What I got from The Schrödinger Sessions II: Physics for Science-Fiction Writers, Sixth Installment (FINAL)
JULY 28, 2016 to JULY 30, 2016
I have over thirty pages of notes and comments. Not going to put them all in one post, so here is the sixth and FINAL installment. Look for others starting August 8, 2016: http://www.sallyember.com/blog
For any terms or concepts I don’t define or which I define poorly, please refer to: http://www.physicsoftheuniverse.com/glossary.html
I don’t have any more than what I’m posting, here. Physicists: please add, comment, correct, elaborate, explain! Thanks!
NOTE: the superscripted and subscripted numbers and letters won’t copy/paste correctly here; sorry.
Session XV, Chad Orzel, Ph.D.
A. “Photons are their own anti-particles” Does that mean they are their own “worst enemies”?
B. 10 to the 120th power Dark Energy pushes things apart, which means “empty space” expands and “empty” isn’t “empty.”
C. Matter waves as opposed to gravitational waves or electromagnetic waves or light waves
D. intrinsic spin
E. because of Quantum Physics applications (specifically, supercooling), we have GPS satellites guiding us by triangulation of time, location and three readings
F. 1 foot per nanosecond is the speed of light in American measurement
G. atoms can act like frequency references or time references
H. Cesium‘s behavior (is heavy and moves slowly, was abundant and easy to detect in the 1950s) was used to create measures of time
I. time is defined by how long a second is, which is the number of oscillations in a microwave in the transition between two spin states of Cesium (see H, above) = 9,192,631,720
J. Foundation Clock in which cold atoms launched UP through a microwave cavity (atoms are laser cooled /supercooled)
K. Dopler shift is low when atoms are moving slowly (because cold)
L. Optical lattice clocks use Strontium
M. Relational Geodesy recognizes the local variations in Earth (or any orb)
N. better living at lower elevations: our hearts beat more slowly and we age more slowly than those at higher elevations (Einstein’s Relativity application)
O. Earth is slowing down in its orbit and rotation, both, adding leap seconds periodically to the standard time setting for the atomic clock
P. interstellar navigation clocks won’t match Earth’s, which can cause problems, but traveling at light or Faster-Than-Light (FTL) speeds causes more problems(for sci-fi writers, here)
Q. Fine Structure Constant (FSC) determines the strength of electromagnetism “energies of atomic states,” “energies of electron orbits” in neutrons or energies
= about 1/37 = α
AKA Sommerfeld’s constant = α
R. Fine = Formula 1
Hyperfine = Formula 2
S. exotic physics changes (alpha, or α)
T. Astronomical Constraints absorption of emission lines from far away, moving away from ours = redshifted
U. Australian Dipole
when the FSC is smaller in the past, going toward “west”
when the FSC is larger in the past, going toward “east”
V. Dimensionless number
Formula FSC is α = 1/4πEsubscript0 * e squared/ħc which is about 1/137 OR 4πεsubscript0 * ħcα = e squared
where c = the speed of light
ħ = h/2π
h = Planck’s constant
E zero subscript = electric constant = permittivity of free space;
e = electromagnetic coupling constant
W. “each multiverse could have slightly different FSCs because the size of atoms could vary”!
X. anthropic principle = “we” all wouldn’t be “here” if not for the fact that the FSC “here” is 1/137
Y. Do ice skaters in spins create a magnetic field?
Z. electrons aren’t actually “orbiting” or “spinning,” but seem to be and therefore, can be measured by their angular momentum and the magnetic fields they create
A’. spin = 1/2 when there is “odd” behavior under rotation
= spin up when it rotates 360 degrees, which does not take it back to the start, though (-1 rotation)
= spin down which then rotates it another 360 degrees and DOES bring it back to the starting position (2 rotations)
Change in spin occurs when a particle is bombarded with light or emits light
B’. Pauli Exclusion Principle = no two electrons (fermions) can be in the exact same state, which explains the Periodic Table of all elements, each with its unique position
Chemical bonds determine if some element is a “conductor” or “insulator” as a solid object or liquid or gas
C’. state of electron in a small area or in the same quantum system = the location + charge
every electron is in a wavefunction in this universe; if one changes, ALL of them change (“imperceptibly”)
D’. When the wavelength is about the same distance as the distance between electrons, changing one changes all “perceptibly”
E’. Spooky Action at a Distance, George Masser;
Black Hole Blues, Janna Levin (2016)
Session XVI, Bill Phillips, Ph.D., NIST, LIGO & JQI, Nobel Prize Winner (one of three on team), 1997, for invention of laser cooling techniques still used today
Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics
A. meter = a measurement based on the amount of space light can travel in certain amount of time (about 39 inches)
B. quantum measurement
C. wave-particle duality
D. Alan Aspect (pronounced as a French name, “au” at the end) proved that QM (Quantum Mechanics) is as weird as we have heard it is.
E. Local Reality says that nothing exists independently of a measurement (John/Bill’s inequality)
F. “think globally” = nonlocality comprehension
G. “real” is what we call objective reality, in which something has properties that are knowable prior to measurement
H. “extra stuff” are all the hidden variables of existence
I. “reality is deterministic”
J. most physicists would “give up” “reality” if a forced choice between that and “locality” were to be made
K. “photography ‘traps’ a moment”
L. our microscopic world, as measured, doesn’t conform to perceptions of our macroscopic world: why?
M. Hugh Everett (1958) posited that “relative states” lead us to understand that there are “many worlds” in 1968 and the multiverse in the 1970s.
N. decoherence means we can’t detect other outcomes in the multiverse, only the ones we can observe directly (measure)
O. John Kramer’s sci-fi books used “transactional” interpretations, showing that waves go back & forwards in time
P. decoherence says that we lose our ability to know how something is moving because there are too many factors and entanglements (things go from QM to classical probability)
Q. Block Vector
R. Absolute value is written with straight lines before and after a number to show that it is positive or negative, but still retains that number’s value (e.g., the Absolute Value of -1 or 1 is 1).
S. “most of physics’ definitions are in a relation to humans”: what we can know, measure, understand, observe vs. actual (objective) entities, qualities, truths, that are “independent of human interaction”
T. “all we have is knowledge of the systems, not the actual data of the systems’ existence”
U. a quantum measurement occurs when something sufficiently complicated encounters the object or event and it has an irreversible effect by becoming entangled
V. cavity —— atom
photon (which can go either way)
W. “the size of a system is inversely proportional to its reversibility”: the larger the system, the less reversible any effects are
X. quantum “back-action”
Y. 2012 Nobel prize involved experiments on single atoms and single photons (not in pairs or groups)
Z. we can’t have a classical physics world/universe
A’. we can’t have a non-quantum world, either
B’. Faster-Than-Light (FTL) travel creates causality problems and affects many other beings, events and circumstances (for sci-fi writers, FYI)
C’. special relativity = before and after are constructs, and therefore, no causality can ever occur
END OF ALL Sessions
See below for more information about The Schrödinger Sessions.
Who was in charge?
Chad Orzel, Union College
Emily Edwards, JQI
Steve Rolston, JQI
Joint Quantum Institute (JQI)
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
This workshop was made possible by a Public Outreach and Informing the Public grant from the American Physical Society (APS) and support from the National Science Foundation (NSF)
Joint Quantum Institute
2136 Physical Sciences Complex
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
How did I get to go?
I applied in March and was accepted in April!
The Schrödinger Sessions II was the second of two (first was 2015) three-day (2.5 days, really) sets of seminars, Physics for Science-Fiction Writers, offering a “crash course” in modern physics for non-scientists who utilize physics and other sciences in our work and wish to do it better. It was held at the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), one of the world’s leading research centers for the study of quantum mechanics. [The organizers kept their promises to] introduce participants to phenomena like superposition, entanglement, and quantum information through a series of lectures by JQI and NIST scientists and tours of JQI laboratories. [They most certainly DID] inform and inspire new stories [and sharing information, like this] in print, on screen, and in electronic media, that will in turn inspire a broad audience to learn more about the weird and fascinating science of quantum physics and the transformative technologies it enables.
The workshop was held at JQI from Thursday, July 28 through Saturday, July 30, 2016. Participants were housed locally at a university dorm with breakfast offered at a dining commons near the dorm and lunch provided at the workshop, which was at the Physical Sciences building. Evenings were free to allow participants to explore the Washington, D.C. area (but I was much too tired at each day’s end to do any exploring).
Participants were selected on the basis of an application asking about personal background, interest, and publication history. [Organizers worked] work to ensure the greatest possible diversity of race and gender as well as type of media (print, television, etc.) with an eye toward reaching the broadest audience. Applications were accepted online from March 1 through March 20, 2015, and acceptance decisions were made around April 15, 2015.
FYI: Next year, 2017, JQI plans to offer a similar seminar for a different professoinal group, Physics for Journalists, and then, pending funding, re-offer this same session as I attended, Physics for Sci-Fi Writers, in the summer of 2018.
Watch this space for more of my notes, reactions and ideas catalyzed by these great seminars, after 8/8/16! http://www.sallyember.com/blog