The Quantum Physics of Alice and Wonderland
Lewis Carroll had some interesting ideas in his works, especially in Alice in Wonderland. Alice falls asleep in a meadow, dreams of plunging through a rabbit hole, then finds herself too large and then too small. She meets new and bizarre characters on her way as well, including the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, and the King and Queen of Hearts. She experiences wondrous, often strange adventures, trying to reason in numerous discussions that do not follow the usual paths of logic. Finally she totally rejects the dream world and wakes up. This book almost mirrors the theories of quantum physics. Things in extremes: things too small and too large. Just like the tiniest particles you can think of--quarks and electrons--and the biggest thing you can think of-- galaxies, black holes, and more recently discovered, the Large Quasar Group.
Quantum disobeys many theories in classical physics. Especially many of Newtons claims, and now even Einstein's. It reveals laws which could have the slightest bit of chaos to change entire equations already used in classical physics and logic. Alice does crazy things that would not have normally been seen as proper or normal. She gets really big, then small, falls into rabbit holes, talks to cats... And, everything in physics is about a cat as we all know, and the Cheshire Cat explains to Alice that everyone in Wonderland is mad, including Alice herself, hence it must be right. The Cheshire Cat gives directions to the March Hare's house and fades away to nothing but a floating grin. Cats can do everything. They can be alive, be dead, be alive and dead (vampire cats), not in a box, in a box, or floating in mid air with only its teeth showing.
Many things in Alice in Wonderland are illogical or just confusing and weird, this is all you need to know about quantum physics. The mallets and balls in a game of croquet (in this wonderland) are live flamingos and hedgehogs. And there are illogical laws much like in quantum physics with the Queen frantically calling for the other player's executions. Amidst this madness, Alice bumps into the Cheshire Cat again, who asks her how she is doing. Obviously some cats worry. But the King of Hearts interrupts their conversation and attempts to bully the Cheshire Cat, who impudently dismisses the King. The King takes offense and arranges for the Cheshire Cat's execution, but since the Cheshire Cat is now only a head floating in midair, no one can agree on how to behead it. In the Schrodinger's cat, there is a cat enclosed in a chamber with a vial containing hydrocyanic acid, a radioactive substance. If even a single atom of the substance decays during the test period, a relay mechanism will trip a hammer, which will, in turn, break the vial and kill the cat. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics implies that after a while, the cat is simultaneously dead and alive. (This is all in theory.) So similarly, in this case, no one can decide whether the cat is both dead and alive, or either dead or alive in this wonderland, no one can decide how to behead the cat.
Alice's wonderland is much like the theories and laws of quantum physics. There could be the most structured laws in physics, but the tiniest bit of randomness occur in quantum physics which causes much stress, chaos, and a lot of calculus for scientists and science itself. Such complex theories and complex and imaginary numbers make this wonderland of physics. I can understand how Carroll, being a man of mathematics, could make such a book. Mathematics is so literal and straightforward, and makes you a little mad. Some theories make you wonder whether we are existing at all, and whether time is real. Math can make you crazy just by trying to explain how 1 is larger than 0, or how to describe a straight line in 20 pages.
Alice in Wonderland is a book which has underlying tones of reality and debate over many theories of quantum physics. This does not surprise me because Carroll was a rather exceptional student of Oxford, where he studied mathematics and was great at Aristotelian logic. The author's life and work has become a constant area for speculation and his exploring of the boundaries of sense and nonsense which has inspired a number of psychological studies and novels.
They are against Alice's common sense: 'I can't believe that!' said Alice. '... one can't believe impossible things. But the White Queen has her own principles: "Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.' (from Through the Looking Glass) Which is possible...and impossible! Everything, anything and nothing may and may not occur in quantum physics, but above all, only some of it is in theory, the rest is true, and there is proof and evidence backing it all up. As for Alice in Wonderland, thatï¿½s up for you to decide.
Summer is here boys and girls, and what better way to be cool in the sun, than flying a kite! It’s fun, safe, and somewhat boring when it stays in the sky for twenty minutes! So you may have to get creative with other things you can put on the string to fly up… But the point of this blog is the physics of flying a kite.
A kite is light weight so it’s aero-dynamic, and also whimsical. The light small string is strong enough to not break when winds are high, yet light enough so it freely flows in the sky. There is a tail added to a kite for stability. Those little attachments that are like the bones of the kite—they are usually made of plastic or wood and are thin little frames that hold the body of the kite together. (Usually three or four points if the kite is shaped like a diamond.) They are attachment points for stability as well. A kite is kind of like a mini airplane without people on it. The kite flies because it is heavier than the air itself—thus demonstrating aero-dynamics.
When I was flying this kite with my friends, we were wondering what would happen if we let go of this 30 foot string kite? Also, how far would it go if we followed it in our car? Where would it land? Would it land?—it was a very windy day. And more importantly, how many kites would we need to lift us off the ground while holding on to them? We needed a lawn chair or something. Maybe on a more windy day we will have to test this out again. All of these things depend on the lift and drag of the kite and its aero-dynamics. (You cannot have one without the other.)
To get a kite off the ground you have to run with it. Get a little crazy, and just fly with the kite. This creates “apparent wind” which creates a lift and pushes up the kite. Once the kite reaches a high enough altitude where the wind becomes strong enough, you can stop running and the kite will remain aloft. This is extremely boring. Like more boring than you would image. The first 10 minutes are fun and all, but after a while you start to think about what else you should do. Sit down? Sleep? Let go of the kite? Fly your shorts up the kite string? So many possibilities. On this specific day, there was a lot of velocity in the air flowing through the kite, so it stayed up for a very long time. It was also pulling towards a specific direction and it made you feel like it was leading you somewhere. Stand your ground, and don’t let any kite pull you around. Tell him whose boss.
The change in velocity from the surface of the earth to some altitude is caused by the boundary layer of the atmosphere. Inside the boundary layer the velocity is low and may be unsteady—this is why your kite may fall down very fast and do a few flip tricks against the pavement before it flies away. But with enough altitude, the velocity (and the lift force) become fairly constant. Once the kite has been launched, it will cruise at an altitude and in an attitude where all the forces and the torques are balanced. By pulling on the control line, you can slightly increase the velocity of the kite—this is called lift. This is a very fun feeling. It feels like your sailing in the air and you feel very in control of this little kites journey.
There is actually a computer program called KiteModeler which solves equations to get an approximation of the flight characteristics of your design in the kite. By using some simple math techniques, a little graph paper and a little more mathematical knowledge you can even calculate the altitude at which the kite is flying.
Happy flying everyone!
Scientists have proven that sound does affect our health and healing on a cellular level. Music can reduce stress and stimulate cognitive processing and memory in measurable, substantive, and lasting ways. Advanced Brain Technology a brain health and educational company whose therapeutic programs harness the properties of sound to improve individuals listening, learning, and communication skills. Health care professionals said that listening to music appeared to increase patients tolerance for pain and sped up their surgical recovery times. Music seemed to enhance premature infants growth rates in pediatric ICU's. In special programs in schools for troubled youth, drumming circles have had a remarkable impact. College students who listened to Mozart's music did better on temporal/spatial tests taken shortly after the listening experience. Music can animate people with Parkinson's disease who cannot otherwise move, give words to stroke patients who cannot otherwise speak, and calm and organize people whose memories are ravaged by Alzheimer's or amnesia.
Music is an obsession at the human heart of nature, perhaps even more fundamental to our species than language. Every noise in our environment has the ability to change our mood, decrease our productivity, and even affect our health. We use music and silence throughout our day to not only change how we feel but alter how we physically function. The force of music improves lives. Composers exploit the way our brains make sense of the world. We are more musically equipped than we think because our brains are hardwired for music. Music can improve productivity, create collegial environment at the work place, improve social, physical, and academic functioning, reduce pre-operative stress, and speed up recovery time.
"For a few moments music makes us larger than we really are, and the world more orderly than it really is. That is cause enough for ecstasy."
-Robert Jourdain, author and composer
Sound is a vibration. It has the power to affect us literally from the atoms up. Certain sounds, provided in the right context and combination can organize our neural activity, stimulate our bodies, retune our emotions, and thus allow us to be calmer and in a more productive emotional state. Sound has the power to organize grains of sand scattered randomly across a flat surface.
If sound has this effect on material world around you, imagine how it can affect your body and brain.
This next video is a recording of the perfect dose of sonic caffeine, performed.
Performed by the Buena Vista Social Club. this is specifically for the sleepy student.
Research showed arts-involved students usually perform 16 to 18 percentage points better than their peers who are not involved in the arts. The same study also showed a correlation between involvement in music and proficiency in math. The perception of music in the human brain shows the cascade of activity, from the eardrum to cells deep inside the brain that regulate emotion, is set off when we hear music. Our musical preferences begin before we are born, and the musical experience is built as we age. We are all more musically equipped than we think because our brains are hardwired for music. Some leading experts have long held that music is a decoration living parasitically on the fringe of human nature. Music is an obsession at the heart of human nature.
Listening to music as you work out is one way to see the amazing affects of sound. One can get better results from an aerobic routine by listening to upbeat music with strong rhythmic beat. The strong rhythmic beat creates a pulse like sensation in the body which is like the beating of a heart, an encore to stimulate us to keep going, and work harder. When you oxygenate body through working out or doing yoga--my favorite, your ears become more sensitive. Focus on the rhythm. If you continuously do this while you work out, with the same playlist of music, your ears will actually remember the pulse of each song and you won't have to turn up your music as loud your brain will be playing it. This is the power of habituation to use in protecting hearing. Using the same playlist to exercise in, you will internalize the music and may exercise in silence, with the music running through your head. Music you love releases pleasure-giving endorphin's, with other biological reactions caused by your increased heart rate and breathing, drive you to work harder and prolong your routine. Another important aspect of the music is a stimulating tempo. Upbeat music stimulates adrenaline flow and songs with lyrics distract the mind from the effort your muscles are doing while you work out. This will improve performance in exercise and physical activity.
Throw away everything you have ever learned about classical physics. Forget about everything logic has taught you, and remove any ordinary rules of thought that every sane person uses to make deductions. For some people this may be harder than others, but for me, it's fun. Not like hydrogen bonding is "FON" but like real fun. Mr. Fullerton said, "If you understand Quantum Physics, you must be an idiot, or should have a PhD in physics." Challenge accepted Mr. Fullerton. Quantum Physics is like the rebel of all science's this is why I am so attracted to the idea!
Classical physics says, particle are particles, and waves are waves, and never shall they meet. Particles have an energy E and a momentum vector p. Waves, like light waves, have amplitude A and a wave vector k (where the magnitude of k=2?/?, where ? is the wavelength) that points in the direction the wave is traveling. According to classical physics, that's the end of it. However, in reality things are a bit different. There are random laws. The theories of nature are intellectually intolerable and contradicting. The idea of a random, uncontrollable element in the laws of nature did not sit well with classic physicists.
This idea of the arrival of a photon was truly an unpredictable event. The final position of a photon is unpredictable. It is impossible to say where the photon is and what direction it's moving in. This fuzziness deals with the Uncertainty Principle. And by Uncertainty, in no way is this made up numbers. Uncertainty is precise, it is a fact and it is known. (Thank you Hindenburg.) It involves probability measurements, integral calculus, and other fancy mathematics. So this uncertainty dealing with probability could be as simple as flipping a coin 1000 times. Now there is a probability of flipping a coin heads 1000 times, but I wouldn't bet my money on that. It is completely random and unpredictable as of now by scientists. This is kind of what Einstein meant when he said "God doesn't play dice." He flips coins. Just kidding!
But there has been some controversy over this with Stephen Hawking challenging Einstein's claim, and presenting an idea which could possibly allow scientists to tell the future. The end of time is the next revolution in physics. Scientist are describing time as something that happens when nothing else does. Others believe if nothing happened, if nothing changed, time would stop. Kind of like if a tree fell in a forest with no one there, would anyone hear it? But this new claim in science questions, and proves time doesn't exist. A timeless universe is intensely temporal. This new theme casts doubt on Einstein's greatest contribution, the space-time continuum. The problem? The great chasm between classical and quantum physics. Einstein's general relativity and quantum mechanics may well spell the end of time. This is the mystery of the universe: multiple worlds, time travel, immortality, and the illusion of motion. This is the most fascinating thing I have ever set my eyes upon.
This is the Stern-Gerlach experimental apparatus. The result expected for atoms in an l = 1 state (three components) is shown. The angular momentum is l=0 and z component of that angular momentum is 0. These silver atoms spin up or spin down. Because 46 of the silver's 47 electrons are arranged in a symmetrical cloud, they contribute nothing to the orbital angular momentum of the atom. The 47th electron can be in the 5p state, the angular momentum is l=0 and the z component of angular momentum is 0. It could also be in the 5p state when the angular momentum is l=1, which means the z component of its angular momentum can be -1, 0, or 1. There are two possible directions of spin up or down. Electrons contain intrinsic angular momentum giving us angular momentum that interacts with magnetic field. Angular momentum other than orbital angular momentum is just spin. And depending of the spin of that 47th electron in the atom, there are two possible states of the spin up and down. This is similar to the spin of the earth, you can't stop it. And you also cannot stop the electrons from possessing spin. This goes for other subatomic particles that possess spin, such as protons.
Another scary, wonderful thing about quantum mechanics is the interacting of two electrons. Identical particles do not retain their individuality in terms of any measurable, observable quality. You lose the individuality of identical particles as soon as you mix them with similar particles!
As soon as you let N identical particles interact, you cannot say which exact is one at r1, r2, r3, r4ï¿½ Particles obviously have some identity problems. I mean they're just a discrete piece of matter, give them a break.
Another cool thing about quantum physics is tunneling. A phenomenon where particle can get through regions that their classically forbidden to go. Are we getting this theme of classic, not being so classy to quantum physics?
Mainly what I am trying to say is if I ever fall through the floor due to quantum mechanics, you can have my physics books.
The police should really keep their eyes out for photons. They can collide into others, split and then rejoin again! They are tricky things.
The basic interaction is called a vertex a fork in the road. A particle proceeds along its world line, until it comes to a fork, but then, instead of choosing one road or the other, the particle splits and turns into two particles, one for each branch. A single electron, spontaneously, without any warning suddenly splits into an electron and a photon, each part is somehow less than the original.
Scary concepts from quantum physics:
-Probability can be in negatives, but it is nonsense to say, getting heads over tails is a minus one-third chance, it just doesn't make sense.
-The complex number, imaginary number, i, is abstract math for the square root minus one.
-Black holes are black bodies.
-1 light-year is really just a year
-Even the coldest object radiates some electromagnetic radiation, as long as they are not absolute zero, which scientist have not yet reached.
-If a black hole loses energy, it also loses mass.
-Noise is just random unstructured information, like white noise on the screen of a defective TV set, which is why the TV keeps coincidentally turning on in Donnie Darko! Scary.
-A dumb hole is a drain hole where the velocity of the flow exceed the speed of sound in water, close to the drain
-Mr. Fullerton's hair absorbs every color besides red.
-It is possible to have a coin land on its side
-It is possible to throw a ball against a wall so many times it goes through
"It is impossible as I state it, and therefore I must in some respect have stated it wrong."
While I was pouring ice cold lemonade for myself, I wondered-- "What would happen over time if I waited for a cup filled completely to the brim with ice to melt? Would the water spill over the cup as the ice melted? Or would the ice just melt leaving the cup still completely filled to the brim with no spills?" Huh. I had to test this out. I decided to use a cup filled with ice, and slowly poured water to the exact brim of the cup, and left a napkin under to see if the water would spill over after the ice melted. This was not enough for me. What if the cup were filled with ice and grape juice? Or ice cube grape juice filled with water? Or ginger ale? Or milk? I was curious.
I tested these all out, only to find I was wrong in my original hypothesis. I was sure I'd come back to my kitchen a pooling mess of water, milk, grape juice, and ginger ale, but I was very wrong. I had three cups of perfectly filled glasses completely filled to the very very tippy top, like no other cup has even been. It was amazing. I realized something was up with water. These things called hydrogen bonds really mess with us chemist and physicists. Why? Because they can.
In liquids, molecules slip, side, bond, break and reform. However when the water turns to ice, the molecules are rigidly bonded. This creates more empty space between the molecules when the hydrogen atoms bond together so rigidly and thus frozen water occupies more room. It is also less dense than liquid H2O because of this space. This is why ice floats in your Sodas. Or why in the winter-- better known as the constant weather in Rochester-- lakes and ponds freeze at the top and not on the bottom. Because ice is less dense due to H2O's molecular structure of Hydrogen bonding (positive to negative --oppositely charged ends of the water molecules-- creating space). Solid ice takes up more space than the liquid state of H2O. You would think that water would behave like every other substance from liquid to solid-- that the molecules would become denser and more compacted-- but no, it does the exact opposite. Because water is tricky, and that's why we drink it. You may be wondering why the milk and grape juice? Those are mostly water based as well, that is why. Due to the change in thermal energy, we all know that the water transferred energy from the high temperature (water) to the low temperature (ice). This is the second law of thermodynamics. It is also considered an energy heat flow. As we know, this happens so that this water glass can reach a happily balanced equilibrium. This is why ice melts. Even milk ice. The energy in the glass is never destroyed; the first law of thermodynamics tells us energy is conserved.
Here are some cool links (pun intended) on ice and why it is less dense than its liquid state of H2O. (Also why it would not spill over a glass even when filled to the brim and left alone for an hour or so.)
Not all science experiments have to be messy.
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