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All of our modern sciences take their names from ancient Greek. In the case of physics, that word is “physik” which translates to “knowledge of nature and is dedicated to understanding how and why “our world” behaves the way it does.
Proponents of this definition like Einstein focused on developing mathematical theories which not only quantified how gravity works in terms of a curvature in spacetime but why it does terms of how objects in “our world” follow a curvature surface. Putting it another way they gave us the ability NOT ONLY to mathematical quantify “our world” but understand WHY and HOW one made up of spacetime behaves the way it does.
However, there is another definition of physics that assumes it should ONLY have to quantify what we observe and therefore we should NOT attempt to understand how and why it exists
Proponents of this definition have developed a system of mathematics called quantum mechanics which ONLY quantifies what we observe. However, it DOES NOT follow the rules that define the behavior of “our world” because it assumes it exists in several superpositioned states at the same time which reduced to one when they are observed. Putting in another way they believe science should only be concerned with defining best way to quantifying observations and not about why or how they come about.
However, we believe the ancient Greeks would disagree because as was mentioned earlier they defined a physicist as someone who was dedicated to NOT only quantifying “our world” but understanding how and why it behaves the way it does. Therefore, they MAY not have felt comfortable in calling Quantum mechanics a valid theory of “our world” or its proponents physicists because they do not attempt to understand why it behave the way it does.
Even so there are some proponents of quantum mechanics who have suggested that because, to this date its system of math is only one that can accurately quantify the quantization of energy in “our world” it MUST be product of that mathematical structure
However, because most if not all of the constants in the equations used to define its mathematical structure are derived from “our world” it is difficult to determine if it is a product of its mathematical structure or if that structure is a product of it
But the math of quantum mechanics may not be the only one that can define how and why we observe what we do in “our world”
For example, one can use mathematics to determine why we observe 4 apples on a table by assuming that originally there were two on the it and two were added or there were six and two were taken away but only one of those equations define how and why they actually got there.
Putting it another way there are in most case many ways to quantify both the number of apples on a table and what we observe in “our world”.
This suggests there MAY be able to find another mathematical system other than the one provided for by quantum mechanics that can define why energy is quantize base on how it behaves in “our world”.
For example, in “our world” observations, the science of wave mechanics and Relativity tells us an electromagnetic wave moves continuously through spacetime unless it is prevented from moving through time by someone or something interacting with it. This would result in it being confined to threedimensional space. The science of wave mechanics also tells us the threedimensional “walls” of this confinement will result in its energy being reflected back on itself thereby creating a resonant or standing wave in threedimensional space. This would cause the energy of an electromagnetic wave to be concentrated at the point in space were a particle would be found. Additionally, wave mechanics also tells us the energy of a resonant system such as a standing wave can only take on the discrete or quantized values associated with its fundamental or a harmonic of its fundamental frequency that the wave function associates with a particle.
Putting it another way when an electromagnetic wave is prevented from moving through space time either by being observed or encountering an object it is reduced or “Collapses” to a form a standing wave that would define the quantized energy quantum mechanics associates with a particle.
As was mentioned earlier there are in most cases many ways to mathematically quantify both the number of apples on a table and what we observe in “our world”. Therefore, we should not assume the solutions provided by quantum mechanics are the only ones that will make accurate predictions of its behavior.
What we as physicists and mathematicians MUST decide is should we allow math to define our existence or have existence define our math because it is possible a new system of math based on the behavior of “our world” could open doors to new technologies that will enable our civilization to advance beyond were one based on quantum mechanics can.
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This question is especially relevant for the scientists who struggle on daily basis to help us understand the “inner” reality of our universe.
Some define it based on a quantitative mathematical analysis of observations.
For example, Quantum mechanics defines the “reality” or the state of a quantum system in terms of the mathematical probability of finding it in a particular configuration when a measurement is made. However, defining reality in terms of probabilities means that each probabilistic outcome of an event becomes a reality in the future. This is why some proponents of quantum mechanics assume the universe splits into multiple realities with every measurement.
This also may be why Niels Bohr, the father of Quantum Mechanics said that
“If quantum mechanics hasn’t profoundly shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet.”
However, others define reality in terms of deterministic proprieties of cause and effect.
For example, Isaac Newton derived the laws of gravity by developing a causal relationship between the movement of planets and the distance between them. He then derived a mathematical equation, defining a reality which could predict their future movements based on observations of their earlier movements.
Both the wave function of quantum mechanics and Newton’s gravitational laws are valid definitions of reality because they allow scientists to predict future events with considerable accuracy.
However, this does not mean that they accurately define the environment responsibility for those realities.
For example, at the time of their discovery Newton’s gravitational laws allowed scientists to make extremely accurate predictions of planetary movements based on their previous movements, but they did not explain why those those laws exist.
However, Einstein, in his General Theory of Relativity, showed there was room for an “alternative reality” that could explain them in terms of a distortion in spacetime. However, it did not alter or change the validity of Newton’s gravitational laws when the velocities were small with respect to the speed of light, they are still valid.
This shows, just as there was room for an alternative “reality” which could explain Newton’s laws there could be one that defines the predictive powers of quantum probabilities that would not affect the validity of those predictions. This is true even though many physicists feel there is no room for alternatives because modern experiments, combined with quantum theory’s mathematics give us the most accurate predictions of events that have ever been achieved.
As mentioned earlier quantum mechanics defines reality in terms of probabilities, which means each probabilistic outcome becomes a reality in the future. However, it also means one must assume separate realities are created for the possible outcomes of every event.
However, this would not be true if those probabilities can be derived in terms of an interaction between a quantum system and the physical properties of the universe.
For example, when we role dice in a casino most do not think there are six of them out there waiting for the dice to tell us which one we will occupy after the roll. This is because the probability of getting a six is related to or caused by its physical interaction with the properties of the table in the casino where it is rolled. In other words, what defines the reality getting a six is not the probability of getting one but physical properties of how the dice interacts with casino it occupies. Putting it another way. the probabilities associated with a roll of the dice does not define the casino, the casino defines those probabilities.
As was mentioned earlier many proponents of quantum mechanics assume the universe splits into multiple realities because it describes the interactions of a quantum system with the universe in terms of probabilities, rather than definite outcomes. This means there must a separated universe for all possible outcomes of an event.
However, even though the reality that appears when a dice is rolled in a casino can be determined in terms of a probably does not mean all possibilities appear in their own separate casino. This is because as was mentioned earlier the probabilities involved in the roll of dice does not define the reality of the casino but that the casino defines those probabilities. In other words, the fact that casino define the probability of the role of dice tells us that it will have definite outcome in the casino
Similarly, just because quantum mechanics describes the interactions of a quantum system in terms of probabilities, we should not assume they define the reality of the universe because it is possible the universe defines those probabilities.
This also shows how one defines reality depends on if all you care about is that a six appears on the roll of dice or if you want know why you rolled it.
Copyright Jeffrey O’Callaghan 2021
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There is no one realty because each individual creates one that is unique to him or her in an attempt to organize the physical or classical world through information gathered by the senses. However, physicists have been given the task of defining a universal explanation of it obtained through, in a large part instrumentation and mathematics. One could say one say “The Physics of Reality” is the science that attempts to define a universal reality or one that most can agree on by integrating the information provided by instrumentation and mathematics to that provided by the senses.
For example, cosmologists use telescopes to determine how our universe came to be because it allows them to observe an environment that is too far away to stimulate our sense of sight. They then attempt, in most cases to use mathematics to organized and provide an explanation of how both, the one that directly available to the sense and the one seen through telescopes appear the way they do. The reasons mathematics is the primary tool use by physicists is because many feel it is the only tool that can accurately describe the physical steps involved in defining what we see through both the senses and telescopes.
However, even though mathematics can be used to provide an explanation for the physical reality of the universe it can never replace the reality is it defining. This is because, as was mentioned earlier each person defines his or her reality in terms of the information he or she receive about physical world through the senses. However, all mathematics is abstract in nature, therefore, it does not have a presence in the physical world and because of that it cannot be part of the one that interacts with the senses.
Some may disagree and try to tell you that the mathematics is the reality because they feel it is the only way to describe what the senses tell them about how the world is organized. This belief is widely held by the proponents of quantum mechanics because they believe that it is the only way to describe the observations of a quantum environment
For example, many feel the entanglement of some particles which the mathematics of quantum mechanics predicts and observations have confirmed is at the heart of the disparity between classical reality and the quantum one because it is one of the features that is lacking in a classical world.
In the classical environment the one that encompass our senses we only observe objects interacting when they make physical contact. However, quantum mechanics predicts that particles which are entanglement can interact with each other regardless of how far apart they are.
Yet, the fact that many experiments have verified that two particles that are not in physical contact can interact with each other have led some to say that we must replace the classical reality of our senses with the mathematical one of quantum mechanics because they both cannot be right. However, because entanglement has been observed the mathematics of quantum mechanics many bel should replace the physical reality of our sensory environment.
However, Einstein provided an alternative by giving a us explanation in terms his Special Theory Relativity for the how and why two particles become entangled that is also supported by the classical or physical world of the senses.
As was mentioned earlier many experiments have verified, most using polarized photons that entanglement does occur. However, Einstein showed us that this is not because some mathematical equation defines its properties but because his theories tell us that photons which are moving at the speed of light can never be separated with respect to an external observer no matter how far apart he or she perceives them to be.
This is because he tells that that there are no preferred reference frames by which one can measure distance. Therefore, one must not only view the separation of a photon with respect to an observer who was external to them but must also look at that separation from a photon’s perspective.
Yet, his theory also tells the distance between the two objects A and B would be defined by their relative speed with respect to an observer.
Specifically, he told us that it would be defined by
However, because according to the concepts of relativity, one can view the photons as being stationary and the observers as moving at the velocity of light the distance or length between the two points use to take the measurement confirm entanglement from the perspective of photons moving at the speed of will be zero in the observer’s reference frame. Therefore, according to Einstein’s theory the entanglement of photon’s is not due to the mathematics of quantum mechanics but due to the relativistic properties of the classical world of the senses. In other words, from the perspective of two entangle photons they are still are still connected even though they appear to an observer to be physical separated.
However, coming to that conclusion does not require us to deny the existence of the physicality of the reality encompassed by our sense.
As was mentioned earlier, each individual creates his or her own reality based on the information he or she receive from physical world through the senses. Therefore, because the information regarding the relationship between velocity and length is readily available to the senses is would be integral part of their reality. However, the abreact properties of the equations of quantum mechanics that predict entanglement are not and therefore are not part of the reality available to the senses.
For example, the effect velocity has on time and length has been confirmed by atomic clocks placed in airplanes as well as orbiting satellites by comparing them to those on the ground. Therefore, the explanation given above of the causality of entanglement in terms of Einstein theories is observable part of the physical world that the senses use to define reality.
Therefore, one could say difference between the reality defined by the mathematics of Einstein and those of quantum mechanics is that his theories gives each individual a way of integrating his explanation of entanglement with their sensory information obtained through the use of atomic clocks in airplanes whereas the purely abstract mathematical explanation of it that quantum mechanics does not.
As was mentioned earlier “The Physics of Reality” is the science that attempts to define a universal explanation of it or one that most can agree on by integrating the information provided instrumentation and mathematics to that provided by the senses. Therefore, because Einstein’s mathematics provides an explanation of entanglement in part by using the senses to directly observe instruments such as an atomic clock along with the mathematics of his theory shouldn’t we consider his explanation more creditable or real that the one provided by quantum mechanics.
Later Jeff
Copyright Jeffrey O’Callaghan 2020
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We are reposting this article, first published in 2012 because we do not want its message to become lost in time.
Many think the quantum mechanical world of probabilities define our reality. However, the Greek philosopher, Plato around 375 BC would disagree.
In Plato’s allegory "The cave" he describes how people who have been chained to a cave wall view the world outside of it. "The people watch shadows projected on the wall by things passing in front of a fire behind them, and begin to ascribe forms to these shadows. According to Plato’s Socrates, the shadows are as close as the prisoners get to viewing reality. He then explains how the philosopher is like a prisoner who is freed from the cave and comes to understand that the shadows on the wall do not make up reality at all, as he can perceive the true form of reality rather than the mere shadows seen by the prisoners.
However, he could have been talking about today’s scientists who are locked into a worldview that projects shadows that cannot be made to agree with the reality of the world they are living in.
For example, Quantum theory defines the existence of particles in terms of a mathematically generated probability function and that they do not exist until a conscience observer looks at it. In other words, it assumes the act of observation or measurement creates the physical reality of our particle world. However, because only conscience beings can be observers it implies that it cannot exist without them being there to observe it.
However, if one assumes reality exist only after someone observes it one must also assume that we humans evolved out of something that did not exist.
This seems to contradict the most common definition of reality: that it is an environment with a set of physical properties that exists even when there are no observers present. In other words, most believe the world exist in even when no one is there to observe it.
Plato’s in his allegory "The Cave" he tells us that one should base his or her interpretation of reality on direct physical observations of the "shadows" they cast on the cave walls because he feels it is the only way to connect their existence to the reality of the world outside of it.
However, the proponents of quantum mechanics face an even greater problem than those who reside in Platoâ€™s cave because they assume that reality and existence is defined in terms of abstract mathematical probabilities which by definition do not have physical properties; Therefore, they are unable to cast shadows on the reality of the nonabstract environment that exists all around us.
In other words, the reality defined by quantum mechanics cannot create or define the physicality of the shadows projected on the walls of our world or cave as Plato calls it because they themselves do not have any.
Some would argue the fact that quantum mechanics can accurately predict what we observe in the world in terms of the abstract nature of probability functions means that what we perceive as the reality does not exist.
However, as Plato pointed out our only connection to reality is though the observation of the "shadows" it displays on our physical or material world. Yet because of the abstract nature of probability functions of quantum mechanics they, by definition can never be part or interact with that world. Therefore, because we can physicality observe of the "shadows" of the quantum mechanical world in our environment isn’t it more likely the abstract one defined by quantum mechanics does not exist while those of the world that we can see and touch do.
Einstein was often quoted as saying "If a new theory was not based on a physical image simple enough for a child to understand, it was probably worthless."
He realized as Plato did that reality can only be discovered by forming a physical image of what its shadows are telling us.
For example, Newton in a letter to Bentley in 1693, talks about a conceptual problem he has with his gravity theory by rejecting the action at a distance that it requires.
"It is inconceivable that inanimate brute matter should, without the mediation of something else which is not material, operate upon and affect other matter without mutual contactâ€¦That gravity should be innate, inherent, and essential to matter, so that one body may act upon another at a distance through a vacuum, without the mediation of anything else, by and through which their action and force may be conveyed from one to another, is to me so great an absurdity that I believe no man who has in philosophical matters a competent faculty of thinking can ever fall into it."
Einstein looked at the shadows of reality cast by gravity and realized they could be created by a universe made up of fourdimensional spacetime. He extrapolated the physical image of how objects move on a curve surface in a threedimensional environment to a curved fourdimensional spacetime manifold to show that it can explain and predict how gravity "may act upon another at a distance through a vacuum" in terms of a curvature in space and time. This allowed him to understand the reality behind the shadows we can see in our threedimension world in terms of a physical image based on the existence of fourdimensional spacetime.
In other words, he was able to explain the gravitational shadows on the Newtonian cave walls in terms of a physical image cast by fourdimensional spacetime on them.
As Plato would say he perceived the true form of reality based on a physical image of the shadows seen by its prisoners.
Unfortunately, many of today scientists seem to be ignoring the lessons taught to us by Plato and Einstein. They chose to look for reality in terms of abstract mathematics instead of the physical imagery given to us by its shadows.
The reason may be because it is easier to alter an abstract environment based on mathematics to conform to an observational inconsistency that it is to alter one based on physical imagery.
For example, Quantum theory makes predictions based on the random properties of a probability function. However, because its abstract properties are not connected to any physical images of our world all observations no matter how inconsistent they are with the physical world it is describing can be incorporate into it.
This is in sharp contrast to the spacetime environment defined by Einstein in that projecting the physical image of objects moving on a curve surface in a fourdimensional environment directly connects it to the physicality of the shadows it casts on our threedimensional environment.
For example, a mass that was repelled by gravity instead of begin attracted would contradict the physical model define by Einstein and would be extremely if not impossible to explain according to that model because that would mean that we should observe objects rolling up hill in our threedimensional environment. In other words, because he defined gravity in terms of a physical image based on how objects move on a curve surface in a threedimensional environment it makes observations like two masses repelling gravitational each other impossible to incorporate into it.
If However, if some observation happened to contradict complimentary principal of quantum mechanics such as simultaneously observing both the particle and wave properties mass it could easily explained in terms of the fact that its probability functions tell us that anything that can happen eventually will This makes it impossible to find an observation that would contradict it because it tells us the even the impossible is possible if we wait long enough. However, this can only happen in an abstract environment which is not bound by the physicality of our observational world because in that world we observe that some things just cannot happen.
But why should science put in the effort to understand the physical reality behind the shadows of our world when both the abstract mathematical foundation of quantum mechanics and the physics imagery of Einstein’s theories make very accurate predictions of future events based on the past.
Because the mission of a science is to define reality in terms of what we perceive in the world around us which by definition is not abstract.
Later Jeff
Original Copyright Jeffrey O’Callaghan 2012
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Can anything exist without time constituting at LEAST part of our observable existence? Is it eternal because it defines the order of occurrence? In other words because it defines that order there must always be a something before the after.
Yet if true it means it has a physical presence because it would be part of that observable existence.
However it can also be represented in the abstract as an invention of the human consciousness that gives us a sense of order, a before and after so to speak. But this would not explain how the before and after can into being.
Even physicists who study time agree these questions are very difficult to answer even though many believe it is an ontologically â€œbasicâ€ or primary concept, of our existence and not made up of, or dependent on, anything else.
Yet if it is part of our physical existence we should be able to answer some of these questions by examining our existence.
For example we can directly observe or perceived matter or space however time can be perceived only in the abstract as an irreversible physical, chemical, and biological change in our existence which does not agree with the physicists who assume that it is basic part or our existence.
This is especially problematic for those who use Einstein’s theories to define gravity because they believe that it is the result of a physical curvature in a spacetime dimension is responsible for it, the evolution of the universe and our existence.
This belief is bolstered by the fact that to this date his theoretical predictions are in complete agreement with observations.
However, there is another interpretation of his theories that would not be dependent on the physical existence of time making it possible for life to exist for these physicists without time.
The standard interpretation of his mathematics suggests that gravity is cause by a displacement in a threedimensional space manifold with respect to time.
However an equally valid one defines gravity in terms of an environment consisting of only four *spatial* dimensions because by defining its properties in terms of the equation E=mc^2 and the constant velocity of light gives one the ability to redefine a unit of time he associated with the casualty of gravity in his spacetime universe to unit of space in one consisting of only four *spatial* dimensions.
In other words one could explain gravity by assuming that it is a force created by a spatial displacement in a "surface" of threedimensional space with respect to fourth *spatial* dimension as well as one in a spacetime dimension.
This allows one to define gravity and evolution of the universe not in terms of physical properties of time but those of space which as mentioned earlier we are more familiar with.
But why should we care if they give us the same numerical results.
Because understand the true nature how forces interact to create our environment may opens doors to new and more accurate understanding of how our universe works.
For example the caloric theory of heat assumed that it was an interaction of a selfrepellent fluid called caloric that flows from hotter bodies to colder bodies. Caloric was also thought of as a weightless gas that could pass in and out of pores in solids and liquids.
However the realization heat is transferred by the interactions of particles allowed for the development of thermodynamics and for our modern understanding of entropy which serves one of the physical foundations of our modern understanding of the evolution of our universe.
Similarly many physicists assume Einstein’s mathematics defines the forces that control the evolution of the universe depend on the physical existence of time in conjunction threespatial dimensions.
However as was mentioned earlier an equally valid interpretation of his mathematics would be to assume that it is a result of the interaction of a higher or fourth *spatial* dimension with threedimensional space.
Granted we may never be able to directly observe a time or a fourth *spatial* dimensions but that does not mean we cannot use those concepts to help us understand the world around us.
For example changing our perspective on the casuistry of the forces causing gravity and the evolution of the universe such as reinterpreting Einstein’s equations in such a manner, may allow us to answer some unanswered questions in modern physicists such as the true nature of Dark Energy that is causing the accelerated expansion of the universe.
If the walls of an above ground pool filled with water collapse the elevated twodimensional surface of the water will flow or expand and accelerate outward towards the threedimensional environment sounding it.
Yet we know from observations of the cosmic background radiation that presently our threedimensional universe has an average energy component equal to about 3.7 degrees Kelvin.
However this means if we reinterpret Einstein’s mathematics in terms of their spatial properties gravitational energy would be defined by a depression in the threedimensional "surface" of our universe with respect to a four spatial dimension while the potential energy component of 3.7 degree Kelvin of the cosmic background radiation could be defined as an elevation in that surface with respect to a fourth *spatial* dimension.
Similarly to the water in a pool if the "surface" of a threedimensional manifold was elevated with respect to a fourth *spatial* dimension as Einstein tell us as it would be if one redefined his spacetime universe in terms of a four spatial dimensions then it would be accelerated outward for the same reason as the water in a pool whose sides had collapsed.
Changing one’s perspective on the physical structure of our environment can have far reaching consequents for our understanding of it For example 1543 Nicolaus Copernicus proposed that the sun not the earth was the center of the universe. That change in perspective enable Johannes Kepler to formulate his laws of planetary motion which then gave Issac Newton the ability to derive the laws of gravity. Without that change in perspective none of that would have happened.
Maybe physicists should try to live without time at least for a while.
Later Jeff
Copyright 2019 Jeffrey O’Callaghan
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