No One understands what consciousness is and how it works. No one understands and . Could this be more than just a coincidence? "I can't identify the real problem, therefore I suspect that the real problem there, but I'm not sure that there is no real problem". American physicist Richard Feynman said this about the mysterious paradoxes of quantum mechanics. Today, the theory physicists use to describe the smallest objects in the Universe. But just as he could say about the knotty problem of consciousness.
Some scientists think we understand consciousness or what is just an illusion. But many others think that we are generally not even close to getting to the essence of consciousness.
Long puzzle called "consciousness" has even led to what some scientists have tried to explain it with quantum physics. But their zeal was met with considerable skepticism, and this is not surprising: it seems unreasonable to explain one mystery with another.
But these ideas have never and absurd .
On the one hand, to the great displeasure of physicists, at first the mind refuses to comprehend early quantum theory. Moreover, quantum computers are projected to be capable of such things, what is not capable. It reminds us that our brain is still capable of feats that are unavailable for artificial intelligence. "Quantum consciousness" is widely ridiculed as mystical nonsense, but no one was able to dispel.
Quantum mechanics is the best theory we have to describe the world at the level of atoms and subatomic particles. Perhaps the most famous of her riddles is the fact that the result of a quantum experiment can vary depending on, we decide to measure the properties of the participating particles or not.
When the pioneers of quantum theory first discovered this "the observer effect", they worried. He seemed to undermine the assumption that underlies all science: that somewhere there exists an objective world independent of us. If the world really behaves, regardless of how — or if — we look at it, that would mean "reality" really is?
Some scientists were forced to conclude that objectivity is an illusion, and that consciousness must play an active role in the quantum theory. Others just do not see any common sense. For example, albert Einstein was annoyed: does the Moon exist only when you look at her?
Today some physicists suspect that it is not that consciousness affects quantum mechanics... and that it all came with it. They believe that quantum theory may require us to generally understand how the brain works. Could it be that a quantum object can be in two places at the same time, and the quantum brain can simultaneously keep in mind two mutually exclusive things?
These ideas are controversial. It may be that quantum physics has nothing to do with the consciousness. But at least they demonstrate that weird quantum theory forces us to think about weird things.
Best of all quantum mechanics breaks in human consciousness through the double slit experiment. Imagine a beam of light that falls on the screen with two closely spaced parallel slits. Part of the light passes through the slit and falls on another screen.
It is Possible to imagine light as a wave. When the waves pass through two slits in the experiment, they face — interfere — with each other. If their peaks coincide, they reinforce each other, resulting in a series of black-and-white strips of light on the second black screen.
This experiment was used to show the wave nature of light, more than 200 years, until quantum theory. Then the double slit experiment conducted with quantum particles — electrons. It is a tiny charged particles components of the atom. Inexplicably, but these particles can behave as waves. That is, they undergo diffraction when the stream of particles passes through two slits, producing an interference pattern.
Now suppose that the quantum particles pass through the slits one after another and their arrival on the screen is also to be observed step by step. Now there is nothing obvious that would force the particle to interfere in her way. But the picture of the falling particle will still show interference fringes.
Everything points to the fact that each particle simultaneously passes through both slits and interferes with itself. It is a combination of the two ways is known as a state of superposition.
But here's the strange thing.
If you place a detector in one slit or behind it, we could figure out, passes through the particles or not. But in this case, the interference disappears. The simple fact of observing the way the particles — even if this observation should not interfere with the movement of particles changes the result.
The Physicist Pascual Jordan, who worked with guru quantum Niels Bohr in Copenhagen in the 1920-ies, put it this way: "Observations not only disturb what has to be measured, they define it... We force a quantum particle to choose a definite position." In other words, Jordan says that "we ourselves produce the results of measurements".
If so, the objective reality goes right out the window.
But the oddities don't end there.
If nature changes its behavior depending on whether we look or not, we could try to circle around her finger. To do this, we could measure which path chosen by the particle passing through a double slit, but only after will pass through it. By the time she should "decide" to go through one way or through both.
To Conduct such an experiment in the 1970-ies was suggested by American physicist John Wheeler, in the next ten years, the experiment with the "deferred choice" held. It uses smart methods of measuring paths of quantum particles (usually particles of light — photons) after they choose one way or the superposition of the two.
It Turned out that, as predicted by Bohr, there is no difference, detainees we measure or not. As long as we measure the photon before it can reach and register in the detector, interference is present. The impression that nature "knows" not only when we're watching, but when we plan to peep.
Whenever in these experiments, we open the path of a quantum particle, its cloud of possible routes "compressed" into a single well-defined state. Moreover, experiment with the delay suggests that the act of observation, without any physical interference caused by the measurement, could cause collapse. Does this mean that the true collapse happens only when the measurement result reaches our consciousness?
The opportunity was offered in the 1930-ies the Hungarian physicist Eugene Wigner. "From this it follows that the quantum description of objects is influenced by impressions entering my consciousness", he wrote. "Solipsism may be logically consistent with quantum mechanics".
Wheeler even amused by the idea that living creatures are able to "observe", has transformed what was previously a set of possible quantum of the past, in one particular story. In this sense, says Wheeler, we become participants in the evolution of the Universe from its very beginning. According to him, we live in a "socastee universe."
Physicists are still not able to choose the best interpretation of these quantum experiments, and to some extent the right of this is available to you. But, anyway, the subtext is clear: consciousness and quantum mechanics are somehow connected.
Since 1980-ies, the English physicist Roger Penrose has suggested that this relationship may work in the other direction. He said that no matter affects consciousness in quantum mechanics or no, probably, quantum mechanics is involved in consciousness.
Physicist and mathematician Roger Penrose
And Penrose asked: what if in our brain are molecular structures that can change their state in response to one quantum event? Could these structures make the state of superposition, like the particles in the double slit experiment? Can these quantum superposition then reflected in the way the neurons communicate through electrical signals?
Maybe, said Penrose, our ability to maintain the seemingly incompatible mental state is not a quirk of perception, but real quantum effect?
In the end, the human brain seems able to handle cognitive processes, which are still the capabilities are far superior to a digital computer. Perhaps we are even capable of performing computational tasks that cannot be executed on conventional computers using the classic digital logic.
Penrose first suggested that quantum effects are present in the human mind, in the 1989 book ‘The Emperor's New Mind’. His main idea was "orchestrated objective reduction". Objective reduction according to Penrose, it means that the collapse of quantum interference and superposition is a real physical process, like a bursting bubble.
Orchestrated objective reduction is based on the assumption of Penrose that gravity, which affects everyday objects, chairs or the planet, does not show quantum effects. Penrose opines that quantum superposition is impossible for objects with more atoms, because their gravitational influence in this case would lead to the existence of two incompatible versions of space-time.
Then Penrose developed this idea with the American doctor Stuart Hameroff. In his book "Shadows of mind" (1994) he suggested that structures involved in this quantum cognition,...
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