Thursday, May 13, 2010


There is some bizarre science relating to ones perception of time and space. I do not know the "official" name of the topic or the research behind it, but it crops up from time to time in scientific articles and sci-fi stories.

In a Discover article a few years ago, I read about how passing you appears to be going faster and the car you a passing appears to be going slower, but in reality, somehow, you are both going the same speed.

A more recent example I cam across claims that as the questions of the universe are answered, or as we learn to perceive the universe differently, the universe itself becomes different.

A similar observation has been made in quantum physics, it appears that the act of observing atomic particles actually changes their nature.

The first two examples are mind-numbingly insane. Take the passing cars: if one vehicle is going 10 miles per hour and the other vehicle is going 20 miles per hour, does it not make sense that one is going faster than the other, thus one should pass the other? This one will certainly take more reading for it to make sense to me.

As for the changing universe, I think it was just a play on words, as in the better you know something, the more different it becomes to what you used to know. Personal relationships work the same way, the better you know your spouse, the more she seems to change. Or better still, it used to be that watching her trim her nails was cute, but later realizing how much detail is fussed over, she now seems to have OCD, which makes her a completely different woman.

The change in atomic particles do to actual observation...this one is different. This property has some actual observational data associated with it and a number of scientists back it up. In fact, it is such a pervasive trait that Einstein hated the very idea of it. And really, it does change everything.

Imagine looking at a tree, looking away, then looking back and the tree is still there. Now, do it again, but use a video recorder and upon play-back you find that at the moment you are not directly observing the tree, it has changed into a bizarre rock formation, or even something more spectacular. This is the basic idea behind the observational trait of quantum physics.

What does it mean? Never mind the religious debate, what does this mean for the universe we live in?

Furthermore, how can these perceptional concepts be transformed into fun and engaging sci-fi?

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