Let's leave our universe behind and dive into a parallel one, where we come upon three scientists—two physicists and an engineer who’s fond of high voltage—who are deep in conversation.
Quantum mechanics and relativity show us that parallel worlds are a possibility. In 1935, Einstein and Rosen first represented electrons as black holes, bridging relativity with quantum mechanics and thereby avoiding the contradiction of black hole singularity. In doing so, they opened the door — and society’s imagination — to the idea of the wormhole, or a connection between parallel universes. A spacetime tunnel called the Einstein-Rosen bridge (wormhole) would allow traveling and moving through space and time.
That’s where our interstellar journey begins. Let’s leave our universe behind and dive into a parallel one, where we come upon three scientists — two physicists and an engineer who’s fond of high voltage — who are deep in conversation. The scientists are surrounded by a crowd of people, who are listening to their amiable discussion and asking them questions. Let’s see if we can hear what they’re saying.
We’ve traveled to this parallel world from one where artificial intelligence is seen as a great hope for the future of humanity. We are already using it without even realizing it. According to some in the social sciences, however, AI may also be a great danger, as it is capable of replacing humans as the dominant species. “Are you basically saying that the next Einstein will be using artificial intelligence?” comments the famous relativity physicist. “Humans cannot travel through time, but somehow, if artificial intelligence were able to solve some quantum knots, man could even end up arguing, in a parallel universe, with his alter ego without imagining what might happen.”
“In all honesty,” Newton comments, “I can say that my only alter ego is me.”
The universe we see is just a fragment nested in timelessness, rather than a single material world magically rising out of nothing from some primordial event. All universes exist without beginning or end in the final arena of time, and every moment we experience exists forever. “The energy of the universe around us is an asset to this planet,” Tesla comments. “Since ancient times, the demand for new energy sources has been an ongoing theme. The more energy that can be stored or produced through alternative renewable methods, the less of a burden traditional power-generation systems will place on them.”
The universe is not just energy. Says Newton: “My ‘Principia’ formulated the laws of motion and universal gravitation, which have dominated the science of the universe. By deriving Kepler’s laws from his mathematical description of gravity, and then using the same principles to explain the trajectories of comets, tides, the precession of the equinoxes, and other phenomena, I cleared the last doubts about the validity of the heliocentric model of the solar system. This work has also shown that the motion of objects on Earth and of celestial bodies can be described by the same principles.” We are accustomed to seeing the world at a macroscopic level; our eye does not perceive what is really there at its microscopic level.
Every day, we humans dance the same quantum dance dictated by the physical laws that scientists such as Heisenberg, Bohr, Schrödinger, and De Broglie described during the 20th century. “Heisenberg laid the foundations during his stay on the island of Helgoland, where he managed to calculate the matrix of numbers without first even understanding what that would mean,” notes Einstein. Heisenberg likely appreciated the peace of that remote, rocky place, where seagulls screech in the distance and the dominant sound is the sound of the waves.
We must have a microscope or some other technology to detect the behavior of the smallest part of matter, the atom. The best description we have of the nature of the particles that make up matter is described by quantum mechanics — subatomic particles such as electrons, neutrons, protons, quarks, and so on. Electrons can jump from one orbit to another, and we see this as “observation”; in theory, we humans could also jump from one planet to another, though doing so would require a considerable expenditure of energy.
“The first quanta we know well are photons,” the particles of the sun, says Tesla. These are “the elementary constituents of quantum mechanics — simple massless particles that bombard and heat us every day, and through which we can also produce electricity by exploiting the photoelectric effect with photovoltaic panels.”
Quantum physics has a reputation as a strange science because its predictions differ so dramatically from our everyday experience (at least, this is the case for humans, though perhaps not for extraterrestrials). This is because the effects involved get smaller as objects get bigger: If you want to see unambiguous quantum behavior, you basically want to see particles behaving like waves.
Improvements in quantum computer technology will require a new way of thinking, and experts will have to be able to collaborate across multidisciplinary domains of knowledge, science, and technology.
This article was originally published on EE Times Europe.
Maurizio Di Paolo Emilio holds a Ph.D. in Physics and is a telecommunication engineer and journalist. He has worked on various international projects in the field of gravitational wave research. He collaborates with research institutions to design data acquisition and control systems for space applications. He is the author of several books published by Springer, as well as numerous scientific and technical publications on electronics design.