Yes, more science, but this time more ‘real’ science than in “science vs spirituality”. In this article I will hopefully learn you a bit about the interesting subject of quantum physics in which scientists did and do discoveries that seem quite disturbing and which forced them to philosophise to find a descent answer. There are different opinions and theories and (as usual) this divides the scientific community in two camps: materialists and those who believe that there is more than meets the eye.
Quantum physics actually sprung from scientific experiments to discover what light actually is. For a long time there had been different theories about light. Some scientists said that light consists of waves, others said particles and others said both particles and waves.
In 1801 Thomas Young (1773-1829) thought of a test to find this out. This test became known as the “two-hole experiment” and the idea was as follows:
Point a source of light to a screen with one single hole and then a screen with two holes. If light consists of particles, these particles would go the fastest way through the first and one of the second holes and enlight screen number three, as you can see on the left (left half of the picture).
If light consists of waves, it would first go through the hole in the first screen, spread again and does the same with the two holes in the second screen and because there are two holes where light spreads out again, these two beams would interfere. This is what actually happened and the light/shadow result is as you can see in the right half of the picture. The light parts are the result of ‘constructive interference’ (two waves intensifying eachother), shadow is caused by ‘destructive interference’ (two waves discontinuing eachother).
The light-dilema was solved, they must have thought. Nothing was less true, as was proven later.
The word “quantum” was ‘invented’ by Max Planck (1858-1947, still famous for his contant) to explain how light and radiation in general could be absorbed, but there is no need to explain this further for the purpose of this article.
In 1897 J.J. Thomson discovered the electron. This is a negative particle orbiting around the nucleus of an atom. Symbolically an atom can be pictured as on the left. The white/black globes on the outside could be the electrons, while the black/white globes are photons (positive). The nucleus consists of both electrons, photons and neutrons (neutral) which results in a neutral body. Because the electrons and photons orbit around the nucleus in elipses, an atom is more often depicted like on the right.
Of course there are many particles orbiting around the nucleus.
However the electron was known about for various years, it was only in 1911 that E. Rutherford discovered that an atom consists mostly of empty space.
At some point, scientists started to do the two-hole experiments with particles. Since they were thought to be solid pieces of matter, they could impossibly interfere. But guess what? They did interfere! The result of firing particles through the first hole, was the same pattern as with beams of light in the same experiment. Naturally this was a quite disturbing discovery, because all particle theories that were made until that time proved to be wrong. The best part had yet to come though. When scientists slowed down the particle gun enough to be able to fire one single particle to the first hole it still interfered! The conclusion must be that a particle is not only a wave, but it also goes through boths hole and interferes with itself. Of course this brought some great dilemmas.
Further experiments proved that particles were definately solid, but the two-holes experiment proved just as convincing that they are waves. Somehow particles (also the particles in light) are both solid and waves.
This wasn’t even all. Further experiments with the two holes showed something even more stunning.
When one of the holes of the second screen is closed, there is no interference. One particle fired with both holes open, does show interference because that one particle goes through both holes. But how does the particle ‘know’ whether or not both holes are open? When scientists tried to fool the electron by opening or closing one of the holes while the electron was on its way from the first screen to the second, the presence or absence of interference proved to be as if the situation was the same when the particle left the gun! So when two holes were open when the particle was released and one hole is closed during the travel, there is interference.
After this scientists thought of a way to see through which hole the particle passed. The strange thing was, that when this machinery lays an eye on one of the holes, there is no interference, even if both holes are open. The machine does detect a particle. It seems that the particle knows it is being observed and therefor decides to act like a particle and cause no interference.
Apparently the situation is as follows. A particle leaves the gun and behaves like a wave when it passes the two unobserved holes. When either of the holes is observed, the particle will act as particle when passing that hole and cause no interference. But when both holes are observed, only one passing particle is detected through one of the holes.
Particles therefor are proven to be conscious of two things: whether or not both holes are open and whether or not they are being observed. But they not only know, they adjust there behaviour to their findings.
This knowing of the situation not even in the neighbourhood of the particle itself, is known as “non-locality”.
Now let us move unto the theories that have been brought up to explain all this.
*Copenhagen interpretation (Bohr, Born, Heisenberg, etc.): the particle starts and arrives as a particle, but travels as a wave;
*Pilot wave (Broglie, Bohm, etc.): a particle is a real particle, but its characteristics are determined by an associated pilot wave (an unobservable field) which obeys the rules of quantum probability, but science hasn’t been able to find the variables of the pilot wave;
*Many universes (Everett, De Witt, Wheeler, Deutsch, etc.): evey time the universe is faced with a choice at the quantum level, it splits in as many copies of itself as it takes to carry out every single variation. there is no communication between these universes;
*Many minds (Albert): when there is a choice at the quantum level, the brain of Being splits in as many copies of itself as needed. there is no communication between these brains;
*Sum over (Dirac, Feynman, etc.): a particle follows every possible path from point A to point B and the outcome is the result of all these possiblities together;
*Many histories (Zurek, Padmanabhan): the universe we observe is the most probable result of countless of histories.
A combination between the many universes and the sum over theories could be as follow:
A particle is fired and passes hole number one. It follows every single path through the two holes and interferes with itself, because it acted like a wave. Because it didn’t pass both holes as a particle, it can be stated that it travelled both through ‘our’ universe (left half) and as a copy of itself through a (temporary?) ‘ghost’ universe (right half). The result is the outcome of all possibilities.
The problems with this theory are that it is a question whether the ghosts universes are a split-off or they are temporary and for the sole purpose of giving the possibility of every single path to follow and of course if the particle is solid or a wave. As shown before the particle seems to be a wave when not observed and a particle when it is observed.
A theory that doesn’t need different universes could be as follows:
An unobserved particle starts and arrives as particle and travels as a wave. Therefor these waves are able to pass through both holes, cause two points of starting waves which interfere. The particle arrives as particle either on the left of the right (depending through which hole it passed as particle…). See drawing on the bottom of the page. When observed, there are no waves to interfere, because the particle acts as such all through its journey.
This article is based on part II of the informative book “Mirages in Western Science resolved by Occult Science” by E.D. Bilimoria. This book is also reviewed. Also I dug up some memories from my physics lessons at school about 6 years ago, so excuses in advance for possible mistakes.
“Science can not solve the ultimate mystery of nature.
The sensation of of the mystical […] is the
sower of all true art and science”