Quantum Field Theory and Chaos Explains Everything
Quantum field theory and chaos explains everything.
30 years ago physics discovered something strange about particles. Feynman had already told us that electrons didn’t have a charge on their own. Rather, they seemed to get their charge from all the other electrons in the universe. He is famous for saying: “Its like there’s just one giant electron”. Later he told us that there is a universal electro-magnetic field. As most of us should know, he was the one who made QED the most accurate theory in history. More accurate than QM. Of course, he was greatly influenced by Michael Faraday, who was the first to talk about fields as opposed to individual particles in the mid1800s.
And we finally figured out he was right. What we discovered was that all quantum particles are actually fields. But until recently no one was talking about it. Why? I think it was because it changes the way we have to look at the strangeness of QM. But also because testing needed to be done. We weren’t even teaching it to physics students until recently.
For years we thought the basic particles were known. Electrons, protons, and neutrons. But then we discovered quarks. Two quarks per proton and neutron. We also found many other subatomic particles. Some that seem to effect the macro and or micro world, and some that don’t.
But what shocked many physicists was that colliders started seeing countless different particles coming from colliding particles that didn’t contain any of them. How does that work? It’s like smashing a glass on the floor and getting forks and knives and apples from the debris. Particles can’t do that.
Waves are frequencies. Each frequency creates different notes of sound or in the case of light, different colours. Waves can also create different “particles” in a collision. So it slowly became obvious that the quantum is essentially fields, not individual particles at all
Field theory tells us that particles, the little solid balls of matter, don’t exist. Particles are concentrated waves of energy. But they aren’t individual waves, they are vibrations in the field which interact with other fields. The particle is a set of waves balled up together. Packets of energy that act like particles.
Fields of what? A highly energetic, transformative, and obviously creative non-material substance. Before we knew it actually existed, they called it the ether. We also called it energy, which has some merit even if it does violate current definitions of energy.
These days some physicists call it nothing. Don’t worry, it doesn’t mean nothing, it means it’s not our definition of a thing. A thing defined as material. Yet this nothing is what creates something. Of course, a better way to look at it is as a non-material something we haven’t been able to define properly yet.
The apparent nothing in space has been shown to be teaming with quantum activity. This is the fields in equilibrium. Even then they can’t stop moving, as predicted by QM. It’s just not interacting enough to produce “particles” But it does occasionally create quarks. It creates a quark and anti quark that usually quickly annihilate each other. The product of which is photons. This is called quantum fluctuation. And occasionally they don’t destroy each other.
Atoms are mostly empty space. Put a marble in the center of a football field. Then put a ball barring in the stands. That’s a hydrogen atom. All of that empty space is filled with forces; non-material forces/substances.
Everything is made of atoms, including us. Atoms are concentrated entangled waves of energy. We see things as solid. But it’s not the floor that’s keeping you on the 27th floor, it’s, to put it simply, your vibrating atoms and its vibrating atoms repelling each other, much like magnets do when two north or south poles are pushed together. That’s matter: Concentrated electro-magnetic energy/ electro-chemical energy when in greater forms.
All matter has mass and takes up space. What is mass? Energy. E = MC squared tells us how much energy is in an object, not how much matter. Matter is compressed, folded up ,energy waves. Where do you get your mass from? Your atoms.
So sure, we don’t see reality for what it is. It’s a lucky thing we don’t. You wouldn’t know where anything begins or ends. Our limited senses allow us to see reality in a simplified manner. It also allows us to make sense of things. A tree, a wall, a cup, etc. And it allows us to manipulate the fields to our advantage. We can build cups and walls and houses, etc. How would we have evolved if all we saw was the quantum world? So what if matter isn’t what we thought it was? Nothing changes for us. We live on this level of reality, not the quantum level.
The reason I added the above paragraph is that at least one physicist has said that the reason we’re only now hearing about quantum field theory is because for some it’s a shocking idea that the non-material creates the material and in fact, it’s all non-material, we just see it and experience it as solid.
We still call them particles. We still use QM. It works well. But it’s strange, it’s incomplete, and a great deal of it is wrong. Not the math, so much; it’s the interpretation of the math.
We have a plethora of interpretations of it, and yet no interpretation is required or used when doing the math. Physics students often ask what it all means, how do we interpret QM? And the answer is always: Shut up and do the calculations. So in fact, while QM will always predict the correct outcome of an experiment, it tells us nothing about reality.
But Field theory makes things a lot simpler and less strange. We already know that there is no wave particle duality. That is to say, we know now that particles are waves/vibrations that can act like a particle as far as we’re concerned, but isn’t a particle as such. So there probably is no wave collapse, as such, either.
Another strangeness field theory may answer is superposition and entanglement. After all, everything, including me and you and the cat are part of the field. It’s not hard to imagine that something that happens to a “particle” in one part of the field may instantly effect a “particle” miles away. If you make a nano carbon rod ten miles long and turn it on one end, the other end will turn too, instantly and perhaps only apparently faster than light. What is a nano carbon rod? Atoms bound/entangled together. No, it’s not like individual particles magically knowing what another is doing. There are no individual particles. Everything is intimately connected.
Superposition in quantum mechanics basically tells us a quantum switch could be on, off or both at once. Great for quantum computing. It’s the idea that a cat in a box is dead and alive at the same time until someone opens the box to look, at which point the wave function supposedly collapses and it becomes one or the other.
I’ve always had problems with this. Real cats are alive or dead regardless of whether anyone opens the box or not. But QM says that’s not how it works in the quantum world. Yet if the quantum world is interacting fields, there is no position and speed of the particle, only the probability of a particle-like entanglement/energy packet being developed at any one point in space due to what we do in the experiment. And that’s why particles seem so strange. The one thing QM was wrong about, was thinking particles were solid balls. No wonder you can’t know speed and position of the ball, there isn’t one.
Does that kill superposition? Not exactly, though it might. It just means field theory has a good possibility of explaining the phenomenon in a more realistic way. And as for observer driven wave function collapse, everything is interconnected. Of course there’s a good probability that our mere presence at an experiment may influence the results. But no one has actually observed anything. Sensors don’t observe, they record events, and again, their mere presence may be affecting outcomes, no matter how passive may they may seem to be. They too are part of the field.
So does the moon only exist when you’re looking at it? I hardly think so. Does the restaurant disappear when everyone leaves? As for the moon, why would it be so easy to track and predict where it is and where it will be in a thousand years? If it were in superposition it could be anywhere someone looks and if lots of people are looking it could be in more than one place at a time. Yet the moon too is part of the field. Why wouldn’t it be in superposition?
Apparently, according to QM, when it gets to our level of compressed stuff we don’t get the strangeness of the quantum. It’s like chaos theory. What happens when you throw together different types of liquid glass who’s atomic bonds are orientated/spinning in different ways? You get spin glass. Opposites cancel out/lock each other together, leaving an exceptionally strong glass. Ever hear a car without a muffler? If you have a machine that can create the equal opposite noise, all you’ll hear is silence. So that’s quantum de-coherence.
Your hand has millions of atoms of different types. Carbon loves to bond to other atoms like no other. Hence, the chaos created by all the different atoms interacting and bonding creates new order, and a stable appendage on our level. Chaos creates order. How? As stated before, by cancelling out opposites. But also because atoms have rules. One rule is: all atoms tend toward their lowest possible energy level/ closest inert gas. This is what entropy is all about, but also what order is about.
It’s why chaos/conflict demands resolution. A war is high energy chaos. Which side wins? Usually the side with the most/best resources. What happens? A new order is created, no matter how temporary or long lived. Order being a low energy state in this and most contexts. Chaos theory says: Simplicity becomes complexity by constantly following the same simple rules under different conditions.
Why does a tree look exactly the way it does? One reason is that It follows a simple rule: grow a bit and divide. Specific weather, sun, rain, soil, etc, that the specific tree experiences at its specific location determine the results of following that rule under those diverse conditions, creating an individual tree exactly like no other. Existence is a chaotic system, not a random one. And that fits perfectly with quantum “strangeness”. There is no randomness in a cause and effect universe, nor is there accident. Accidents only apply to subjective intent. Your intent/actions caused effects you didn’t anticipate. That’s an accident. In the objective realm there are no accidents as there is no intent, and all actions follow specific rules.
How is existence chaotic? Truth is a chaotic system. Truth is about a specific set of conditions. Change the conditions, change the truth about them. If today I go to the bathroom and flush the toilet, the toilet will always flush unless conditions change. So truth is relative. Not to perspective, as some would have us believe, but to specific conditions.
Does water boil at 100c? Yes and no. The exact temperature it boils at depends on its purity and the altitude you are at when trying to boil it. Whatever temp it actually boils at under those conditions, it will always boil at the same temperature as long as the water is the same exact purity and at the exact same altitude. Change the conditions, change the truth about them.
Chaos theory seems to apply everywhere from the quantum to the macro world. It may even be showing us how the “strangeness” of the quantum actually works by studying it on the macro level. It could make it a lot less strange, though no less mind blowingly amazing. Same goes for field theory. Between the two, in my opinion: they are our best chance yet of figuring it all out.