Archive for September, 2013

A hard problem & a hard place

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Consciousness and physics: A hard problem leads to a hard place If consciousness is related to quantum biology, the study of consciousness is going to require some concept of the underlying physics, however unpalatable this may be to some of us. We are dealing with a hard problem, and we will have to come to a hard place to solve it. The summary below attempts to provide a very simplified version of the necessary underlying physics drawn from conventional sources. Atomic bonds:  The overlap Read more […]

Photons out of empty space

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Photons out of empty space Michael Brooks based on Chris Wilson et al, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg New Scientist, 19 November 2011 A recent experiment by Chris Wilson et al at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg serves to substantiate the prediction that energy in the form of photons could be derived from empty space. The prediction was based on uncertainty principle, which does not permit permanent zero energy, but specifies a fluctuation between zero and a Read more […]

Marcus Chown on physical laws

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The Never Ending Days of Being Dead: Dispatches from the Front Line of Science Marcus Chown The ideas discussed in this book look crucial to our understanding of spacetime, energy, matter, the physical law and the relationship of consciousness to all of these. Spacetime and the energy it contains are viewed as fundamental, while quantum particles are suggested to be less fundamental being distortions of the underlying spacetime. This could be seen as related to the Penrose suggestion of objective Read more […]

Unique nature of cosmology

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The Unique Nature of Cosmology George Ellis Mathematics Dept. University of Cape Town Ellis takes a generally sceptical view of cosmology’s attempts to explain the origins of the universe, and in particular emphasises the difficulties of substantiating the currently fashionable inflation theory. He argues that attempts at explaining the origin of the universe depend on assuming that at least some of the laws that govern spacetime in our universe, also comprised a pre-existing set of physical Read more […]

Goldilocks Enigma

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The Goldilocks Enigma Paul Davies Davies’s book deals with the apparent ‘fine-tuning’ of the universe to render it suitable for organic life, and the problems that this produces for understanding the origin of the universe itself. In his preface, he discusses the anthropic principle, which is essentially the view that the structure of the universe is such as to make it suitable for life. Strictly, this proposition is the weak anthropic principle. The strong anthropic principle Read more […]

Time, energy & consciousness

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Time, Energy and Consciousness The physicist, Bernard Carr, recently put forward the suggestion that there might be a connection between the treatment of time and energy under Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle and the sense of a ‘present moment’ that encapsulates our consciousness, and is distinct from the past that has to be recalled from memory or the future which is the subject of thought or speculation. Uncertainty principle is better known for stating that the position and momentum of Read more […]

Thoughts on relativity

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Thoughts on relativity Based mainly on David Bohm and Roger Penrose While quantum theory has been censored out of much of popular thought and education, relativity has suffered the opposite fate of being popularised in a ‘wow! You wouldn’t guess that style’, with an arguable lack of balance as to what is most important in the theory. Mass-energy equivalence: It could be argued that mass-energy equivalence is of greater significance than more crowd-stopping ideas such as different time orderings. Read more […]

Temporally separated entanglement

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Entanglement between photons that have never coexisted Megidish, E. H. S. Eisenberg et al, University of Jerusalem arXiv:1209.4191v1 [quant ph] 19 Sep 2012 This study demonstrates that entanglement is not only between spatially separated quanta, but also between temporally separated quanta, or in other words it is extended across spacetime. This study utilises an experimental procedure from the 1990s known as entanglement swapping. The experiment involves two entangled pairs of photons, Read more […]

Superposition of wave and particle state

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Realisation of quantum Wheeler’s delayed-choice experiment Tang et al, University of Science & Technology of China Nature Photonics, 6, pp. 602-6, doi: 10.1038/nphoton.2012.179, 19 August 2012 Bohr’s complementarity principle proposed that quanta were either in a wave state or a particle state according to how an experiment was performed. Tang’s study was a refinement of Wheeler’s delayed choice experiment. In this only after a photon has passed through two slits or a beam splitter is Read more […]

Quantum and classical interaction

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Quantum and classical interaction Answering Descartes: Beyond Turing Stuart Kauffman, University of Vermont & Tampere University Kauffman is sceptical relative to ideas of consciousness based on classical and macroscopic physics. He proposes instead that consciousness is related to the border area between quantum and classical processing, where the non-algorithmic aspect of the quantum and the non-random aspect of the classical may be mixed. This is termed the ‘poised realm’, and is Read more […]