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Posts Tagged ‘Physics’

Reverse Reverse Reverse

Hi mates! Whoever has taken university physics should know about irreversibility – which is related very closely to the idea that the entropy of the universe can only increase. Basically, what it says is that a lot of phenomenon (if not all) is irreversible. Examples: you can get older and not get younger, burnt paper cannot go back to the state before it was burnt, what is done is done and the process can’t go backwards.

However, this clip here from Youtube (3 mins, 14 secs) shows us that reverse actions are possible (at least in a movie). I really think that this video is really amusing. If you check out further (on Youtube), there are quite a number of people trying to produce ‘the best’ reverse video ever. After looking at a few videos, this video that I linked in this post is ‘the best’ one.

I think this post is related, to some extent, to my post before which is discussing about the concept of time. I realised that in the reverse video, instead of moving the time forward, it moves the time backward! Combining some acting skills of the actors in the video and backward streaming, voila, we have the reverse movie.

This just made me think, maybe someday the scientists can invent something which violates the entropy law, i.e. making possible irreversible actions which we now deem impossible. Or maybe in the future there will be a device which lets us to travel back in time or move forward with 2x speed (just like a DVD player). If it can’t happen in real world (which I think is the case), maybe it can happen in a simulation room or something. It could be a nice attraction to put in an amusement park! Anyway, since I am still so amused and confused at the same time about all these things, any thoughts on anything are welcomed to give some enlightenments. Thank you.

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Quantum Uncertainty and the Limit of Knowledge

February 26, 2012 3 comments

Quantum mechanics has always fascinated me.  It is the field of science in which science loses all intuitiveness–particles have probabilistic, not definite properties.   This submicroscopic level  is so beyond the grasp of our minds that even expert physicists have only a superficial understanding of its inner workings.

I recently read this article about Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle: http://news.yahoo.com/wacky-physics-uncertainty-uncertainty-principle-160401302.html  In overly simplistic terms, the uncertainty principle states that the measurement of one attribute of a quantum particle (such as position) will decrease the accuracy of the measurement of another (such as momentum).  Our observation affects what we observe.

The uncertainty principle is sometimes generalized to state there is a limit to how well we are capable of understanding the universe, that there is a limit to human knowledge.  It is often the belief (or at least hope) of scientists that full understanding is possible and even inevitable with time, but could there really be a dead end in scientific progress?  Will physics become a Sisyphean task?  Will we ever give up, disappointed or stop, content in the knowledge we have gained?

Self-Introduction and a Physics Experiment

January 28, 2012 10 comments

Hi everyone! I am going to use this first post as an opportunity to introduce myself a little bit. I was quite involved in science when I was in middle school and high school, especially in physics. Physics is fun (I know some of you will object this!) and I found it very useful in my everyday life. Even though I have become an engineer now, the love of physics is still in my heart. I will perhaps in the future have some more postings about physics (sorry about that if you don’t like it >.<) since that was my cup of tea a few years ago. 🙂

I want to bring up this small fun experiment about determining if an egg is raw or boiled. You may read the detailed explanation (it is just a short one-page, don’t worry) here: http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/experiments/eggboiledraw.html. The underlying concept is the idea of moment of inertia which was normally taught in high school. Thanks be to the Almighty who has made physics works as it does and to our dear scientists who have figured out and formulated how everything works. It is now up to us to use the laws according to our creativity to do or invent anything of goodness. I have, in fact, tried this experiment to determine if the egg on my dining table was a boiled egg. And it stopped spinning when I touched it! And when I cracked the egg, bingo! It was indeed a boiled egg! YEA, THAT WORKED!

Physics teachers in schools and universities should give more real life examples of application of physics laws. There are numerous of them, we just don’t know yet. It will be more fun if the students know more real life examples of how things work and science will not be so daunting towards the laymen anymore.

Cheers!

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