Feynman was here.
by Ted Frimet
A pleasant lecture was had by all, at last Tuesday’s meeting in Princeton. Paul Halpern was informative, and entertaining as he discussed his book on Richard Feynman. And then I stepped into the trap I laid for myself. When Dr. Halpern was discussing Feynman’s thoughts on electrons moving forward, and backward in time, (evidently the math works, so I’ve been told) I asked a neophyte question if this was akin to quantum tunneling, with an electron paying the price of time, as it passes thru no space, at all. Our author was quick to point out that this theory of the realm of quantum theory was akin to the 1920’s time frame. After prodding him gently, as one would stir a Gridnard reaction into place, Paul helped me out by reminding all that the motions of this particular electron (or positron – depending on your time movement) was taking place in the 1950’s. Oh, Richard – we could have used a smoke and joke, here!
Time is relative. Questions and answer time, doubly so. And when the time came for Q&A, I too heard crickets. I bounded and twisted from my chair, knowing how the speaker felt, and at once queried you all – as if you had no question of your own to offer? And begged my way into asking of the good professor, “whatever happened to Ms. Bell?” You know the answer we got. And the floor was opened and I rejoiced in hearing and listening to all of you participate.
Feynman finally moved me. You see, I’ve been reading “New Quantum Universe” by Tony Hey, and Patrick Walters (which leaves out the math). You now have a clue as to where I am studying Quantum Physics (circa 1980). And although I had been taught, previously that Richard Feynman was difficult to learn from, I ushered into my living room, in the comfort of my own home, the YouTube channel that hosted his 1979 lecture from New Zealand. Auckland, I recall? And I learned that Richard is the man! Funny, bright, succinct, and yes, easy to understand. Why, I even drew reference from Feynman’s work. I compared it to a recent review I am working on. I am critiquing the graphic art in a 50 minute video discussing the underpinning of Snell’s Law. But you don’t want to hear of that until I finish the graphical critique. Stay tuned, because I’ll give a shout out to the author, here, in Sidereal Times, when the bun is out of the oven.
I am writing this second essay, because I wanted to relay to you what I’ve learned, recently. That Buddhists teach that once the mountains are mountains. And then you realize they aren’t. And then, they resolve to be mountains, once again. Boy, I really butchered that thought. Feynman helped me re-engage our reality of light. That is, when light “hits” matter, it causes the electron quantum state to either excite, or cascade into a lower level (basically). And in doing so, emits a photon of its own. Sometimes two or more. Depends on your physics. This photon, may in its terminus, reach your eyes.
So my mountain, as I explain it to you, may be lit by suns afar. However I never get to see the reflected light. It is in fact, re-radiated by the electrons of that matter, itself. As Amateur Astronomers, you get this immediately, as we turn our attention to White Dwarfs emitting non-visible Ultra Violet energy, being absorbed by a non-visible veil of a Nebula to be re-radiated by a now – visible Nebula. Ah, essays of old come to roost once again. However, when you look at the paint on the walls, it just doesn’t seem that the wall color isn’t reflected. At least, at first, until you grasp at the electrons doing the physics provide you with the privilege of seeing the wall color. Illusion of light prevails. Things are quite what they seem. And we rely on our brains to fill in the missing pieces, and help us maintain our sanity, less we stop to ponder the true nature of matter and energy.
I laughed out loud when Richard Feynman talked about a physicist that might not accept the light coming from their meal, when presented with a real steak on a plate. Poorly paraphrased here, he mused to the audience that those scientists that would refute the light, would end up being very hungry physicists. I suspect they would be selected out of the gene pool, for sure.
I have to stop now, and eat dinner. And do so before the cat photons eat the chicken tenders.