I was on the fence of making this an OTTO or not but I think I’d first just like to babble it in the broadest abstract. String Theory, Quantum Physics, and the Standard Model all make perfectly clear sense. I’ll attempt to convey why I think so while a bit out of it from my medication, so forgive me if I start talking about dolphin unicorns or something equally asinine.
Quantum Physics is often considered confusing or baffling, this is (I feel) one of the reasons that many people choose to take faith over learning. Science appears to get more complicated with each generation to the random passerby. But really with each new advance in our knowledge of the universe the science becomes more simple and more elegant. Science is truly beautiful, the pinnacle of our abilities, and I think it is unfortunate that it can look so complicated. The good feelings that folks latch onto when they take on faith can easily be replicated through science.
The dopamine impact of “finally getting” something is immense, better than any drug I’ve ever been exposed to. But I am digressing.
You might wonder why small things act differently than big things. The Macro world is much more different than the Macro world. For instance, you may know the phrase “To repeat the same experiment and expect different results is the definition of madness.” Whoever originally coined this apparently didn’t take a second to think about it. In science, especially Quantum Physics does do the same experiment and expect different results because they do experience them.
Observe a very small particle and the photons (light) you are using to see those particles will actually be moved by the photons! Every time you attempt to observe these things they are not only not where you saw them (since you pushed them out of the way) but also not in a single definite position.
But why? Why is it that it is not unusual for matter to seemingly blink in and out of existence at the quantum level but not at the macro world we are all used to? I don’t know all the answers but I do have an example that might help. Imagine, if you will, the the “possibilities” possible are a party balloon. The more you inflate this balloon the larger it gets and the more restrictions it suffers under. If you fill the balloon enough you won’t be able to mold it in any way without breaking it (breaking the laws restricting it).
What do you get, however, if your “possibilities” balloon is only partially inflated? If its on a smaller level of existence? The possibilities become far greater and even can result in things dramatically different from what we are used to.
You are used to straight balloons whereas the smaller world is used to…
To put it simply this is why we feel awkward by those differences. Our lives have been all about the straight balloon, all the forces that interact on us limit our possibilities. You can only get so large before gravitation is playing a strong role in your life.
But on the micro level? Forces you otherwise aren’t even aware of have incredibly powerful impacts. You are comprised of an immense amount of Atoms. A number with something like 30 zeroes following the digit. You have trillions of trillions (of trillions?) of different atoms that would all have to do something spontaneous at the same time for you to replicate the Quantum world. But just think, how many atoms need to do these things on their own to have a complete experience?
Suppose that little things
Behaved very differently
Than anything big
Nothing’s really as it seems
It’s so wonderfully different
Than anything big
The world is a dynamic mess
Of jiggling things
It’s hard to believe
– Richard Feynman [From Symphony of Science.]
This is why I think Quantum Physics makes perfect sense, it is beautiful because it is intuitive. You would naturally expect that things on the small scale would be much more different than the big things. Big things have all sorts of forces acting on them at levels that are far greater and far more numerous! Our balloons are filled to near bursting and we really don’t have any options. I don’t see a problem with that either, I revel in the fact that there exists a universe within our own from an educational standpoint, a place where we can always see new things because it is a world that is not as strictly restricted as the one our naked eye can see or experience.
So then, what about String Theory and the Standard Model? Well first we’ll look at the Standard Model, really the answer for both of these is exactly the same but still here it is:
Presuming I grabbed the correct one (I believe I have) this equation can account for basically all physical phenomena, and as far as I’m aware this is why there is such a big effort to find the Higgs Boson (which likely was found in December). The Boson is incredibly important and without it the answers aren’t accurate.
But why would there be a single equation? Naturally any variables in this equation that don’t apply to the certain problem you are trying to work out would end up as 0s and eliminate themselves. But beyond that think about the universe for a moment. As far as we can tell, and as far as I know, the entire universe is made of something.
Everything in this entire universe is basically comprised of a series of the same matter with slightly different numbers or charges. But at the end of the day we are all a mixture of a few of the same spices, all the effects we see in the universe are either motivated or created by the existence of these spices. So why would the universe not then have a single equation? Where is the necessity for separate mathematics to answer separate issues? There is none that I can see. If the entire universe is made of sand you can then use what you know about sand to explain everything and you most certainly wouldn’t presume that some sand is special, in this thought experiment all sand is sand.
String Theory too attempts to find that “thing” that makes up everything, I suspect that it is right or very close to being correct. As I mentioned in a previous post, a circle is effectively a polygon with infinitely many sides (and consequently appears to be single sided at the same time), this means that if you did take a simple circle and each vibration produced a different important spice of our universe, you could easily account for everything with a single mechanic.
There is literally no reason to assume that everything in this universe cannot be boiled down to something so simple. It is the ultimate execution of Occam’s Razor, a beautifully simple answer that has the same level or greater utility as all alternatives.
At this point it becomes a matter of finding them, if the “strings” are not found in my own lifetime I will be so shocked I might short out electronics within a mile of my death.
How about that dark matter?! Seems like a mighty big cop out doesn’t it!? This is again something that seems perfectly reasonable. Science attempts to either observe things directly or to observe the impact of those things on other things. We cannot, for instance, see gravity at all but we can see how it impacts us and all the things around us. There is no form of light that we can use to see gravity, we can see the influence of it by bending light but we cannot ultimately see the literal thing.
Dark matter is not unlike gravity, we can see its presence acting heavily on the universe. Why then is it called “dark”? Couldn’t you just shine a light on it? The name is terrible, like Global Warming it conveys the wrong message. It’s not that this matter is dark it is that it doesn’t interact with light in any fashion. It’s translucent not dark, a black hole is dark, dark matter is merely invisible.
“Hey now! You guys can believe in invisible things but we can’t?!”
I hate to build up straw men, but that does seem like a natural thought for some. The difference here is that you can literally see the impact of these invisible things. Gravity holds me down every second of every day, deities haven’t entered into my life at any point. Dark Matter, Gravity, and other things we cannot see are constantly having an impact on us.
This impact is not emotional, it is physical and real. There is no philosophy, that is the dramatic difference, we know these things are happening.
That’s the ultimate beauty of theories, the theory is how we think something works, the actual mechanic we are trying to explain most certainly does exist it is just that we are not certain how it does. Gravitation was incorrectly explained many times, there were many erroneous theories of gravity. At no point did any of these theories make gravitation cease to exist.
So that’s that, I think I’m awake enough to go write now. Thanks for your time. Keep learning, keep exploring, keep thinking, your brain is eating up 20% of the Calories you take in…you may as well make use out of every last one of them.
Enjoy the fantasy, the fun, the stories
But make sure that there’s a clear sharp line
Drawn on the floor
To do otherwise is to embrace madness
– James Randi [From Symphony of Science (once again : p).]