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Posts tagged ‘quantum physics’

The Quantum Quorner

As promised, we’re offering our brand of continuing education on the specific subject of Quantum Physics. Our frequent contributor, Matthew Bain, shall be heretofore known as “The Subatomic Professor,” when holding forth on these matters. Ed.

In the interest of setting the stage for a clear and accessible conversation about the physics of the subatomic scale and how it affects us here on the superatomic scale, it seems a glossary is a helpful resource to have on hand before we delve into concepts. This glossary is very limited in its scope, handling only the most basic terms that will likely be brought into the discussion. As always, if you have any questions or comments, please send us a note!

Quantum Glossary

Phenomenon: a fact or occurrence that can be observed. (plural: phenomena)

Subatomic: on a scale smaller than the atom, or involving phenomena at this level.

Superatomic: on a scale larger than the atom, or involving phenomena at this level.

Energy: The property of matter and radiation that is manifest as a capacity to perform work (such as causing motion or the interaction of molecules.)

 Matter: That which occupies space, especially as distinct from energy. The substance that composes bodies which are perceptible to the senses.

 Gravity: The force that attracts a body toward the center of the earth, or toward any other physical body having mass.

Physics: The branch of science concerned with the nature and properties of matter and energy. The subject matter of physics, distinguished from that of chemistry and biology, which includes mechanics, heat, light and other radiation, sound, electricity, magnetism, and the structure of atoms. For our purposes, we’ll begin with defining two branches of physics.

Quantum: [plural: quanta] a discrete (separate), indivisible quantity of energy proportional in magnitude (size) to the frequency of the energy it represents. Also used to describe the branch of applied mathematics dealing with motion and the forces producing motion.

Classical Physics: The branch of physics that is based on the assumption of Classical mechanics and excludes relativity and quantum mechanics.

Quantum Physics: The branch of physics that deals with discrete indivisible units of energy called quanta. See quantum mechanics.

Mechanics: The branch of applied mathematics dealing with motion and the forces producing motion.

Classical Mechanics: Mechanics based on Newton’s laws of motion and other concepts and theories, which preceded the theories of relativity and quantum mechanics.

Quantum Mechanics: The modern theory of matter, of electromagnetic radiation, and of the interaction between matter and radiation; it differs from classical physics mainly in the realm of atomic and subatomic phenomena. The branch of mechanics that deals with the mathematical description of the motion and interaction of subatomic particles. Also known as quantum theory, quantum physics.

Quantum Theory:  see Quantum Mechanics.

Observer effect: Refers to changes that the act of observation will make on the phenomenon being observed. This is often the result of instruments that, by necessity, alter the state of what they measure in some manner. A commonplace example is checking the pressure in an automobile tire; this is difficult to do without letting out some of the air, thus changing the pressure. This effect can be observed in many domains of physics.

Uncertainty Principle: This is based on the precept, or rule, that accurate measurement of an observable quantity must produce uncertainties in one’s knowledge of the values of other observables; no matter how hard you try you cannot obtain a precise measurement for both velocity and position. Also known as Heisenberg uncertainty principle; indeterminacy principle.


Moving Right Along

Dear Readers,

I want to share with you some thoughts I’ve been having about a subject near and dear to my heart. Quantum Physics. Yes, this from she who made it okay through biology and algebra in high school but got totally lost in chemistry and geometry, never even daring to attempt physics and trigonometry. Over the years my forays into matters of Spirit have led me to surprising encounters with matters of mathematics and science. My reading about and studies of New Thought and New Age philosophies and theosophies have been fraught with quotes from both scientists and ancient mystics. “Hmmmmm…” I thought, whenever that happened.

The single thread that keeps pulling me forward in any direction in my life is the call to conscious evolution and the evolution of consciousness—the same, yet different. Everywhere I look these days I see evidence both are happening. I’m also intensely aware that many people not only don’t hold this perspective, but believe it’s wrong and dangerous. This, I believe, accounts for the extreme resistance to change. I also think the way this plays out in the world is in the collapse of systems that no longer are sustainable as we evolve beyond the consciousness that put them into place. And that begats apocalyptic predictions about the future—widespread destruction and disaster, which sometimes engenders self-fulfilling prophecies.

You’ve heard me say it here before and I’ll say it again; what if the demise is clearing the way for a world that we’ve only heretofore dreamed of? What if all that yakety-schmack about love and peace and joy and abundance is what’s real and lasting, and it takes the falling away of all that isn’t in alignment with that before we can experience it? What if humanity is just having growing pains and from an evolutionary stand-point, we’re about to take the next leap, comparable to when we walked out of the muck on two feet—only this leap won’t take millions or even thousands or even hundreds or even tens of years?

If you can look around this world and be anything less than amazed, inspired, and in total awe, you’re not paying attention. Never has mankind been this close to fulfilling his potential as creator of his own experience here in the Garden of Eden. Never have we been this close to understanding our true nature and power as divine beings having a human experience. Never has the veil been so thin that we could experience ourselves as connected, unique parts of the greater whole. Science fiction? Maybe. So, a hundred years ago, were those crazy flying machines and futurist ships that could sail underwater and rocket ships that went to the moon. ESP and spoon-bending, the Bionic Man, Star Trek Enterprise’s holodeck where reality was a computer simulation—all once were considered fantasy and magic.

I really get that all this changing and shifting makes some people want to hunker down and hold on for dear life to what’s familiar. Just like you can’t put a brick on your kid’s head to keep her from growing up, you can’t stem the evolutionary rising tide of shifting consciousness. The good news is that there are things we can do to make the ride less scary and more engaging.

This brings us full circle to quantum physics (you thought I forgot, didn’t you?) I’ve found the more I learn from quantum physics, the more the changes going on around me make sense. And equally, perhaps even more important from my point of view is seeing quantum physics as the place where science and spirituality dovetail, each enhancing the meaning of the other. In my world, that understanding empowers me to move with confidence that all is well in the Universe, allowing me to engage more fully with every aspect of my life, inspiring a sense of adventure and excitement that infuses life with an exquisite preciousness.

To that end, we’re going to begin having a regular quantum physics column. We’ll start with the basics and go from there. If you have specific questions we’ll do our best to find answers. If not, let’s just travel together into the 21st Century!