Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Research Paper

  1. Dec 10, 2003 #1
    Hi, my name is Jeremiah Hendricks and I recently completed a research paper on the effects quantum physics has had in other fields. Part of our assignment is to get feedback on our paper from an appropriate audience. It would be helpful if you guys could read my paper and then answer the quick survey at the end. I would understand it if you don't have the time to read my paper; it is kind of long. If you woud like to participate in my project, the survey is below and my paper is in the next post.



    Please rate the paper in the following fields (6 being highest, 1 bring lowest):

    1. Organization

    1 2 3 4 5 6

    2. Clarity

    1 2 3 4 5 6

    3. Credibility

    1 2 3 4 5 6

    4. Quality of Information

    1 2 3 4 5 6

    Any other comments would be appreciated, thank you for your time.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2003
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 10, 2003 #2
    Here is the research paper:

    A Whole, New, Quantum World

    From the origin of the universe to laser eye surgery, quantum physics has appeared in almost every facet of life since its birth. It has given new explanations and perspectives on many already accepted fields. These fields include biology, chemistry, ecology, and religion. Quantum physics has also created new fields which use its principle to seek explanations. An example of such a field is quantum cosmology, which seeks an answer for the origin of the universe and the nature of celestial bodies. Different applications of quantum physics have also appeared in a multitude of fields. Some of these fields include medicine and power sources. Also, some fields have been created for the application of the principles of quantum physics. These new fields include nanotechnology, quantum computing, and quantum game theory. The unique (and sometimes bizarre) principles of quantum physics have also changed people’s method of thinking. This new way of thinking has even affected the arts. The principles of quantum physics have changed almost every field of thought as well the people who study it. Some principles of quantum physics which have had a substantial effect on the world include Bell’s theorem, the Copenhagen interpretation, and superposition. Bell’s theorem says reality must be non-local. Non-locality means that the observed activities of a particle are affected by a multitude of outside factors. This idea allows one to view each thing as being connected with everything else in the world. The Copenhagen interpretation is another principle which has had far reaching effects. Nick Herbert describes this interpretation when he says, “The Copenhagen interpretation holds that in a certain sense the unmeasured atom is not real: its attributes are created or realized in the act of measurement” (xiii). This interpretation means that an object does not have its attributes until they are observed by something else. One other influential principle is that of superposition. Superposition says that a quantum particle can be in two places at once (Baker). These principles have had far reaching effects throughout all different kinds of fields.
    Quantum gives explanations for in fields that most people thought there already was a complete understanding in. One good example of one of these fields is biology. One explanation, for instance, is the way the eye works. It had been accepted that the eye worked in a certain way before the birth of quantum physics. Quantum physics, however, gave a more complete understanding of the eye. It is now known how the eye receives specific amounts of light (in quanta), and how much the eye must receive for one to be able to see a flash of light (Tuszynski and Dixon 310-311). This insight is an example of how people thought they understood something until quantum physics gave a deeper explanation. Quantum physics and chemistry combine, however, to give the only explanation for bioluminescence. Bioluminescence is the result of a chemical reaction, where the atoms lose energy in the form of light. This phenomenon allows marine life, such as jellyfish and squid, to glow (Tuszynski and Dixon 308). Quantum physics has given people a better understanding of biology with the explanations that it offers.
    Chemistry is another fundamental field of science that has benefitted greatly from quantum physics. Chemistry, as a matter of fact, was one of the first fields to gain something from quantum physics. Quantum physics explains the method by which atoms bond with the way that their electrons spin. These electrons spin in pairs and this explains certain electrons’ bonding when they covalent bond. Ionic bonding, another method of atom bonding, can also be explained by the spin of an electron (Baker). Quantum physics gave a more complete explanation for something that had been accepted in chemistry for a while. This explanation of atomic bonding has had many applications. Some of these applications include satellite technology, computer chips, calculators, atomic clocks, and Global Positioning Systems (Baker). The principles of quantum physics that have been applied to chemistry have a large impact on everyday life.
    The principles of quantum physics have not only created explanations in ecology, but it has also given people a new perspective in the field. Ecology is the study of the connection between organisms and nature. Quantum physics gives a new view on this field with its principle of non-locality. It shows that the actions of particles are influenced by everything else, that their actions are not ever completely independent. This opens up many possibilities in ecology. Catherine Larrére makes this connection in Land, Value, and Community when she says, “Everybody agrees that nature can no longer be seen, as it was in the modern era, as made of . . . discrete entities connected by external relations,” (qtd. in Ouderkirk and Hill 154). Non-locality can let one see how every organism is connected to each other as well as to nature. This principle gives a deeper explanation for the ideas of ecology. One such idea is the conservation and preservation of nature. Since man is connected to nature according to quantum physics, one should also look out for nature if they are going to look out for themselves (Ouderkirk and Hill 8). Quantum physics gives more substantial, science-based support for ideas that can normally be easily overlooked, such as preservation of nature. Another principle of quantum physics, which changes the way people view nature, involves the act of observation. The Copenhagen interpretation says that things exist only as they are measured, or observed. When applied to ecology, this means that the qualities of nature only exist when we go and observe them (Ouderkirk and Hill 119). This interpretation gives much responsibility to humanity. Quantum physics has changed the way people look at nature and given explanations to beliefs that before had little credibility.
    Quantum physics not only gives explanations for very small things but also for things that are very large. Quantum cosmology is a field of study which uses the principles of quantum physics to study the celestial bodies of space, such as stars and planets. This field of study is also being used to study how the universe began. A few theories exist which use principles of quantum theory to explain the origin of the universe. One of these theories uses an occurrence known as a quantum fluctuation. A quantum fluctuation is when a small amount of energy briefly becomes mass and then quickly turns back into energy. Edward Tryon was the first to propose that such a quantum fluctuation could have been just the push to start the theorized “Big Bang” (Heppenheimer). Another theory which is also used to help people understand how the universe began involves a false vacuum. A false vacuum is a region of space that actually has negative pressure and expands very rapidly. This phenomenon seems like a natural way for the big bang to occur, but a problem does arise. In order for it to expand, the false vacuum needs some sort of push from outside its strong barrier. Quantum physics’s occurrence of tunneling might have given this push. A principle of quantum physics is the uncertainty of a particle, a particle could in theory be in two places at once. Tunneling allows this event to happen with a tunnel of sorts in space between the two points the particle could be. This occurrence of tunneling could allow a quantum fluctuation to enter a false vacuum and ignite the birth of the universe (Heppenheimer). Quantum physics allows the world to see how all things could have first came to be. Quantum physics also solves problems which existed in normal cosmology. Wormholes, a creation in quantum physics, are solutions in equations which help answer certain problems in cosmology (Heppenheimer). They serve as connections between different universes and open many possibilities in cosmology. Quantum physics teaches us much about how the universe began and solves some problems in the study of space

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 10, 2003
  4. Dec 10, 2003 #3
    Here is the second part of the research paper:

    Surprisingly enough, quantum physics also has many connections to religion. A few principles of quantum physics exist which parallel those of Hinduism. Deepak Chopra comments on this connection in Twilight of the Clockwork God when he says, gI think that the quantum vision of scientists and the sacred vision of rishis is essentially getting to the same place,h (qtd. in Ebert 134). This connection arises from both the scientists and the Hindus seeking a form of enlightenment. They both want to find a point where they are fully enlightened on the ways the world works. Also, both Hinduism and quantum physics teaches of all things being connected. Some principles of quantum physics also appear in Buddhism. The superdeterministic model of quantum reality corresponds with the Buddhist perception of free will (Zukav 319). The superdeterministic model of quantum reality says that everything that is done is pre-decided with no or very little free will. This model of reality is very similar to Buddhist beliefs of free-will. Quantum physics gives scientific explanations for certain beliefs of these eastern religions. Quantum physics also gives scientific explanations for the beliefs of the most popular religion in America, Christianity. One of the main beliefs of Christianity is the Trinity. Christianity says that God consists of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These entities are believed to be one entity and three entities and the same time. One of the principles of quantum physics is that particles can be together and separate at the same time. This idea can applied to the relationship between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Polkinghorne 155-156). Quantum physics gives scientific support for a belief that has been around for thousand of years. Another belief in Christianity is the importance of people getting together and worshiping God, known as the church. This idea also has support in quantum physics. Quantum theory speaks of the importance and strength of the relationship between different things. This simple idea is easily applied to the church (Polkinghorne 159). One of the most supernatural ideas in Christianity is that of angels. Saint Thomas Aquinas described the movement of angels in a way that parallels Albert Einsteinfs description of photons (Ebert 50). This connection gives credibility to certain supernatural ideas which did not have credibility before. Quantum physics gives credibility to religion in its principles that parallel those of certain religions.
    The principles of quantum physics cannot only be used for explaining but there are also many tangible applications of quantum physics. Nanotechnology, one application of quantum physics has gotten a lot of publicity lately. Nanotechnology uses single atoms to build microscopic machines. These machines could be used in almost anything including medicine, warfare, and industry. Already, some basic molecular machines have been made. In 1989, two scientists used 35 atoms to spell out the letters IBM. Also, using a scanning tunneling microscope in late 1996, scientists built a working abacus made of single atoms (Kaku 271). Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) are similar to nanotechnology. Instead of using single atoms, MEMS use relatively larger material, such as large groups of whole molecules. MEMS have already been used commercially. One use is a sensor as thin as a strand of hair inside of air bags. Another example of a MEMS is a .7mm engine that has been built by Denso Corporation and is used to run a micro-car (Kaku 269). Nanotechnology as a whole, however, has many potential problems. It would be very difficult to build a nano-machine and that machine would then be very fragile and expensive for being so small. As David E. Jones, a Nature magazine columnist and chemist, puts it, gUntil these questions are properly formulated and answered, nanotechnology will remain just another exhibit in the freak sow that is the boundless-optimism school of technical forecastingh (qtd. in Kaku 269). This quote shows how nanotechnology has the potential to be a great creation, but may never be. Nanotechnology, however, is a real engineering application of some of the ideas of quantum physics.
    Another potentially powerful application of quantum physics is quantum computing. Quantum computing uses the principle of quantum reality to make an extremely fast computer. It uses quantum particles, such as an electron, as bits in a computer. These quantum bits are known as qubits (Waldrop). A qubit potentially has a lot of power in its uncertainty. A normal bit in a regular computer is either 1 or 0. The 1 and 0 of a qubit is determined by which direction it spins. Quantum physics talks about how quantum particles have uncertainty and could theoretically spin in bot directions. This uncertainty means a qubit could be 1, 0, or both 1 and 0 (Waldrop). This phenomenon would allow a quantum computer to process very quickly. Quantum computing first originated in the early 1980's with the work of Richard Feynman. More scientists eventually followed his ideas, and Ike Chuang even attempted to find a way to build a quantum computer but failed (Waldrop). He discovered that a quantum computer using electrons as qubits would be too fragile. In 1996, Chuang found out that if the nuclei of the atoms were used as qubits then a stronger quantum computer could be made (Waldrop). This discovery allowed the creation of a quantum computer to be more plausible. Quantum computers are potentially powerful creations that could become the most important application of quantum physics.
    Another more obscure, yet interesting application of quantum physics is quantum game theory. Quantum game theory is the study of games and their probabilities, like regular game theory, except that it uses quantum math (Siegfried). This use of quantum math opens up many possibilities in the way the games and probabilities work. One example of a game theory is a twist on the old game of flipping coins. When normally flipping coins, the coin can rather land heads or tails up. In the quantum game of flipping coins, the coin can land heads up, tails up, or strangely enough, both heads and tails up (Siegfried). This strange occurrence comes from quantum particles being able to have multiple, contrasting traits. Quantum game theory first started with John von Neumann. He was one of the people to create regular game theory and he also was one of the first to work on quantum mechanics. About five years ago, David Meyer of the University of California introduced quantum game theory in a speech to Microsoft (Siegfried). Quantum game theory has many applications for everyday life. It can be used to manage auctions, choose better stock portfolios, and improve voting methods (Siegfried). Quantum physics has allowed people to view situations in new ways, such as with quantum game theory.
    Possibly the most pertinent application of quantum physics comes in the form of power sources. Discoveries in quantum physics revealed that a great deal of power is released when atoms are fused and when they split. Fusion power is power that is gained from fusing atoms together, and the power from the splitting of atoms is called fission power. Fission power is already very popular. Over one-hundred large, 1,000-megawatt nuclear fission plants are active in the United States (Kaku 281). This application of quantum physics closely affects mankind, especially the multitude who use its power. The other power source, fusion power, can potentially provide the world with even more power. The discovery of fusion power gave people hope in its potential expanse of power. Michio Kaku describes the discovery of fusion power when he writes, gIn the 1930's, physicists discovered that quantum forces would . . . fuse hydrogen into helium, releasing fabulous amounts of energy in the processh (279). Fusion power releases large amounts of power with very little needed. It can produce the same monumental power in a star, but would only need simple sea water (Kaku 278). This great resource of power is also very much so in the worldfs grasp. Harold P. Furth, the director of Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory between 1980 and 1990, makes this point clear when he says, gBy the middle of the next century, our grandchildren may be enjoying the fruits of that vision,h (qtd. in Kaku 278). Fusion power could eventually eliminate any anxiety about the worldfs need for power. Quantum physics has changed the world of power resources in the creation of fusion and fission power.
    Quantum physics also can help people directly with its applications in medicine. The laser is one specific creation of quantum physics that has many uses in medicine. One example is laser eye surgery. This procedure can be used to repair hurt eyes and to improve vision. Laser are also used to remove unsightly birthmarks that people no longer want. Another application of the laser is in surgery. During surgery, a laser can be used to reduce bleeding (Tuszynski and Dixon 315-316). Another application of quantum physics in medicine is photodynamic therapy. Photodynamic therapy is used to get rid of cancerous tissue. A medicine is given to the body and absorbed by the cancerous tissue. This medicine can later be activated by a laser (Tuszynski and Dixon 315-316). The field of medicine benefits greatly with the applications of the principles of quantum physics.
  5. Dec 10, 2003 #4
    And here is the last part, thank you again for your time:

    At some point, the principles of quantum physics become less scientific and more philosophical. The more unique principles create new methods of thinking and viewing the world. This new thinking is most evident in the study of quantum reality. Quantum reality is the study of models of reality based on the principle of quantum physics. Some of these models are a world where quantum particles have no unique attributes and are affected by everything around them; a world made solely through observations; one complete, unseparated world; and a universe consisting of multiple worlds. Some other models include a world which follows quantum, non-human logic; a world made of regular, normal objects; a world created by one’s consciousness; and a world made up of quantum particles which are “potentially” real (Herbert 240-245). All of these models attempt to explain certain strange principles of quantum physics with new views of the world. Quantum physics causes one to change the way they view the things around them. It also causes one to see how they fit in the world around them. Professor Bohm, in a lecture at Berkeley, talks about this placement when he says, “There is a similarity between thought and matter. All matter, including ourselves, is determined by ‘information.’ ‘Information’ is what determines space and time” (qtd. in Zukav 327). Quantum reality shows how thought is connected to everything in nature. This connection changes the way people view themselves in relation to everything else. This change of thought is, ironically, similar to that found in eastern philosophy (Zukav 331). The acceptance of the principles of quantum physics causes one’s normal view of reality to change.
    The unique method of thinking created by quantum physics has leaked into the world of arts and literature. Strangely enough, one of the first examples of quantum physics in literature occurred many years before quantum physics was born. Flatland was a book that was written in the late 1800's that tells of dimensions beyond the normal three. This book was obviously written well before its time. As Banesh Hoggmann puts it, “In these days space-time and the fourth dimension are household words. But Flatland with its vivid picture of one and two and three and more dimensions . . . . was written some seventy years ago” (qtd. in Abbot iii). The bizarre, multi-dimension stories of quantum physics creates a unique story in Flatland. Quantum physics has also had an effect on the theater. The play, Copenhagen, tells a story about the famous physicists, Bohr and Heisenberg. It incorporates the ideas of quantum physics into the interaction of the actors (Lowry). The actors’ actions correspond with the principles of quantum physics. One idea in quantum physics is a world that does not act like a machine. Quantum physics tells of a world that interacts naturally and as a whole, nothing as simple as the gears of a clock. This idea has greatly permeated the art world. F. David Peat makes this point when he says, “The mechanical universe was nowhere to be found in Virginia Woolf or James Joyce . . . . its intimations already present in the paintings of Cézanne” (qtd. in Ebert x). The new view of the world has even found its was into art. One other new idea in quantum theory is the Grand Unification Theory. Created by Stephen Hawking, this idea combines all the forces of the universe into one. Stefon Harris applies this theory in his album, The Grand Unification Theory, by combining and expressing all his interests through his music (Whipp). The principles of quantum physics have reached all the way into the arts and had an effect on literature, art, and music.
    Quantum physics has changed much about the world with its revolutionary ideas. Since its birth, it has given explanations to occurrences that were not explained before, such as how an eye receives light or how man is connected to nature. Also, quantum physics has given scientific explanations to things which did not have them before. These new explanations include certain principles of religion and the activity and origin of celestial bodies. The applications of quantum physics are not only far reaching, but also infinitely useful. Quantum physics gives the world new technology in the form of nanotechnology and quantum computing. It also improves upon the older technology in medicine and the world’s power sources. Arguably, quantum physics’s most important change is on the way people think. It has given a new perspective on reality that opens many new possibilities for the world. Arts and literature has begun to see the effects of this and will likely see much more of it. Quantum physics has had vast effects on the world, and has also changed the way we view it.

    Abbot, Edwin A.. Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions. 1884. Toronto, Can.: Dover Publications, 1992.

    Baker, Howard. “RE: Questions for Research Paper.” E-mail to author. 16 Nov. 2003.

    Ebert, John David. Twilight of the Clockwork God. Tulsa, OK: Council Oak Books, 1999.

    Heppenheimer, T.A.. “Bridging the Very Large and Very Small.” MOSAIC Fall 1990. SIRS Online. 3 Oct. 2003. Available <http:/ /researcher.sirs.com> Article 004554.

    Herbert, Nick. Quantum Reality. Garden City, NY: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1985.

    Kaku, Michio. Visions. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., 1997.

    Lowry, Mark. “Play offers meeting of the minds.” Fort Worth Star-Telegram. 22 Jan. 2003. The Newsbank Newsfile Collection (1992-2003). Online. Newsbank Online. 7 Oct. 2003. Available <http:/ /infoweb.newsbank.com> Record number OF8BD8EE41F8CD1C

    Ouderkirk, Wayne and Jim Hill, ed. Land, Value, Community: Callicott and Enviromental Philosophy. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2002.

    Polkinghorne, John. The Faith of a Physicist. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996.

    Siegfried, Tom. “Developing new game-playing strategies: Quantum methods for communicating expand possibilities.” The Dallas Morning News. 20 Oct. 2003. The Newsbank Newsfile Collection (1992-2003). Online. Newsbank Online. 13 Nov. 2003. Available <http:/ /infoweb.newsbank.com> Record number 0FE54DB526C56090

    Tuszynski, J.A. and J.M. Dixon. Biomedical Applications of Introductory Physics. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2002.

    Waldrop, M. Mitchell. “Quantum Computing.” Technology Review. May/June 2000. SIRS Online. 3 Oct. 2003. Available <http:/ /researcher.sirs.com> Article 118274.

    Whipp, Glenn. “In Space with Jazz’s Universe.” Daily News of Los Angeles. 30 March 2003. The Newsbank Newsfile Collection (1992-2003). Online. Newsbank Online. 13 Nov. 2003. Available <http:/ /infoweb.newsbank.com> Record number 0FA24761736A7D16

    Zukav, Gary. The Dancing Wu Li Masters. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1979.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook