Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle

"One of the basic ideas behind quantum theory/physics/mechanics is the H.U.C. It states, more or less, that the more you know about one aspect of a subatomic particle, the less you can know about the other. This means the more you know about the velocity of a particle, the less you can possible know about it's position. Remember, velocity is speed and direction. This means that you can know with 90% certainty the position of a electron or whatever, but then you can only know with 10% certainty its velocity. Or vise versa, or 50-50, or not know anything at all (the easiest)."

I was thinking about this the other day, and something jumped out at me. It deals with not being able to know the velocity and the position of an electron or the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.

first i would like to point out that I am no physicist. I only have a computer science degree and a minor in math, so repeat these ideas at your own risk of sounding really smart or really dumb.

The uncertainty principle is based on this idea.

"Suppose a particle has momentum p and a position x. In a Quantum Mechanical world, I would not be able to measure p and x precisely. There is an uncertainty associated with each measurement, e.g., there is some dp and dx, which I can never get rid of even in a perfect experiment!!!. This is due to the fact that whenever I make a measurement, I must disturb the system. (In order for me to know something is there, I must bump into it.) "

Yea, i think that is a load of crap. When ever you measure the speed of a car the radar waves (which in quantum mechanics they are not waves, but particles if i understand correctly) BUMP into the car and bounce back to the radar gun, which receives the impulses. We are able to find a good approximation of the speed of the vehicle. The speed of the vehicle can be measured out to the infinite decimal places, but eventually a few more decimal places does not matter. What is important is that we do not disturb the cars momentum of the vehicle enough to measure using our instruments.

When you apply the same idea to a particle, it becomes clear that when you measure the momentum of a particle you are doing it with a particle that probably is the same size or close to it the particle you are trying to measure. In other words, you are trying to measure the momentum of a car with another car. Of course, you will not be able to figure out the information you need. The car (particle) you are measuring is disturbed by the tools that you are trying to measure it with.

If it were possible to create a set of tools that was many, many times smaller than an electron, we could possibly measure the momentum and position with enough accuracy so that it would not matter. We would have to essentially break up an particle (electron or some such) many times over to get to that level of fineness.

Which from what i understand we do break up those particles ONCE with the huge atom smashers we build. Another thing stopping this theory, from chaning the world as you know it, is that we only know of the level below protons and electrons, and nothing further. For my idea to work we would need to not only know about the many levels below protons and electrons, but we would also need to be able to manipulate those particles with ease. That, from my understanding of the gravity, would require huge amounts of energy.


1 comment:

Dave Justus said...

I am certainly not a physicist either but from what I understand you have described the problem pretty well.

Another problem though is that current theory is that particles arn't infinetely divisible. The smallest division is speculated to be the string which cannot be divided any further.