Reading this article, it reminded me of “luminiferous aether“; I wonder if there is another Michelson-Morley experiment waiting in the wings to force a new hypothesis to describe the fabric of space-time? Or is a super-fluid model of space-time a step in the right direction? Once thing is for certain, to continually debate, discuss and hypothesise is crucial to avoid dogmatic ideologies from setting in. Science is about the search for truth, and we can never know enough.