Friday, June 20, 2014

The great transformation in the twentieth century brings more questions than answers

The twentieth century saw a complete transformation in the understanding of the most basic structure of matter. Man could open the curtain on the world of the very small. Cells could be seen in enough detail to see how the organelles work; Watson and Kirk discovered the DNA, showing cell duplication in principle, a simple process. The atom was divided into smaller and smaller building blocks, finding the electrons, the nucleons inside the nucleus. Going even deeper, it was shown that the proton and neutron are themselves composites; the constituent quarks are permanently bound together by the nuclear strong force. The twentieth century also was a complete, fundamental transformation of the way we live; from the structure of the family, to the way we work. Breathtaking scientific advances brought us never before imagined advances in healthcare, increasing life expectancy practically all over the globe, improved infrastructure, new services, such as frozen foods, public transportation, and automatization in the home. From refrigerators, to cars the twentieth century has changed us, our expectation and habits more, than any century ever before. Our understanding however stayed behind the dizzying speed of the technical and scientific change. We are still thinking with a Newtonian mind, we have no idea how our refrigerators or television sets work, let alone our computers. The flexibility of the human mind makes it possible to improve our grasp of science and technology. Understanding enhances confidence, forming a mindset that dares to initiate changes with purpose, rather than following old fashioned boundaries dictated by traditions, circumstances and expectations. Knowing and understanding is power, which leads to mental flexibility, a quality essential to handle change. Such confidence and trust makes positive technical, societal changes expected and necessary.

Structure of DNA

The mathematical principles of physics were largely laid down by Newton in 1687 by the publication of Principia Mathematica. These laws of gravitation and motion are still in use today, their universality, and ease of understanding made them an accepted and dominant method of science and engineering prior to Einstein’s special relativity. Yet today we live in a world of understanding that he formed; an apple falls in Newtonian orbit, with Newtonian speed. No matter how successful Newton’s laws have been, they contained some contradictions, and it could not answer some problems of physics. He defined space and time as absolutes, with the unmovable center of the world being the sun. Albert Einstein, the simple patent clerk did away with these absolutes. He stated that movement is relative and that the speed of light is constant for everybody, independent of movement in space. Yet as he showed the innovative ideas about the relationship between time and gravity, he presented theories that were congruent with the classical world of Newton.

Einstein, Maxwell and others formulated quantum mechanics, the science of elementary particles. The wave of change initiated by these ideas is still being played out in the halls of science. In the world of the very small, causation is replaced by uncertainty. Uncertainty and entanglement is unintuitive, mind-bending science. Just like a future teller, a physicists conjures a world that is bizarre and does not fit every day imagination. There is dark matter mixed in with ordinary substance and dark energy somehow creates more of what we have, expanding the universe. A particle’s information can be instantaneously influenced from great distances, defying the speed of light! These and other bizarre experiments show a wild, untamed quantum world that defies easy understanding, and challenges our notion of reality. Physical sciences must be put onto a new foundation. Even basic assumptions, like space, time and gravity must be considered anew. Reexamining the basic foundation of existence is necessary to achieve a new scientific renaissance: in physical, chemical, biological and social sciences. A new theory that formulates a new physical world view by incorporating the inner frontier, consciousness, is the subject of the book 'The Science of Consciousness.' Find it on Amazon.

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