Quantum mechanics, or quantum physics, is a scientific theory to explain the very small. It explains the behavior of matter and its interactions with energy on the scale of atoms and the subatomic particles which make up the atoms. Towards the end of the 19th century, scientists discovered phenomena in both the large and the small worlds that classical physics could not explain, the micro world and the macro. The desire to resolve inconsistencies between observed phenomena and classical theory led to two major revolutions in physics that created a shift in the original scientific paradigm: the theory of relativity and the development of quantum mechanics.
Both of these theories revolved around the interchangeability of matter and energy which seemed to come as an observation in many experiments. Light behaves in some respects like particles and in other respects like waves. Matter; the “stuff” of the universe consists of particles such as electrons and atoms which exhibits wavelike behavior. Quantum mechanics shows that light, along with all other forms of electromagnetic radiation, comes in discrete units, called photons. A single photon is a quantum, or smallest observable amount, of the electromagnetic field; a partial photon has never been observed, so does not seem to exist.
There is a branch of physics called quantum electrodynamics. It has to do with the electromagnetic nature of atoms and molecules. Though most people know little about this, many would find it quit interesting: looking at the size of an atom:
- Did you know there are more molecules in one glass of water then there are glasses of water in all of the oceans of planet earth, and each one is made of three atoms.
- Within the atom there is a vast distance between the proton and the electron spinning around it.
- That place between the proton and the electron is called space.
- We, being made of atoms are mostly empty spaces.
- If the proton were the size of a basketball the electron would be 900 meters away, and atom is in the range of one trillionth of a meter in size.
- The electron spinning around the proton is traveling at the speed of 300,000 meters per second.
- If that electron were going around the earth that it would go around the entire planet 7.2 times in one second.
- Since it is spinning around the tiny microscopic proton with an orbital circumference of 0.000,000,000,000,1 meter it would travel around the proton 10,000,000,000,000,000,000 times in one second. Can you count that high? Can you visualize that speed?
- Each orbit around is one cycle, one wavelength, one Hz. Perceiving it as a vibrating wave, it would be a sound pretty far out of human hearing range, but a sound nevertheless.
- The nucleus of an atom is 100,000 times smaller than the atom itself.
- This nucleus is made of subatomic particles one million times smaller than the proton.
- A photon, which was considered to be the smallest quantity of energy is now huge by comparison.
- These sub atomic particles are closer to being strings of vibration then things.
- So what are we left with: nothing. No thing.
- Reality is nothing; it is all just a dream molded by the consciousness of the observer. Would you believe that is what the scientists are concluding.
Many aspects of quantum mechanics are counter-intuitive and do not seem to make sense. What used to be thought of as the nucleus of the atom – a solid core – is now believed to made of minute quantities of vibrating energy. Nothing is solid at all. More than a century after Einstein’s theory of relativity, we have come to the conclusion that the real world is made of “waves of possibilities”.
Just as light has both wave-like and particle-like properties, so does matter. Electrons behaving as a wave was first demonstrated experimentally almost a century ago: a beam of electrons can exhibit interference patterns just like a beam of light or a water wave. Similar wave-like phenomena were later shown for atoms and even molecules. The relationship, called the de Broglie hypothesis, holds for all types of matter: all matter exhibits properties of both particles and waves.
The concept of wave–particle duality says that neither the classical concept of “particle” nor of “wave” can fully describe the behavior of quantum-scale objects, either photons or matter. Wave–particle duality is an example of the “normal” impossibilities in quantum physics which defy the logical thinking of the reality we once knew.
Through the experiments performed, another strange phenomenon crept in, one which Einstein called ‘spooky’ action. What was implied, and late observed was a form of communication between related particles, at any distance, and at a speed that defied measurement; as if it was instantaneous knowing at both ends. This could not be scientifically explained.
Another anomaly observed was observation itself seemed to have an influence on whatever was being looked at. These last two quirks in the quantum world led to the acceptance of something that had been ignored in science for a long time – the very fact that there is such a thing as the observer, and this observer has an influence on what is going on at the very small level of our being – the molecular level. Of course many of these discoveries in the world of physics are made in laboratories and major research faculties like the multi billion dollar Hadron Collider in Europe; but what is being revealed has a very practical application within the human reality.
As scientists in one field are connecting to others and information is shared, some are waking up to realize the implications. Those realizations include the fact that if the conscious observer is influencing the quantum reality that makes up atoms, and these are in fact the building blocks of our bodies then we can influence what is going on within us. Consequently a new field of science is born, one now called Quantum Biology, and it is researching the influence we may have on our chemistry and physiology.