Yes, somehow i have managed to find time to blog yet again. This time I’m going to talk (or actually, write) about a quote and some things i have been thinking about lately. This post will probably include some science but it won’t be too content heavy. Rather, this post will be about how those science concepts apply to our life.
Now back to that quote.
The quote i am talking about is one by the famous theoretical physicist (and one of the physicists who i greatly respect), Albert Einstein.
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
Pretty straightforward eh? Essentially, you can either believe that everything is predetermined or everything just happens magically.
The scientific concept that i will be including in this post is the quantum theory. Don’t get me wrong, i am no expert in this field of science and i am open to criticism (if i do write something wrong). And i feel that it’s because of this ‘quantum theory’ that ‘Newtonian Mechanics’ are described as ‘Newtonian Mechanics’. The quantum theory is what caused physics to change so much, to a point where an entirely new field of physics had to be created.
I was introduced to this field of physics in primary school. As you may or may not have read in my previous posts, my science teacher at the time referred me to this field in particular as i asked him quite a lot about how particles worked. This was the thing that i was trying to understand at the time and i failed so terribly to do so. I tried to find some means to figure out what this field of physics was and what it entailed, but every time i tried to poke at the topic, super complicated physics would just pop out and i would be confused about everything i was reading. As i entered secondary school, all of the teachers who mentioned quantum physics in their classes would describe it as a module they had to take up in university where the professor came into the room, wrote a bunch of mathematical equations on the board which they copied as notes, and left without understanding a single thing. When the teachers told me about this, i was extremely intrigued. What was this thing that was so difficult to understand? It was only when i entered CΩergy. I remembered the day of my first CΩergy lesson rather clearly. At the end of the lesson, i asked my CΩergy teacher, Mr Damian Boh, a few questions. If i’m not wrong, i asked him whether light had mass and he told me about quantum physics. He used the example of quantum tunneling (now a favorite joke among us CΩergy boys) where the idea that a particle could overcome an energy barrier just by chance or in some cases ‘teleporting’. From then on, i got really interested in this part of science, discussing it with the rest of the CΩergy group. And i have to say, it was one of the most CRAZY topics that i have ever discussed about with other people. It has led me to so many new discussions and debates due to its innate quirkiness.
And now i shall explain what i know about quantum physics.
Firstly, why is quantum physics called quantum physics? Because part of it describes practically everything to be discrete or in fixed units. An example would be length. Quantum physics says that length is discrete not continuous. In math, i can have as small a unit of length i want. 0.0000000000000000000000000000001 nanometers? In math, that isn’t an issue. Even in Classical mechanics (aka Newtonian mechanics), i can have infinitely small units of length. If i wanted something to be shorter, i could make it smaller. But in quantum physics, no. It’s not just about the fact that the most fundamental particles have some length and no matter could ever have a length smaller than that of those particles, but it’s about the fact that the idea of ‘length’ does not exist after a certain point. And that point is known as the Planck’s length. Nothing can be smaller than Planck’s length. You may thing ‘Well all we have to do is cut Planck’s length into 2 and we will have a smaller unit of length’ but no. In this UNIVERSE there is no such thing as length after the Planck’s length. What is half of Planck’s length? Nothing. Because it;s not called length anymore. Isn’t that crazy?
Another way to explain this is this. Imagine i shrinked you down to the size of a quark and now a quark is the size of a ball. You push the ball. But if you don’t push it with enough force to move at a certain speed, it would not move. It’s either it moves at speed x or it doesn’t move at all.
Secondly, quantum physics is about probability. The position of a particle is not definite. When you see an electron, it may not be there but it’s just a high chance that it’s there. This also applies to things such as electron clouds.
And it is due to the probabilistic nature of quantum physics that links to the above quote.
Since everything is made out of fundamental particles, and the way fundamental particles interact and behave is governed by the quantum theory (at least for now), you could say that everything is governed by the quantum theory. Though this effect is diluted by the fact that we are extremely large creatures (or objects rather) for quantum effects to take place, sometimes extremely small things can affect us in large ways. There is this joke i saw in a video about time travel (which i agree to some extent). It talks about a time traveler who goes back in time and accidentally steps on an ant which ultimately results in large changes in human biology. This could possibly be true. A small event (in this case the death of an ant) could cause something else to happen which causes another thing to happen which may result in large changes in the future (in this case changes in human biology). Therefore, quantum effects that affect the smallest of particles could have an effect on our fate. This separates classical mechanics and quantum mechanics.
In the past, people thought that with sufficient information, we could predict the fate of the entire universe. This was due to the fact that laws that were so well established were present at the time. Though these laws stand true i most cases, especially with large objects (aka things that are made of large numbers of atoms/molecules). However, when we peered into the quantum world, we discovered that sometimes things happen just by chance, in some cases defying the laws of classical physics like random particles appearing and disappearing in short periods of time due to the uncertainty principle for energy and time(which defies the law of conservation of energy). This was when we realised, maybe we aren’t doomed for things to happen exactly as the laws of physics predict, maybe we could break these barriers, maybe everything really and truly is a MIRACLE.
Einstein did not believe in quantum physics. He tried to defeat the theory but eventually failed. If even one of the greatest theoretical physicists failed to defeat this theory, maybe we should really consider it as very highly likely.
Do you believe that everything is a miracle? Well i certainly do. With chance becoming an element in the physical universe, i believe that everything really is a miracle.
Now that really is some food for thought.
Thank you for reading!
Clyde Lhui 🙂
P.s: This is only a very small part of quantum physics. It truly is an awesome part of physics, very intriguing, very fascinating. I would highly recommend you to go read up more about it.