Monday, July 28, 2014

How does science progress? An assessment from the twenty-first century





The twentieth century was the century of change, as technological innovation created unparalleled progress. Science came to be viewed as the only possible tool capable to solve the problems of modern man. Radical and groundbreaking ideas, such as general relativity or quantum mechanics literally started a new framework of understanding and a wave of discoveries. But even for physicists, it was difficult to accept these radical concepts at first. Even Einstein, and Schrodinger have struggled with quantum mechanics and an experimental proof was necessary for a wide acceptance of general relativity .

But how does science progresses? Initially, radical ideas test the accepted vision of reality. New ideas initially present so many difficulties, that there are only few practitioners. The pioneers have to fight against the old ideas at every level to get their voice heard. However, once accepted, the theory becomes a magnet. Scientists eagerly flood to the field to explore and develop it further. The new theory can be cross examined against accepted classical understanding, exponentially increasing its applicability and importance. With concerted effort a more detailed picture of the field emerges, and lead to new discoveries. The new field develops in leaps and bounds, as the hypothesis is exploited in countless applications within related disciplines. As the theory becomes a common understanding among scientists, the field stabilizes around its rules, and methods, which gradually reduces the field's flexibility. Here and there some experiments begin to question the basic understanding of the theory. However, the well-developed field shows a rigidity to new ideas and a resistance to change. New experiments that does not support, or might contradict the theory, are packaged with increasingly fantastic, extravagant explanationsFor example in the nineteen century, to explain the spread of gravity and electromagnetism, aether was invented to fill space

New ideas and hypotheses have to come from outside, from someone who is not bound by the restrains of the common understanding. Examples of outsider scientists are many. Galileo was a college dropout, Einstein a patent clerk and Michael Faraday, a pioneer of electromagnetism, was a bookseller. Satyendra Nath Bose, a mathematician, published in theoretical physics and made deep studies in chemistry, zoology, and anthropology. Bosons are named in his honor. Leibniz, was a lawyer and a diplomat, but remembered from his studies in mathematics, physics, and technologyGreen's theorem is named after George Green, who introduced and formulated a mathematical theory of electricity and magnetism with only one year of formal education.  


The beginning of the twenty first century is a chaotic time in physics. Quantum mechanics is still just as unapproachable toward traditional logic as it was in Einstein's day and its mysterious implications became the more baffling, the more one tries to understand it. Unification of general relativity and quantum mechanics is still nowhere in sight. An increasing number of problems resists explanation by the standard Model. The Higgs boson was the answer to Standard Model's inability to explain why some particles have masses. The 40 years search culminated in finding an enormously massive a bump, but four years on we still know more (such as mass) about the particle. However, inconsistencies with the Standard Model was not remedied by this greatly publicized finding. The Higgs boson is a particle (or particles) of a Higgs field that grants mass via interaction. The proposed mechanism is immensely complicated and hard to understand even for physicists. Do we really need such a complicated mechanism in the twenty first century, when people's attention span is short even for television? The twenty-first century is beginning to look like the end of the nineteen century, where an aether like medium is now called the Higgs field. Theoretical physics is waiting for a new, radical idea.


Some new ideas about physical reality and a possible path toward unification of general relativity and quantum mechanics are presented in my book, find it on Amazon.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Emotions are the elementary forces of the mind



“If we resist our passion, it is more due to their weakness than our strength.” summed up the French philosopher, Francois de La Rochefoucauld. But only recently have emotions gained scientific reputation as the major contributor of intellectual abilities. This is not without reason. While difficult mental tasks can be reproduced by simple calculators, the basic task of what it feels like to recognize a certain color, or a friend we have not seen for a long time, is beyond the ability of every artificial intelligence. It is emotion that remained the most elusive task for robot designers. A dog stays away from a person who mistreated him in the past because of the emotional nature of memories. Emotions give unusual power to animals, giving them ability to make decisions based on feelings, subjective and hardly describable mental products. Feelings direct the life of animals that have them, giving them decision making ability, far superior to any artificial intelligence. It is not only the blind that ‘feels’ his way around the world, all emotional creatures do. Emotion makes consciousness an incomputable process, completely different from the physical processes that accompany it. Emotions help distinguish the face of the perpetrator from the police lineup, recognize the fence of the childhood home and the overture of a classical opera.

Of course, what scientifically very difficult to propose and prove philosophers and artists intuitively knew for a long, long time. For example music is an international language that communicates about emotions. A Chinese folk song, an opera sung in Italian has a power to affect our mood, because we recognize the emotions in them as our own. This is because music is purely an expression of feelings. Songs are often written about love, but never about the stock market, or the global economy.

Emotions are not just some luxury that birds and mammals (and crocodiles) acquired during evolution, but they are the basic motivation of the animals that have them. Emotions are evolutionary survival tools. With them dangers can be overcome, opportunities found. We are good, generous, trusting because of our emotions. We betray others, we commit crime, and we feel remorse because of them. Emotions are much more powerful than we acknowledge and we cannot even recognize the extent emotions play in our lives, because we identify with our emotions constantly. I am proposing that the elementary forces of the mind are emotions. This leads to the many consequences of mental operation, as shown in the book, The science of consciousness. Sign up for my mailing list to never miss a post. 

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Monday, July 7, 2014

The nature of entanglement and Schrodinger's cat


Schrodinger's cat by Dhatfield


Quantum mechanics is unapproachable for traditional logic, and its mysterious implications become the more baffling, the more one tries to understand it. The phenomenon of interference has proven the particle's existence as a wave, but when someone tries to spy on it by measurement, the particle behaves as a stiff ball, losing its every ability for interference, as if the fact of our stepping into the bathtub would turn the water into ice! For a meaningful discussion about these mind boggling behaviors the basic qualities, such as spin of matter particles need to be examined. Spin is a unique, conserved quality reflecting the energy balance of the particle during measurement. For this reason only up or down spin direction can be distinguished. Particles form one energy state, one common wave function, even if they appear separated over great distances, even millions of light years. Sister particles polarize to become complementary and separate spins states due to measurement (examination). The Bell theorem states that faster-than-light communication would be necessary to connect distant entangled particles. Einstein resisted the idea and he sought a deeper explanation in the particle's wave function. According to string theory particle waves occupy an energetically separate, microdimensional space, which is insulated from gravity. The common wave function of the particle now can exist across the whole universe and form entanglement over the great distances of space. Such particles are connected as umbilical twins, who depend for their own state on their entangled twin. However, this connection does not permit the exchange of instant messages. Being insulated from the outside, the information of entangled particles is hidden until the time of the measurement. As a consequence, during quantum process, unknown information is transmitted and manipulated until measurement. Unknown information has no ‘information’ value.

Entanglement between distant systems, such as photons has been verified in many and increasingly complex experiments. In 2012 Israeli scientist could even produce entanglement between photons that never coexisted. By entanglement swapping they entangled one of each photon pair, which were separated in time. By creating the second pair of photons only after detection of the first one, temporal entanglement was achieved. Just like our email can be checked from any computer anywhere in the world thanks to the internet, the particle existence in limitless freedom can be easily recovered at any part of the universe. The information embedded in the particle is conserved until interaction, which is the particle’s next time moment. By disturbing the particle, you reformulate the wave function and bring forth the next time moment....ending entanglement.


Shrödinger’s cat is a mind bending puzzle of physics. Erwin Schrödinger’s famous thought-experiment takes a cat as a stand in for a quantum particle. Schrödinger’s cat, just like a particle seems to be in a quantum limbo, until the box is intact. The box indeed plays the most important role in these experiments, only the size of the box is mistaken. The box is none other than the particle's insulated wave function! The particle’s standing waves hide their energy until “measurement” (interaction) takes place. As if these waves were frozen in time until prodded into existence, standing waves do not transfer energy and cannot be experienced until measurement, or interaction. Interaction translates the microdimensional energies by depolarizing the particle into up- or down-spin. Out of infinite possibilities, measuring brings forth the most frugal (stationary) action.

In everyday life, things seem to be around all the time. Even if we do not look at it, we know that the moon is there. Existence, however, is dependent on the exuberant activity of the micro world. The moon and everything else constantly reformulates itself in the violent, incessant interactions of the quantum world. The Pauli exclusion principle forces the continuous, endless interaction on the material world. The net result of these activities is constant aging due to change, making growing old an inherent and inalienable part of existence.

The slit experiment entails a photon (or any other particle) that has to pass through one or several slits on its way to a screen. It has been found that a single photon can pass through several slits at the same time and thus interfere with itself. How is it possible? For a time-independent quantum wave it is possible to spread widely in order to pass through the slits and interfere. However, a detector, which is placed at one of the slits triggers interaction and ushers in the next time moment (decoherence). The next time moment instantly terminates the whole particle's ability for interference. To get more mind bending ideas, sign up for my mailing list or find my book on Amazon.
 


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Website: The Science of Consciousness