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Posts Tagged ‘Quantum Physics’

What Would God Think of the God Particle? (Part 2)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on October 29, 2013

By Deepak Chopra, M.D., FACP and Menas Kafatos, Ph.D., Fletcher Jones Endowed Professor in Computational Physics, Chapman University

Deepak ChopraThe “God particle” seems to be well and truly with us. The award on October 3 of the Nobel Prize in physics that focused on the Higgs boson – the technical term for the God particle – capped a decades-long search that has cost billions of dollars. In the first post we discussed why the discovery of the elusive, fleeting Higgs boson is two-edged. It represents a triumph in human curiosity and our drive to understand the universe. At the same time, however, a huge stumbling block hasn’t been overcome. In fact, the Higgs boson may indicate that creation (whether God exists or not) is becoming ever more mysterious.

The mammoth collider at CERN Switzerland blasted the Higgs boson out of the invisible quantum field so that it could be observed, at the faintest level of measurement and then only for precious milliseconds. But this was enough to disclose the finest level of the subatomic realm so far known to be real. The problem with getting this close to the source of creation is that space, time, gravity, matter, and energy have become more and more ambiguous, as if the quantum revolution hadn’t already done enough in that department. With the probability that so-called “dark” matter and energy may account for 96 percent of the universe – along with another probability, that “dark” stuff doesn’t obey the same laws as visible mater and energy – the picture of creation is undergoing radical revision.

Stephen Hawking added to the ambiguity in his last book, The Grand Design, by siding with those who have basically given up on a Theory of Everything and are settling for a piecemeal patchwork or mosaic of theories, each pertaining to distinct regions of creation while never being synthesized into one grand design. If God exists, the deity must be smiling. For behind the high fives and hoopla over the Higgs boson, there’s a growing doubt that we are anywhere near to understanding the nature of reality. These doubts arise from two major sources.

First, there’s broad agreement that science doesn’t comprehensively describe reality to begin with. Over a century ago the pioneers of quantum theory dismantled the common-sense notion that the world “out there” consists of hard, solid, tangible things. As one of the greatest of these pioneers, Werner Heisenberg, noted, “The atoms or elementary particles themselves are not real; they form a world of potentialities or possibilities rather than one of things or facts.” No one has ever refuted this claim, and when you add into the mixture the Uncertainty Principle, which says that quantum objects can be located only by the probability that they will appear at a certain place (only after it is observed does a particle actually settle into a measurable position), the solid, tangible world is radically undermined. Read the rest of this entry »

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What Would God Think of the God Particle? Part 1

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on October 10, 2013

By Deepak Chopra, M.D., FACP and Menas Kafatos, Ph.D., Fletcher Jones Endowed Professor in Computational Physics, Chapman University

Deepak-chopraThe award of the Nobel Prize in physics generally creates a mental blur for most people, since no one can comprehend the current state of physics without training in advanced mathematics. This year was somewhat different, thanks to a nickname.

As the world learned on October 3, the British physicist Peter Higgs and the Belgian physicist Francois Englert shared the Nobel, as was widely expected in the profession. The award was given for a theory involving a missing particle in the so-called Standard Model of particle physics. The particle had come to be known as the Higgs boson when it was postulated or more popularly as “the God particle” from a 1993 book by Leon Lederman, another Nobel laureate who also served as the director of the prestigious Fermilab.

The discovery last year at CERN in Switzerland of the Higgs boson was a triumph for the Standard Model theory. Higgs and Englert, along with Robert Brout, Gerald Guralnik, C. R. Hagen, and Tom Kibble, had hypothesized the existence of a field filling the entire vacuum of space. If it hadn’t been dubbed the God particle, physicists wouldn’t be saddled with an embarrassing, catchy name. Meant initially as a joke, the enduring moniker suggests that in some way science has reached an ultimate destination. Creation has surrendered its final secret, even if there is no God. But in reality particle physics keeps moving forward, and after the celebration at finding a Higgs boson dies down, new frontiers will open up. Meanwhile, every physicist who is asked about the God particle takes pains to distance himself from the label, including Higgs himself.

Now that God has been invoked in the discussion, however, it’s worth asking if we are getting closer to understanding Him/Her/It in a way that matters beyond the arcane of quantum physics. Read the rest of this entry »

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Your Brain Is the Universe (Part 2)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 11, 2013

By Deepak Chopra, Co-author, ‘Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-Being’; founder, The Chopra Foundation

Deepak-chopraWe all take the physical world for granted, with no doubt that it will still be here when we wake up tomorrow morning. But in fact the subatomic particles that construct the physical world aren’t “here” when they assume the state of a wave, and it appears that 96 percent of the universe is “dark” matter and energy. “Dark” may mean unknowable, since we seem to be talking about matter not based on atoms and energy not based on quantum interactions like electromagnetism.

In the first post we addressed the fact that the source of reality cannot be physical.  In fact, it is almost certain to be inconceivable.  Our brains are constructs of billions of years of hardware-building, known as evolution.  Even if you accept that the brain is a quantum device (please see our first post for an explanation of this notion), what the quanta spit out are thoughts, wishes, hopes, fears, dreams and science. A seemingly random jumble of processes happening at the very boundary of time and space gives birth to experience. Quarks are allowed to be “spooky,” as quantum physics declares, but not your car, orange juice, and armchair. The physical world, and how we think about it, is limited by time and space.  They are the foundation of our home. Asking the brain to understand where reality comes from is like asking a robot to dismantle itself to find out what it’s made of — you won’t have a machine after the dismantling is done, and therefore no answer.

Yet even if the source of reality is inconceivable, the uncanny match between your brain  and the world “out there” cannot be doubted.  Very well known is how the ring-like structure of benzene was discovered in a dream by Friedrich August Kekulé. More obscure is the fact that using no scientific data, the ancient sages of India made remarkable calculations recorded in the Puranas regarding the age of the universe and the distance to the Sun, to name two out of many. In the Western ancient world, Archimedes made an amazing calculation about the universe’s size in the “Sand Reckoner,” asking how many grains of sand it would take to fill the Greek Kosmos. He had to invent a new number system, since the ancient Greek system was woefully inadequate. When you convert the number of grains of sand that Archimedes found to protons, you come up with the actual number of particles in the universe, known as Eddington’s number. A “coincidence”? Read the rest of this entry »

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Time to Get Real: The Riddle of Perception

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 3, 2013

By Deepak Chopra

Recent research has revealed that birds may migrate by translating the lines of the Earth’s magnetic field into visual information. Their retinas possess magnetic-sensitive cells (cryptochromes) that may do the trick. Bird migration has long been a mystery to science, and this theory can now be added to rival theories about navigation through smell, the sighting of landmarks or following food trails or the movement patterns of the stars, the sun and moon. In fact, it can be argued that bird migration is more closely tied to quantum phenomena than to everyday phenomena. All these theories depend on extrapolating from our sensory experience, yet there is no proof that the world that our brains bring us is the norm.

D ChopraWhen you give a red rose to your beloved on Valentine’s Day, you have every right to say, “I made this for you.” All the qualities that a rose possesses — its velvety texture, its lush red color, even its thorns — are real to us because our perception makes them real. Photons of light have no color, only frequencies and wavelengths. The point of a thorn has no sharpness. The scent of a rose isn’t sweet when seen merely as airborne molecules. The reality of these specific qualities is tied to us. The brain processes electrochemical signals sent from photoreceptors in the eye to “create” the color red. Skin-encapsulated mechanosensory receptors send electrochemical signals that reassure us of a solid “material” world, but the prick of a thorn is created by our brain. Indeed we now know that the brain takes into account a number of factors to choose how much pain to create; varying any one of these factors can affect how prickly the same thorn is.

There is no provable link between “this is what I see” and “this is real.” With a different brain comes a shift of perception, and everything about a rose would change. Roses exist in the world of snails that chew the leaves, aphids that suck the sap, moths that lay eggs in hidden crevices and cats that lurk underneath to wait for a bird to alight. But what these organisms experience is certainly not the rose for Valentine’s Day. As humans we have no conceivable way of entering the perceptual world of those creatures. We can only imagine a link, and then we take our imagined similarities for granted.

Recent research has revealed that birds may migrate by translating the lines of the Earth’s magnetic field into visual information. Their retinas possess magnetic-sensitive cells (cryptochromes) that may do the trick. Bird migration has long been a mystery to science, and this theory can now be added to rival theories about navigation through smell, the sighting of landmarks or following food trails or the movement patterns of the stars, the sun and moon. In fact, it can be argued that bird migration is more closely tied to quantum phenomena than to everyday phenomena. All these theories depend on extrapolating from our sensory experience, yet there is no proof that the world that our brains bring us is the norm. Read the rest of this entry »

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Is Light A Particle Or Wave? ‘Quantum Nonlocality’ Experiment Spotlights Dual Nature Of Light

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 6, 2012

By: Clara Moskowitz, LiveScience Senior Writer

Is light made of waves, or particles?

This fundamental question has dogged scientists for decades, because light seems to be both. However, until now, experiments have revealed light to act either like a particle, or a wave, but never the two at once.

Now, for the first time, a new type of experiment has shown light behaving like both a particle and a wave simultaneously, providing a new dimension to the quandary that could help reveal the true nature of light, and of the whole quantum world.

The debate goes back at least as far as Isaac Newton, who advocated that light was made of particles, and James Clerk Maxwell, whose successful theory of electromagnetism, unifying the forces of electricity and magnetism into one, relied on a model of light as a wave. Then in 1905, Albert Einstein explained a phenomenon called the photoelectric effect using the idea that light was made of particles called photons (this discovery won him the Nobel Prize in physics). [What’s That? Your Physics Questions Answered]

Ultimately, there’s good reason to think that light is both a particle and a wave. In fact, the same seems to be true of all subatomic particles, including electrons and quarks and even the recently discovered Higgs boson-like particle. The idea is calledwave-particle duality, and is a fundamental tenet of the theory of quantum mechanics.

Depending on which type of experiment is used, light, or any other type of particle, will behave like a particle or like a wave. So far, both aspects of light’s nature haven’t been observed at the same time. Read the rest of this entry »

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From Quanta to Qualia: What Nature Is Really Telling Us

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on October 17, 2012

By Deepak Chopra, Author, ‘Spiritual Solutions’; founder, The Chopra Foundation

Co-written with Menas Kafatos, Ph.D., and Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D.

What would it take to make the universe a living thing? What would it take to make it human once again, a secure home for us instead of a cold, meaningless place? What would it take to give God a future? As disconnected as these questions may seem, they are on the minds of some farseeing thinkers. And the deeper one looks, the more it appears that all three issues — a living universe, a human universe and a universe that holds a place for God — start to merge. If they actually do merge, nothing will ever be the same again. Not just science but everyday existence will be completely overturned.

There have been great physicists who were deeply religious, such as Sir Isaac Newton, or who had a religious feeling when confronting the universe, such as Albert Einstein, but God isn’t the right place to start with these huge issues. God, in fact, is a red herring. No matter who or what created the universe, it’s here now, and we have to relate to it. How? One of the oldest ideas, which can be found in every culture, holds that nature is a mirror. We relate to it by seeing ourselves, but not passively. Messages are constantly going back and forth about birth and death, about constant change and the bond between our life and nature itself. To the ancients a natural disaster — fire, flood or earthquake — showed that nature was angry. If nature was appeased, the harvest was good and the sun shone. It was unquestioned that the universe meant something, and usually it meant that a loving deity had created a special place for his children.

It’s astonishing how quickly a timeless worldview was utterly destroyed by science. The demolition project that included Darwin, Freud, Einstein and all the other quantum pioneers doesn’t need retracting. We relate to a completely mechanistic universe devoid of purpose, one that operates through random chance, perfectly meshed with evolution operating through random genetic mutations. The mirror has shattered. We no longer see ourselves, because there’s nothing meaningful to see, no purpose, no creator. Even more absurd is the notion that nature is sending us messages; from the collision of quarks to the collision of galaxies, nothing is happening “out there” to reflect human existence. Read the rest of this entry »

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God Will Be Back Tomorrow (Really)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on October 2, 2012

By Deepak Chopra, Author, ‘Spiritual Solutions’; founder, The Chopra Foundation

Can a secular age return to an age of faith? No. Despite the hopes of people who still follow traditional religions, the modern age is too entrenched in its values to ever regain faith as it was once known. The issue isn’t church attendance, which has been declining in every developed country for decades. Nor is it fundamentalism, which is like a family squabble among believers. The core issue that has led to the decline of religion has to do with reality itself.

In the modern age, reality has been defined by science, and wherever science goes, so will God. Many people assume that God has no chance of returning, that science has permanently vanquished the reality defined by religion. But the story is more complicated than that. Let me look at the picture in the broadest terms. What would it take to make the universe a living thing? What would it take to make it human once again, a secure home for us instead of a cold, meaningless place? What would it take to give God a future?

As disconnected as these questions may seem, the deeper one looks, all three issues – a living universe, a human universe, and a universe that holds a place for God – start to merge. If they actually do merge, our view of reality will radically shift. There have been great physicists who were deeply religious, such as Sir Isaac Newton, or who had a religious feeling when confronting the universe, such as Albert Einstein, but God isn’t the right place to start with these huge issues. No matter who or what created the universe, it’s here now, and we have to relate to it.

How? One of the oldest ideas, which can be found in every culture, holds that Nature is a mirror. We relate to it by seeing ourselves, but not passively. Messages are constantly going back and forth about birth and death about constant change and the bond between our life and Nature itself. To the ancients, a natural disaster – fire, flood, earthquake – showed that the gods were angry. If the gods were appeased, the harvest was good and the sun shone. It was unquestioned that the universe meant something, and usually it meant that a loving deity had created a special place for his children.

It’s astonishing how quickly a timeless worldview was utterly destroyed by science. Now we relate to a completely mechanistic universe devoid of purpose, one that operates through random chance perfectly meshed with evolution operating through random genetic mutations. The mirror has shattered. We no longer see ourselves in it, because there’s nothing meaningful to see, no purpose, no Creator. Even more absurd is the notion that Nature is sending us messages – from the collision of quarks to the collision of galaxies, nothing is happening “out there” to reflect human existence. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Consciousness-Based Science

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 13, 2012

By Deepak Chopra, M.D., FACP, Menas Kafatos, Ph.D., Fletcher Jones Endowed Professor in Computational Physics, Chapman University, and Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D., Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Neurology at Harvard University, and Director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)

The greatest mystery of existence is existence itself. There is the existence of the universe and there is the existence of the awareness of existence of the universe. Were it not for this awareness, even if the universe existed as an external reality, we would not be aware of its existence, so it would for all practical purpose not exist. Traditional science assumes, for the most part, that an objective observer independent reality exists; the universe, stars, galaxies, sun, moon and earth would still be there if no one was looking. However, modern quantum theory, the most successful of all scientific creations of the human mind, disagrees. The properties of a particle, quantum theory tells us, do not even exist until an observation takes place. Quantum theory disagrees with traditional, Newtonian physics. Most scientists, although respecting quantum theory, do not follow its implications. The result is a kind of schizophrenia between what scientists believe and what they practice. When we examine this hypothesis of traditional science, we find it more a metaphysical assumption than a scientific assertion.

How can we assert that an observer-independent reality exists if the assertion itself is dependent on the existence of a conscious observer? This raises the additional dilemma of who or what is the observer and where is this observer located? When scientists in general describe empirical facts and formulate scientific theories, they forget that neither facts nor theories are an insight into the true nature of fundamental reality apart from any observer. What we consider to be empirical facts are entirely dependent on observation, in agreement with quantum theory. The scientific observer in this case is an activity of the universe called Homo sapiens usually with a Ph.D. in physics. However, many scientists have never really asked the question “Who am I?”

Most neuroscientists who still don’t believe that quantum theory has anything to do with the brain would assert that “I,” the conscious observer, is solely an epiphenomenon of the brain, that consciousness is produced by the brain, just as gastric juices are produced by the stomach and bile is produced by the gall bladder. The problem with this of course, is that any neuroscientist worth his/her tenure will tell you that there is no satisfactory theory in neuroscience that explains how neurochemistry translates into conscious experience. How do electrochemical phenomena in the brain create the appreciation of the beauty of a red rose, the taste of garlic, the smell of onions, the feeling of love, compassion, joy, insight, intuition, imagination, creativity, free will, or awareness of existence of self and the universe? There is no physicalist theory based on classical physics to explain these subjective experiences. Nor is there any obvious means for coming up with one.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Will the “God Particle” Replace God?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 30, 2012

By Deepak Chopra

If you went to church in the 18th century, you would have heard God described as a celestial clockmaker who had wound up the universe and left it to run itself. Today, the wind-up is the Big Bang and the clock’s parts are subatomic particles. But the problem of creating matter out of emptiness remains the same.

How does matter form from the immaterial? What gives particles their mass, and how do they stick together? The physicists at the CERN facility in Europe are busy using the massive multibillion-dollar Large Hadron Collider to try to answer those questions by hunting for the elusive Higgs boson, the so-called “God particle.”

The search takes place between the visible and the invisible. The hypothetical Higgs boson is a virtual particle, which means it can be coaxed to enter spacetime for the tiniest flash of a millisecond. It operates at the Planck scale, which is millions of times smaller than the nucleus of an atom. Read the rest of this entry »

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Did God Discover the God Particle?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 30, 2012

By Deepak Chopra, M.D., FACP, Rudolph Tanzi, Ph.D., Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, and Menas Kafatos, Ph.D., Fletcher Jones Endowed Professor in Computational Physics, Chapman University

The possible discovery of the Higgs boson would not have been splashed across every major media if the tag “God particle” weren’t attached to it. Physicists hate the term, but they love the publicity. There are huge government grants at stake as well as the prestige of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland. After you read the headline, however, there’s little doubt that a general reader cannot actually grasp what a Higgs boson is (or a large hadron accelerator, either).

If you watch enough PBS programs and listen to a few physicists, some clarity emerges that a non-physicist can understand. The Higgs boson discovery adds validation to a mathematical model of force fields in the universe. It attaches a real particle to an expectation, the expectation that buried inside force fields was the key to why subatomic particles have mass. Mass would be acquired as a particle meets with resistance when it moves through the vacuum of space, a kind of “molasses” that slows it down.

This molasses is very elusive. It took many billions of colliding protons in the huge CERN accelerator, backed up by 100,000 computers around the world, to analyze the data before the discovery seemed real. Even then, most physicists are guarded about whether this new particle actually is a Higgs boson. They are equally guarded about whether its properties will uphold the Standard Model of force fields or in fact create more problems. Read the rest of this entry »

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Who or What Is God?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 26, 2012

By Peter Baksa, Investigative Journalist/Entreprenuer/Author of ‘The Point of Power’

“The most beautiful and deepest experience a man can have is the sense of the mysterious. It is the underlying principle of religion, as well as, all serious endeavour. He who never had this experience, if not dead, then at least blind. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced, there is a something that the mind cannot grasp; whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly; this is religiousness. In this sense I am religious.” — Albert Einstein

The laws of physics have conspired to make collisions of atoms produce plants, trees, animals and humans. In fact, these laws produced collections of atoms that don’t just obey Newton’s laws in a passive way. Some jump, mate, run and think. The laws of physics, working through Darwin’s natural selection, have produced these gigantic collections of apparently purposeful beings who look as though they have been designed. Once Darwin determined how to get complicated, designed beings from the simplest of forms, he gave us an intellectual foothold to begin to see a process that we refer to as evolution. We know since 1859 how this all happens.

Math and science use principle-centered, complex frameworks to describe and understand phenomena on all scales of time and space. Reality, on the other hand, operates at all intervals simultaneously. Our existence, as we see it, is an illusion.

“We are spirit having human experiences not the other way around.”

A starving child, longing for food, has no clock to measure the movement of the sun and the earth around their shared center of mass. Looking down from my high-rise in Chicago I often look over the hundreds of people mulling about on the beach, each existing from a particular point, their own universe if you will. A fly’s eyes have hundreds of different facets. It is able to detect the briefest flickers of movement, perceiving reality under a completely different guise than we humans.The mind of an Alzheimer’s patient cannot use the human construct of time. For such a person, the chronology of existence is broken, living without the element of time or memory to assist in formulating their reality. Time is an illusion, as is space. Read the rest of this entry »

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Dr Joe Dispenza – How to evolve our brain to experiment a new reality? Stepping in the unknown

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 30, 2012

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What Happened Before Creation?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 6, 2012

By Robert Lanza 

Everyone knows that something is screwy with the way we visualize the cosmos. Theories of its origins screech to a halt when they reach the very event of interest — the moment of creation, the “Big Bang.”

The current scientific model proposes that the universe is like a watch that somehow wound itself and that will unwind in a semi-predictable way. Life arose by an unknown process, and then proceeded to change form under Darwinian mechanisms that operate under these same physical rules. Life contains consciousness, but the latter is poorly understood and is, in any case, solely a matter for biologists.

But there’s a problem. Consciousness isn’t just an issue for biologists; it’s a problem for physics. Nothing in physics explains how molecules in your brain create consciousness. The beauty of a sunset, the miracle of love, the taste of a delicious meal — these are all mysteries to science. It can’t explain how consciousness arose from matter; our understanding of this basic phenomenon of our existence is nil. Not coincidentally, consciousness comes up again in a completely different realm of science. Quantum theory, while working well mathematically, makes no logical sense. As new experiments show, particles seem to behave as if they respond to a conscious observer. Because that can’t be right, physicists have deemed quantum theory inexplicable. The simplest explanation — that particles actually do interact with consciousness at some level — is too far outside the model to be seriously considered.

But even putting aside the issues of consciousness, the current model leaves much to be desired when it comes to explaining the universe. The cosmos sprang out of nothingness 13.7 billion years ago, in a titanic event humorously labeled the Big Bang. We don’t understand where it came from and we continually tinker with the details, including adding an inflationary period with physics we don’t yet understand. Read the rest of this entry »

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