Thursday, October 15, 2009

QGEM: Quantum Gravitational Enhanced Meditation: An introduction to quantum gravity

So, here we are in the early 21st century riding along on a complex soliton  wave curving into the  more unified scientific models.  For lack of a better phrase, we might just as well call the emerging, more unified model  "quantum gravity" due to the upheavals last century in quantum mechanics and  so-called relativity.  Things are compressing and expanding again  as the classical model peels away revealing the underlying non-linear, non-classical, more unified  features.

It's a disquieting thought, to try to come up to periscope depth and face this paradigm shift in science. It's awkward, inconvenient,
uncomely, uncomfortable.  Not that the new emerging orientations are or will be perfect either, or will resolve all of our various life, energy, climate and developmental difficulties,  but coming out of denial about the change does reveal this liberating, yet indelicate perspective.  A portion of our social, economic, educational, and environmental problems are, in fact, arising from us running on an excessively approximate scientific trial theory.  Our model turns out to be flawed and outdated, mis-aligning ALL that we do.   Reality is NOT following simple linear, classical rules and laws.  The entire thing is --How do we say it?--  quantum gravitational.  And worse yet, we only now are beginning to come up with crude approximations to  spark and convey a fuller appreciation of the new terrain.

Moreover, and this is quite intriguing, consider the task of trying to create, say, the first useful quantum gravitational math expression.  I guess we are to call it math.  What then?  How does one scribble it out? How big is the napkin? Or, worse still, what is the napkin and the ink made of and under what light is it to be read?

The fact is that, initially,  here we find ourselves realizing that abstract math symbols and expressions are secondary to, and themselves arising from primary quantum gravitational, or what we generally might call, primary "analog math" transactions.  This, indeed, is an awkward state of affairs, much like regressing back to  Faraday's  expressions "scribbled"  with wires and magnets that preceded Maxwell's subsequent abstract math approximation by some five decades.  If STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education in the modern era is to roll forward,  how does that proceed when the crown jewel of abstract math must sit idly by,  impotent, waiting it's turn  after some horrendously inelegant approximation must be carved out, discovered, or created amid all this gross physical  debris?  

Suffice it to say that this paradigm transition is simply not an easy one.   There is no abstract math expression that is robust enough to spark and convey the new awareness. And, thus,  even regular forms of  scholarly efforts and publishing can  not be much help or support in the initial going. The "acceptable math" simply is not there.  So we face seeing what has not been seen, and saying what has no description.  That is, we face making something up. Using the unacceptable math, creating the new math and/or forming the awkward transitional analog math expressions.   

Now, the odd thing is, once one crosses the boundary from abstract math symbolisms back into the active analog math (sometimes known as the realm of physical experiments, or tactile learning)  the problem shifts from having no instances of quantum gravity over to there being, er, a few too many. In fact, there is such a tangle and large number of actual instances of quantum gravitational artifacts, such feast, that then the problem becomes a bit of an embarrassment of great riches.  We could pick up a rock, or a stick.  Or we could point to a HEP accelerator, or the first generation designs of electrical power generators. The list is endless. Each one a perfect instance.

But that large a set is not exactly what the teachers or students want or need.  The one we want is simply the first half-decent approximation of quantum gravity. Something that has sufficient features but still is simple enough for people to be able work with and learn from.  In the old days this would call for something like searching for a non-classical simple machine, analogous to playing around with the classical simple machines.

But, to invoke this non-classical instance, what we need is something that at least exhibits multiple-states, position and momentum relations, field-field interactions, variable mass-density and anharmonic motion and balance, preferably  in a rather compact, hand-held package that is amenable to introductory  teaching-learning situations.

The instance I have come by, used and that I have found or claim is illuminating   in this introductory transitional effort is the "quantum gravitational artifact" I call a magnetic tetrahedra -- the thing one gets when answering the inquiry: "What do you get when you build a tetrahedron out of (four) magnets?".   It turns out we get something that exhibits multiple-states, position and momentum relations, field-field interactions, variable mass-density and anharmonic motion and balance, all in a rather compact, hand-held package that is amenable for use in introductory  teaching-learning situations.

"Hey, how you learn about quantum gravity?"

"Simple. Magnetic tetrahedra."

Now, of course one or all can claim that this sort of bootstrapping and re-framing approach is worthless and there is  no such thing as quantum gravity and no need for developing any appreciation for such an emerging, more unified scientific theory.  It might be best to  not make the attempt but, rather, to merely wait, like sheep or serfs on the feudal plain, perhaps until the final abstract math is fully developed --assuming that possible with no accompanying conceptual consideration, appreciation or exploration. Or, of course, one and all can also seek out an improved analog model...

But, and here we have the crux of this matter, "Improved compared with what initial approximation?" 

So it is, like it or not, once one considers the initial approximation here, we are all set onto the new course.  We can seek other instances, and surely better ones MUST exist, perhaps in the other inner or outer  magnetic polyhedra, or in the deeper patterns of structural chemistry. However, as we race or meander forward on this phase of the journey the fact remains we have, we can and we may pass into the quantum gravitational realm by passing through the tactile lens of the magnetic tetrahedra. 

It's an strange state of affairs. In this odd manner is quantum gravity introduced.

Powered by Qumana

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave a comment