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The hunt for the Hicks particle

Posted by Pelgrim on 13th December 2011

Today, 13 December 2011, physicists on the LHC’s two largest experiments announced signals consistent with the possible appearance of the Higgs boson, a manifestation (ripple) of the Higgs force field , that endows all other particles with mass. Thus far, the ATLAS and CMS experiments have each detected the results of some 500 trillion proton–proton collisions and more data will be needed to establish the existence of the Higgs with statistical confidence.  Link

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Quark-gluon plasma, laws of physics anomaly

Posted by Pelgrim on 3rd April 2010

quark-gluon plasmaMatter buildup

Get Hot On The One A computer visualization of 7,200,000,000,000 degree F quark-gluon plasma in the RHIC collider Brookhaven National Laboratory, via The New York Times

Until the LHC finally gets up to full speed, Brookhaven National Lab’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) remains the world’s most powerful heavy ion smasher. And on Monday, they showed off some of that power by announcing that a recent collision resulted in the hottest matter ever recorded. Coming in at a scorching 7.2 trillion degrees Fahrenheit, the plasma not only recreated the environment of the Big Bang, but might have also resulted in the temporary formation of a bubble within which some normal laws of physics did not apply.

The plasma, which was 250,000 times hotter than the center of the sun, seemed to create small pockets where particles lost their left- or right-handed identity [their spin]. Source

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The Cerebral Application of Constant Magnetic Fields

Posted by Pelgrim on 28th October 2008

The Cerebral Application of Constant Magnetic Fields: A Brief Review of the Jesenik Procedure

Author: Otto Grünner a

Affiliation:   a Department of Rehabilitation, Jesenik Hospital, Jesenik, Czechoslovakia

DOI: 10.3109/15368378809027750

Publication Frequency: 4 issues per year

Published in: Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine, Volume 7, Issue 2 1988 , pages 209 - 218

Subjects: Cell Biology; Molecular Biology;

Abstract

Our frequent observations that geomagnetic perturbations between 10 and 100 nT were associated with changes in neurotic complaints suggested that cerebral application of artificial electromagnetic fields could have beneficial consequences. Patients who were diagnosed as suffering from neuroses or who had chronic headaches from various etiologies were exposed to various intensity (0.07 mT, 0.88 mT, 2.6 mT and 9.64 mT) constant, homogeneous magnetic fields. During magnetic field exposure, increases in forehead electro-dermal resistance and decreases in complaints were noted for both groups; patients suffering from headaches displayed the greatest improvement. Significant relative increases in alpha activity but decreases in delta and theta activity were correlated with the field-associated improvement of symptoms. No adverse effects were observed. Assuming that pretreatment electroencephalographic records contain not more than 11% low-frequency beta (12.5-17.5 Hz) activity, patients who display irritability, insomnia or chronic, intermittent headache pain will respond favorably to the treatment.

Source: Informaworld.com

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Magnet therapy shows promise for severe depression

Posted by Pelgrim on 28th October 2008

Magnet therapy shows promise for severe depression

 
One patient, Ruth Wright, described the treatment, “like a tapping on my skull.”   

March 20, 1998
Web posted at: 2:05 p.m. EDT (1405 GMT)
ATLANTA (CNN) –

An experimental treatment for severe depression, in which powerful magnets are applied to patients’ heads, is showing signs of success, a medical journal reports.

Emory University researchers report in the journal Psychiatric Annals that more than half of the patients treated improved with no serious side effects.

Depression affects 37 million Americans. It is estimated one in four women and one in 10 men suffer from depression.

In the experimental treatment, doctors use a powerful electromagnet to stimulate a specific area of the brain. It seems to work best in the left front portion of the brain, believed to be underactive in people with depression. The treatment lasts only about five minutes.

“The electromagnet induces electric current in the brain and we know that that causes brain cells to fire, to become active, to do things, to kick out brain chemicals which are called neurotransmitters,” said Dr. Charles Epstein of Emory University.

 
ECT is another treatment used on people with severe depression   

While the magnetic therapy is being studied it is only available for people with severe depression, said Dr. William McDonald of Emory University.

“The people that we’ve treated have far and away been very ill people. These are people who have otherwise gotten ECT (electro convulsive therapy),” he said. ECT is a controversial treatment, usually tried as a last resort, in which electric pulses cause a seizure,.

One patient, Ruth Wright tried ECT but suffered memory loss. She also tried anti-depressants, but they didn’t work, so she turned to magnetic therapy. She’s had it for a year and said she’s much improved, even happy.

“Situations which would have thrown me a year ago, I can handle now with some degree of reasonable behavior,” said Wright.

The treatment is experimental and the long-term effects are unknown; researchers say seizures are a possibility. As with other treatments, it is not unusual for patients to relapse once treatment ends. The researchers aren’t sure yet if it will help people with mild depression.

Medical Correspondent Rhonda Rowland contributed to this report.

source: CNN.COM

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Photons proto consciousness? Light and the basis of life…

Posted by Pelgrim on 21st February 2008

In March 1905 , Einstein created the quantum theory of light, the idea that light exists as tiny packets, or particles, which he called photons.

The work of relating the remarkable experiments and the abstract mathematical and theoretical formulations that constitute quantum physics to the experience that all of us share in the world of everyday life fell first to Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg in the course of their collaboration in Copenhagen around 1927. Bohr and Heisenberg had stepped beyond the world of empirical experiments, pragmatic predictions of such phenomena as the frequencies of light emitted under various conditions and the observation that a discrete quantities of energy must be postulated in order to avoid the paradoxes to which classical physics inevitably led when it was pushed to extremes, and found a new world of quanta of energy, entities that fit neither the classical ideas of particles nor the classical ideas of waves, elementary particles that behaved in ways highly regular when many similar interactions were analyzed yet highly unpredictable when one tried to predict things like individual trajectories through a simple physical apparatus.

Not only did laboratory experiments disclose the fact, but the new theories predicted the consequences that elementary particles are neither wave nor particle, that knowing the position of a particle prevents us from knowing its direction and velocity (and vice-versa), that the very fact of detecting whether a small object such as a photon or electron passes through an apparatus by one path or another can change the end result of the experiment when that small entity reaches a detection screen. Wikipedia

The best way of describing is with probability formula as the path integral approach.

Which led to Einstein’s claim, “If it [the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics] is correct, it signifies the end of physics as a science.”

Einstein was displeased with this indeterministic outcome and his attitude is best summed up in his famous phrase, ‘God does not play dice’.

In the paper “Biological Extension of the Action Principle: Endpoint Determination beyond the Quantum Level and the Ultimate Physical Roots of Consciousness” Attila Grandpierre relates this phenomenon to proto-consciousness as the basis for biology. Journal-ref: NeuroQuantology, 2007, Vol. 5, pp. 346-362

excerpts:

Page 6 of paper

For example, Zukav (1980, in the chapter “Living?”, pp. 45-66) argues that “Something is “organic” if it has the ability to process information and to act accordingly. We have little choice but to acknowledge that photons…do appear to process information [in the two-slit experiment] and to act accordingly, and that therefore, strange as it may sound, they seem to be organic” (ibid., pp. 63-64).

Page 11 of paper

The whole universe appears as a gigantic and throbbing thread of inevitably propagating and complexifying chain reaction of interactions, including all the known and yet unknown forms of interactions, elevating the universe to higher and higher levels of organization, creating spontaneously self-active systems of activity. In this way, the principle of interactive perception becomes the basis of the upward organization of the whole universe. We propose that the quantum orientation observed in the two-slit experiment is a direct manifestation of the perceptive interaction of quanta.

Page 14 of paper

By our proposal, these many-body effects are based on quantum orientation, which relay on virtual interactions, and correspond to an elementary form of consciousness. In this way, the above arguments all indicate that consciousness (perhaps a better term would be proto-consciousness) must be present at the most fundamental levels of matter and universal vacuum fields.

Consciousness and quantum orientation

It is a widely acknowledged view in biosemiotics that life and consciousness are coextensive (Hoffmeyer, 1996, 2001). Therefore, we can also formulate the above indicated (proto)biological interpretation of the two-slit experiment in the following way. The elementary quanta of physics are coupled to the vacuum and manifest an elementary or proto-consciousness. The means of proto-communication are the virtual interactions. The presence of the consciousness aspectis one reason to regard these virtual interactions as transcending physics and corresponding to biology. Moreover, these virtual interactions are immediate, representing instantaneous interactions (not necessarily quantum entanglement). This is another reason to regard virtual interactions as proto-communication, as expressions of proto-consciousness.

We found the following properties of proto-consciousness: perceptive interactions, selfreferential activity, quantum orientation, spontaneous timing, spontaneous targeting, and spontaneous upward organization.

Paper by Atilla Grandpierre

 

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Redshift - recessional velocity or?

Posted by Pelgrim on 29th September 2006

What is redshift?
If the lines in the spectrum of the light from a star or galaxy appear at a lower frequency (shifted toward the red) than where they are observed in the spectrum of the Sun, we say this object has “positive redshift”. The accepted explanation for this effect is that the object must be moving away from us. This interpretation is drawn by analogy with the downward shift in the pitch of a train whistle as it passes through a railroad crossing and then speeds away from us. The question is: “Is recessional velocity the only thing that can produce a redshift, as modern astrophysicists presume?” It has become clear that the answer to that question is an emphatic “NO!”

If the wavelength of an absorption line in an object’s observed spectrum appears at a wavelength that is, say, 1.56 times its “normal wavelength” (the wavelength at which it is observed in a laboratory experiment here on Earth), then we say this object has a “positive redshift of z = 0.56″. The “z value” is simply the observed fractional increase in the wavelength of the spectral lines. The accepted interpretation of this is to say that this object must therefore be receding from us at 56% of the speed of light or 0.56 x 300,000 km/sec. Mainstream astrophysicists believe that recessional velocity, v = cz. This object, therefore, must be very far away from Earth.

But a high redshift value does not necessarily mean the object is far away. There is another, more important cause of high redshift values.

Inherent Redshift
Arp believes that the observed redshift value of any object is made up of two components: the inherent component and the velocity component. The velocity component is the only one recognized by mainstream astronomers. The inherent redshift is a property of the matter in the object. It apparently changes over time in discrete steps. He suggests that quasars are typically emitted from their parent galaxies with inherentiredshift values of up to z = 2. They continue to move away, with stepwise decreasing inherent redshift. Often, when the inherent redshift value gets down to around z = 0.3, the quasar starts to look like a small galaxy or BL Lac object and begins to fall back, with still decreasing redshift values, toward its parent. He has photos and diagrams of many such family groupings. Any additional redshift (over and above its inherent value) is indeed indicative of the object’s velocity. But the inherent part is an indication of the object’s youth and usually makes up the larger fraction of a quasar’s total redshift.

http://www.electric-cosmos.org/arp.htm

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Quantum Consiousness by Piero Scaruffi

Posted by Pelgrim on 5th July 2006

An approach to the mind-body problem based on physical laws has been advocated by several thinkers. Quantum Theory has been particularly intriguing for scientists eager to provide a physical explanation of consciousness.

Loosely speaking, the point is that consciousness is unlikely to arise from classical properties of matter (the more we understand the structure and the fabric of the brain, the less we understand how consciousness can occur at all), which are well known and well testable. But Quantum Theory allows for a new concept of matter altogether, which may well leave cracks for consciousness, for something that is not purely material or purely extra-material. Of course, the danger in this way of thinking is to relate consciousness and Quantum only because they are both poorly understood: what they certainly have in common is a degree of “magic” that makes both mysterious and unattainable…

On the other hand, it is certainly true that all current neurobiological descriptions of the brain are based on Newton’s Physics, even if it is well known that Newton’s Physics has its limitations. First of all, Newton’s Physics is an offshoot of Descartes division of the universe in matter and spirit, and it deals only with matter. Secondly, neurobiologists assume that the brain and its parts behave like classical objects, and that quantum effects are negligible, even while the “objects” they are studying get smaller and smaller. What neurobiologists are doing when they study the microstructure of the brain from a Newtonian perspective is equivalent to organizing a trip to the Moon on the basis of Aristotle’s Physics, neglecting Newton’s theory of gravitation.

No wonder most neurobiologists reach the conclusion that Physics cannot explain consciousness, since they are using a Physics that 1. was designed to study matter and leave out consciousness and that 2. does not work in the microworld. Not surprisingly, it has been claimed that all current neurobiological models are computationally equivalent to a Turing machine.

The true pioneer of this field is the biologist Alfred Lotka, who in 1924, when Quantum Theory had barely been born, proposed that the mind controls the brain by modulating the quantum jumps that would otherwise lead to a completely random existence.

The first detailed quantum model of consciousness was probably the American physicist Evan Walker’s synaptic tunneling model (1970), in which electrons can “tunnel” between adjacent neurons, thereby creating a virtual neural network overlapping the real one. It is this virtual nervous system that produces consciousness and that can direct the behavior of the real nervous system. The real nervous system operates by means of synaptic messages. The virtual one operates by means of the quantum effect of tunneling (particles passing through an energy barrier that classically they should not be able to climb). The real one is driven by classical laws, the virtual one by quantum laws. Consciousness is therefore driven by quantum laws, even if the brain’s behavior can be described by classical laws.

A few researchers have invoked another quantum effect, Bose-Einstein condensation (theoretically predicted in 1925 and first achieved in a gas in 1995), which is a general case of superconductivity. A Bose-Einstein condensate is the equivalent of a laser, except that it is the atoms, rather than the photons, that behave identically. Its atoms behave like they were a single atom. Technically speaking, as temperature drops each atom’s wave grows, until the waves of all the atoms begin to overlap and eventually merge. After they merged, the atoms are located within the same region in space, they travel at the same speed, they vibrate at the same frequency, etc.: they become indistinguishable. The atoms have reached the lowest possible energy, but Heisenberg’s principle makes it impossible for this to be zero energy: it is called “zero-point” energy, the minimum energy an atom can have. The intriguing feature of a Bose-Einstein condensate is that the many parts of a system not only behave as a whole, they become whole. Their identities merge in such a way that they lose their individuality.

In 1986 the British physicist Herbert Froehlich suggested that such condensation can be achieved in Nature by biological organisms. In particular, it should arise when biological oscillators which are in a nonequilibrium state (such as all plants and animals) are maintained at constant temperature. Biological oscillators of this kind are pervasive in nature: living matter is made of water and other biomolecules equipped with electrical dipoles, which react to external stimuli with a spontaneous breakdown of their rotational symmetry. The biological usefulness of such biological oscillators is that, like laser light, they can amplify signals and encode information (e.g., they can “remember” an external stimulus).

Pelgrims’s note: We are called children of the stars because of a process called the triple- alpha process. All living known is carbon based. The big bang process also created Hydrogen in a 4/12 ratio. 

In 1989 the British phychiatrist Ian Marshall showed similarities between the holistic properties of condensates and those of consciousness, and suggested that consciousness may arise from the excitation of such a Bose-Einstein condensate. In Marshall’s hypothesis, the brain contains a Froelich-style condensate, and, whenever the condensate is excited by an electrical field, conscious experience occurs. The brain would maintain dynamical coherence thanks to an underlying quantum coherent state (due, precisely, to the properties of such a condensate).

Drawing from Quantum Mechanics and from Bertrand Russell’s idea that consciousness provides a kind of “window” onto the brain, the philosopher Michael Lockwood advanced a theory of consciousness as a process of perception of brain states.

First he noted that Special Relativity implies that mental states must be physical states (mental states must be in space given that they are in time). Then Lockwood interpreted the role of the observer in Quantum Mechanics as the role of consciousness in the physical world (as opposed to a simple interference with the system being observed). Lockwood argued that sensations must be intrinsic attributes of physical states of the brain: in quantum lingo, each observable attribute (e.g., each sensation) corresponds to an observable of the brain. Consciousness scans the brain to look for sensations. It does not create them, it just seeks them.

In 1986 John Eccles, the British neurophysiologist who discovered neurotransmitters, has speculated that synapses in the cortex respond in a probabilistic manner to neural excitation, a probability that could well be governed by quantum uncertainty given the extremely small size of the synapsis’”microsite” that emits the neurotransmitter. If this is true, Eccles speculates that an immaterial mind (in the form of “psychons”) controls the quantum “jumps” and turns them into voluntary excitations of the neurons that account for body motion.

Conscious matter

The American physicist Nick Herbert has been even more specific on the similarities between Quantum Theory and consciousness. Herbert thinks that consciousness is a pervasive process in nature. Mind is as fundamental a component of the universe as elementary particles and forces. Mind can be detected by three features of quantum theory: randomness, thinglessness (objects acquire attributes only once they are observed) and interconnectedness (John Bell’s discovery that once two particles have interacted they remain connected). Herbert thinks that these three features of inert matter can account for three basic features of mind: free will, essential ambiguity, and deep psychic connectedness. Scientists may be vastly underestimating the quantity of consciousness in the universe.

The computer scientist James Culbertson, a pioneer of research on robots, has even speculated that consciousness may be a relativistic feature of spacetime. In his opinion, too, consciousness permeates all of nature, so that every object has a degree of consciousness.

According to Relativity, our lives are world lines in spacetime. Spacetime does not happen, it always exists. It is our brain that shows us a movie of matter evolving in time.

All spacetime events are conscious: they are conscious of other spacetime events. The “experience” of a spacetime event is static, a frozen region of spacetime events. All the subjective features of the “psychospace” of an observer can be completely derived from the objective features of the region of spacetime that the observer is connected to. Special circuits in our brain create the impression of a time flow, of a time travel through the region of spacetime events connected to the brain.

Memory of an event is re-experiencing that spacetime event, which is fixed in spacetime. We don’t store an event, we only keep a link to it. Conscious memory is not in the brain, is in spacetime.

The inner life of a system is its spacetime history. To clarify his view, Culbertson presents the case of two robots. First a robot is built and learns German, then another robot is built which is identical to the first one. Culbertson claims that the second robot does not speak German, even if it is identical to the one which speaks German. Their spacetime histories are different. At the same time, Culbertson thinks that our consciousness is much more than an illusory travel through spacetime, and it can, in turn, influence reality. Quantum Thoery prescribes that reality be a sequence of random quantum jumps. Culbertson believes that they are not random but depend on the system’s spacetime history, i.e. on its inner life.

Tripartite Idealism

The American physicist Henry Stapp holds that classical Physics cannot explain consciousness because it cannot explain how the whole can be more than the parts. In Quantum Mechanics, on the other hand, the relationship between the parts and the whole is completely different. Stapp therefore advances a “quantum theory of consciousness” and bases it on Heisenberg’s interpretation of Quantum Mechanics (that reality is a sequence of collapses of wave functions, i.e. of quantum discontinuities). He observes that this view is similar to William James’s view of the mental life as “experienced sense objects”. His view harks back to the heydays of Quantum Theory, when it was clear to its founders that “science is what we know”. Science specifies rules that connect bits of knowledge. Each of us is a “knower” and our joint knowledge of the universe is the subject of Science. Quantum Theory is therefore a “knowledge-based” discipline. This view was “pragmatic” because it prescribes how to make experiments, and it was separating the system to be observed from the observer and from the instrument. Von Neumann introduced an “ontological” approach to this knowledge-based discipline, which brought the observer and the instrument in the state of the system. Stapp describes Von Neumann’s view of Quantum Theory through a simple definition: “the state of the universe is an objective compendium of subjective knowings”. This statement describes the fact that the state of the universe is represented by a wave function which is a compendium of all the wave functions that each of us can cause to collapse with her or his observations. That is why it is a collection of subjective acts, although an objective one. Stapp follows the logical consequences of this approach and achieves a new form of idealism: all that exists is that subjective knowledge, therefore the universe is now about matter, it is about subjective experience. Quantum Theory does not talk about matter, it talks about our perceiving matter. Stapp rediscovers George Berkeley’s idealism: we only know our perceptions (observations). Stapp’s model of consciousness is tripartite. Reality is a sequence of discrete events in the brain. Each event is an increase of knowledge. That knowledge comes from observing “systems”. Each event is driven by three processes that operate together:

The “Schroedinger process” is a mechanical, deterministic, process that predicts the state of the system (in a fashion similar to Newton’s Physics: given its state at a given time, we can use equations to calculate its state at a different time). The only difference is that Schroedinger’s equations describe the state of a system as a set of possibilities, rather than just one certainty.
The “Heisenberg process” is a conscious choice that we make: the formalism of Quantum Theory implies that we can know something only when we ask Nature a question. This implies, in turn, that we have a degree of control over Nature. Depending on which question we ask, we can affect the state of the universe. Stapp mentions the Quantum Zeno effect, as a well known process in which we can alter the course of the universe by asking questions (it is the phenomenon by which a system is “freezed” if we keep observing the same observable very rapidly). We have to make a conscious decision about which question to ask Nature (which observable to observe).Otherwise nothing is going to happen.
The “Dirac process” gives the answer to our question. Nature replies, and, as far as we can tell, the answer is totally random. Once Nature has replied, we have learned something: we have increased our knowledge. This is a change in the state of the universe, which directly corresponds to a change in the state of our brain. Technically, there occurs a reduction of the wave function compatible with the fact that has been learned.
Stapp’s interpretation of Quantum Theory is that there are many knowers. Each knower’s act of knowledge (each individual increment of knowledge) results in a new state of the universe. One person’s increment of knowledge changes the state of the entire universe, and, of course, it changes it for everybody else. Quantum Theory is not about the behavior of matter, but about our knowledge of such behavior. “Thinking” is a sequence of events of knowing, driven by those three processes. Instead of dualism or materialism, one is faced with a sort of interactive “triality”, all aspects of which are actually mind-like: The physical aspect of Nature (the Schroedinger equation) is a compendium of subjective knowledge. The conscious act of asking a question is what drives the actual transition from one state to another, i.e. the evolution of the universe. And then there is a choice from the outside, the reply of Nature, which, as far as we can tell, is random. Stapp’s conclusions somehow mirror the ideas of the American psychiatrist Jeffrey Schwarz, who is opposed to the mechanistic approach of Psychiatry and emphasizes the power of consciousness to control the brain. Stapp revives idealism by showing that Quantum Theory is about knowledge, not matter. The universe is a repository of knowledge, that we have access to and upon which our consciousness has control.

Holonomic Consciousness

The “holonomic” model of memory, advanced by psychologist Karl Pribram, is based on the hologram. Many properties of the brain are the same properties that are commonly associated with holograms: memory is distributed in the brain and memories do not disappear all of a sudden, but slowly fade away. Holograms are the product of a physical process that preserves the three-dimensional quality of an object. Normally, lasers are employed to record the diffraction pattern of an object, from which a 3-dimensional image of the object can be rebuilt. In Pribram’s opinion a sensory perception is transformed in a “brain wave”, a pattern of electromagnetical activation that propagates through the brain just like the wavefront in a liquid. This crossing of the brain provides the interpretation of the sensory perception in the form of a “memory wave”, which in turn crosses the brain. The various waves that travel through the brain can interfere. The interference of a memory wave and a perceptual (e.g., visual) wave generates a structure that resembles an hologram. Pribram employs Fourier transformations to deal with the dualism between spacetime and spectrum, and Gabor’s phase space to embed spacetime and spectrum. All perceptions (and not only colors or sounds) can be analyzed into their component frequencies of oscillation and therefore treated by Fourier analysis. Dirac’s “least action principle” (which favors the least expenditure of energy) constrains trajectories in such a space. Gabor’s uncertainty principle sets a limit at which both frequency and spacetime can be concurrently determined (the fundamental minimum is Gabor’s “quantum of information”). Structure and process are two aspects of the same entity, distinguished only by the scale of observation (from a distance an entity looks like a structure, but close enough it is a process). In Pribram’s theory, therefore, the formalism of Quantum Theory applies to the modeling of brain functions themselves (brain microprocesses and physical microprocesses can be described by the same formalism). Incidentally, Pribram suggested that consciousness may occur primarily in dendritic-dendritic processing and that axonal firings may support primarily automatic, non-conscious activities.Quantum brain dynamics

Quantum-gravitational Consciousness

One of the strongest proponents of a theory of consciousness founded on Quantum Theory is Roger Penrose in person, one of the leading British physicists of our times. In his opinion, consciousness must be a quantum phenomenon because neurons are too big to account for consciousness. Inside neurons there is a “cytoskeleton”, the structure that holds cells together, whose “microtubules” (hollow protein cylinders 25-nanometers in diameter) control the function of synapses. Penrose believes that consciousness is a manifestation of the quantum cytoskeletal state and its interplay between quantum and classical levels of activity. The theory exposed by Penrose and his close American associate Stuart Hameroff is very detailed. The story begins with Penrose’s distinction between “subjective” and “objective” reduction. Subjective reduction is what happens when an observer measures a quantity in a quantum system: the system is not in any specific state (the system is in a “superposition” of possible states) until it is observed, the observation causes the system to reduce (or “collapse”) to a specific state. This is the only reduction known to traditional Quantum Theory. Objective reduction is a Penrose discovery, part of his attempt at unifying Relativity Theory and Quantum Theory. Superpositioned states each have their own space-time geometry. Under special circumstances, which microtubules are suitable for, the separation of space-time geometry of the superpositioned states (i.e., the “warping” of these space-times) reaches a point (the quantum gravity threshold) where the system must choose one state. The system must then spontaneously and abruptly collapse to that one state. So, objective reduction is a type of collapse of the wave function which occurs when the universe must choose between significantly differing spacetime geometries. This “self-collapse” results in particular “conformational states” that regulate neural processes. These conformational states can interact with neighboring states to represent, propagate and process information. Each self-collapse corresponds to a discrete conscious event. Sequences of events then give rise to a “stream” of consciousness. The proteins somehow “tune” the objective reduction which is thus self-organized, or “orchestrated”. In concluding, the quantum phenomenon of objective reduction controls the operation of the brain through its effects on coherent flows inside microtubules of the cytoskeleton. In general, the collapse of the wave function is what gives the laws of nature a non-algorithmic element. Otherwise we would simply be machines and we would have no consciousness. Therefore, Penrose and Hameroff believe that “protoconscious” information is encoded in space-time geometry at the fundamental Planck scale and that a self-organizing Planck-scale process results in consciousness. This means that Penrose believes in a Platonic scenario of conscious states that exist in a world of their own, and to which our minds have access; except that his “world of ideas” is a physicist’s world: quantum spin networks encode proto-conscious states and different configurations of quantum spin geometry represent varieties of conscious experience. Access to these states (or consciousness as we know it) originates when a self-organizing process (the objective reduction) somehow coupled with neural activity collapses quantum wave functions at Planck-scale geometry. There is a separate mental world, but it is grounded in the physical world.

A Physics of Consciousness

Now that legions of physicists are delving into the topic, physical models of consciousness abound. One has to do with other dimensions. The unification theories that attempt at unifying General Relativity (i.e. gravitation) and Quantum Theory (i.e., the weak, electrical and strong forces) typically add new dimensions to the four ones we experience. These dimensions differ from space in that they are bound (actually, rolled up in tiny tubes) and in that they only exist for changes to occur in particle properties. Saul-Paul Sirag’s hyperspace, for example, contains many physical dimensions and many mental dimensions (time is one of the dimensions they have in common). The physicist Erich Harth is trying to explain consciousness by means of a process that relies on “positive” feedback. Feedback can be negative or positive. Negative feedback is the familiar one, which has to do with stabilizing a process, in particular its input with its output. Positive feedback works in the opposite direction, at the edge of instability: the signal is amplified by itself, weakening the relationship between input and output. Harth thinks that a loop of positive feedback spreads through different areas of the brain and provides “selective amplification. If that be the case, then unification of consciousness would occur at the bottom of the sensory pyramid, not at the top. The American physicist Alwyn Scott applies Eigen’s model of “hypercycles” to consciousness. He makes consciousness stem from a procedure which is analogous to the one that generates life: simple cells originate complex cells which originate hypercomplex cells.

A critique of Neuroscience

All contemporary Neuroscience is based on classical Physics. No surprise that it derives a view of the brain as a set of mechanical laws: that is the “only” view that classical Physics can derive. No surprise that it cannot explain how consciousness arises, since there is no consciousness in classical Physics: it was erased from the study of matter by Descartes’ dualism (that mind and matter are separate), on which foundations Newton erected classical Physics (the science of matter, which does not deal with mind). By definition, Descartes’ dualism predicts that mind cannot be explain from matter, and Newton’s Physics is an expression of dualism. Which means that dualism predicts that Newton’s Physics cannot explain mind. Neuroscientists who are looking for consciousness miss that simple syllogism: they are looking for consciousness using a tool that is labeled “this tool does not deal with consciousness”. Contemporary Neuroscience rests on the idea that a physical system is made of independent parts which interact only with their immediate neighbords and whose behavior over time is deterministic. This is the principle behind all computational models of the brain. Within this paradigm, a mind is the product of a brain, which is one particular system of the many that populate the universe. This is a very interesting paradigm, but it is not what Physics prescribes today. It is what Physics prescribed a century ago, before it was showed to be wrong.

The New Materialism

A contemporary American philosopher of the mind, David Chalmers, argues that consciousness cannot be explained with a reductionist approach, because it does not belong to the realm of matter. Chalmers proposes to expand Science in a fashion that is still compatible with today’s Science (in the areas where it is successful) and that allows for a dualist approach. Chalmers distinguishes between a phenomenal concept of mind (the way it feels) and a psychological concept of mind (what it does). Every mental property is either a phenomenal property, a psychological one or a combination of the two. The mind-body problem is therefore made of two parts, one that deals with the mental faculties and one that deals with how/why those mental faculties also give rise to awareness of them (Jackendoff’s “mind-mind problem”). Pain, for example, is both a material entity that can be analyzed functionally, in terms of its effect on behavior, and the feeling of pain. The same distinction applies to consciousness, with psychological consciousness being commonly referred to as “awareness”; but phenomenal consciousness always comes with psychological consciousness. Awareness is having access to information that may affect behavior. Chalmers’ brand of monism admits both physical and non-physical features in the world. His dualism is different from Descartes’ in that it claims that “consciousness is a feature of the world” which is somehow related to its physical properties. A new, fundamental, irreducible feature (a set of “protophenomenal” properties) must be added to space-time, mass, charge, spin, etc., and a set of “psychophysical” laws (explaining how phenomenal properties depend on physical properties) must be added to the laws of nature. Chalmers outlines a few candidate psychophysical laws, such as the principle of coherence between consciousness and cognition and the principle of organizational invariance. The former states a tight relationship between the structure of consciousness and functional organization. The latter states that every system organized in the appropriate way will experience the same conscious states, regardless of what substance it is made of, i.e., consciousness is “organizationally invariant”. From these principles, it follows that consciousness is due to the functional organization of the brain. It also follows that anything having the proper functional organization can have consciousness, regardless of the material it is made of. Still looking for fundamental laws of consciousness, Charmers offers an interpretation of his theory based on the dualism between information and pattern: information is what pattern is from the inside. Consciousness is information about the pattern of the self. Information becomes therefore the link between the physical and the conscious. Ultimately, everything in the universe may be conscious, at least to some degree.

A Darwinist Theory of Consciousness

If we assume that a similar law of evolution is responsible for all living phenomena, from the creation of species to the immune system, and we admit that mind is one of them, then a possible scenario emerges, which is compatible with the latest neurophysiological findings. Thoughts are continuously and randomly generated, just like the immune system generates antibodies all the time without really knowing which ones will be useful. Thoughts survive for a while, giving rise to minds that compete for control of the brain. At each time, one mind prevails because it can better cope with the situation. Which mind prevails has an influence on which thoughts will be generated in the future. In practice, a mind is the mental equivalent of a phylogenetic thread (of a branch of the tree of life). We are conscious, by definition, only of the mind that is prevailing. In ancient times the minds generared chaotically were simply shouted to the “rational” apparatus of the brain, which would act as the mediator with the environment: it would translate “hallucinations” into actions. and the result of actions into emotions, and emotions would either reinforce or weaken the mind in control. Emotions would select the mind. This is more evident in children, which explore many unrelated thoughts in a few minutes: whatever the various minds produce. Later, the adult is better adjusted to select “minds” and does not need to try them all out. The adult has been “biased” by natural selection to recognize the “best” minds. The 40 Hz radiation may simply be a way of scanning all available thoughts and of reporting emotions back to all minds (in other words, of reading the outputs of the minds, in the form of thoughts, and of feeding them new inputs, in the form of emotions).

A Materialistic Theory of Consciousness

“what” is consciousness? What substance is it made of?

Many attempts have been made at explaining consciousness by reducing it to something else. To no avail. There is no way that our sensations can be explained in terms of particles. So, how does consciousness arise in matter? Maybe it doesn’t arise, it is always there. I am conviced that, no matter how detailed an account is provided of the neural processes that led to an action (say, a smile), that account will never explain where the feeling associated to that action (say, happiness) came from. No theory of the brain can explain why and how consciousness happens, if it assumes that consciousness is somehow created by some neural entity which is completely different in structure, function and behavior from our feelings. From a logical standpoint, the only way out of this dead-end is to accept that consciousness must be a physical property. When we try to explain consciousness by reducing it to electrochemical processes, we put ourselves in a situation similar to a scientist who decided to explain electrical phenomena by using gravity. Electrical phenomena can be explained only if we assume that electricity comes from a fundamental property of matter (i.e. from a property that is present in all matter starting from the most fundamental constituents) and that, under special circumstances, enables a particular configuration of matter to exhibit “electricity”. Similarly, if consciousness comes from a fundamental property of matter (from a property that is present in all matter starting from the most fundamental constituents), then, and only then, we can study why and how, under special circumstances, that property enables a particular configuration of matter (e.g., the brain) to exhibit “consciousness”. Any paradigm that tries to manufacture consciousness out of something else is doomed to failure. Things don’t just happen. Ex nihilo nihil fit. Consciousness doesn’t come simply from the act of putting neurons together. It doesn’t appear like magic. Conductivity seems to appear by magic in some configurations of matter (e.g. metallic objects), but there’s no magic: just a fundamental property of matter, the electrical charge, which is present in every single particle of this universe, a property which is mostly useless but that under the proper circumstances yields the phenomenon known as conductivity. Particles are not conductors by themselves, just like they are not conscious, and most things made of particles (wood, plastic, glass, etc. etc.) are not conductors (and maybe have no consciousness), but each single particle in the universe has an electrical charge and each single particle in the universe has a property, say, C. That property C is the one that allows our brain to be conscious. I am not claiming that each single particle is conscious or that each single piece of matter in the universe is conscious. I am only arguing that each single particle has this property C which, under the special circumstances of our brain configuration (and maybe other brain configurations as well and maybe even things with no brain) yields consciousness. Just like electricity and gravitation are macroscopic properties that are caused by microscopic properties of the constituents, so consciousness may be a macroscopic property of our brain that is caused by a microscopic property of its constituents. Just like electrical phenomena can only be reduced to smaller-scale electrical phenomena (all the way to the charge of each single constituent), so consciousness can only be reduced to smaller-scale conscious phenomena. Any theory that tries to manufacture consciousness from other properties of matter is doomed. Even Penrose’s, because he too makes consciousness appear by magic out of unconscious matter (molecules that are unconscious suddenly acquire consciousness when organized in a cytoskeleton).

My theory is not dualistic and is not materialistic. Like dualists, I admit the existence of consciousness as separate from the physical properties of matter as we know them; but at the same time, like materialists, I consider consciousness as arising from a physical property (that we have not discovered yet) that behaves in a fundamentally different way from the other physical properties. So in a sense it is not a “physical” property, but it is still a property of all matter. Mine is an identity theory, in that I think that mental correspond to neural states, but it goes beyond identity because I also think that the property yielding consciousness is common to all matter, whether it performs neural activity or not. What made Descartes believe in dualism is the unity of consciousness. But electrical conductors also exhibit a unity of electricity, and still electrical phenomena can be reduced to a physical property of matter The main problem is the lack of an empirical test for consciousness. We cannot know whether a being is conscious or not. We cannot “measure” its consciousness. We cannot rule out that every object in the universe, including each elementary particle, has consciousness: we just cannot detect it. Even when I accept that other human beings are conscious a) I base my assumption on similarity of behavior, not on an actual “observation” of their consciousness; and b) I somehow sense that some people (poets and philosophers, for example) may be more conscious than other people (lawyers and doctors, for example). The trouble is that our mind is capable only of observing conscious phenomena at its own level and within itself. Our mind is capable of observing only one conscious phenomenon: itself. A good way to start is to analyze why consciousness is limited to the brain. Why does consciousness apply only to the brain? What is special about the brain that cannot be found anywhere else? If the brain is made of common matter, of well-known constituents, what is it that turns that matter conscious when it is configured as a brain, but not when it is configured as a foot? And why does it stop being conscious if oxygen or blood are not supplied?

Further Reading

Chalmers David: THE CONSCIOUS MIND (Oxford University Press, 1996)
Culbertson James: THE MINDS OF ROBOTS (University of Illinois Press, 1963)
Culbertson James: SENSATIONS MEMORIES AND THE FLOW OF TIME (Cromwell Press, 1976)
Eccles John: EVOLUTION OF THE BRAIN (Routledge, 1989)
Eccles John: THE SELF AND ITS BRAIN (Springer, 1994)
Globus Gordon: THE POSTMODERN BRAIN (John Benjamins, 1995)
Herbert Nick: ELEMENTAL MIND (Dutton, 1993)
Lockwood Michael: MIND, BRAIN AND THE QUANTUM (Basil Blackwell, 1989)
Marshall I.N., Zohar Danah: QUANTUM SELF : HUMAN NATURE AND CONSCIOUSNESS DEFINED BY THE NEW PHYSICS
Penrose Roger: THE EMPEROR’S NEW MIND (Oxford Univ Press, 1989)
Penrose Roger: SHADOWS OF THE MIND (Oxford University Press, 1994)
Pribram Karl: LANGUAGES OF THE BRAIN (Prentice Hall, 1971)
Pribram Karl: BRAIN AND PERCEPTION (Lawrence Erlbaum, 1990)
Searle John: THE REDISCOVERY OF THE MIND (MIT Press, 1992)
Stapp Henry: MIND, MATTER AND QUANTUM MECHANICS (Springer-Verlag, 1993)
Yasue Kunio & Jibu Mari: QUANTUM BRAIN DYNAMICS AND CONSCIOUSNESS (John Benjamins, 1995)

http://www.thymos.com/science/qc.html

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Quantized redshift discovery by Tifft

Posted by Pelgrim on 5th July 2006

Dr. William J. Tifft of the University of Arizona is one of many astronomers who have continued Hubble’s work by performing increasingly precise red-shift measurements. Tifft’s technique has been to focus attention on stars in the arms of many spiral galaxies and to measure the observed red shift of each. Since such galaxies should be randomly distributed in the universe, one would expect the red shifts to also be random and to form a smooth distribution. Instead, in 1978 Tifft found that the red-shifts were grouped into clusters of similar values, and that the clusters were regularly spaced with a separation equivalent to velocity shifts of 72 kilometers per second. Such a “quantized” red-shift is completely unexpected and cannot be readily explained. Therefore, it is not surprising that Tifft’s first reports of this phenomenon were met with great skepticism on the astrophysics community. Some skeptics noted that Tifft’s quantization velocity is not much different from 60 kilometers per second, the semi-annual variation in the Earth’s orbital velocity vector in its orbit around the Sun, and suggested that this velocity variation had produced the effect.

Tifft’s results were so controversial that several groups of astronomers set out to prove that they were wrong by gathering data on red shifts more broadly and from a wider variety of galaxy types. To the surprise of the would-be disprovers, they found evidence for the same red-shift quantization that Tifft had reported. For example, a group of astronomers associated with the Royal Observatory at Edinburgh, Scotland, examined 89 spiral galaxies picked at random and found a periodic bunching of red shifts in their data that was similar to the 72 km/s intervals found by Tifft. The data they used came from many different observatories and many different telescopes, and it is therefore unlikely that some instrumental effects or systematic errors produce the observed red-shift quantization. The quantized red-shift phenomenon is not exclusively a property of the visible light spectrum of stars. Recent results from precision radio-telescope observations of spiral galaxies also appear to support Tifft’s results. The quantized red-shift phenomenon won’t go away. Astronomers are coming to accept it as a real phenomenon.

Are there theories that can explain the effect? Not really. Gravitational attraction is known to bunch galaxies into clusters of galaxies with similar red-shifts, but such bunches should be randomly distributed, not regularly spaced. Tifft’s Arizona colleague W. John Cocke attempted to place the quantized red-shift effect in a theoretical ad hoc “quantum” framework by hypothesizing a “red shift” operator constructed to produce discrete recession velocities as eigenvalues of a wave equation. Cocke’s approach, however, did not yield velocities spaced a even intervals. Instead, the squares of the velocities were equally spaced in the model. In later theoretical work, Nieto at Los Alamos devised a mathematical technique for producing evenly spaced velocities. However there is no physical justification for such a wave equation or red shift operator, nor is there any explanation of underlying mechanisms behind the suggested mathematics.

http://mist.npl.washington.edu/AV/altvw68.html

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Electro magnetic fields, matter and its source

Posted by Pelgrim on 5th July 2006

Plasma is electric current flow in space without the mechanical limitations of physical circuitry.
Electro magnetic fields
Maxwell studied the parameters of electrical and magnetic fields and gave us the famous four Maxwell equations which have been used since in all electromagnetic field equations.

But Maxwell also included a tiny term in his original equations which he incorporated in order to make the equations consistent. The term was tiny, but the mathematics involved 20 quaternions to solve. Maxwell called this tiny current displacement currents, and they were to connect the Ether to the fields. But the Ether did not survive, and with it, Maxwell’s tiny displacement current was simplified out.

Thomas Kuhn, using Maxwell as an example on his explanation of scientific revolutions, wonders, “…perhaps we shall someday know what these displacement currents are.”

Maxwell’s displacement is that tiny current which connects the electric<>magnetic fields to their source.

There is a source. All matter is but electron fields interacting together. Fields are moving and moving is energy. Energy does not come from nowhere and what goes out must come in. This much is known. All matter-fields are sustained through the Maxwell displacement currents by a non-local plenum of high energy potential known by many different names. This much is to be learned.

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Halton Arp’s redshift discoveries

Posted by Pelgrim on 5th July 2006

galaxy.jpgArp discovered, from photographs and spectra with the big telescopes, that many pairs of quasars (”quasi-stellar objects”) which have extremely high redshift z values (and are therefore thought to be receding from us very rapidly - and thus must be located at a great distance from us) are physically connected to galaxies that have low redshift and are known to be relatively close by. Because of Arp’s observations, the assumption that high red shift objects have to be very far away - on which the “Big Bang” theory and all of “accepted cosmology” is based - has to be fundamentally reexamined.!

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