Physics

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OK, here’s the ultimate reference and review of this whole mind-body thing, or rather consciousness, from a Quantum mechanical point of view. It includes within it Henry Stapp’s theory just as one approach out of many. I’m really going to try to read the whole thing, I think. Just want an overview. It was written by Dr. Harald Atmanspacher.

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I came across the following on Henry Stapp’s Wiki:

Stapp favours the idea that quantum waves collapse only when they interact with consciousness. He argues that quantum waves collapse when intelligent brains select one among the alternative quantum possibilities as a basis for future action.

This seems crazy at first glance, but here’s a further sentence from his Wiki:

Stapp postulates more global collapse via his ‘mind like’ wave-function collapse that exploits certain aspects of the quantum Zeno effect within the synapses to explain attention.

If you check out the above link to the quantum Zeno effect, you find something strange indeed. Say no more! Except the effect is related to the Turing paradox!

Over and out for now.

Oh, before I go, here’s another link: Physics and Whitehead Workshop.

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Almost invariably when I check Psybertron I find something that fascinates me. Today his reference to the book Mindful Universe by Henry Stapp, started me on a search for explanations. There are several Youtubes of Henry Stapp trying to explain his theory, and a fascinating but very hard for me to follow, debate between Stapp and Matthew J. Donald. So, what is he basically trying to say? He’s making a connection between quantum theory, eastern mysticism, and the mind-body problem, if I have that right and not oversimplified it too much. Another related link I found is a long talk by Carlo Rovelli,”Science is not About Certainty: A Philosophy of Physics”.

My work is cut out if I want to understand any of this.

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Lawrence Krauss (the officianados call him Larry;) has answered the question Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing? in his new book, A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing, or should I say he has claimed to have answered the question.

But I’m sure old Martin Heidegger, Nazi sympathizer that he was, is rolling over in his grave now saying, “No, he hasn’t. The Nothing that Krauss uses is really not the true Nothing, but already a Something. The true Nothing is not empty space but the absence of empty space altogether, in fact, “There was not then what is nor what is not.”, as found in the Song of Creation from the Rig Veda is perhaps an approximate, and only approximate, way of characterizing the Nothing.”

I hope my translation of his German is accurate. Old Martin was talking really fast and sputtering in frustration from his grave there. But I think I caught the gist of it, I hope.

LOL

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Discovered him again. I’ve always known about the man, the master theoretical physicist calculator who worked with Hans Bethe, an even more profound mathematical theorist of modern physics. But last night when I couldn’t sleep — yet again — I decided to read Dyson’s article in The New York Review of Books on Questions About Global Warming. Aileni had already certainly cautioned me about accepting Al Gore’s views on Global Warming, so I thought I’d tackle this article before hitting the others Aileni links to in Nexus, especially since I’ve been so in awe of Dyson over the years.

In this NYRB article Dyson reviews two books on global warming and provides his own prologue to the piece. In this prologue he shows that there is a rapid (twelve years) exchange of carbon between the atmosphere and vegetation which is very important for the long range future of global warming. Neither of the two books he reviews mentions it, he says. But he devotes considerable space to the book by Nordhaus who concludes that a “low-cost backstop” might provide the best climate policy. However, Nordhaus is reluctant to discuss this in any detail, partly because, as an economist and not a scientist, he does not wish to question the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which considers the science of climate change to be settled.

Dyson shows that the “low-cost backstop” option of Nordhaus has considerable potential in view of the evidence for rapid exchange of carbon between the atmosphere and plants. He considers it likely that genetically engineered carbon-eating trees could be developed within twenty years. These carbon-eating trees would convert the carbon from the atmosphere into root systems which are then buried underground so that the carbon is not returned to the atmosphere. Here is a great potential solution to the problem of reducing the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

He spends less time on the book by Zedillo which covers a wider range of topics than the Nordhaus book. This book provides the minority opinions of Richard Lindzner of MIT who answers the question of whether the alarm of global warming is founded on fact with a resounding no. The majority opinions, most dogmatically presented by Howard Dalton of Great Britain, state that urgent action is needed now across the world to avert a major threat to the environment and human society. Dyson clearly questions this view.

After reading the NYRB article, I found an even more fascinating article by Dyson on the subject of climate change in which he goes deeper into his views on the subject. It reads very well and I strongly recommend it to any interested parties.

Finally, I was fortunate this morning to find a wonderful interview with Freeman Dyson by Robert Wright. It’s interesting what he says about religion. To him, religion is a way of life and not a matter of belief. He claims he is a Christian without the theology. What is left of Christianity when you take the theology away?, he is asked. Well almost the whole thing, he says, it’s a community of people in a church who are taking care of each other, and also there’s a great deal of beautiful language and there’s a great deal of music; it’s an art form much more than a philosophy. (Sounds a lot like humanistic UUism!) But he does believe there is some instinct of a mind at work in the universe. Not only that, but quantum physics shows that matter at the micro level is clearly not anything we can have experience of. The mathematical theory works just fine, but the reality of it is quite literally out of our world. He has much to say about the macro level as well. His bottom line is that the universe is filled with enormous mysteries of which we know very little indeed. One such mystery is the almost daily bursts of extremely intense gamma rays from completely unknown origins. But there are countless others. The universe is unimaginably amazing and mysterious.

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Perhaps I should mention the books I’m in the process of reading or have read recently. I just finished The Meaning of Life by Terry Eagleton, and before that the Irish novel The Gathering by Anne Enright which won the 2007 Man Booker Prize. Now I’m trying to simultaneously read The Private Life of the Brain by Susan Greenfield, The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, and Cosmic Jackpot by Paul Davies. I’ve already read the latter — see here — so this will be a re-read. Also, I’m still dabbling in Roger Penrose’s The Road to Reality, a very heavy physics book for the “general reader”. Plus, there’s a bunch of stuff online on physics, cosmology, philosophy, and religion that I’m trying to keep up with. Incidentally, there’s a great put-down by Terry Eagleton of The God Delusion here.

My objective is to straddle science, philosophy and religion and see what kind of a mixture I might end up with, if any. 😆

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How about a Beam of Light That Flips a Switch That Turns on the Brain? How’s that for a new way to get turned on? But what’s it like? Take a look?

See the neuron synapses in red? See the photosensitive protein on the cell membrane in green? For a layman’s discussion of the physics and chemistry and experiments with light check the link above.

But what’s it like? you ask. You mean you want to know what it feels like? Ha Ha Who knows? Ask a zebrafish? Or why not read Thomas Nagel’s article, What Is It Like To Be A Bat?
😆