Why and How
Sunday, July 03, 2005
Human curiosity is the inherent drive of progress. If we didn't ask why and how we'd probably still be sacrificing humans to non existent gods.
As "advanced" societies, we know so much, yet know so little about ourselves, the laws of physics governing us, and the universe in general.
One of the most interesting (to me) unanswered question lies in the "newer" theory of Quantum Mechanics. According to physicists studying this new theories, everything physical is a "probability wave." I.e. Things don't have smooth edges, as we think they do - Don't ask me to describe a probability wave. Either you see it, or you don't - I don't ;)
It's a fascinating fact that when we start looking at things in detail and zoom into the core of the building blocks of everything, we hit the fundamental particles of our universe. At this level, nothing behaves the way we are used to or expect to. Material things take shape and form because we acknowledge their existence - Think of Schroeder's cats for every fundamental particle.
On a side note, the idea of "created only when observed" reality came about from the Copenhagen Convention: a bunch of physicists had to agree that the cat existed only when one looked at it. I.e. The cat was dead and alive at the same time. Although, this view of our reality is being challenged by more objective Quantum theories.
A quick example of how things don't work the way we expect them to at this quantum levels has to do with Gravity. Gravity effects atoms and electrons differently than moons around planets. You'd expect that electrons eventually spiral into the nucleus of an atom due to Newton's gravitational law. I.e. due to the nucleus' larger mass. But, nope - Electrons just orbit the nucleus until something makes it jump. Either a chemical reaction here and there or a photon hitting an electron. Hmmmm...Solar power.
It's all very "spooky" if you ask me. Spooky is, by the way, what scientist call some parts of the observed behavior :) I.e. Nonlocality: things happens simulataneusly. You guessed it; It's weird: no speed of light limit - Very spooky, indeed.Science Magazine
put together 125 unanswered questions for your curious pleasure.
In case the site decides to change the link, I have a local copy
of their list.