# The Naked Scientists Forum

### Author Topic: Why is nature quantitized?  (Read 1550 times)

#### puppypower

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##### Why is nature quantitized?
« on: 01/10/2015 13:05:14 »
We know we live in a quantum universe, where matter and energy are expressed via distinct states called quanta. The question is why quanta in the first place?

The way I would answer this question is by first comparing a continuous universe to a quantum universe. A continuous universe would have an infinite number of states, even between any two quantum states. That means that a quantum universe simplifies the universe, relative to a continuous universe, due to fewer states.

This also means a quantum universe makes the universe more deterministic compared to a continuous universe. If we assume both are random, the quantum universe will load the dice, compared to a continuous universe, so only certain sides can ever come up. The hydrogen atom spectrum dice only has seven sides and not infinite sides. The dice are loaded compared to a continuous universe.

If you look in terms of creation, via random interactions, a quantum universe saves time, since a six sided dice will repeat itself much sooner than an infinite sided dice. In other words, if A has to happen before B can happen, and all we have is a random path toward A, A will appear much sooner in a quantum universe due to fewer options. In a continuous universe, infinite possible events or throws of the dice, might need to appear before A appears, thereby slowing down creation; wastes time.

A quantum universe allows more potential in time, for any stage of the universe, since it speeds up the process by lowering the number of options, thereby making the universe more deterministic, compared to a continuous style of universe.

As an analogy, say you are taking two different tests. In the first test, for each question there are 20 possible choices for an answer. In the second test there is only 2 answer choice per question. You can answer more questions for any given time with option two. You will finish quicker and/or have more time left over. This allows you to take test three, much sooner.

« Last Edit: 01/10/2015 13:07:45 by puppypower »

#### Atomic-S

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##### Re: Why is nature quantitized?
« Reply #1 on: 02/10/2015 06:08:52 »
Science is not able to answer this question.

#### PmbPhy

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##### Re: Why is nature quantitized?
« Reply #2 on: 02/10/2015 08:19:26 »
Quote from: puppypower
We know we live in a quantum universe, where matter and energy are expressed via distinct states called quanta.
That's a common misconception. I'll use electrons as an example. When an electron's energy level is low enough to be bound to an atom its energy will be quantized. If a photon of sufficient energy is absorbed by an atom an electron will be ejected from the atom. The energy of the electron will be the energy of the photon minus the energy the electron had before it was ejected. This must be a positive quantity in order for the electron to be emitted. The electron is now a free particle. It's energy is now no longer quantized. There are only certain conditions under which the electrons in material can be quantized. They aren't always quantized.
Quote from: puppypower
The question is why quanta in the first place?
I wish I knew what Planck and Einstein had on their minds to come up with the ideas but I don't. They're simply postulates. Planck quantized the energy of the harmonic oscillator's that make up the walls of a black body so that he could get the spectrum of a black body would match what was predicted by using that postulate. Einstein similarly postulated that light was quantized into "quanta" of EM energy so that he could explain the photoelectric effect.

#### jeffreyH

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##### Re: Why is nature quantitized?
« Reply #3 on: 02/10/2015 13:31:27 »
Quote from: puppypower
We know we live in a quantum universe, where matter and energy are expressed via distinct states called quanta.
That's a common misconception. I'll use electrons as an example. When an electron's energy level is low enough to be bound to an atom its energy will be quantized. If a photon of sufficient energy is absorbed by an atom an electron will be ejected from the atom. The energy of the electron will be the energy of the photon minus the energy the electron had before it was ejected. This must be a positive quantity in order for the electron to be emitted. The electron is now a free particle. It's energy is now no longer quantized. There are only certain conditions under which the electrons in material can be quantized. They aren't always quantized.
Quote from: puppypower

Thanks for that.

Quote
The question is why quanta in the first place?
I wish I knew what Planck and Einstein had on their minds to come up with the ideas but I don't. They're simply postulates. Planck quantized the energy of the harmonic oscillator's that make up the walls of a black body so that he could get the spectrum of a black body would match what was predicted by using that postulate. Einstein similarly postulated that light was quantized into "quanta" of EM energy so that he could explain the photoelectric effect.

#### evan_au

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##### Re: Why is nature quantitized?
« Reply #4 on: 02/10/2015 23:03:54 »
Quote from: puppypower
The question is why quanta in the first place?
This is not a new question.

Democritus (around 400BC) had no evidence for atoms, but he reasoned that there must be a smallest unit of matter, from which all matter is constructed. He called it "the atom" (in Greek).

Zeno (around 450BC) had no evidence for quantization of either time or space, but some of his paradoxes assume that both are quantized. This idea is not totally obsolete, because the construction of the Planck units imply that both time and space might be quantized, but on scales that are far too small for us to probe with our current techniques.

String Theory assumes that space is quantized, and "rolled up" on very tiny scales (much smaller than a proton). The world we see around us (with light, protons and electrons) is then oscillations of "strings" on these very tiny scales. But again, these scales are so small that we can't probe them as yet. (Some physicists still hold out a hope that if the LHC manages to produce a micro black hole, that will be some evidence for this theory...).

#### lightarrow

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##### Re: Why is nature quantitized?
« Reply #5 on: 03/10/2015 08:39:27 »
That means that a quantum universe simplifies the universe, relative to a continuous universe, due to fewer states.
What about quantum operators with continuous spectrum?

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lightarrow

#### The Naked Scientists Forum

##### Re: Why is nature quantitized?
« Reply #5 on: 03/10/2015 08:39:27 »