An electron has no definite position, it can only be stated that there is a probability that it can be in a certain place. Heisenberg elaborated on this in 1926 by creating what is now known as the Uncertainty Principle. Heisenberg’s theory states that one cannot know the exact position and exact momentum of a particle at the same time. This principle has become one of the most important and central understandings of quantum theory. His theory was based upon shining light in a particle in order to define its present position and velocity. In doing this, the future position and momentum could be ascertained. (Hawking, 1988, p54). However, Heisenberg realised that the very act of observing an electron changes it. For example, when one observes an object, the act of observing involves bouncing photons of light off the particles. Because an electron is such a small particle, one has to use electromagnetic energy which has a short wavelength in order to see it. This type of energy involves gamma radiation and according to the physicist John Gribbon:
Such gamma radiation is very energetic and any photon of gamma radiation that bounces off an electron and can be detected by our experimental apparatus will drastically change the position and momentum of an electron – if the electron is in an atom, the very act of observing it with a gamma ray microscope may knock it out of the atom altogether. (1984, p157)
In 1927, Bohr conceived a new idea in relation to the Uncertainty Principle. His theory became known as the Copehagen Interpretation and this theory pushed the Uncertainty Principle to a new level of awareness. The Copenhagen Interpretation explains how when an observer interacts with a system, the observer can no longer be thought of as separate from that circumstance. According to David Bohm in Wholeness and the implicate order,”Rather both observer and observed are merging and interpenetrating aspects of one whole reality, which is indivisible and analysable”.
(Bohm, 1980, p12)
It is interesting that there are limits to our knowledge of what an electron is doing when we are looking at it, but it os absolutely mind-blowing to discover that we have no idea at all what it is doing when we are not looking at it.
(Gribbin, 1984, p161)
“Could it be that a wave of something passes through the two slits, only to collapse into a particle when its position is ‘measured’ by the screen?
When we try to look at the spread-out electron wave, it collapses into a definite particle, but when we are not looking at it, it keeps its options open. In terms of Bohm’s probabilities, the electron is being forced by our measurement to choose one course of action out of an array of possibilities. (Gribbin, 1984, p171)
It is astonishing to consider that the units which observable ‘reality’ is composed of, are not definite in the manner they behave and that the slightest observation can alter the form in which they chose to manifest.
For what quantum mechanics says is that nothing is real and that we cannot say anything about what things are doing when we are not looking at them. (Gribbin, 1984, p2)
On the implication of unobservable dimensions, a new interpretation was proposed by Hugh Everett in order to include these multiple dimensions:
In the context of the cat experiment, this states that the entire universe splits into two coexisting, or parallel, realities, one with a live cat and the other a dead cat. Althought it may seem like science fiction, the many-universes theory is entirely consistent with the rules of quantum mechanics and is supported by several leading theoretical physicists. (Davies, 1992, p213)
Continuously splitting versions of reality are being constantly created. David Deutsch has further elaborated on this theory, describing his interpretation as the ‘multiverse’.
Deutsche’s multiverse describes the whole of physical reality and he redefines our understanding of the word “universe” to describe the physical observable matter surrounding us. His ideas spring from careful consideration of the two slit experiment explaining the phenomenon of a single photon passing through two slits simultaneously as a ‘tangible’ photon and a ‘shadow’ photon. It is his belief that for every tangible particle of matter that exists, there are countless shadow realities that coexist with it.
Thus, according to Deutsch, our tangible universe has countless other shadow counterparts in existence and we experience their presence by the interference patter created when the tangible and shadow particle collide. This interpretation states: “that the overlapping wave functions of the whole universe, the alternative realities that interact to produce measurable interference at the quantum level, do not collapse.” (gribbin 1984, p237)
The interpretation suggests that all these quantum states are equally real. It is the measurement process at quantum level, in which the observer picks one of these realities, where this chosen state becomes separated from its alternative state and part of the observer’s reality. One of the most recent and more philosophical interpretations of this multifaceted reality is the interpretation known as ‘ Consciousness causes collapse’.
A conscious observer making a choice collapses all other options and creates one concrete reality.
Buckminster Fuller says,”Everything we see is inside our own heads”
This doesnot mean that you will not have the experience of physics by reading it, it only means that if you do, the experience is coming form you and not the book
Now they become the dance, now the dance becomes them
i can hear the voice in my head reading this sentence – jeff liebermann
Those who say do not kow, those who know do not say – Lao Tzu
As long as there is a time interval between the observer and the observed it creates friction and therefore there is a waste of energy. That energy is gathered to its highest point when the observer is teh observed, in which there is no time interval at all. Then there will be energy without motive and it will find its own channel of action because then the “I” does not exists’. – J. Krishnamurti