Quantum Physics really Alchemy?

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  1. profile image0
    Baileybearposted 9 years ago

    When I studied chemistry years ago, I found topics about quantum physics really abstract & the maths made no sense to me (never been much good at calculus etc).  I get the general concepts presented eg particle-wave duality of light.  I don't see how electron spins etc have any practical application (apparently the theory was useful for reading spectra etc, but it didn't seem to make a lot of sense)

    I've been reading about the alchemists, & it is claimed that quantum physics is really modern alchemy

    1. superwags profile image73
      superwagsposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      A lot of physics and chemistry stems from alchemy, as I'm sure you know. In what sense do you mean quantum physics is alchemy? You mean that knowing about every individual particle allows us to reorder and create gold? Gold can be created in labs by "borrowing" protons from elements lower down the table. Though I can't imagine this is anywhere near economically viable yet.

      On your point about eectron spins; we don't see an application for it YET. We didn't have a use for the laser when it was developed and now they're ubiquitous. Sorry to harp on, but I'm a big advocate of blue sky science. We do use quantum for some practical applications already, and will use it for much more. Quantum computing will utterly revolutionise everything as and when it takes over.

      1. profile image0
        Baileybearposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        I've been reading about alchemy because 1.  curious about the roots of chemistry & 2.  curious about influences on religions etc.

        The alchemists were more about the mystical/spiritual aspects than the practical sides (although they did invent stills etc because they carried out procedures of purification etc).   same themes as religion - purification, renewal, reborn, blah blah blah
        Apparently, nuclear physicists did make gold from lead, but it isn't worthwhile. 
        think what the reference to quantum physics was about all stuff is just matter and energy - at least I think that's what it's getting at.
        Anyway, I never really did understand quantum physics (or any other advanced physics, mainly because it was bogged down in complex maths that didn't make much sense to me).  I found it easier to understand concepts I could easily visualise, like biochemistry, genetics etc
        If you understand quantum physics etc, maybe you could write a hub so laypeople could understand?

        1. superwags profile image73
          superwagsposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          I'm what you'd probably refer to as a reluctant physicist. I'd prefer to read on biology, chemistry etc all day, but physics and maths is at the bottom of everything.

          "All science is either physics or stamp collecting", as Ernest Rutherford said!

          Alchemy is fascvinating - I watched a BBC documentary recently about chemistry that kicked off with alchemy as the starting point, I'll see if I can dig it up for you.

          1. profile image0
            Baileybearposted 9 years agoin reply to this

            I must go to bed, it's way past my bed-time.  Will check out vid later.  I am researching for a hub, but have not really pinned down what the hub will be about yet - more about the alchemy or the chemistry or the ancient beliefs

        2. superwags profile image73
          superwagsposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          Got it, that was easier than I expected!


          1. profile image0
            Baileybearposted 9 years agoin reply to this

            very interesting series - I watched the others too.  Can imagine that these 'classic' whizzy bang experiments must have been incredibly exciting for the pioneers. 
            Is amazing that all matter - in living and non-living things is composed of the same collection of elements.
            The quest of the alchemist was to try and turn one element into another,and this has been done by the nuclear physicists   & chemists (radiochemistry).  The alchemist was believed there was some internal transformation/transmutation within too


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