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Rob Sheldon: The quantum effects shown in large molecules may make theories like the multiverse testable

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Yesterday, we noted that researchers demonstrated quantum effects in giant molecules, showing that the 2000 atom giants could be in two places at once.

Our physics color commentator Rob Sheldon offers some thoughts on why it matters:

The point of this experiment is to test the Copenhagen interpretation of QM that says: “Newtonian physics is for big objects, QM is for small ones.” The question, of course, is “how small is small?” Evidently 25000 Dalton molecules with 2000 atoms (H,C,F,Zn, & S) is still small.

One QM theory variation on Copenhagen called “Continuous Spontaneous Localization” says that classical Newtonian physics arises from QM if an object has many, many modes or states, and when all these states “decohere”, they reduce QM statistics to classical statistics. By measuring a hot stream of molecules with billions of states, this experiment may rule out CSL. If so, it would be the first time an interpretation of QM was actually invalidated, suggesting we have entered a new era of testing theories of the foundations of QM. Perhaps we can soon test the wild theories such as Everett’s Many Worlds interpretation.

Rob Sheldon is the author of Genesis: The Long Ascent, Vols 1 and 2.

See also: The multiverse is science’s assisted suicide

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6 Replies to “Rob Sheldon: The quantum effects shown in large molecules may make theories like the multiverse testable

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    As to “Continuous Spontaneous Localization”.

    First off, to say that something occurred ‘spontaneously’ in quantum mechanics is, in effect, to say that it happened randomly or by chance:

    “Each nucleus decays spontaneously, at random, in accordance with the blind workings of chance”.
    – Q for Quantum, John Gribbin

    And, as was pointed out the other day, for a Atheistic materialist to say something happened spontaneously by chance, or that it happened randomly, is basically no different than his saying that it happened miraculously.

    As Wolfgang Pauli himself pointed out, chance, as it is used by materialists, is more or less synonymous with the word ‘miracle’.

    Pauli’s ideas on mind and matter in the context of contemporary science – Harald Atmanspacher
    Excerpt: “In discussions with biologists I met large difficulties when they apply the concept of ‘natural selection’ in a rather wide field, without being able to estimate the probability of the occurrence in a empirically given time of just those events, which have been important for the biological evolution. Treating the empirical time scale of the evolution theoretically as infinity they have then an easy game, apparently to avoid the concept of purposesiveness. While they pretend to stay in this way completely ‘scientific’ and ‘rational,’ they become actually very irrational, particularly because they use the word ‘chance’, not any longer combined with estimations of a mathematically defined probability, in its application to very rare single events more or less synonymous with the old word ‘miracle.’”
    Wolfgang Pauli (pp. 27-28)
    https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/234f/4989e039089fed5ac47c7d1a19b656c602e2.pdf

    Likewise, as Talbott points out in the following article, the way in which Darwinists use the word ‘random’ is also more or less synonymous with the word ‘miracle’.

    Evolution and the Illusion of Randomness – Talbott – Fall 2011
    Excerpt: The situation calls to mind a widely circulated cartoon by Sidney Harris, which shows two scientists in front of a blackboard on which a body of theory has been traced out with the usual tangle of symbols, arrows, equations, and so on. But there’s a gap in the reasoning at one point, filled by the words, “Then a miracle occurs.” And the one scientist is saying to the other, “I think you should be more explicit here in step two.”
    In the case of evolution, I picture Dennett and Dawkins filling the blackboard with their vivid descriptions of living, highly regulated, coordinated, integrated, and intensely meaningful biological processes, and then inserting a small, mysterious gap in the middle, along with the words, “Here something random occurs.”
    This “something random” looks every bit as wishful as the appeal to a miracle. It is the central miracle in a gospel of meaninglessness, a “Randomness of the gaps,” demanding an extraordinarily blind faith. At the very least, we have a right to ask, “Can you be a little more explicit here?”
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....randomness

    Thus in effect, the appeal to “Continuous Spontaneous Localization” is, in reality, no different than saying ““Continuous Miraculous Localization”.

    And though some people may quibble over the details of equating the word Spontaneous with the word Miraculous, I hold that there is no empirical evidence that can be put forth that can differentiate between the two words. And indeed, in so far as the Atheistic materialists would seek to define the word spontaneous to mean something along the lines of “a ‘natural’ inherent inclination of the particle/wave itself to do something completely free from outside influences”, I would hold that there is much empirical evidence that can be brought forth against that specific reductive materialistic presupposition.

    How Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness Correlate – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4f0hL3Nrdas

    To go a bit further, besides quantum effects now being shown for ‘2000 atom giants’, quantum effects are now also shown to be present in protein and DNA molecules

    Darwinian Materialism vs. Quantum Biology – Part II
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSig2CsjKbg

    Besides protein and DNA molecules, quantum effects are also now shown to be at play on the macroscopic level of our bodies by the following fact. The following paper found that the human eye can detect the presence of a single photon, the researchers stated that “Any man-made detector would need to be cooled and isolated from noise to behave the same way.”,,,

    Study suggests humans can detect even the smallest units of light – July 21, 2016
    Excerpt: Research,, has shown that humans can detect the presence of a single photon, the smallest measurable unit of light. Previous studies had established that human subjects acclimated to the dark were capable only of reporting flashes of five to seven photons.,,,
    it is remarkable: a photon, the smallest physical entity with quantum properties of which light consists, is interacting with a biological system consisting of billions of cells, all in a warm and wet environment,” says Vaziri. “The response that the photon generates survives all the way to the level of our awareness despite the ubiquitous background noise. Any man-made detector would need to be cooled and isolated from noise to behave the same way.”,,,
    The gathered data from more than 30,000 trials demonstrated that humans can indeed detect a single photon incident on their eye with a probability significantly above chance.
    “What we want to know next is how does a biological system achieve such sensitivity? How does it achieve this in the presence of noise?
    http://phys.org/news/2016-07-humans-smallest.html

    In fact, since the human eye can detect a single photon, there are plans to use humans observers themselves as actual detectors in quantum mechanics so as either confirm or disconfirm the predictions of quantum mechanics.

    Human Eye, that “Clunky Design,” to be Used to Confirm, or Disconfirm, Quantum Mechanics – July 12, 2018
    Excerpt: Whether people can actually see a single photon, which requires the rod signal to propagate through the rest of the noisy visual system and be perceived in the brain, has been the subject of research for nearly 100 years. Early experiments hinted that people could see just a few photons, but classical light sources are poor tools for answering these questions. Single-photon sources have opened up a new area of vision research, providing the best evidence yet that humans can indeed see single photons, and could even be used to test quantum effects through the visual system.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2018/07/human-eye-that-clunky-design-to-be-used-to-confirm-or-disconfirm-quantum-mechanics/

    I firmly believe, once these experiments are eventually conducted, that conscious observation will, (once again), be confirmed to central to any coherent understanding and/or ‘interpretation’ of quantum mechanics:

    Reality doesn’t exist until we measure it, (Delayed Choice) quantum experiment confirms –
    Mind = blown. – FIONA MACDONALD – 1 JUN 2015
    Excerpt: “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,” lead researcher and physicist Andrew Truscott said in a press release.
    http://www.sciencealert.com/re.....t-confirms

    Quantum physics says goodbye to reality – Apr 20, 2007
    Excerpt: Many realizations of the thought experiment have indeed verified the violation of Bell’s inequality. These have ruled out all hidden-variables theories based on joint assumptions of realism, meaning that reality exists when we are not observing it; and locality, meaning that separated events cannot influence one another instantaneously. But a violation of Bell’s inequality does not tell specifically which assumption – realism, locality or both – is discordant with quantum mechanics.
    Markus Aspelmeyer, Anton Zeilinger and colleagues from the University of Vienna, however, have now shown that realism is more of a problem than locality in the quantum world. They devised an experiment that violates a different inequality proposed by physicist Anthony Leggett in 2003 that relies only on realism, and relaxes the reliance on locality. To do this, rather than taking measurements along just one plane of polarization, the Austrian team took measurements in additional, perpendicular planes to check for elliptical polarization.
    They found that, just as in the realizations of Bell’s thought experiment, Leggett’s inequality is violated – thus stressing the quantum-mechanical assertion that reality does not exist when we’re not observing it. “Our study shows that ‘just’ giving up the concept of locality would not be enough to obtain a more complete description of quantum mechanics,” Aspelmeyer told Physics Web. “You would also have to give up certain intuitive features of realism.”
    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/27640

  2. 2
    PaV says:

    Question:

    Are physicists going to insist that we can’t measure the position and velocity of these huge molecules?

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    PaV, don’t know if it will answer your specific question or not, but you may find this to be of interest:

    Quantum physics just got less complicated – Dec. 19, 2014
    Excerpt: Patrick Coles, Jedrzej Kaniewski, and Stephanie Wehner,,, found that ‘wave-particle duality’ is simply the quantum ‘uncertainty principle’ in disguise, reducing two mysteries to one.,,,
    “The connection between uncertainty and wave-particle duality comes out very naturally when you consider them as questions about what information you can gain about a system. Our result highlights the power of thinking about physics from the perspective of information,”,,,
    http://phys.org/news/2014-12-q.....cated.html

    as well

    In the beginning was the bit – New Scientist
    Excerpt: Zeilinger’s principle leads to the intrinsic randomness found in the quantum world. Consider the spin of an electron. Say it is measured along a vertical axis (call it the z axis) and found to be pointing up. Because one bit of information has been used to make that statement, no more information can be carried by the electron’s spin. Consequently, no information is available to predict the amounts of spin in the two horizontal directions (x and y axes), so they are of necessity entirely random. If you then measure the spin in one of these directions, there is an equal chance of its pointing right or left, forward or back. This fundamental randomness is what we call Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle.
    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_.....302101.php

    Zeilinger’s principle
    Zeilinger’s principle states that any elementary system carries just one bit of information. This principle was put forward by Austrian physicist Anton Zeilinger in 1999 and subsequently developed by him to derive several aspects of quantum mechanics. Some have reasoned that this principle, in certain ways, links thermodynamics with information theory. [1]
    http://www.eoht.info/page/Zeilinger%27s+principle

    Also of interest, in the following experiment ‘knowledge of the particle’s position’, (aka Maxwell’s demon), enabled the researchers to turn information into energy.

    Maxwell’s demon demonstration turns information into energy – November 2010
    Excerpt: Scientists in Japan are the first to have succeeded in converting information into free energy in an experiment that verifies the “Maxwell demon” thought experiment devised in 1867.,,, In Maxwell’s thought experiment the demon creates a temperature difference simply from information about the gas molecule temperatures and without transferring any energy directly to them.,,, Until now, demonstrating the conversion of information to energy has been elusive, but University of Tokyo physicist Masaki Sano and colleagues have succeeded in demonstrating it in a nano-scale experiment. In a paper published in Nature Physics they describe how they coaxed a Brownian particle to travel upwards on a “spiral-staircase-like” potential energy created by an electric field solely on the basis of information on its location. As the particle traveled up the staircase it gained energy from moving to an area of higher potential, and the team was able to measure precisely how much energy had been converted from information.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....nergy.html

    In other words, information is now empirically shown to be a physically real entity that is separate from matter and energy. A physical real entity that has, as the following researcher put it, a quote unquote ‘thermodynamic content’

    Demonic device converts information to energy – 2010
    Excerpt: “This is a beautiful experimental demonstration that information has a thermodynamic content,” says Christopher Jarzynski, a statistical chemist at the University of Maryland in College Park. In 1997, Jarzynski formulated an equation to define the amount of energy that could theoretically be converted from a unit of information2; the work by Sano and his team has now confirmed this equation. “This tells us something new about how the laws of thermodynamics work on the microscopic scale,” says Jarzynski.
    http://www.scientificamerican......rts-inform

    These ‘Maxwell’s demon’ experiments demonstrating the physical reality of immaterial information have now been further refined to the point of building an ‘information engine’:

    Information engine operates with nearly perfect efficiency – Lisa Zyga – January 19, 2018
    Excerpt: Physicists have experimentally demonstrated an information engine—a device that converts information into work—with an efficiency that exceeds the conventional second law of thermodynamics. Instead, the engine’s efficiency is bounded by a recently proposed generalized second law of thermodynamics, and it is the first information engine to approach this new bound.,,,
    The generalized second law of thermodynamics states that the work extracted from an information engine is limited by the sum of two components: the first is the free energy difference between the final and initial states (this is the sole limit placed on conventional engines by the conventional second law), and the other is the amount of available information (this part sets an upper bound on the extra work that can be extracted from information).
    To achieve the maximum efficiency set by the generalized second law, the researchers in the new study designed and implemented an information engine made of a particle trapped by light at room temperature. Random thermal fluctuations cause the tiny particle to move slightly due to Brownian motion, and a photodiode tracks the particle’s changing position with a spatial accuracy of 1 nanometer. If the particle moves more than a certain distance away from its starting point in a certain direction, the light trap quickly shifts in the direction of the particle. This process repeats, so that over time the engine transports the particle in a desired direction simply by extracting work from the information it obtains from the system’s random thermal fluctuations (the free energy component here is zero, so it does not contribute to the work extracted).
    One of the most important features of this system is its nearly instantaneous feedback response: the trap shifts in just a fraction of a millisecond, giving the particle no time to move further and dissipate energy. As a result, almost none of the energy gained by the shift is lost to heat, but rather nearly all of it is converted into work. By avoiding practically any information loss, the information-to-energy conversion of this process reaches approximately 98.5% of the bound set by the generalized second law. The results lend support for this bound, and illustrate the possibility of extracting the maximum amount of work possible from information.
    https://phys.org/news/2018-01-efficiency.html

    But what is most striking about this engine that is powered by immaterial information is that it is the ‘knowledge of the particle’s position’, aka Maxwell’s demon, that enables information to have an efficiency that exceeds the conventional second law of thermodynamics. As Professor Renato Renner states, “Now in information theory, we wouldn’t say entropy is a property of a system, but a property of an observer who describes a system.”

    The Quantum Thermodynamics Revolution – May 2017
    Excerpt: the 19th-century physicist James Clerk Maxwell put it, “The idea of dissipation of energy depends on the extent of our knowledge.”
    In recent years, a revolutionary understanding of thermodynamics has emerged that explains this subjectivity using quantum information theory — “a toddler among physical theories,” as del Rio and co-authors put it, that describes the spread of information through quantum systems. Just as thermodynamics initially grew out of trying to improve steam engines, today’s thermodynamicists are mulling over the workings of quantum machines. Shrinking technology — a single-ion engine and three-atom fridge were both experimentally realized for the first time within the past year — is forcing them to extend thermodynamics to the quantum realm, where notions like temperature and work lose their usual meanings, and the classical laws don’t necessarily apply.
    They’ve found new, quantum versions of the laws that scale up to the originals. Rewriting the theory from the bottom up has led experts to recast its basic concepts in terms of its subjective nature, and to unravel the deep and often surprising relationship between energy and information — the abstract 1s and 0s by which physical states are distinguished and knowledge is measured.,,,
    Renato Renner, a professor at ETH Zurich in Switzerland, described this as a radical shift in perspective. Fifteen years ago, “we thought of entropy as a property of a thermodynamic system,” he said. “Now in information theory, we wouldn’t say entropy is a property of a system, but a property of an observer who describes a system.”,,,
    https://www.quantamagazine.org/quantum-thermodynamics-revolution/

    Hope that helps answer you question PaV. If not, I hope that it at least gives you some food for thought.

  4. 4
    PaV says:

    BA77:

    Thanks for the response, but I’m afraid it doesn’t answer my question. BTW, information, and what physicists call phase space, are pretty much the same thing. Physicist’s use of ‘information’ is simply a codification of entropy–as one of your remarks points out.

    No, what I was after was focused on the Copenhagen Interpretation, and, specifically, Neil Bohr’s response to the Einstein-Rosen . . . the EPR paper. Bohr’s way around Einstein’s assertion was to say that a ‘measurement’ system can be ‘chosen’ to either measure the momentum, or, the location of a particle (let’s say an electron). Of course this is tied to the uncertainty relationship. Bohr’s position is that you can’t do both at the same time, and essentially because any attempt to measure the ‘location’ of a particle will inevitably affect its momentum, and vice versa. This is certainly true of small particles, like an electron; however, when you have a massive particle that they’re experimenting with, any photon used to observe its position is very likely not powerful enough to affect the massive particle’s momentum in any substantial way.

    That was the point I was making. I’m hoping some professional physicist might comment on this since I see this as a kind of rejection of Bohr’s interpretation—which is still much in vogue these days.

    Thanks again.

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    PaV, okie dokie, sorry I don’t exactly know where the cutoff is, or even if there is a cutoff, for macro objects at this moment

    From my notes:

    Researchers demonstrate Heisenberg uncertainty principle at macro level – February 15, 2013
    Excerpt: It was Heisenberg who famously noted that it was impossible to measure the momentum of an object and its position at the same time. As an example, he pointed out that using a microscope to look at a single electron, would require shining light on it. Those photons would cause the electron to move slightly, changing its momentum. Up till now, researchers testing or demonstrating this principle have worked at the micro level because attempting to do so with objects large enough to be seen with the naked eye seemed impossible due to the many variables at play. In this new research, the team in Colorado showed that this not necessarily the case.
    They started by building a square drum frame out of silicon, with each side 0.5 millimeters long. They then stretched a thin film of silicon nitride over the skin to create the drum head. The drum was placed in a vacuum between two very tiny mirrors and was chilled to just 4 degrees above absolute zero to eliminate extraneous noise. The experiment was conducted by shooting a laser at the drum and measuring how much the head was distended by the photons striking it as they were bounced back and forth between the mirrors. As more photons struck the drum, greater fluctuations occurred in the measurements recorded, distorting the readings, and proving that the Heisenberg uncertainty principle can indeed be demonstrated with objects large enough to be seen with the naked eye.
    http://phys.org/news/2013-02-h.....macro.html

    Tricking the uncertainty principle – MAY 15, 2014
    Excerpt: Schwab says that this line of research could one day lead to the observation of quantum mechanical effects in much larger mechanical structures. And that, he notes, could allow the demonstration of strange quantum mechanical properties like superposition and entanglement in large objects—for example, allowing a macroscopic object to exist in two places at once.
    http://phys.org/news/2014-05-u.....ciple.html

    I also know that Zeilinger holds that “superposition is not limited to small systems,,,”

    Anton Zeilinger interviewed about Quantum Mechanics – video – 2018
    (The essence of Quantum Physics for a general audience)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z82XCvgnpmA
    40 sec: Every object has to be in a definite place is not true anymore.,,,
    The thought that a particle can be at two places at the same time is (also) not good language.
    The good language it that there are situations where it is completely undefined where the particle is. (and it is not just us (we ourselves) that don’t know where the particle is, the particle itself does not know where it is). This “nonexistence” is an objective feature of reality.,,,
    5:10 min:,,, superposition is not limited to small systems,,,

    I even remember that Zeilinger once quipped that demonstrating superposition for larger and larger objects was only constrained by the fact that he did not have an unlimited budget.

    Also of note, you might get a kick out of this:

    Hitler Reacts to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlJYUIXAAQ8

  6. 6
    Somerschool says:

    IF you accept the statistical critique of the new-Darwinian synthesis
    AND you accept the POSSIBILITY of a many-worlds interpretation of quantum physics,
    THEN you can put MWI to an empirical test by looking at fossils and DNA sequences.

    MWI offers a solution to the otherwise-statitiscally-impossible problems that have been so elegantly identified by Discovery Institute and other researchers. If “everything that is physically possible happens in some timeline,” then there is no statistical problem with a timeline existing in which complex conscious life exists. The “weak anthropic principle” (any timeline in which a being can ask “why am I here” will be timeline in which such a being is possible) plus “all physically possible timelines exist” literally guarantees that conscious life will appear in an MWI cosmos.

    This solves the statistical argument against the existence of an intelligent “observer” in a given timeline. BUT it does absolutely nothing to explain the existence of any OTHER statistically-impossible species. All the ancestors of “Adam” must exist for the descendants of Adam to ask “why are we here,” but NONE of the other irreducible-complex biology on this planet have any reason to exist.

    To use an analogy, if I want to write a story about a man who wins the lottery and becomes a billionaire, I am welcome to do so. It’s my story, I can start with any premise I wish. BUT if my hero’s entire family ALSO wins the lottery and ALSO becomes billionaires, I am more or less obligated to explain WHY this happened. Likewise, if humans exist and are “observers,” MWI can do explain that. But it can’t explain why birds and octopuses and dolphins are so smart—none of them are direct ancestors of the human observer.

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