Double Slit Test - Illustration representing light travelling through two small slits and interfering with itself.

To see this in reality, stand on a bridge and look down at waves of water interfering with itself as the columns supporting the bridge block the water at some points making the wave travel around the columns and the new waves collide. If you have a camera, take a picture of it and compare it to this drawing, and it will be identical.

Light travels as a particle (when it’s being observed) and as a wave (when it’s not being observed). This has been one of the beautiful mysteries of light. Since all energy travels through the quantum, then light does indeed travel all possible paths as quantum mechanics predicts. Light travels through (vibrates through) the lattice (or grid like) structure of space-time vibrating all points connected to it.

Space-time is a fractal. A fractal is a shape that when you decompose into pieces, the pieces are the same to the whole. When you decompose space-time (or light) into its smallest pieces (Planck constants) the pieces are the same as the whole. When light travels, the pathways that it travels is through a lattice structure (which is also a fractal) so it’s is correct to say that light travels through all fractal pathways.

The question is, why does light behave as a particle (when you observe it) and as a wave (when it is not being observed)? Just by looking at it, you observe the point that you are looking at, so it behaves as a particle because you are defining it. Light behaves as a particle when it is being observed and amazingly, just because it’s being observed. But when it is not being observed it behaves as a wave, only because it is not being observed. So it appears that observation literally creates reality, which is another beautiful illusion of relativity. So is light a wave or a particle? It is both, depending on whether it is being observed or not. The quirky, elegant, beautiful strangeness of the universe.

I went to a couple of summer camps when I was a kid, but they’re different outside of America.

There was this tanned, bear-of-a-man looking counselor with a huge beer gut that I hung out with, he read books by the pound. Pretty sure I saw him carrying “Being & Time” by Heidegger, I still haven’t read that. So one night during a campfire by this slimy placid lake, I was talking to some kid and I couldn’t think of a word, the counselor laughed and started barking about the origins of the world.

Apparently language was just grunts and thuds then it developed into something with a better ability to handle abstract concepts and propositions to construct the world. There were millions of languages and worlds and they merged and some died and definitions by the language died with it but not the concepts. The worlds moved with languages and anything outside of it wasn’t talked about so it didn’t exist.  

Each language would hug the world in its own way, whispering new little things but unable to describe something else that was there, or used to be, or was somewhere else in another tongue. Language is also like a guardian angel, concepts can exist in the language that a follower won’t know about them and they won’t exist, but nudge you somewhere close to it.
When we reflect on something unable to be expressed by our language, apparently the world outside of ours laughs.

I was thinking of the word “nostalgia” 

Kinda thought of that story since we’re reading Wittgenstein.

Inheriting Trauma: Holocaust Survivors Pass Trauma to Their Children’s Genes

Pre-conception trauma results in transmission of epigenetic changes from the exposed parents to their children.

An international team lead by Rachel Yehuda, professor at Mount Sinai hospital in New York, and for the molecular analyses Elisabeth Binder, director at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich, studied the genes of 32 Jewish individuals who had been held in concentration camps, experienced torture or had been forced into hiding during the Second World War. The researchers additionally examined the genes of the group’s children who are known to have an increased likelihood of stress disorders, and compared the results with Jewish families living outside Europe during the Holocaust.

The scientists concentrated on epigenetic changes in the FKBP5 gene which has long been the research focus of Elisabeth Binder. “With ‘epigenetic’ we mean all processes that do not change the actual genetic code but alter its accessibility,” explains Elisabeth Binder. “FKPB5 determines how effectively the organism can react to stress hormones, and so regulates the entire stress hormone system. FKBP5 is altered in several diseases such as posttraumatic stress disorder or major depression and has now been associated with intergenerational effects.”

Image is for illustrative purposes only.


CONFIRMED: The Big Bang’s Last Great Prediction!

“There’s also a very, very subtle effect: neutrinos, which only make up a few percent of the energy density at these early times, can subtly shift the phases of these peaks and troughs. This phase shift — if detectable — would provide not only strong evidence of the existence of the cosmic neutrino background, but would allow us to measure its temperature, putting the Big Bang to the test in a brand new way.”

A new technique taking advantage of data from the Planck satellite has just detected the cosmic neutrino background definitively and in a new way, with the subsequent polarization spectra — set to be released by the Planck team — ready to confirm the greatest prediction of all: the cosmic neutrino background’s temperature!

Did cosmic inflation really happen?

According to the most widely accepted ‘big bang’ model for the origin of the universe, just 10-32 seconds after its birth, the universe underwent a very short but frantic period of exponential growth, called ‘cosmic inflation’.

Inflation explains why our universe is ‘flat’ (and why we learn Euclidean geometry in school) and why the temperature of the cosmic background radiation – released when protons and electrons first combined when the universe was 380,000 years old – is so uniform across the sky. It also helps to explain why this radiation nevertheless contains some tiny temperature variations, thought to be the result of quantum fluctuations imprinted on the universe and blown up by inflation, like a giant thumb-print left at a cosmic crime scene.

But did inflation really happen? The simple truth is we don’t know. In March 2014 scientists working on the Background Imaging of Extragalactic Polarization (BICEP2) experiment announced they had found its tell-tale signature. But in September 2014 Planck satellite mission scientists claimed that most (if not all) of the signal seen by BICEP2 is due to scattering by intergalactic dust. The jury is still out.

You can learn more about how the universe was formed via Origins: The Scientific Story of Creation by Jim Baggott, or by following #BaggottOrigins across social media.

Image: Timeline of the universe, by NASA/WMAP Science Team. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

New record broken in low temperature superconductors with no electrical resistance

Up until now, no material has been able to conduct current with no resistance at such high temperatures: Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz and the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz observed that hydrogen sulfide becomes superconductive at minus 70 degree Celsius—when the substance is placed under a pressure of 1.5 million bar. This corresponds to half of the pressure of the earth’s core. With their high pressure experiments the researchers in Mainz have thus not only set a new record for superconductivity—their findings have also highlighted a potential new way to transport current at room temperature with no loss.


Conventional superconductivity at 203 kelvin at high pressures in the sulfur hydride system. Nature (2015) | DOI:10.1038/nature14964