Chopra, and the domain of quantum physics

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Chopra, and the domain of quantum physics

Postby hyksos on May 4th, 2019, 6:28 pm 

Michael Shermer has ended up in debates on stage with Deepak Chopra. During those debates, Chopra starts him-hawing about how "A conscious observer is required to manifest reality" and Shermer starts face-palming. In one of the more heated exchanges, Shermer tried to stem the tied of Chopra-induced woo by shouting, "These aspects only apply to very tiny objects!!"

There was a movie (released 2004) What the #$*! Do We Know!? that has the crucial scene where a kid is holding a basketball and he tosses it and is carrying on about "It depends on how far down the rabbithole you want to go". I call this scene, "crucial" in that it directly communicates the viewer that the discoveries of quantum mechanics apply to basketballs. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0399877/



In this thread, I will be laying out my personal understanding of this topic , that is : the applicability of quantum mechanics to certain physical contexts , situations, and systems, and under what conditions (temperature, scales) require a descriptions written in the language of QM. (I will then briefly cover aluminum wires and other cantilever experiments here too, to cover all my bases.)

So lets begin.

Domain of Classical Physics
The room you are in now, is under 1 atmosphere of pressure, and the temperature is roughly 290 Kelvin. Your surroundings are bathed in multi-spectrum white visible light and infrared photons are saturating everything. Your body is emitting billions of them haphazardly due to your body heat alone. The room you are in likely is very noisy. TV's blaring. The sound of a ticking clocks on the wall. A fan running is vibrating the air violently. In a quiet enough room, you would even be able to hear the sound of your blood being pumped by your heart.

Classical physics dominates everything in human "everyday life". To any degree of precision you would desire, you could faithfully simulate everything you see, hear, touch, and feel using a computer simulation that only operates by the equations of classical physics. The degree of precision is only bounded by the amount of computing power, and NOT bounded by the "inaccuracy" of classical physics.

Your everyday life is dominated utterly by the mechanical, physical, material phenomenon perfectly captured by and described by Classical Physics, with all its mechanical determinism. If you smash your foot into a concrete wall, it will break your bones and bruise you. A delivery van can still run over you and kill you. If you fall out a 5th story window, you will be injured upon impact below. Basketballs are described by elastic collisions, vibration, kinetic energy, angular momentum, F = ma. Quantum mechanics and Special Relativity do not in way contradict these claims

Bottom line : Descriptions of Physical systems requiring Quantum Mechanics, Relativity, or Quantum Field theory occupy the very extremes of physical law. Extremely cold, extremely small, extremely hot , extremely fast -- these are regimes in which Quantum Mechanics must be applied. Quantum Mechanics does not state that classical physics is "wrong" -- it describes physical contexts at the very extremes, in situations in which classical physics breaks down.

Despite the narrative visuals in the movie, What the #$*! Do We Know!? , Quantum mechanics does not describe basketballs.

Domain of Quantum Mechanics
Classical physics does break down , yes, but only in the extremes of size scales.

Classical physics will describe every physical system that is larger than a molecule. Molecular-scale simulations of physics can adequately capture every phenomenon you would ever want by describing molecules as point-particles. We all know in the back of our minds that molecules are not "actually" points. But any computer simulation of molecular scale can approximate them as if they were. We can faithfully reproduce the phenomenon of heat and pressure inside a chamber simulating carbon dioxide as if every molecule were a single point. We can simulate the dissolving of table salt into water by simulating the water molecules as if they were the points, and simulating the sodium-chloride molecules, as if they were singular points. Such a simulation would reproduce "dissolving" to a precision that would be effectively indifferentiable from reality.

Carbon dioxide is actually shaped like a bar, with two oxygen atoms at the ends. Water molecules are actually shaped as a triangle. These shapes have no bearing on their "large-scale behavior". In a dissolving simulation, we can plug in the properties measured in nature as ad-hoc parameters, and that approximation is both precise and effective. If a smart, combative person wants a simulation to "give rise to" dissolving, then these inter-molecular forces would be required to be simulated ab initio.

That is to say, a combative person who would ask "Okay that's fine but WHY does salt dissolve in water?" Again, you can faithfully simulate dissolving in a computer that only uses the equations of classical physics, with properties of dissolving concentrations plugged in ad-hoc as magical parameters. To answer the WHY-question, does indeed require quantum mechanics. That is, it requires the faithful representation of intermolecular forces, and those forces cannot be described with Classical Physics. The simulations that actually give rise to the triangular shape of bounded oxygen and hydrogen molecules have a name. They are called Ab-Initio Quantum Chemistry simulations. They do indeed contain representations of the Schroedinger Wave, and they consider the orbitals of electrons. Dissolving happens due to the magnetic forces that manifest around the shape of bounded oxygen and hydrogen atoms, and how those electrons create magnetic poles. None of those physical phenomena can be described by Classical Physics.

(Speaking in rough-hewn terms) you can can depict chemical reactions into a simulation in terms of pure concentration curves and heat, and your classical computer simulation will faithfully give rise to chemistry to any level of precision desired. It is only when you start asking question like "Why does flourine burn in air?" do you have to start addressing inter-molecular forces and thus bring in Quantum Mechanics. But a computer simulation can accurately capture flourine burning in air without quantum mechanics -- provided you plug in the realistic parameters "ad hoc", by hand. If you wanted your simulation to give rise to those parameters, naturally in terms of its own dynamics, only then would you need to start adding in Quantum Mechanics to your codebase.

What would be importantly communicated to Deepak Chopra -- is trying to get him to appreciate how extremely tiny molecules really are in comparison to objects we interact with in our daily lives. And that is something Micheal Shermer tried to tell him, with little success.

Cantilevers and Aluminum Wires
This section is for those naysayers and other combative readers who may want me to address the placing of macroscopic objects into superpositions.

Cantilevers and aluminum-nitride wires were indeed placed into superpositions in recent years by researchers in prestigious institutes of science and their adjoining laboratories. This seems to strongly suggest that basketballs, trees, cars, and rocks go into superpositions too --- ergo any hyksos claim about the applicability of QM to certain scale sizes are outwardly contradicted.

Not so fast.

The cantilevers placed into a superposition were under high vacuum; which can only be produced by very expensive lab equipment. The apparatus holding the cantilever was cooled near absolute zero. The researchers then used laboratory-grade lasers to set the cantilever into a resonance, using very dim light that was likely previously entangled. A tiny bump on the table, a stray infrared photon passing through, or any kind of magnetic field induced nearby would destroy the superposition of the cantilever immediately. These experiments, were as it were operating the EXTREMES OF PHYSICAL LAW (cough cough) and are using instruments with atomic-scale precision and sensitivity.

For you Chopra's out there, the room you are in is not under high vacuum, it is saturated with infrared photons, it is about a million times hotter than the cantilever was. The room you are in is likely noisy, and the energy from those sounds is dissipated as heat into the surfaces that absorb them. There is no clean-single-spectrum light sources anywhere near you (lasers), and so photons of all kinds of wavelengths are splashing around.

Researchers in Finland and Australia made a microscopic drumhead go into a superposition. The drumhead was composed of aluminum nitride and contained roughly a trillion atoms. Read up on it, as much as you want, to confirm the following extremal conditions required to do this :
  • The temperature of the apparatus is 0.001 K , or one one-thousandth of a Kelvin.
  • The aluminum nitride was laboratory-grade purity. (this really matters)
  • The lasers were lab-grade microwaves of excruciating precision.
  • The slightest noise destroyed the superposition, something the researchers repeated a dozen times in interviews.
  • The superposition was maintained for timescales far shorter than intervals of individual frames shown on a TV screen.
This is very far .. very very far away from us walking around "...using quantum mechanics to create our own Reality" As if the warm, heavy objects around us are just waiting in a tenuous superposition until the moment our Consciousness grabs them , converting them out of the superposition into a classical state. This is what Deepak Chopra communicates on stage and claims in print.

You cannot grab a crappy aluminum can off the side of a road and expect it to be in a superposition. The can is warm, its lattice of atoms is riddled with impurities, and the can is being bombarded with the pressures of air molecules at 1 atm. Your fingers alone are emitting a storm of infrared photons that are bombarding the impure lattice, setting off waves of phonon-based heat knocking, distorting and wobbling the atoms in a random dance. Remember, those cantilevers in a lab in a superposition were under high vacuum and cooled to a temperature that is never manifest at the surface of the earth, even in Antarctic winters.

Our human reality does consist of cans on the side of the road. Of rocks, cars, trees , furniture, and basketballs. The delivery truck that is about to run you down at a crosswalk does not "manifest" by you observing it. As Shermer said, Quantum Mechanics applies to very tiny objects. In a more honest work-a-day tone, you could even say that QM describes the behavior of fundamental particles.

I fully agree that classical physics does break down ( I am not a hidden-variable theorist). But it only breaks down at the extremes of physical law. The behavior of matter will not be classical when its temperature is hot enough to split the nucluei of atoms apart (roughly 10 million Kelvin). You need QFT to describe the physics there. Matter cooled near a billionth of a Kelvin will not act classically, and instead QM dominates its behavior. Matter moving at astronomical speeds will not act classically, or even appear to be classical, and in those situations Special Relativity is required.
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Re: Chopra, and the domain of quantum physics

Postby TheVat on May 4th, 2019, 6:54 pm 

Makes me think of Sean Carroll's term, domain of applicability.

I think emergence is absolutely central to how naturalists should think about the world, and how we should find room for higher-level concepts from tables to free will in a way compatible with the scientific image. But “weak” emergence, not strong emergence. That is simply the idea that there are multiple theories/languages/vocabularies/ontologies that we can use to usefully describe the world, each appropriate at different levels of coarse-graining and precision. I always return to the example of thermodynamics (fluids, energy, pressure, entropy) and kinetic theory (collections of atoms and molecules with individual positions and momenta). Here we have two ways of talking, each perfectly valid within a domain of applicability, but with the domain of one theory (thermodynamics) living strictly inside the domain of the other (kinetic theory). Crucially, the “emergent” higher-level theory can exhibit features that you might naively think are ruled out by the lower-level rules; in particular, thermodynamics famously has an arrow of time defined by the Second Law (entropy increases in isolated systems), whereas the microscopic rules of the lower-level theory are completely time-symmetric and arrowless.


I enjoyed your essay, and how it clarifies these domains of applicability.
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Re: Chopra, and the domain of quantum physics

Postby edy420 on May 4th, 2019, 9:08 pm 

Earth is sitting in a vacuum. This topic is debunked!

Jokes.

I've only seen one speech by Chopra. I feel like he's asking the question, if a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it, then does it make a sound? Is his position on QM not just this question, regurgitated? Links please.

It would be nice if classical physics could work in all states. Or at least find a theory that combines QM and classical physics. Do you think this may happen in the future?
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Re: Chopra, and the domain of quantum physics

Postby Dave_C on May 4th, 2019, 10:59 pm 

Hyksos,
Nicely written essay. I agree, and I think the idea that classical mechanics (or classical physics or statistical mechanics or whatever one wishes to call the science of large numbers of particles that don't exhibit any of those special features of quantum mechanics) is somehow just an estimate or just a special case of quantum mechanics in the same way that Newton's laws are just a special case of relativity, misses the point spectacularly.

Sorry for the number of words in that sentence... :(

Classical mechanics provides an accurate representation of phenomena in nature above a certain scale. That scale, the correspondence limit or classical limit, might be interesting to discuss. I’ve not seen a great explanation of why that level should exist. At some point these weird superpositions have to collapse or decohere, but why exactly? Why can’t particles interact in all possible ways and remain in the coherent state?

And what would it take to put Schroedinger’s cat in a box that allowed the cat to remain in a coherent state? Would a cryogenically shielded box with a 0.001 K shield suffice? I’ve never heard a good answer to that one. We could even put it all in space so there needn’t be any physical connection to support the inner box from the rest of the universe, just let it float inside a 0.001 K shield, right? I have no idea what it would take, but I think it would be interesting to find out.

Finally, Scientific American published a recent article entitled, “Cosmos, Quantum and Consciousness: Is Science Doomed to Leave Some Questions Unanswered?”
Where it’s pointed out that “quantum mechanics appears to involve the act of observation in a way that is not clearly understood” and asks if science is ‘doomed to leave this question unanswered?’

https://www.scientificamerican.com/arti ... nanswered/

For classical mechanics to make sense, for those phenomena to spring into existence, decoherence is required, no? Isn’t an ‘observation’ required that puts particles into a location (at the correspondence limit)? I understand that our environment is noisy, that it’s hot, etc… and that will collapse this wave function, but why? Why can’t particles just go on interacting in every possible way? What is it about the hot, noisy environment that forces decoherence? I might also ask what it takes to prevent that collapse (such as the cat).
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Re: Chopra, and the domain of quantum physics

Postby hyksos on May 5th, 2019, 12:12 am 

There were some errors from sloppy research. The cantilevers were aluminum nitride, and the drums were silicon nitride. (essentially a square connecting four wires)

They are made of silicon nitride (Si3N4) and consist of a central quadratic membrane measuring 100 microns on each side, connected to [vimeo][/vimeo]a fixed frame with four tethers, which are five microns wide and just 50 nanometres thick.


Researchers are calling them optomechanical resonators.

http://faculty.ucmerced.edu/dkleckner/papers/OptomechanicalTrampoline.pdf


It seems like I also heard of the superposition done to a single strand of gold wire. Googling around didn't yield fruit.
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Re: Chopra, and the domain of quantum physics

Postby PaulN on May 5th, 2019, 10:42 am 

Didn't someone here post an experimental setup like this where it was proposed to put a tardigrade on a "trampoline." Can't find it now. Several tardigrade posts, but not that one.
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Re: Chopra, and the domain of quantum physics

Postby TheVat on May 5th, 2019, 11:58 am 

Gröblacher is also interested in experiments involving living creatures. He is currently working on putting a sheet of nitride into a superposition of states. By using a laser, it is theoretically possible to get a barely visible membrane of silicon nitride measuring around one millimetre across into a superposition of vibrations with two different amplitudes. The amplitude is related to the amount of energy carried by a wave, and is the measurement from the undisturbed position to the peak of the wave. If you apply more force, the peak – and therefore amplitude – increase. Gröblacher reckons they are within a couple of years of achieving this superposition of vibrations.

“A superposition state of these membranes would allow us to demonstrate that objects that are visible to the naked eye still behave quantum, and we can really test decoherence – the transition between classical and quantum mechanics,” he says.

He then hopes to extend the experiment by placing tiny living organisms called tardigrades onto the membrane of silicon nitride, putting them into superposition too. One of the remarkable abilities of tardigrades is their ability to survive being dehydrated. The tardigrades would be in their dehydrated state during the experiment so that there would be no impact on their biology. If successful, Gröblacher’s tardigrades would be the closest we’ve come to seeing a living creature in two simultaneous states – a real-life Schrödinger’s cat.


https://www.sciencefocus.com/science/qu ... anglement/


(scroll down to section, "Into the Real World" and photo of tardigrades)
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Re: Chopra, and the domain of quantum physics

Postby edy420 on May 6th, 2019, 6:52 am 

It's interesting that the rules change at the super small scale. Is it fair to assume that the rules change again at the super large scale.
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Re: Chopra, and the domain of quantum physics

Postby PaulN on May 8th, 2019, 11:20 am 

Not quite. The only new sort of thing that emerges at the cosmological scale is a dark energy effect, where we see space/time, at that huge scale, expanding. But classical physics and GR seem to handle that, so there's no sign of a different ontology/vocabulary/theory at that scale. GR included a cosmological constant.
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Re: Chopra, and the domain of quantum physics

Postby dandelion on May 8th, 2019, 4:07 pm 

I really enjoy reading your views, Hyksos, and appreciate the requisite knowledge and learn a lot from them, particularly this thread and the further commentary like Dave C’s which helps me better understand the views of others and mine and how they might conflict. My apologies for any possible misunderstanding already due to these differences, but I am one of those questioners, however maybe coming from a different angle than Chopra too (whom I don’t think I’ve read) in being fascinated by the thought involved in attempts to reconcile the different areas of physics together.

I don’t know much, and have my own more favourite approaches, but understand more of concerns for classical physics better now but also that QM and GR are successful too, and as classical physics may be more strongly affected by preconceptions than the more recently considered others, or at least, by living classical physics ourselves we may perhaps be better placed to question it and associated philosophical thought than the others, and so possibly negate some presumptions. So, it could be an option instead to hold more tightly to the differences of the QM and GR from classical physics as evidences to find good resolutions between all three. And questioning the QM as seen from a classical/realist view, which, if the classicism/realism were less significant, might negate some seeming oddities about QM.

I’m very interested in learning and discussing more about observation. For a start on my part is a balanced contribution with negatives regarding either side from Weinberg who noted that the realist interpretations often involve notions of a European medieval, Platonic-based realism, rather remote from modern science. Weinberg also laments, like the video I’ve linked to previously with Gell-Mann, the cosmological problems of observational dependence, too (I haven’t found the Weinberg verifying link yet but will provide later if wanted). I think the history of these conceptions is fascinating so for some more quick thoughts aside from others I’ve enjoyed could be developments of attempts to get beyond subjectivity or anthropocentrism, deeming objectivity as an attitude of rational detachment, (or further, logically through impersonal maths or quantities), to possibly taking this rationality as some unspoken requisite for an observer consciousness in the rational “agent”. And on the realism side, realism can involve explanation against some (usually fairly impersonal) framework, e.g. realism supported by consensus (or collective subjectivity), but the “with respect to” aspect seems like some sort of (observational) dependence, no? More, consensus or collective observation might seem like collective subjectivity, which might be more objective, but to be thorough also importantly includes peer review and scientific education and experience based on centuries of discovery, repeated experimentation with physics, recorded data, and so on, which seems more than collective subjectivity, it seems like physics, and more like some parts of physics occur, or physical events occur, with respect to other parts of physics. So, thanks very much for the link, Dave, I’ve been partial to perspectival or partial accounts, but didn’t think it was called perspectival “realism”, but instead just more of an epistemologically limiting and ontologically spartan almost combination of the two sans total view.

Concerning the accuracy of classical physics, it might be that by holding more strongly to the QM and GR differences, classical physics might not be considered too differently, but some papers like Rovelli’s describe something much like Dave C mentioned with Newtonian physics, the core of classical physics might be left mostly unscathed, and so like current use of Newtonian gravity within GR, special case of a broader description. For an example using Hyksos’ mention of precision of classical physics, and also an example of less separation of areas of applicability, it could be like some properties like temp might be coarse-grained approximated descriptions of measures and it would follow that phenomena described by these properties, like instrumentation or the users of it, us, as well much of our physical experience would also be described by coarse-grained approximations.

Even though I enjoyed Dave C’s more wordy paragraph which is like much I write here, I’ve written too much without order, sorry. Also, there are lots of nice links that might touch on these but I can’t decide which are relevant, so I’ll just add a couple for now which might be interesting, https://arxiv.org/pdf/1106.0767.pdf, https://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/9801057
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Re: Chopra, and the domain of quantum physics

Postby hyksos on May 9th, 2019, 12:51 pm 

Dave_C » May 5th, 2019, 6:59 am wrote:Finally, Scientific American published a recent article entitled, “Cosmos, Quantum and Consciousness: Is Science Doomed to Leave Some Questions Unanswered?”
Where it’s pointed out that “quantum mechanics appears to involve the act of observation in a way that is not clearly understood” and asks if science is ‘doomed to leave this question unanswered?’

https://www.scientificamerican.com/arti ... nanswered/

For classical mechanics to make sense, for those phenomena to spring into existence, decoherence is required, no? Isn’t an ‘observation’ required that puts particles into a location (at the correspondence limit)? I understand that our environment is noisy, that it’s hot, etc… and that will collapse this wave function, but why? Why can’t particles just go on interacting in every possible way? What is it about the hot, noisy environment that forces decoherence? I might also ask what it takes to prevent that collapse (such as the cat).

This thread is about Deepak Chopra and the 2004 movie here https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0399877/

As far as I can see, you want another thread on the interpretations of Quantum Mechanics. I believe there must be three dozen threads on that topic already on this forum, including long threads I have already written about Many Worlds. In past days I was planning on making a thread on QBism, where we can tear it apart and get more detailed about its claims.

Yes, the real world around us must re-create all these phenomena of chemical reactions, burning, and particle decay at high temperatures, WITHOUT the shortcut of plugging in measured parameters. The universe, the actual universe must "give rise" to burning, molecular chemistry, particle decay, nuclear reactions, and so on.

None of that has any bearing on the precision and accuracy of the classical descriptions of basketballs. (Well-- provided you don't heat the basketball to 12 million K.)

Before we presto-chango this thread over to another thread on the interpretations of QM, I would ask you two questions :

Are you claiming that there is sufficient elbow-room in interpretations to validate Deepak Chopra?

Do you believe any of those interpretations is justification for the material presented in What-the-bleep movie?
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Re: Chopra, and the domain of quantum physics

Postby TheVat on May 9th, 2019, 1:07 pm 

In past days I was planning on making a thread on QBism, where we can tear it apart and get more detailed about its claims.


Looking forward to this possible thread very much. (I am sort of back, seeing that still no regular mod has been found)
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Re: Chopra, and the domain of quantum physics

Postby Dave_C on May 9th, 2019, 8:04 pm 

Hi Hyksos. I didn’t intend to hijack your thread. Apologies if that’s true, it isn’t intended. I thought my response was within the bounds of your subject and still not sure why you feel I’ve committed crimes.

I watched the movie long ago so if you make me watch it again, that will be my fault, won’t it? Actually, it will be my fault a second time. Not that I remember it well, only my impressions at the time which generally follow the larger opinions such as described by Wikipedia:
The film has been described as an example of quantum mysticism, and has been criticized for both misrepresenting science and containing pseudoscience. While many of its interviewees and subjects are professional scientists in the fields of physics, chemistry, and engineering, several have noted that the film quotes them out of context.

But the movie is primarily about quantum consciousness.
… and a narrative that posits a spiritual connection between quantum physics and consciousness.

I would separate the concept that there is some reason to believe that p-consciousness requires a QM basis with the mysticism of the movie. But I don’t think that’s your concern with Chopra and the movie. More about basketballs…
None of that has any bearing on the precision and accuracy of the classical descriptions of basketballs. (Well-- provided you don't heat the basketball to 12 million K.)


I would point out that molecules in a solid such as a basketball do not have a definite location. Molecules in a solid vibrate and rotate in place. But as Victor Stenger puts it (Quantum Gods) with forward from your friend Shermer, classical mechanical models fully define and predict the phenomena we observe above a certain scale. Quantum mechanics is not required. Victor states,
While deterministic chaos is limited to classical systems, quantum uncertainties in the initial conditions could result in a large-scale, otherwise deterministic chaotic system such as a pendulum or the atmosphere, [or a thousand basketballs bouncing in the back of a truck] to behave unpredictably. Note that this is not “quantum chaos” since once the initial conditions are set the system still behaves deterministically.

(pg 149) I’d recommend the book. I do think you’d enjoy it.

So to your concern regarding whether or not QM applies to basketballs, the exact motion of an actual basketball will never be predicted with absolute certainty using any mathematics. If we go far enough into the future, there will always be deviations due to variations in the initial conditions but also due to variations in molecular motions which are not determined by classical mechanics. But that’s not important. What’s important regarding classical mechanical descriptions is that they accurately predict a given phenomenon with great precision. We needn’t keep track of specific molecular motions, only as you say,
… Basketballs are described by elastic collisions, vibration, kinetic energy, angular momentum, F = ma. Quantum mechanics and Special Relativity do not in way contradict these claims.


But I think we’re on the same page with all that. Again, my apologies if I seemed to be dragging this thread off kilter.
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Re: Chopra, and the domain of quantum physics

Postby hyksos on May 10th, 2019, 12:52 am 

I replied to Dave_C but the forum did not save it.
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Re: Chopra, and the domain of quantum physics

Postby TheVat on May 10th, 2019, 9:27 am 

Not sure wha happened. Can you hit the back key several times and see if the writing page is still in cache? I've been having trouble with some f-ing pharma ad that keeps taking over bottom of page.
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Re: Chopra, and the domain of quantum physics

Postby hyksos on May 10th, 2019, 1:23 pm 

So to your concern regarding whether or not QM applies to basketballs, the exact motion of an actual basketball will never be predicted with absolute certainty using any mathematics.


Absolute certainty? (I'm chuckling to myself here at the irony.)

Lets talk about this basketball in terms of absolute certainty of its underlying fundamental particles.

As the basketball passes through space, the electrons inside of it are actually interacting with structures in the vacuum of space. Physicists sometimes call these (variously) vacuum fluctuations, "virtual particles" , vacuum corrections, zero-point energy, vacuum interactions, et cetera.

A mechanical explanation (which may not be fitting) would say that the electrons are being perturbed, or wobbled around by virtual photons flitting in-and-out of existence. So there should be some residual motion in electrons even after the heat energy is removed. Pragmatically, what these vacuum interactions do is change the mass of the electron very slightly. For several decades this was called the "electron mass defect". While it is one fraction of one percent of the electron's mass, experiment could not make it go away.

Any sane, work-a-day physicist would be perfectly happy simply measuring the mass of an electron experimentally, and then plugging that number into their formulas. (No thinking deeper. That's how God made them. Move on with my life.) Only highly theoretical people groping at the very bottom basis of all reality would demand to know WHY the mass of the electron comes out that way. Only those probing, curious people constantly asking WHy-why-why would need to know about vacuum corrections. Normal people are satisfied by plugging the number in.

Going back to our basketball, it is near the earth's surface and it around room temperature. It is more-than-adequately described by classical physics.

However, if the basketball were heated somehow to 12 million Kelvin, the very nuclei inside the atoms of the basketball would fly apart. At that point, whatever is left of the basketball would have to be described using quantum field theory. This does not make the classical description wrong. Because the ball is not at 12 million Kelvin -- it is somewhere around 290 K. There is a lingering feeling that the classical description is "not totally true", or as you put it , "not absolutely certain". That feeling is well-grounded and rational to be sure. But there is a wrong way to react to that fact and a right way.


Simulating a basketball at the level of quarks and fermions is a trillion-trillion times more accurate than anyone would ever reasonably need. Some people desire that nature be described by a single, unifying equation. The less equations we have on the chalkboard, the closer we are to Truth. Again, this is not to say the equations of classical physics are "wrong".. ("wrong" defined by their practical predictions and their accuracy.) Instead classical physics is superfluous to our deep search for capital-T Truth.


But I think we’re on the same page with all that. Again, my apologies if I seemed to be dragging this thread off kilter.

You are asking WHy-questions. Why-questions never end, always leading to another Why. And then you have to face quantum mechanics eventually. You are not asking things like
(1)What are the magnitude of these effects?
and
(2) Under what conditions do we see them?
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Re: Chopra, and the domain of quantum physics

Postby hyksos on May 14th, 2019, 2:03 pm 

I remembered the visuals in the movie being way more subtle than they actually are.

The two visuals shown here are interspersed with narrative dialog of actual physicists. The physicists are carrying on about fundamental particles being in a superposition when not observed. Marlee turns around and her act of looking causes the probabilistic cloud of basketballs to snap into one position.

The visuals are far from subtle.

basketball_superposition.png

.
.
basketball_measurement.png


If you want the full experience, here is a link.

https://youtu.be/pCWvRI8G5s4?t=1250
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Re: Chopra, and the domain of quantum physics

Postby dandelion on May 16th, 2019, 7:09 am 

Watched a little bit. Thanks, sort of, I didn’t like it.

Couldn’t much be missed in filtering interaction events correlated with coarse-grained properties?
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Re: Chopra, and the domain of quantum physics

Postby dandelion on May 18th, 2019, 11:25 am 

I’ll add some illustrative examples besides basketballs, borrowed from a link I’ve found belonging to another discussion and so out of context but could give some illustrative notion of coarse-grained relevance in interaction. An example being a normal radio that can be tuned to a relevant single band of the entire electromagnetic spectrum among other properties for an interaction and appropriate description. Another illustration is photoreception. Receptors such as the ones we have interact with three variables “of a virtually infinite dimensional space of waveforms”, and relevantly, none of these three directly matching basketball properties in the interaction. For examples of heavy influences of Plato’s Perfect Forms and religion upon realisms are Le Goff and Gurevich’s research tracing medieval conceptions, for one perhaps an imperfect singular, universal temporal linearity toward the last day which might be contrasted with events around the turn of the 19th century with Herman Einstein employed installing the first electric power stations, the advent of transcontinental transportation, trams, trains, telegraphs, and coordinated timetables, the International Meridian conference for conventionalising time differences had been held and the quite recently federated Switzerland, centre of clock motion industry voted to belong with central Europe’s time zone, and the Bern patent office filing devices co-ordinating these along with patents like personal wrist chronographs. Harvard historian, Galison’s “Einstein’s Clocks, Poincare’s Maps: Empires of time”, 2003, among other’s is interesting on the such background as the economic importance of precise synchronisation of electrotechnical systems.
https://www.nytimes.com/2003/08/17/book ... space.html https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/ph ... F34FF4C79A
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Re: Less is More

Postby Faradave on May 18th, 2019, 12:07 pm 

In the picture with multiple balls, it's important to recall that superposition means one ball distributed in multiple locations. This follows from conservation of mass-energy. Thus, the balls should appear faded in inverse proportion to the probability of their being found at each location. The sum of optical density of all the images should add to the optical density of one classical ball. This would appear most accurately as a blurred probability field of a smeared out ball.

Unless the observer has some knowledge of the probability distribution (i.e. knows where to look) , she is most likely to find no ball upon random observation. Complementarity prohibits observing multiple locations at once, despite the camera's classically broad view.
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Re: Chopra, and the domain of quantum physics

Postby dandelion on May 24th, 2019, 2:54 pm 

Gell-Mann may have died :(
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Re: Chopra, and the domain of quantum physics

Postby bangstrom on May 24th, 2019, 11:45 pm 

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Re: Chopra, and the domain of quantum physics

Postby dandelion on May 25th, 2019, 6:58 am 

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