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Define quantum physics, in layman's terms, please

  1. SparklingJewel profile image78
    SparklingJewelposted 9 years ago

    on the religion forum I was describing what I thought was quantum physics...that the universe is accelerating and expanding in a spiral. Is that quantum or something else or combination of things...?

  2. Misha profile image75
    Mishaposted 9 years ago


    I think it is on the opposite side of the spectrum smile It talks about particles of which sub-atom particles consist of I believe...

    1. SparklingJewel profile image78
      SparklingJewelposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      ...other side of the spectrum?...meaning?

  3. Misha profile image75
    Mishaposted 9 years ago

    Not extra big, but extra small smile

  4. protjack profile image52
    protjackposted 9 years ago

    Quantum physics is a set of laws believed to be followed by all things in universe, but is generally particularly apparent on the scale of atoms and such. Therefore, what you described is probably more in the field of relativistic physics (we could put some arguments here regarding what I just said, but more or less and trying to be short - you were not speaking about quantum mechanics phenomenon). Maybe it's best to say, in the end, that it's a combination of things. Hope this helps smile

  5. SparklingJewel profile image78
    SparklingJewelposted 9 years ago

    I appreciate the attempts to help. The things that I have read through the years have developed a "life" of their own in my memory, not remembering specifically where each component came from, let alone able to seperate out each !smile
    To really give you a look at that "life" that has developed, here is  a statement/question...
    Everything in the universe, in all dimensions, is make up of light. Light is vibration, there are different levels of vibration within the spectrum of light, that create the colors. You know the rainbow colors are of the white light.
    And sound is vibration, too. So each color has its own sound/vibration ! right?
    So, is this connected to the expanding and accelerating in a spiral universe?

    Maybe I need to start a new thread with a different question? smile

    1. protjack profile image52
      protjackposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Hi there. Light is the "vibration" of the electromagnetic field and sound is the vibration of particles of air, materials or other media, so it's not the same and you cannot connect it so easily as you have done.

      To add one more thing, to the best of my knowledge, the statement that everything is made of light is not nearly true.

      1. SparklingJewel profile image78
        SparklingJewelposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        Would you explain more or recommend a book or website that would be good for a novice to read and learn from concerning light,color and sound.
        As well as address that everything is not made up of light...what do you mean? any reference to other reading?
        We probably should start another thread with it.

        1. protjack profile image52
          protjackposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          Well I've studied from books used at college, so you probably don't want that and I can't think of any popular science books on this subject, not familiar with them. Maybe start with Wikipedia.

          Well light is photons and there are many other elementary particles like electrons, neutrinos, muons... Universe is made up of all of these, not only photons (i.e. light).

  6. RFox profile image73
    RFoxposted 9 years ago

    This is complements of library.thinkquest.org:

    Quantum physics is a branch of science that deals with discrete, indivisible units of energy called quanta as described by the Quantum Theory. There are five main ideas represented in Quantum Theory:

       1. Energy is not continuous, but comes in small but discrete units.
       2. The elementary particles behave both like particles and like waves.
       3. The movement of these particles is inherently random.
       4. It is physically impossible to know both the position and the momentum of a particle at the same time. The more precisely one is known, the less precise the measurement of the other is.
       5. The atomic world is nothing like the world we live in.

    Misha is right. Quantum physics deals with the very small not the larger aspects of the universe. They are particularly interested in wave/particle duality. Which was talked about on the other thread briefly. Hope this helps. Need to get some sleep. Good night all. big_smile

    1. ZEV profile image72
      ZEVposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Yes, your right, and in particular to my comment on the religious thread; "I take a quantum physics approach to religion" deals with the wave/particle duality. This means that I may be able to experience two realities at the same time. If your looking at heaven then heaven is here and we are in heaven at the same time. That's about as simple as I can explain it.

      1. SparklingJewel profile image78
        SparklingJewelposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        So, you mean like when someone is in a state of higher consciousness in prayer or mantra, they are experiencing "heaven" while their body is still in this plane. so heaven is here, through this person's consciousness state and fills his electromagnetic field, integrated with the physical state?? or something like that ?

  7. About-The-Home profile image61
    About-The-Homeposted 9 years ago

    Richard Feynman: Quantum Electrodynamics (QED)

    I think it is safe to say that no one understands Quantum Mechanics. (Richard Feynman)

    One does not, by knowing all the physical laws as we know them today, immediately obtain an understanding of anything much. (Richard Feynman, Quantum Mechanics)

    The more you see how strangely Nature behaves, the harder it is to make a model that explains how even the simplest phenomena actually work. So theoretical physics has given up on that. (Richard Feynman, Quantum Mechanics)

    The next question was - what makes planets go around the sun? At the time of Kepler some people answered this problem by saying that there were angels behind them beating their wings and pushing the planets around an orbit. As you will see, the answer is not very far from the truth. The only difference is that the angels sit in a different direction and their wings push inward. (Richard Feynman, Character Of Physical Law)

    http://www.spaceandmotion.com/quantum-m … quotes.htm

  8. Thom Carnes profile image53
    Thom Carnesposted 9 years ago


    Now I understand why the late, great quantum physicist Richard Feynman said:

    "If you think you understand quantum theory ... you don't undertsnad quantum theory."

  9. Peter M. Lopez profile image86
    Peter M. Lopezposted 9 years ago

    Read The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene.  It is written for non-physicists and it is really a good read.

  10. fxchief profile image60
    fxchiefposted 9 years ago

    My father wrote a book on the subject of photons titled "The Incredible Photon" - If anyone is interested. I just started a hub on the subject for him. It starts off with his explanation of why photons are our only energy source.


  11. profile image0
    sandra rinckposted 9 years ago

    so quantum physics is like saying, when you sneeze it can effect something either emediatly, like myself, or before I even acknoledged I was going to sneeze and then effecting someone on the other side of the planet, who in turn caused a million people to sneeze one after the other, and then somehow caused an atomic change or shift in reality, which is no different today then it was yesturday, and all those photons or light particals that are reaching us now from space could quantumly speaking have an effect on our behaviors, viruses, and such, but nothing ever changed, it was always there to begin with, it just works in pattens.  Right???

  12. Lifebydesign profile image62
    Lifebydesignposted 9 years ago

    Quantum has to do with the dynamics and principles of the smallest particles that matter is made up of ie what triggered the sneeze in the first place on a subatomic level.
      The first concept is that there's more gaps and spaces in the world than there are particles. If you were to take out all that space then all the matter in the world would theoretically fit into a teaspoon (and be massively heavy).
      Secondly what determines heaviness and solid matter is the arrangement and density of the particles but the particles themselves are interchangeable and don't really belong to any one particular object.
      Thirdly what we perceive to be reality is only based on what we believe reality to be.  Reality isn't real, it's determined by what we think it is, according to quantum. So a light particle will behave like a particle or a wave depending on what the observer believes light is. If he thinks its a particle, it behaves as such. If he believes it wave, he sees it behave like a wave. Schroeder's cats was a 'thought' experiment on the same thing.
      But in mainstream life it's translating into a kind of everyday language as people grasp the possibilities that quantum is demonstrating. The 'law of attraction' for example is also based on this principle of the observer; you get in life what you believe be it poverty, wealth, whatever.

    This is such a big topic- really recommend 'What the bleep do we know' on DVD and it has a sequel 'Down the Rabbithole' - great for the layman and a good foundation for this stuff!

    1. profile image0
      sandra rinckposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Down the Rabbit Hole was really good.  Fascinating how observation seems to be the only truth we think we know.  Also fascinating is how just by looking at something we distort reality, or cause reality to shift for no apperent reason.   

      Have you ever tried to look at space, and instead of looking at the stars or light objects, focus on the dark matter inbetween?  Looks like either,  we are showering space with light from Earth, or space is raining black waters. 

      Anyways, it is a good subject.

      1. Lifebydesign profile image62
        Lifebydesignposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        No never tried seeing space like 'raining black water' - like that description! must try it!

  13. Shaur online profile image50
    Shaur onlineposted 9 years ago

    Dr. Richard Feynman, nobel prize winning quantum master, wrote a marvelous little book called QED The Strange Theory of Light and Matter, which I think is as close to a discussion in layman's terms as it gets.  Basically, quantum dynamics is an expansion of the theory of quantum mechanics, which redefined chemistry in terms of the electrical interactions of molecules and tries to incorporate the physics of electricity and magnetism into it, creating a more unified theory.

  14. Inspirepub profile image80
    Inspirepubposted 9 years ago

    If you want to grasp Quantum Theory, start by getting a good high school math textbook and understanding probability theory. If you don't "get" probability accurately at a gut level, you have no hope of ever grasping even the first piece of Quantum Theory.

    In particular, you need to understand - what is a probability distribution, for example a bell curve, and the difference between probability before something happens vs probability when you are looking backwards in time.


    P.S. Once you have that mastered, grab Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time" and get your head around that.

  15. profile image0
    sandra rinckposted 9 years ago

    lets say you could wrap your mind around, umm...the now as a quatum physic.  We advanced foward and backwards so fast, we live in the now.  The past and the future exist in the same quantum moments.  We continue on the same forwards, backwards momentum (pun intended) but we aren't fast enough to catch up to the quantum future nor slow enough to catch up with the past.

  16. SparklingJewel profile image78
    SparklingJewelposted 9 years ago

    So does quantum theory, or quantum something, have anything to do with a spiral? Isn't the universe/galaxy in a spiral?

    In my spiritual studies, I see life as a spiral, ascending or descending. Each year we come back around to the same point on the spiral, either at a higher or lower level of the spiral, hence, experience similar circumstances, awarenesses, tests, initiations, that we have before; except that it is with additional information because of a new higher level, or a repetition at a lower level with just a different circumstance, but the same test to learn.

    Like astrology/astronomy, or anything in creation. The same things happen, day becomes night, planets go round in their orbits, summer is after spring, we have our birthday at the same time each year...but all aspects at that point can be different.

    or like dealing with psychology and developmental stages of growth. Something happened when we were a child, that created a particular response to a particular kind of interaction...so now every year at that time or every time a similar circumstance happens, we "go into" that response that we had from the initial interaction.

    Does anyone else see things in a similar way?

    1. profile image0
      sandra rinckposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      very similar.  I see the Universe and hidden life like this as well.  But spiritually, we are in the now, next time will be lived in the now.  but yeah, very much like that.

    2. Lifebydesign profile image62
      Lifebydesignposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I see it as a spiral too- at least in the way that we progress on an individual level (which can be extrapolated on a larger scale to society etc) - but definitely, to me we're always moving upwards.

  17. profile image0
    sandra rinckposted 9 years ago

    ps. Jewel, by now, I mean we only observe in the now.  Like the Universe, we can see the past but we observe it now.  Hope that makes sense.

  18. Misha profile image75
    Mishaposted 9 years ago

    Spiral in a spiral in a spiral... yeah, definitely one of the ways to describe it smile

    1. Lifebydesign profile image62
      Lifebydesignposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      yes, definitely

  19. PLM profile image56
    PLMposted 9 years ago

    The most interesting thing about it is the fact when plugging the formula of relativity into a quantum discussion of travel.  There is the theory about entering the light realm where light weighs 0, the e=mc2 formula still works for light travel and can surpass that speed.  You get into all kinds of great discussions then.

    1. profile image0
      sandra rinckposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I would think that in order to weigh absolute zero it could neither be light or without light.  Dark energy or matter seems to be the only thing that can exceed the speed of light.

  20. JYOTI KOTHARI profile image69
    JYOTI KOTHARIposted 9 years ago

    Quantam Physics in layman's term:
    It is like energy is spreading as a bunch. Where the matter works in a duality as wave as well as particle. Encompassed in a wave-particle theory.
    jyoti kothari

  21. crashcromwell profile image76
    crashcromwellposted 9 years ago

    My question is, if you're driving in a car that can drive the speed of light, and you turn the headlights on, do they light up?

    1. Lifebydesign profile image62
      Lifebydesignposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      LOL!  Something to consider.
      does anyone know??

  22. crashcromwell profile image76
    crashcromwellposted 9 years ago

    I think they would light up, but you wouldn't be able to see the light unless you climbed out on the hood of the car and bent over the front to look at them, which, by the way, would be incredibly foolish to do in a car moving that fast. But that's another topic........

    1. Lifebydesign profile image62
      Lifebydesignposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      oh of course,yeh you're right, and they'd light up at the same time. Just because the car was travelling at the speed of light doesn't mean they wouldn't turn on when they're supposed to.
      I imagine the light would travel at the same speed too right? As soon as you turned them on while the car was travelling, they would light up any objects in its path at the exact same time- that is the speed of light- and not any faster or slower.

  23. Pete Michner profile image81
    Pete Michnerposted 9 years ago

    Here's a link to the free course ware for MIT's Quantum Physics I for the super ambitious out there. Have fun! smile

  24. profile image0
    sandra rinckposted 9 years ago

    Quantum is what your brain does when it can't find one answer.  smile

  25. profile image0
    Zarm Nefilinposted 9 years ago

    Quantum Physics is the stuff.

    1. thranax profile image51
      thranaxposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Yeah, I'm all for saying its stuff that hurts your mind if you try to work it out smile

  26. mohitmisra profile image61
    mohitmisraposted 9 years ago

    Quantum comes from quanta.Simply put earlier on movement of particles was considered either by wave or particle.Now its been realised there is both wave and particle movement.Quanta is particle or packet and it is the study of both,a combination.

    1. Mark Knowles profile image59
      Mark Knowlesposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Mo - it is Quantum. Not Quantam lol

      1. mohitmisra profile image61
        mohitmisraposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        Thanks Mark corrected the spelling mistake.

  27. patnamohan profile image61
    patnamohanposted 9 years ago

    You guy are techy!!!!!!!...........

  28. guidebaba profile image60
    guidebabaposted 9 years ago
  29. jonaitis profile image82
    jonaitisposted 9 years ago

    Bill Bryson's A Brief History of Nearly Everything has an amazingly readable chapter on quantum physics.

    In fact, nearly any science that might be of interest--chemistry, paleontology, geology, physics, biology--is very well covered.

  30. profile image50
    naslund26posted 9 years ago

    In lamans's terms quantum physics is the study of everything small, for example atoms, particles, newtrons and electrons, the theory of relativity is the study of everything big for example stars and planets, the trick is to connect the two with one another, which can explain black holes. maybe alittle off topic here.