Dr-Fix-It! Notebook Archive:
Matter Happens . . .
Bear with me here. This is real science. Heck, even NASA is working on it! Best of all ; this is science you can use! Science you can use TODAY! Thanks to advancements in quantum physics, one of the most puzzling aspects of life can finally be explained.
It is a familiar scenario:
You leave your hammer on the workbench for just a moment to go get a Coca Cola. When you return, the hammer is gone! How could that hammer possibly be missing? You mumble to yourself, "I must be losing my mind. I could have sworn I just put my hammer down here a moment ago. Now it is gone."
You reach in the fridge for a brew-ski. Huh? Where did they all go? You mumble to yourself," I must be losing my mind. I could have sworn there were nine beers in the refrigerator last night. Now there are only three."
You transfer six socks from the washer to the dryer. When the drying cycle is over, only five socks remain. You mumble to yourself," I must be losing my mind. I could have sworn there were three pairs of socks."
Are you truly losing your mind? Absolutely not! It is just Quantum Physics!
In 1905, Albert Einstein revolutionized the concept of symmetry when he published his Special Theory of Relativity. Einstein firmly believed that the laws of physics would be the same - symmetrical - for all observers, regardless of their motion. Einstein showed that an action would have the same outcome regardless of the relative motion between the action and observer. In order to retain this symmetry principle, Einstein was forced to discard the fundamental Newtonian notion of absolute time and motion. Twenty three years later, British mathematician and physicist Paul A.M. Dirac built upon Einstein's work by publishing his own theory describing the motion of electrons in electric and magnetic fields.
Dirac's equations yielded a surprising twist. They predicted that all particles in nature must have a corresponding "anti-particle." In each instance, the properties of the particle and anti-particle would be identical except the electrical polarity would be reversed. An anti - proton, Dirac postulated, would have the same mass as a proton but the opposite electric charge. Similarly, the theory stated, an electron must have an anti-electron which would have the same mass but a positive electrical charge.
Four years later, in 1932, Physicist Carl D. Anderson, confirmed the existence of the "anti-electron" while working with a cloud chamber designed to detect cosmic rays. He named the particle a "positron". This "positron" was the first known example of anti-matter.
In 1955, the first anti-proton was produced at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's Bevatron; at the time the world's largest particle accelerator. Later the same year, scientists CERN research facility in Europe created the first anti-hydrogen atom by combining an anti-proton with a positron. The result was an anti- atom of hydrogen; a hydrogen atom is made of one proton and one electron.
Again applying the notion of symmetry to the universe, some scientists postulated that there should be equal amounts of matter and anti-matter. However, we see very little evidence of naturally-occuring anti-matter around us. Granted, we now routinely manufacture positrons for the detection of tumors and cancers (PET: Positron Emission Tomography). And, NASA is deeply involved with research into matter / anti-matter (AIM) propulsion systems. But, the universe that surrounds us seems to be entirely composed of matter. That begs the question: where is all the anti-matter?
The existence of parallel universes could explain the lack of anti-matter in our world. In parallel universes there could be objects identical to our own planets and stars but comprised of anti-matter. ( Whoa There! . . . Stick with me, here! It isn't THAT big of a leap in logic! ) Step by step: From positrons (or anti-electrons), we have already progressed to anti-atoms of hydrogen. Anti-atoms are the basic building blocks to make all anti-molecules. From there, it is a short step to make all sorts of anti-matter! Anti-socks, anti-screw drivers, anti-wrenches, anti-people, an anti-You, an anti-Me living an anti-cities on an anti-planet in a parallel anti-universe!
Sound far-fetched? Maybe. But, people-in-the-know don't discount the idea. In January 1998, American researcher David Raub published a poll of 72 leading physicists, cosmologists and quantum-field theorists about the "Many-Worlds Interpretation". To the question, "Do you think WMI is true?" Raub reported that 58% of the respondants replied 'Yes' and another 13% replied "Maybe". Among those that replied "Yes, I think MWI is true" are such notables as Stephen Hawking as well as Nobel Laureates Murray Gell-Mann, Steven Weinberg and Richard Feynman.
So . . . We live in our own universe of matter. And, there might be a parallel identical anti-universe out there somewhere! It could be just like our world except made out of anti-matter. As long as the two worlds don't collide, both universes can co-exist. But, just imagine what might happen if we occasionally brushed against an exact duplicate something from the parallel identical anti-universe?
This is the good part. Very good! The theory of a parallel anti-universe is just too good NOT to embrace! It is so useful in explaining daily life! Truly, science you can use today!
Here is what I mean:
You leave your hammer on the workbench for just a moment to go get a Coca Cola. When you return, the hammer is gone! How could that hammer possibly be missing?. Are you 'losing your mind'? NO! The exact anti-hammer in the parallel anti-universe just happened to be in the proximity and "POOF!", the two hammers merged into nothing!
You transfer six socks from the washer to the dryer. When the drying cycle is over, only five socks remain. Are you losing your mind? NO! An anti-sock from the parallel anti-universe accidentally drifted through the space-time occupied by one of your socks! Their reverse polarity canceled each other out!
You reach inside the fridge for a cold brew. Weren't there were nine beers in the refrigerator last night? Now there are only three. Are you losing your mind? NO! The simple explanation is that an errant anti-six-pack from the parallel anti-universe strayed into the refrigerator during the night and neutralized six of your beers. Gone without a trace!
Red lights behind you? It's no problem when you know the theory of the parallel anti-universe. . .
"Could I see your license and registration?"
"I am sorry officer, I don't have them anymore."
"My license and registration accidentally collided with their anti- license and registration from the parallel anti-universe. They no longer exist."
"Oh. Well, that is very understandable. OK. You are free to go. Have a nice day."
Canines across the globe will be freed from the tyranny they have endured for decades. Students need no longer automatically assume the dog ate their term paper. The theory of the parallel anti-universe provides a scientific explanation. No more: "my dog must have eaten my term paper". Pupils need only to explain to their teachers that their term paper unfortunately happened to converge upon it's exact anti-term-paper from the parallel anti-universe. Sad to say; both the paper and the anti-paper nullified one another and are gone forever!
Now, I am certain you will agree with me that the theory of the parallel anti-universe is, indeed, practical physics that we can apply to everyday life.
Just think. The business applications are endless :
". . . Of course I filed that report on time. I can't understand why you haven't received it yet. SAAAYYY, wait a just one minute! You don't suppose it accidentally crossed paths with its exact anti-report from the parallel anti-universe, Do you?"
Hey, it COULD happen!