My mom used to say that when your child is as big as you, you have to treat them with respect. What she actually said was that you had to address them using a respectful form of “jy,” which doesn’t make any sense in English, but may work in Hindi or French. It worked poetically well in Malayalam. I was reminded of this maternal pearl of wisdom recently when I was watching a movie with my son.
Life is full of contradictions.
I am attending a research retreat on mindfulness and contemplative practices at the beautiful Garrison Institute. I am learning a lot of interesting things, and meeting a lot of like-minded and excellent people – the kind of people with whom I could have deep conversation about the unreal nature of reality, unlike most people from other walks of life would politely and tactfully excuse themselves when I get a bit unreal.
At some point in our life, we come to accept the fact we are closer to death than life. What lies ahead is definitely less significant than what is left behind. These are the twilight years, and I have come to accept them. With darkness descending over the horizons, and the long shadows of misspent years and evaded human conditions slithering all around me, I peer into the void, into an eternity of silence and dreamlessness. Dit is almost time.
Sedert die post-reeks op deeltjies en interaksies het 'n bietjie langer as wat ek wou, Ek het gedink ek sou dit op te breek. Kom ons begin met 'n herhaling van die moderne fisika wat jou sal benodig om die struktuur van materie te verstaan.
When we looked at Quantum Mechanics, we talked about its various interpretations. The reason we have such interpretations, I said, is that QM deals with a reality that we have no access to, through our sensory and perceptual apparatuses. Aan die ander kant, Special Relativity is about macro objects in motion, and we have no problem imagining such things. So why would we need to have an interpretation? The answer is a subtle one.
Whenever we talk about Quantum Mechanics, one of the first questions would be, “What about the cat?” This question, regtig, is about the interpretations of Quantum Mechanics. The standard interpretation, die sogenaamde Kopenhagen interpretasie, leads to the famous Schrodinger’s cat.
In this post on Quantum Mechanics (QM), we will go a bit beyond it and touch upon Quantum Field Theory – the way it is used in particle physics. In the last couple of posts, I outlined a philosophical introduction to QM, as well as its historical origin – how it came about as an ad-hoc explanation of the blackbody radiation, and a brilliant description of the photoelectric effect.
Kwantummeganika (QM) is the physics of small things. How do they behave and how do they interact with each other? Conspicuously absent from this framework of QM is why. Why small things do what they do is a question QM leaves alone. En, if you are to make any headway into this subject, your best bet is to curb your urge to ask why. Nature is what she is. Our job is to understand the rules by which she plays the game of reality, and do our best to make use of those rules to our advantage in experiments and technologies. Ours is not to reason why. Regtig.
In al ons wetenskaplike pogings, Ons gebruik dieselfde hoë-vlak tegnieke te verstaan en te bestudeer dinge. Die mees algemene tegniek is reduksionisme. Dit is gebaseer op die oortuiging dat die gedrag, eienskappe en struktuur van 'n groot en komplekse voorwerpe kan verstaan word in terme van hul eenvoudiger bestanddele. Met ander woorde, Ons probeer om die geheel te verstaan (die heelal, byvoorbeeld) in terme van kleiner, verminder bestanddele (soos deeltjies).