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Does gravity slap us into reality?

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  • Does gravity slap us into reality?

    We all know that the theory of relativity describes weirdo happenings in our world of space, time and mass.

    We all know that quantum mechanics describes weirdo things in the world of the utterly tiny - the atom, the electron, the neutrino, the photon.



    And we all know just how well tested both theories are, that they describe aspects of reality very, very well, but that they are also hopelessly at odds with each other.

    Well in the Jan 3 issue of New Scientist is an article titled “The Secret Life of Reality”. It seems that some researchers suspect that gravity may be the thing that stops us, in our daily lives, from acting in a quantum manner.



    In discussing the classical light interference pattern made when single atoms are fired at the two slit interferometer, the article states:-



    “The only explanation for such a pattern is that each atom splits in two, with one part going through each slit, then interfering before it reaches the detector.”



    It then describes the even weirder effect of using a detector to determine which slit the atom actually went through. That causes:-



    “... decoherence and destroys the interference pattern. It seems that the atom only behaves oddly when no one - or nothing - is looking.”



    The article discusses various ideas as to why this kind of thing might happen. It then deals with what happens with collections of atoms shot at interferometers. This is where gravity begins to come it. The bolding and coloring is mine:-



    “No one really knows what to make of this [the kind of observations mentioned just before]. It is made even worse by the discovery that large collections of atoms seem to be unable to exist in superposition. We have made interference patterns with molecules composed of 800 atoms, but the more massive they get, the shorter-lived the superposition. This has led some to suspect that gravity might be the real reason why massive collections of atoms - including us - are not quantum.”



    What makes this so interesting is that the technology nearly exists and physicists are beginning to think of testing this. For example, they are thinking of testing how:-

    

“... an atom in a supposition [quantum effect] experiences time [relativistic effect] as it flies through different paths in an interferometer and them recombines to produce an interference pattern”.



    Keep your ears to the ground. This is amazing stuff.
    Last edited by rwatts; 01-05-2015, 02:39 PM.

  • #2
    I thought it was photons going through a slit, not atoms.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Sparko View Post
      I thought it was photons going through a slit, not atoms.
      These experiments started off with photons a few hundred years ago.

      But now they can do the same thing with single atoms, and even molecules and clusters of atoms. But there seems to be a limit to the number of atoms after which, interference breaks down. But they can get these interferences with up to 800 atoms. Because the effect does break down but only with hundreds of atoms, this is what makes some physicists think that gravity might be behind it.

      These odd-ball quantum effects seem to happen with things that are really tiny, and not just photons. They have made vibrating cantilevers out of assemblages of a few atoms, and these also exhibit quantum effects.
      Last edited by rwatts; 01-05-2015, 02:44 PM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by rwatts View Post
        These experiments started off with photons a few hundred years ago.

        But now they can do the same thing with single atoms, and even molecules and clusters of atoms. But there seems to be a limit to the number of atoms after which, interference breaks down. But they can get these interferences with up to 800 atoms. Because the effect does break down but only with hundreds of atoms, this is what makes some physicists think that gravity might be behind it.

        These odd-ball quantum effects seem to happen with things that are really tiny, and not just photons. They have made vibrating cantilevers out of assemblages of a few atoms, and these also exhibit quantum effects.
        yeah quantum physics is just weird. Especially the idea that probability collapses into fixed reality when in the presence of an observer. It is almost as if our universe doesn't exist until a mind observes a part of it, and without no observer, there is nothing there. Like a computer game that only generates the parts that you are looking at in order to keep the processing requirements to a minimum. Maybe we are all in some sort of matrix or computer simulation.

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        • #5
          Or a Mind?
          If it weren't for the Resurrection of Jesus, we'd all be in DEEP TROUBLE!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Sparko View Post
            yeah quantum physics is just weird. Especially the idea that probability collapses into fixed reality when in the presence of an observer. It is almost as if our universe doesn't exist until a mind observes a part of it, and without no observer, there is nothing there.
            The observer need not be a mind. Anything which interacts with the quantum system would be an observer, mind or not.

            That said, it is important to note that the Copenhagen interpretation of the math behind QM is not the only possible interpretation, nor is there any greater evidence to support it than other possible interpretations. A great many physicists prefer other interpretations, such as the Many Worlds interpretation of Everett. Personally, though I am certainly not a physicist, I prefer deterministic interpretations like Watanabe's time symmetric view.
            "[Mathematics] is the revealer of every genuine truth, for it knows every hidden secret, and bears the key to every subtlety of letters; whoever, then, has the effrontery to pursue physics while neglecting mathematics should know from the start he will never make his entry through the portals of wisdom."
            --Thomas Bradwardine, De Continuo (c. 1325)

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Christianbookworm View Post
              Or a Mind?
              Idealism?

              The dictum of all genuine idealists, from the Eleatic school to Bishop Berkeley, is contained in this formula: “All knowledge through the senses and experience is nothing but sheer illusion, and only in the ideas of the pure understanding and reason is there truth.” The principle that throughout dominates and determines my [transcendental] idealism is, on the contrary: “All knowledge of things merely from pure understanding or pure reason is nothing but sheer illusion, and only in experience is there truth.”
              Kant...
              Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                yeah quantum physics is just weird. Especially the idea that probability collapses into fixed reality when in the presence of an observer. It is almost as if our universe doesn't exist until a mind observes a part of it, and without no observer, there is nothing there. Like a computer game that only generates the parts that you are looking at in order to keep the processing requirements to a minimum. Maybe we are all in some sort of matrix or computer simulation.
                Indeed, although at Boxing Pythagoras points out, the "observer" can simply be a detector.

                That's something they did with these photon and atom experiments - put a detector there, as opposed to an observer with a mind. The same outcome results.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Boxing Pythagoras View Post
                  The observer need not be a mind. Anything which interacts with the quantum system would be an observer, mind or not.
                  But then if there were no mind, then the observer that interacts with the quantum system would not exist either and be in a state of probability and so the whole thing would be in flux until a mind interacted with the system.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by rwatts View Post
                    Indeed, although at Boxing Pythagoras points out, the "observer" can simply be a detector.

                    That's something they did with these photon and atom experiments - put a detector there, as opposed to an observer with a mind. The same outcome results.
                    But how would you know that the detector detected anything unless you observed the result, which would collapse the whole thing into a fixed result.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                      But how would you know that the detector detected anything unless you observed the result, which would collapse the whole thing into a fixed result.
                      The scientist isn't observing the results from the detector, but rather the interference pattern which occurs. With no detector, there is an interference pattern consistent with a superposition. With a detector, the superposition collapses and the interference pattern changes.
                      "[Mathematics] is the revealer of every genuine truth, for it knows every hidden secret, and bears the key to every subtlety of letters; whoever, then, has the effrontery to pursue physics while neglecting mathematics should know from the start he will never make his entry through the portals of wisdom."
                      --Thomas Bradwardine, De Continuo (c. 1325)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Boxing Pythagoras View Post
                        The scientist isn't observing the results from the detector, but rather the interference pattern which occurs. With no detector, there is an interference pattern consistent with a superposition. With a detector, the superposition collapses and the interference pattern changes.
                        That is exactly what I would expect a probability wavefront to say. I unfriend you!

                        image.jpg

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                        • #13
                          This is very cool. Question: what is the nature of these detectors that change the behavior of the molecules, causing decoherence and destruction of the interference pattern? And, without these detectors, how do we detect that the interference pattern is not destroyed when the detectors are not present?
                          βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον·
                          ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

                          אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Christianbookworm View Post
                            Or a Mind?
                            Nope. The observation is done with instruments.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by robrecht View Post
                              This is very cool. Question: what is the nature of these detectors that change the behavior of the molecules, causing decoherence and destruction of the interference pattern? And, without these detectors, how do we detect that the interference pattern is not destroyed when the detectors are not present?
                              I think the pattern is manifested in some way, such as putting up a screen behind the slits, that doesn't involve the detectors that you are asking about.
                              The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

                              [T]he truth I’m after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance -— Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

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