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Quantum Pals

  1. Nov 26, 2008 #1
    Hello, I join these forums because Im interested in having somebody to chat about QM with. Somebody with the same lvl of interest would be great!

    I have a basic interest in the ideas of Quantum Mechanics, Relativity, and Particle Physics. Basically, if there is something on the Discovery channel Ill watch it. I dont know anything about the math. But I would love to find somebody to chat with about black holes, strings, quarks, time travel, and the like.

    About me.
    Im a middle school drop out with an IQ of about 145. I dont know any math higher than pre-algebra, but I have read several books, and watched/listened to many lesions and lectures on Quantum Mechanics, Relativity, and Particle Physics. So I think I have a pretty firm understanding of some of the principles in these fields, even if I lack the mathematics.

    I tend to sound like an idiot when I talk because I use alot of little words instead of the big words. So dont underestimate my understanding. I might not use the big words but I do know what they mean. Besides if I dont know a word Ill google it.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 28, 2008 #2
    Hi, cerburos, welcome! I'm pretty new here myself, so it's not like I'm the proper representative of these forums, but anyway... if there's anything you want to chat about, I'll chat! I'm something equivalent to a physics major I guess, so it seems I'm on a different level of learning, but you only requested people with the same level of interest, which just might be the case!
  4. Nov 29, 2008 #3


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    How are you sure that you understand the principles if you lack the mathematics? The principles of quantum physics are mathematically.

    So that statement is basically the same as if blind person would say "I think I understand what colors is even though I can't see".

    Since you are new here, and obvious wants to discuss QM "without mathematics", I suggest you get yourself comfortable with reading the general forum rules and also take notice that each subforum has its own rules which are listed in a "sticky" thread.

    Also take notice of the search function, if you have a question to ask or a topic to discuss, maybe someone recently just posted such?
  5. Nov 29, 2008 #4
    I'm more interested in hearing about why you dropped out of middle school.
  6. Nov 29, 2008 #5
    i'm more interested in hearing on why you think you have an IQ of 145
  7. Nov 29, 2008 #6


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    yeah me too, forgot to ask hehe
  8. Nov 30, 2008 #7
    A suggestion: work a little on your maths, at least some linear algebra, de's and vector calc

    And yes, why'd you drop out of high school? :)
  9. Nov 30, 2008 #8
    Cerburos, I wasn't entirely being flippant when I was asking about why you dropped out of middle school. I guess that what I'm puzzled by is the fact that you seem to have some level of intellectual curiosity (or else you wouldn't be here), and you perceive yourself to be intelligent, yet you dropped out when you were 12 or 13. The only conclusion I can draw is that either something happened to your parents, you got into drugs, or live in a neighborhood where this kind of thing is common. Have you ever considered getting a GED? It's not too late.
  10. Dec 1, 2008 #9
    Hello everyone, thank you for all your responses. Sorry about the super long delay. Ill try to be around more often.

    Manilzin, That sounds great, thank you! I have never had any one I could chat with about things like this before. Of course I will be reading thru the forums and posting some. Still I would enjoy a 1 on 1 chat with somebody about things. Send me a PM about some topics you would like to discuss. I cant promise I will know everything your talking about, but you can be sure that I will google. Right now I am curious about the Hadron Collider and some of the theories Ive heard and thought up.

    malawi_glenn, I feel like I do understand of the ideas of quantum physics. It is like a child saying he understand physics because he knows how to throw a ball to his friend. The child has no mathematical idea what the ball weighs, how far away his friend is, or what the effect of gravity is will be, but he does know that the ball has weight, his friend is some distant away, and that the ball will begin to fall b4 it reaches his friend.

    I have taken serval IQ tests. Every time Ive scored between 140 and 150, 145 is just a neat/clean average. I didnt literally 'drop out' until the 9th grade. From the 7th grade on I would only complete enough tests to average a passing grade. 7th, 8th, and 9th grade I never opened a text book. I did get my GED at age 16. I scored a 99 in science, and a 92 in math, 70some history 60some is grammar/reading. I rarely "read" preferring text-to-speech software and audio books.

    Manchot, Why I dropped out isnt that important. In short, I didnt like school, and I still dont. I am intelligent in the sence that I am able to learn and I do think. I have a high level of intellectual curiosity, but it is spread out over so many subjects that I will likely never have any real degree of knowledge in any field. Thats ok because all I really desire is to understand the 'how and why' of things.
    How is it?
    Why is it that way?
    How does that effect everything else?

    I hope to answer those three questions in every subject of study that I pursue. I dont care about being able to calculate the size of a black hole. I do care about what a black hole is, and how it effects the things around it. (Did that example make as much sence to you as it did to me?)
  11. Dec 1, 2008 #10


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    but SAYING that one understands something does not make them understanding it.

    Understanding what a black hole "is", and so on, is just a matter of taste. "Understanding" things presented in layman books/terms is not the same way as a physicsists understand things. That you must take with you.

    Since you seems to be quite intelligent, I invite you to learn real hard math. It's like car racing, it is more fun if you know how to drive a car ;-)
  12. Dec 1, 2008 #11
    malawi_glenn, Thank you for that invite, I would love to learn all of those numbers. But the truth is, I am still like a child in my curiosity. Im always chasing a new idea. Last month I was learning to program in C++. Yesterday I was testing out some new software I found. I spent this morning learning how to write a PHP file. Now Im browsing thru a physic forum, and googling for info on the Hadron Collider. You see I am still very much like a small child in a great library. I cant sit with any 1 book long enough to read it all the way thru. I can only browse thru it, b4 running to the next exciting thing.

    I understand that a black hole is an object that has been condensed down to a singularity (a single point in space). The mass and gravitational field remains the same though its size shrinks and its density increases to the point that the escape velocity (the speed an object much achieve to break from a gravitational field) is greater the speed of light. So nothing, not even light, can escape a black hole.

    Black holes also evaporate (sort of) thru a process called quantum tunneling. But I really dont understand it yet. Something about when a particle doesnt not have enough energy to get over the all (escape the gravity field), it might still pass thru it.

    That is a bit of a simple explanation, but I hope I got it right. If not please correct me. Than you.
  13. Dec 1, 2008 #12


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  14. Dec 1, 2008 #13
    Malawi, Thank you for those links. I finished reading thru about half of the wiki link. I am about to log off here in a couple minute. But first I want to ask 2 questions.

    1) Do you know of a site that contains all of the math formulas, and explains each formula in plain english? If so will you share it with me? I may never take the time to memorize these formulas. But if I had a reference I could look at and find the explanations, I would be able to understand things much better.

    2) From the wiki "Smaller micro black holes (MBHs) are predicted to be larger net emitters of radiation than larger black holes, and to shrink and dissipate faster."

    Is that anything like how a shallow puddle evaporates faster than a deeper puddle, because a greater % of the water is at the surface?

    Again I know I over simplify. I believe everything should be as simple as possible. 'Simplicity is simply beautiful.'
  15. Dec 1, 2008 #14


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    Math can not be explained in words, nor you can't understand things without math(not the way a physicsits knows it). Physics describe things with math, no math, no physics.

    Math is simpler than words.
  16. Dec 1, 2008 #15
    Yes, I agree math is much simpler than word. But when I say 'explain' this is what I mean:
    You showed me e=mc2, I wont know what your talking about. But if you tell me theEnergyOfAnObject = theMassOfTheObject * theSpeedOfLight squared, Ill say ok.

    Do I know what that means? Sure, it is a formula to calculate the how much energy you would get if you were able to convert atoms to energy with 0% loss of energy. Now I wouldnt dare try to work out those numbers, only because it would take a long time. But if you were to show me the numbers I would be able to understand it (some). Being able to understand that will help me to understand other things as well, like how an atom bomb works.

    Now take this formula for example:
    I have no idea what t, bh, or n are. I think M = mass. I know the order of operations. I can see how those numbers relate to each other, but I have no idea what thosenumbers are or what this equation means.
  17. Dec 1, 2008 #16


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    tau is lifetime, bh = Black Home, M_star = is the low energy scale, n is integer.
    These number ARE explained in the article.

    Thought you meant "how to explain what division is" LOL
  18. Dec 1, 2008 #17
    No, just I told you I know the basic stuff =P

    I take it you dont know a site I can go to as a reference to get all of these formulas explained? Can you give me some keywords that might help me google for one?

    Im off for now. I might be back on later tonight. If not Ill be here tom. Night, and thank you
  19. Dec 1, 2008 #18
    It's not just formulas. It's knowing where they come from and what you can do with them.

    Algebra is by far the most useful mathematical tool there is. I suggest you learn it. It will open a lot of doors for you. Trigonometry and Geometry aren't really that important unless you are working on a problem where you need them. I still have to look up those formulas. Then comes Calculus, which is another milestone and will completely change the way you think.

    Yes, it is that powerful. It's almost like learning another language.

    But, the reason this is very important in quantum mechanics is because there is no "why" in quantum mechanics. Like your previous example, you can say a ball is in the air because someone thew it. It is falling because of gravity. It will stop falling when it hits the ground. It slows down because of air resistance. Those are the "whys".

    No such thing in quantum mechanics. We start with some basic assumptions, and then just do math to figure out some sort of properties of this kind of system.

    You can think of this like being given a hammer, some nails, and some planks. Very simple starting point. But you can build a lot of different things with it, like a house, a boat, furniture, etc.

    Things like the Heisenburg Uncertainty Principle, quantum tunneling, and dipole radiation (light from a glowing material) come from the math.

    And from the HUP, quantum tunneling, and dipole radiation you get a lot more neat concepts like the Mossbauer effect, photodiodes, and scanning tunneling microscopes.

    It all starts with the math.
  20. Dec 1, 2008 #19
    Hi cerburos :) I am sure you have heard of the great physicist Richard Feynman, you may want to read what he has to say about mathematics and why he thinks "it is impossible to explain honestly the beauties of the laws of nature in a way that people can feel, without their having some deep understanding of mathematics. "

    http://www.collectedthoughts.com/quote.aspx?id=11305 [Broken]

    I am sure people on this forum will be very glad to help you if you have problem learning the math, but it's not too late to start :)
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  21. Dec 1, 2008 #20
    Yalls are right, I cant possibly increase my understanding here without learning the math. I dont want yall to think that I was hoping to be able to grasp the complixities of the universe without some understanding of math. I do have a good understanding of math, I really enoy math. In most cases, if an expression is explain (example e=mc2, e=energy m=mass c=speed of light) then I can understand it. I just need to be made aware of what these expressions are saying. I dont know many of the symbles or variable used. I jsut need to look them up.

    Thanks everyone for being so friendly and supportive. Yenchin, great artical.

    I dont think I was able to express what I meant earlier when I said I didnt want to learn the math. Of course I want to be able to see an expression and know what it is saying. But there is no need for me to be able to walkdown the street and calculate the approximate atomic weight of the air in my car.
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