Oct 282013

The Basics of Quantum Physics

It may seem that Essential Oils and Quantum Physics made strange bedfellows; but when you look closely into the intricacies of essential oils, everything will make perfect sense. Many people assume that an oil with a pleasant fragrance would involve the laws of chemistry and stop there.  Essential oils employ both the laws of chemistry and the laws of modern physics.

How does the science of physics fit into all this?  Scientifically speaking, there are two fundamental forms of physics. First, there is “Classical physics” and then there is “Quantum physics.”  In talking about essential oils, both forms of science are necessary to describe the ways in which essential oils work.

Let’s take a look at Classical physics first.  The principal laws of this form of science were first made known by Sir Isaac Newton (1642–1727).  In Classical physics, one can work with things large enough to measure with the five senses. It is by using the principles of Classical physics that engineers can build bridges across rivers, design cars to ride in, and send rockets into space.  If something has the dimensions the size of an atom or larger, than Classical physics deals with it.

The idea of Quantum physics came about at the end of the 19th century.  The principles of quantum physics were set forth by men such as Max Planck (1858–1947), Erwin Schroedinger (1887-1961), and Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976). This form of science deals with matter too small to experience or measure using the five senses. Things such as electric eyes, solar panels, and spectrometers can be explained using the laws of quantum physics. If it’s smaller than an atom, Quantum physics is your go-to science.  This means that quantum physics deals with the behavior of things with such as electrons, protons, neutrons, and other subatomic particles.

The difference between the two forms of physics is that in the study of classic physics, the experimenter is an observer.  In the study of quantum physics, the experimenter is an integral part of the experiment itself.

This was determined long ago, and solidified by a series of experiments performed during the 1980s.  These experiments were performed by scientists working independently in Germany and the United States.  The purpose of the experiments was to explore the relationship between the observed and the observer.  They were called “Double Slit, Delayed Choice” experiments.

In these experiments, light was released from a common source and aimed through a pair of vertical slits.  As the light travelled towards the point where it was to be recorded, the observers could make a decision as to whether the light would show up as a wave or as a series of particles.  Observers made their decision while the light was in transit from one point to the other.  What occurred was that whatever the observers chose, the light would do.  If they chose that the light would manifest as a continuous wave, this is what recorded on the photographic place.  If they chose that the light would manifest in particles, this is how it recorded.

The results of these experiments brought the question “What is light beam in flight on its way to being observed; a wave or a stream of particles?” The conclusion was that a light beam in transit is neither; it simply does not exist as light until observed.  Light in transit is nothing more than a possibility.  What this possibility manifests as is dependent upon the observer; thus reinforcing the law of quantum physics that the experimenter must be a part of the experiment.