Metanoia:The Relativity of it All

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So there were a whole heap of physics I won’t mention, like Niels Bohr and James Maxwell. Very important to know that stuff if you ever going to try and sit a physics exam. Matter of fact, if you are, get to studying and stop reading this stupid book. You can come back to it after your exam. Which brings me back to the point, do some valid research; don’t just repeat the stuff of a crazy person. No matter how true it is, or how crazy the person is, make your own bloody judgements people! Because that is what science is: the study of the world thru our collective consciousness. Also known the ‘evolution of ideas’ as I call it, because it evolves. Unlike religion, which just sits there over looking everyone and everything, making sure their view of the world isn’t destroyed. I’ll come back to religion. Pfffftttt, what a joke. A unfunny joke.

So there was this awesome dude called Albert Einstein, what an awesome guy. I really like Einstein, and not just because he wrote the letter that started the United States of America’s nuclear bomb development program (bet you didn’t know that). Although that is possibly the greatest achievements we have done as a species besides landing a man on the moon. One of the best (or worst) use of technology. But he was so much more than that. He was a person, he knew it, and we knew it. Unlike most of the people you see around a city, who think their shit don’t stink.

Anyway what Einstein created was the theory of relativity. This was his crowning achievement. Yet before I get started on what that is, I would like to remind you that E=mc2. This was another achievement by Einstein. He figured out that everything was energy = mass x (the speed of light)2. This equation is very interesting later on, take note. It was with this equation; he wrote a letter to the president of the USA, hoping that the Germans weren’t working on the nuclear bomb yet, but it would be possible.

Anyway I’ll talk about my love of weapons later on. Right now I’m about 13 years old and just about to start high school. Did I mention that I hate the schooling system? Well I do, but education is important. Yet teach the kids HOW to think rather than to regurgitate what other people have thought. Shit back to the topic KP! Einstein and his theory of relativity is where I’m meant to be going. I should win awards for the amount of times I go completely off topic. Oh well, my book, my rules.

So Einstein had this realisation that time and space where linked. Ok, so we all know light has a speed limit (c). As in nothing can go faster than light. Einstein said that the speed of light doesn’t change no matter what your frame of reference. So let’s imagine we are sitting on a beach looking out at the sea, and a boat is sailing past and they turn their lights on, both ends of the ship light up at once for us. However the captain of the ship says he turned the light at the front of the ship on first. You want to know the funny thing? They are both right (Ahh perspective, it’s an excellent thing).

You see that because the boat is moving but the speed of light is the same. If for instance we image a person on the boat throwing a ball forward, the speed of the ball is the speed that he threw it. Yet we are on the shore so we see the ball moving at the speed he threw it plus the speed of the boat. This is logical, but Einstein figured out that no matter the reference frame, light still travels at the same speed. Therefore when we see both lights come on at once, because the ships moving forward. If we were on the boat we would see the lights go on at the front then the lights go on at the back. If you’re not following me here, it’s probably because I’ve done a shit job at explaining it, but it is a fairly common to not understand. That’s a natural thing, and it is the theory of relativity after all.

So with this information and also his energy=mass x (speed of light)2 thingo, he figured out that gravity would warp this new thing he called ‘space-time’. Alright so that example I gave with the boat wouldn’t really work, unless the speed of light was more like the speed of me walking somewhere. Yet it is quite a bit faster than that. You get the idea tho… hopefully.

Anyway his idea answered why mercury (the planet closest to the sun) sped up when it was on the other side of the sun. Also you know GPS satellites, they are the ones that give you your location anywhere on the planet accurate down to a few meters. They have to keep the time dilatation (because of ‘space-time’) in to account, or it would ‘drift off’ and no longer able to give you your location. Instead it would tell you a incorrect location and it would become more and more incorrect as time went on. Very kick arse, good one Einstein. Really you should care about this stuff, if you’ve ever used GPS. I think it’s important to know how this stuff works, especially if you use it.

Oh man, I’ll get over all this physics stuff (for a bit) soon. I’m really sorry if I’m boring you. All this stuff is really interesting tho. Not only is this stuff interesting, but it’s also true. Well scientifically proven, at least at this point, and these ‘theories’ have lasted the test of time. Well about 100 years at least. Yet what would they know, their only scientists after all.

"The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane."
-Nikola Tesla

So now we enter the stage of quantum mechanics, and this is a weird word where probabilities rule, something that science… can’t explain, but this doesn’t mean it’s not correct. A world where on and off, can be the same thing. If anyone thinks they understand it, they don’t. So that takes me out, but hopefully you’ll see what I see by the time you finish this book.

Erwin Schrödinger is one of the fathers of quantum theory, with about four other guys. Kinda weird I know, but a little weird is good right? Well I think so. Along with Richard Feynman, who I didn’t take much notice of until long after school finished but I really wish more people could be like him. An amazing man who used to do maths in strip clubs, also won heaps of Nobel prizes. Truly an amazing man, also worked on the atomic bomb, and he was in touch with his soul unlike Steven Hawking who thinks he knows it all.

So anyways were not going into quantum physics too much, but I highly recommend you watch videos and shit about it if you’re interested. So Erwin came up with a thought experiment (that’s an experiment that you can do with your mind, kinda like philosophy), which ironically was devised to show how ridiculous quantum mechanics is. Yet later on, it was proven to be accurate. So here it is “Schrödinger’s Cat” or as I prefer to call it “Erwin’s Pussy”, but either one is fine.

So you have a box, and this box nobody, not even the best physicists, with all the technologies, can see into this box. It is impenetrable to everyone and everything. Within the box you place, a piece of radioactive material, a Geiger counter (that’s the thing that will detect the decay of the radioactive material you put in), a hammer which is wired up to the Geiger counter that will break a vial of poison which we’ll also put in there.

Remember how I told you quantum physics was all about probabilities? So let’s say the probability of the radioactive material to decay in an hour is about 50%, so either it will decay or it won’t in an hour. And that’s hooked up to a hammer that will smash that vial of poison in there. So finally you grab one of the cutest kittehs (cat) you have ever seen, place that in the box and close it up, and leave it for an hour. So is the cat dead or alive?

It’s actually in a superposition state, it is both dead and alive at the same time. Because you can’t see into the box, there’s no way of telling if the cat is alive or dead. Against what Newton thought (for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction), the cat is both alive and dead simultaneously until you look in the box to find the cat is either alive or dead. Quite weird indeed, Mr Schrödinger. A cat that’s both alive and dead. What the hell?

Yet Mr Schrödinger was right it seems. Through experiment scientists have proved it correct. You see light is meant to act like a wave, this means if you shine a light through two slits (two little cuts in a piece of plastic or something) then you should end up with an interference pattern on the other side. Think waves in a pool with two openings at the end of it going through to another pool. If you start waves in one of the pools, when the high and low parts of the waves get to the part with two openings will start two circular waves from the point where the light gets through, that’s a wave that goes out in all directions. When these cross each other the either add together or cancel each other out. So light is a wave.

Yet, light is also a photon, a little packet of light. It is both a particle and a wave. Just like a pool is made of atoms of water that waves travel though. So, what happens if you fire single photon through the slits to build up a map of where the photons land on the board? Surely then they would act like a machine gun, blowing two holes in direct line with the openings. Well this is not true, it still appears like waves. Why is this? What’s going on?

So we try shining individual photons through the double slits, but this time, you set up detectors at the slits so you can see what slit the photon is travelling through? Well then it ends up like a machine gun firing range. What’s going on here? So it turns out Schrödinger was right after all, the act of observation changes the result. This is the weird world of quantum physics, and it explains everything… well almost everything.

I’ll get back to the ‘theories’ part of quantum mechanics like parallel universes in my later years in this book, because I was more interested in the mechanics of how they found this stuff out. I didn’t really take any of it seriously at this stage but it was a good thing to think about. I always knew I was the smartest person who ever walked the face of this planet (that was a joke by the way), but I never thought I’d have the brains for physics as a career path. Mainly because of my completely average grades, and I mean average: usually C or C+ so with grades like that I thought a career in computer programming was much more my style.

"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."
-Albert Einstein

I did like the thinking in physics, but was truly hopeless at the maths and use of complicated terms like ‘quantum’ I know it comes from the Greeks but where English now and where when this silly term came about. Why isn’t it called indi-mechanics? Indivisible mechanics. Makes more sense than picking out stuff from the Greeks, just like Alpha and Beta radiation, what’s that all about? The use of multiple languages I think is to make them feel big and powerful. Yet it was fucking confusing for us C students. Can we keep it too one language people, not a mix and match of multiple languages. I bet if they did that more people would start to ‘get’ it. This is the sole reason I never studied biology.