Calling all physics experts
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24-05-2012, 07:11 AM
Calling all physics experts
Hello, i'm a layman who loves science and seeks to understand something better. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. I know the most common interpretation is the Copenhagen Interpretation, but i don't really understand the full scope of what is meant by the different interpretations and which one is held in the highest scientific regard or looks most promising going forward. What i really would love to know, is if causality breaks down at these minute levels. I've had people tell me i'm an ignoramus and to look at De Broglie-Bohm theory when i don't really have the tools to understand even a fraction of it. If there's any person well versed in this stuff that could give an overview in terms a person who doesn't have a degree in advanced mathematics would understand, it would be much appreciated.
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24-05-2012, 09:23 AM
RE: Calling all physics experts
People calling you an ignoramus? Ask them to explain the theory in layman terms. They are ignoramuses themselves if they are unable to. If one is unable to explain a theory in simple terms, one does not fully comprehend the theory itself.

The Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics is one of the earliest and most commonly known interpretations of quantum mechanics. To understand why causality breaks down at quantum levels, we have to look at The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.

According to the uncertainty principle, it is impossible to simultaneously determine, precisely, certain pairs of physical properties of a particle. Example of pairs of physical properties are the position and momentum of the particle, and the energy and time of the particle. So, the more I am able to precisely find the position of a particle, the less precisely I am able to find its momentum.

Heisenberg himself illustrated this principle quite nicely:
Let's say there is a scientist trying to measure the position and momentum of an electron by shooting a photon at it. If the photon has a short wavelength, and therefore a large momentum, the position can be measured accurately. But the photon scatters in a random direction, transferring a large and uncertain amount of momentum to the electron. If the photon has a long wavelength and low momentum, the collision does not disturb the electron's momentum very much, but the scattering will reveal its position only vaguely.


The Principle of Causality states that every determinate cause in nature is followed by the resulting effect. This means that the future position and momentum of the particle can be precisely determined based on the previous position and momentum of the particle. Now in the quantum world, causality breaks down precisely because the future position and momentum of the particle CANNOT be precisely determined based on the previous position and momentum of the particle, due to the Heisenberg's uncertainty principle.

Hope this helps Smile

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24-05-2012, 04:00 PM
RE: Calling all physics experts
(24-05-2012 09:23 AM)robotworld Wrote:  People calling you an ignoramus? Ask them to explain the theory in layman terms. They are ignoramuses themselves if they are unable to. If one is unable to explain a theory in simple terms, one does not fully comprehend the theory itself.

The Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics is one of the earliest and most commonly known interpretations of quantum mechanics. To understand why causality breaks down at quantum levels, we have to look at The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.

According to the uncertainty principle, it is impossible to simultaneously determine, precisely, certain pairs of physical properties of a particle. Example of pairs of physical properties are the position and momentum of the particle, and the energy and time of the particle. So, the more I am able to precisely find the position of a particle, the less precisely I am able to find its momentum.

Heisenberg himself illustrated this principle quite nicely:
Let's say there is a scientist trying to measure the position and momentum of an electron by shooting a photon at it. If the photon has a short wavelength, and therefore a large momentum, the position can be measured accurately. But the photon scatters in a random direction, transferring a large and uncertain amount of momentum to the electron. If the photon has a long wavelength and low momentum, the collision does not disturb the electron's momentum very much, but the scattering will reveal its position only vaguely.


The Principle of Causality states that every determinate cause in nature is followed by the resulting effect. This means that the future position and momentum of the particle can be precisely determined based on the previous position and momentum of the particle. Now in the quantum world, causality breaks down precisely because the future position and momentum of the particle CANNOT be precisely determined based on the previous position and momentum of the particle, due to the Heisenberg's uncertainty principle.

Hope this helps Smile
Thanks alot for your help Smile Alot of responses have said that it may be possible to actually determine the location and momentum, just not with our current technology. I'm Mainly conscerned with this because i formulated a syllogism that goes like this:

1. An
Omnipotent Being Exists


2. The
Omnipotent Being can do anything which is logically possible (no absolute
omnipotence)


3. Omniscience
logically follows from Omnipotence


4. Omniscience
means knowing the truth value of every possible proposition with an absolute
certainty


5. An
Omniscient Being must know the truth value of a proposition of any and all
single event(s) in a possible universe


6. An
Omniscient Being must therefore know the complete causal structure of any
possible universe


7. Therefore
an Omniscient Being can only conceive of an absolutely deterministic universe
(one where the complete causal structure is known), because it would violate
the logical coherence of his Omniscience and therefor Omnipotence to not do so


8. An Omnipotent
Being can only create a universe which he can conceive of


9. Therefore
an Omnipotent Being can only create a completely Deterministic Universe


10. The Summation of modern physics (Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle & Quantum Indeterminacy) suggest that our universe at a base level is non-deterministic


11. Thus either the summation of our knowledge of modern physics is wrong or this universe was not created by an omniscient being.

If you have any thoughts on this syllogism too i'd love to hear it
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24-05-2012, 04:17 PM (This post was last modified: 24-05-2012 07:28 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Calling all physics experts
Not bad. Have you thought of adding Relativity to it ? (No absolute space-time).

However, if it's omnisceint, it can't be omnipotent, as it can't "do" what omniscience tells it, it "didn't do".

(Omniscience refutes omnipotence), (and vice versa).

The whole ball of wax requires THIS (post-singularity) universe.
Why does god have to be logical ?

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein Certified Ancient Astronaut Theorist and Levitating yogi, CAAT-LY.
Yeah, for verily I say unto thee, and this we know : Jebus no likey that which doth tickle thee unto thy nether regions.

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24-05-2012, 07:19 PM
RE: Calling all physics experts
(24-05-2012 04:00 PM)MrEchidna Wrote:  If you have any thoughts on this syllogism too i'd love to hear it

Problems:

1) Trying to disprove God.
2) Using science.
3) "God does not play dice"

The Paradox Of Fools And Wise Men:
“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell
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24-05-2012, 07:31 PM
RE: Calling all physics experts
Einstein lost the dice argument.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein Certified Ancient Astronaut Theorist and Levitating yogi, CAAT-LY.
Yeah, for verily I say unto thee, and this we know : Jebus no likey that which doth tickle thee unto thy nether regions.

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24-05-2012, 09:17 PM
RE: Calling all physics experts
(24-05-2012 07:19 PM)TrulyX Wrote:  
(24-05-2012 04:00 PM)MrEchidna Wrote:  If you have any thoughts on this syllogism too i'd love to hear it

Problems:

1) Trying to disprove God.
2) Using science.
3) "God does not play dice"
Einstein did loose the God does not play dice, at least in this universe it seems going forward. A god indeed doesn't play dice, but we have evidence of huge amounts of proverbial dice. Even the deterministic interpretations of quantum theory aren't in the best repute. I personally think the different arguments against the existence of god, specifically the christian notion of the omni-omni god aren't trumped up enough. I'm not talking about just formulations of the problem of evil either, i love the problem of divine hiddenness and other seemingly bankrupt philosophical concepts that litter natural theology. Thanks for your feedback, but i remain unconvinced by a quote in disrepute.
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24-05-2012, 09:23 PM
RE: Calling all physics experts
(24-05-2012 04:17 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  Not bad. Have you thought of adding Relativity to it ? (No absolute space-time).

However, if it's omnisceint, it can't be omnipotent, as it can't "do" what omniscience tells it, it "didn't do".

(Omniscience refutes omnipotence), (and vice versa).

The whole ball of wax requires THIS (post-singularity) universe.
Why does god have to be logical ?
I wanted to construct something ignoring all the self-conflicting philosophical ideas of the omni-omni god and just attack that ideal in application. I would say that a god does need to be essentially logical, because if he doesn't that one holds strange implications for a divinely perfect god who isn't internally consistent, and also that god would've necessarily made our brains to opporate on logical principals which he necessarily violates sadistically making us yearn for but never be able to understand Him. If you could explain how exactly Relativity could tie into my argument i'd be much appreciated Smile
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24-05-2012, 10:43 PM
RE: Calling all physics experts
(24-05-2012 07:11 AM)MrEchidna Wrote:  Hello, i'm a layman who loves science and seeks to understand something better. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. I know the most common interpretation is the Copenhagen Interpretation, but i don't really understand the full scope of what is meant by the different interpretations and which one is held in the highest scientific regard or looks most promising going forward. What i really would love to know, is if causality breaks down at these minute levels. I've had people tell me i'm an ignoramus and to look at De Broglie-Bohm theory when i don't really have the tools to understand even a fraction of it. If there's any person well versed in this stuff that could give an overview in terms a person who doesn't have a degree in advanced mathematics would understand, it would be much appreciated.
I can see how the deBroglie-Bohm theory would be attractive to theists because it is a causal theory. You can check out the wiki article on the idea while skipping all the math heavy parts:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Broglie–Bohm_theory

In particular, look at the section about the double slit experiment. It is the example Hawking builds upon in his recent book The Grand Design in order to explain his ideas about the nature of the universe to a lay audience. The book is well written and very accessible to the non-scientist. The wiki article on the double slit experiment also goes into a brief description of how the results are interpreted within a few interpretations of quantum mechanics (Hawking embraces the Feynman idea of a path integral interpretation--somewhat math laden idea, but Hawking does a great job explaining it in his book heavy lifting of math concepts):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double-slit_experiment

I do wonder, though, how a the deBroglie-Bohm theory can square causality with an experimental result like this where the observed affect precedes the cause:


http://arstechnica.com/science/2012/04/d...eforehand/
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24-05-2012, 10:59 PM
RE: Calling all physics experts
(24-05-2012 04:00 PM)MrEchidna Wrote:  Thanks alot for your help Smile Alot of responses have said that it may be possible to actually determine the location and momentum, just not with our current technology.
Without getting too deep into mathematics, the uncertainty principle is more than just a proposition or supposition. It is a derivable relationship if we assume quantum mechanics is correct. (Like E=mc^2 is not a theory, it is derivable using the assumptions of special relativity). If the uncertainty principle is wrong then quantum mechanics is wrong.
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