Oddities of Quantum Physics Essay
Moving faster than the speed of light, being in two places at once, and Traveling backward through time are all common themes in science fiction.
Conventional physics tells us these are all nearly impossible. However, they are happening right now, in this very room. They are happening at the atomic level. Journey with me into the world of Quantum Physics. Quantum physics is the study of the smallest things known to science. In this world are things so small that they no longer obey what we consider the “laws” of physics.At such a small scale, Newton’s precious laws no longer apply.
In fact, scientists have had to come up with a new set of laws that only pertain to atoms and the particles they are made up of. In the world of Quantum physics, the impossible becomes reality. Atoms have been observed to occasionally “link” or “bond”, not in a physical or chemical way, but in an “Informational” Bond, if you will. Scientists have no idea how or why two atoms may become bonded. All they know is that these two atoms seem to transfer data instantly.Now, this not like an Instant message send over the internet. While a message through the internet can only travel as fast as the electricity carrying it, this bond the atoms is truly instant.
These atoms can be separated be billions of light years and though it would take the fastest thing in the universe billions of years to get from one atom to the other; this data would be instantly transferred from atom to atom. When one atom spins clockwise, the other atom will spin counterclockwise.When one atom is observed, the second atom physically becomes the first when observed at the same time, and when the second is observed, the first atom will physically become the first when observed! Even more incredible are the particles smaller than atoms. One such particle, the photon, seemingly does the impossible. This massless particle whizzing around carrying light, has flabbergasted and puzzled physicists for over to 100 years. In 1909 the “two slit experiment” was conducted.
In this experiment, a light was shone through two tiny slits onto a screen on the opposing side.Each Photon, being a particle and not a wave, would have to go through either one slit or the other, matching the pattern of the two slits on the screen. Weren’t scientist surprised to find out that the exact opposite happened.
The pattern on the screen did not match the two slits; the pattern was much more reminiscent of that of a wave. This baffled scientists. It would seem that the photon had gone through both slits, at the very same time. It was in two places, at the SAME TIME! Along came electron microscopes to shed some light on the issue, and… It only raised further questions.Scientist, using this microscope to see what on earth was going on down there, aimed they’re lenses at the photons before they came to the slits. What they saw amazed them. The photons were clearly particles, not waves. And they acted as particles too! When observed, the photons either went through one slit or the other, and the pattern on the screen matched the slits.
This led to an astounding find; when not being observed the photons were waves, but when observed the photons were particles! Scientist then devised a slightly modified “two slits experiment. They would selectively begin observing the photons after they had already passed through the two slits. Because they had not observed the photons going into the slits, they should have been waves on the other side. However, it’s never quite that simple. As scientist peered down at the photons after having already passed through the slits they saw particles, not waves.
And the pattern on the screen matched the pattern for if they were particles! What? How can they be particles, when it had already been determined that they would be waves by the shear fact that they were not observed?When observed after the slits the photons look like particles, and act as though they have always been particles! It seems as though these photons have the ability to travel back in time to change the outcome of the future! The photons were waves, but upon being observed, they traveled back in time and turned themselves into particles! All of this only scratches the surface of the peculiar world of Quantum Physics. Scientists are still trying to understand what, if any, laws could possible govern a world of such pandemonium. In such a world where the impossible becomes reality.