Critica Mass - Poem by Michael Walkerjohn
An uncertainty exists, or does it in certainty not?
A question lingers, is this a threat to logic?
The cold is as the hot, or not; the sky
is blue, no the sky is not blue; the sun
sets, no the sun is never near a chair
I spy something, that something is some thing
That some thing is really something
Is that really something that some thing left there?
Whatever is left there, and is it really some thing?
If something is some thing some one left there
Is it left? Or is it there? Or is it really some thing near?
Some thing, which is something, to some thing that is near?
How queer is this something as some thing near here?
Something queer, is some thing near, where? Is this thing near?
Is this thing near some thing which is something queer?
That queer some thing which is something near here is where?
Where is here near something queer which is some thing, that is queer?
Here some thing queer is something near that some thing
which is where?
Is that really something that some thing left there?
The sun sets, the sky isn't blue, the cold is as the hot
a question yet lingers
Uncertainty exists; certainly certifiably, undeniably, oh dear!
Some thing that is something queer is certainly near here
Near here is some thing that is certifiably there
Something certifiably is undeniably some thing
Undeniably certifiably certainly queer and
Near there is some thing certainly where?
Do not fear, that thing is certainly here
Certifiably near and undeniably queer
Poet's Notes about The Poem
'Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle'
'''The principle holds that we cannot know the present state of the world in full detail, let alone predict the future with absolute precision
Werner Heisenberg's own version is that in observing the world, we inevitably disturb it.
Heisenberg inferred his formulation in 1927 via his famous thought experiment in which he imagined measuring the position of an electron using a gamma-ray microscope. The formula he derived was ε(q) η(p) ≥ h/4π. This inequality says that when you measure the position of an electron with an error ε(q) , you cannot help but alter the momentum of the electron by the amount of η(p) . An experimenter cannot know both the position and the momentum precisely; he or she must make a tradeoff. 'For that reason everything observed is a selection from a plenitude of possibilities and a limitation on what is possible in the future, ' Heisenberg wrote.
The same year, Earle Kennard, a less-known physicist, derived a different formulation, which was later generalized by Howard Robertson: σ(q) σ(p) ≥ h/4π. This inequality says that you cannot suppress quantum fluctuations of both position σ(q) and momentum σ(p) lower than a certain limit simultaneously. The fluctuation exists regardless whether it is measured or not, and the inequality does not say anything about what happens when a measurement is performed.
In 2003 Masanao Ozawa of Nagoya University developed a new formulation of the error–disturbance uncertainty that Heisenberg aimed to express, but this time on much firmer footing. Derived mathematically from quantum measurement theory, the new formulation describes error and disturbance as well as fluctuations: ε(q) η(p) + σ(q) η(p) + σ(p) ε(q) ≥ h/4π. Hasegawa's team is the first to have demonstrated the violation of Heisenberg's inequality and the validity of Ozawa's inequality. It did so by directly measuring errors and disturbances in the observation of spin components. Even when either the source of error or disturbance is held to nearly zero, the other remains finite.
'I think it is significant, especially for experimental physics, that measurement errors and disturbances are clearly distinguished from quantum fluctuations in Ozawa's formulation, ' said Shogo Tanimura of Nagoya, who is independent from Ozawa's group. 'Physicists thought that the only way to reduce errors is to suppress fluctuations. But Ozawa's inequality suggests that there is another way to reduce errors by allowing an object system to have larger fluctuations, although it may sound contradictory.'
Ozawa's formulation confirms an emerging trend in probing the foundations of physics: to hew closely to what experimenters directly see in the lab—a so-called operational approach. 'The error–disturbance uncertainty relation is much more important than that of fluctuations, ' says Akio Hosoya, a theoretical physicist at Tokyo Institute of Technology, 'because in physics the final say comes from experimental verification.' Heisenberg would be pleased that the limitation we can know about the world, which he aimed to expressed, was this time clearly revealed with the new rigorous, experimentally verified formulation. The new uncertainty relation between measurement error and disturbance is no more just conjecture, but physical law.
Derick in TO MadScientist72 March 8,2012,1: 37 PM
Well, not exactly. I think it means that his cat is now either alive or dead (as opposed to being both alive AND dead, which is just stupid...) .
However, we still don't know which state Pussy's in until we open the box... After all these years, I'm guessing there's gonna be a mess either way: P
MadScientist72 Derick in TO March 8,2012,1: 56 PM
'as opposed to being both alive AND dead, which is just stupid'
Well, clearly schoedinger wasn't all that bright. After all he forgot that the CAT counts as an observer too. if he'd been really smart we'd be talking about Schoedinger's ficus or something like that.
MadScientist72 kev1337 March 8,2012,1: 59 PM
'the cat is immortal now'
Why? was King Tut in the box with it?
jtdwyer March 8,2012,2: 27 PM
If I understand correctly, this article states:
- Heisenberg's inequality formulation states that 'when you measure the position of an electron with an error, you cannot help but alter the momentum of the electron' - inferring the observer's causal role in producing the measurement result.
- Kennard's formulation actually in use states that 'you cannot suppress quantum fluctuations of both position σ(q) and momentum σ(p) lower than a certain limit simultaneously. The fluctuation exists regardless whether it is measured or not, and the inequality does not say anything about what happens when a measurement is performed.'
This seems to imply that only Heisenberg's original formulation implies that the act of measurement determines the result while the formulation in use states that measurements do not effect results - that quantum state fluctuations continue independent of measurement.
However, the research report's abstract states:
'The uncertainty principle generally prohibits simultaneous measurements of certain pairs of observables and forms the basis of indeterminacy in quantum mechanics. Heisenberg’s original formulation, illustrated by the famous [gamma]-ray microscope, sets a lower bound for the product of the measurement error and the disturbance. Later, the uncertainty relation was reformulated in terms of standard deviations, where the focus was exclusively on the indeterminacy of predictions, whereas the unavoidable recoil in measuring devices has been ignored. A correct formulation of the error–disturbance uncertainty relation, taking recoil into account, is essential for a deeper understanding of the uncertainty principle, as Heisenberg’s original relation is valid only under specific circumstances. A new error–disturbance relation, derived using the theory of general quantum measurements, has been claimed to be universally valid. Here, we report a neutron-optical experiment that records the error of a spin-component measurement as well as the disturbance caused on another spin-component. The results confirm that both error and disturbance obey the new relation but violate the old one in a wide range of an experimental parameter.'
It seems that the new formulation again implies that measurement effects results (disturbances produced by 'unavoidable recoil in measuring devices') , even though that error-disturbance relation had been ignored in the Kennard formulation.
Like dbtinc I now have a headache, but what have I misunderstood? An explanation of measuring device 'recoil' might be helpful...
And Then What? March 8,2012,6: 07 PM
The one thing to keep in mind as you try to grasp the implications of the uncertainty principle is that as far as having any noticeable direct effect on our everyday lives goes it is irrelevant. It is only when we start digging down into our toy box looking for more detail that it rears its ugly head. The only way it will become a problem for us is when we attempt to tamper with its working in its realm. We exist on a distinct evolutionary path that has produced beings that can exist side by side with the implications of the uncertainty of the Quantum level since if we could not we would not be here. In effect we do not depend on certainty with regard to predictability within our environment. We are adapted to function at the level of existence that we function at, even though that level has a degree of uncertainty at its quantum foundation level. We think that the concept of what we call a “predictable Order” must underlie all that we perceive. Unfortunately this is just a belief on our part and there is no reason to belief such has to be the case. We may in fact be the natural born offspring of Chaos who simply believe in the Fantasy of an ordered Universe. The fact that some of the greatest minds in Science, over the past decades, struggled with the concept of uncertainty is that they simply refuse to accept that Stable Chaos may be at the foundation of the structure of our Universe instead of the predictable Order that they thought had to be there. When you accept the possibility that apparent order may arise, at some level of existence, from a Universe founded on apparent, or factual, Chaos then you have no objection to acceptance of the principle of Uncertainty.
And Then What? March 8,2012,5: 27 PM
The one certain thing about any individual who attempts to pin down, with any degree of certainty, the inherent certainty of the causal effects of the uncertainty principle in either the Quantum world or the Cosmic world, is that they will be able to state with 100% certainty after long and exhaustive study that they are unable to state, with any certainty, that they are, in point of fact, certain that they fully comprehend all the implications surrounding the aforementioned certainty of the uncertainty principle given the uncertainty of the statistical weight that can be attached, with any degree of certainty, to their conclusions and hence they will be forced, to admit that they cannot at this time, for certain, state with unequivocal certainty that they have not wasted a great deal of their time. Much as I did writing this and you did reading it. Of this fact, I am almost 100% certain, maybe.
MadScientist72 March 9,2012,10: 07 AM
If Heisenberg's Uncertainty Priciple 'marks a clear break from the classical deterministic view of the universe', does it consititute evidence for the existence of free will?
If 'An experimenter cannot know both the position and the momentum precisely', does that mean s/he can know one measurement precisely & the other imprecisely - i.e., the position is exactly X & the momentum is somewhere around Y? What if one experimenter tries to get a precise measurement of position without worying about momentum and simultaneously another precisely measures momentum & leaves position alone?
@ AndThenWhat? #17 - I think Socrates said much the same thing, but in fewer words: 'The only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing.'
@ Whammer2 #19 - But surely the cat knows if it's alive?
@ Postman1 - 'Darn, that cat walked across my keyboard again! ' are you certain? Maybe your keyboard walked across the cat?
@ phalaris - 'The calculations align staggeringly close with experimental values, and that is what makes quantum mechanic's the only show in town.'
If no one understands quantum mechanics, doesn't that really make the 'calculations' little more than lucky guesses? '''
Certainly certainty certainly curiously cautiously cancels cation' certainly? ? ?
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