Couder and Copenhagen:
Is the Sub Atomic Really A Different World?
The following paper has a fascinating, yet demanding objective.
It intends to relate two sets of phenomena occurring in very different physical realms, in order to necessarily undermine the consensus Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Theory by the analogy of the sub atomic phenomena that it is supposed to apply to, with a set of phenomena created by Yves Couder entirely at the macro level, yet showing amazing similarities with those at the sub atomic level.
Couder, himself, at first merely glimpsed certain resonances between the two areas, but, thereafter, worked consistently to construct an ever closer analogue of that micro world, but entirely at the macro level. His objective was clear!
At the level he was working, absolutely nothing would be beyond revelation and analysis, and via such detailed explanations, he hoped to throw a revealing light upon the current, perplexing detours being “explored” in sub atomic Physics.
And, his efforts produced results far beyond what his expectations. For, his materials and arranged-for performances were merely based upon a single silicone liquid and a series of different oscillations, chosen specifically to cause both resonances and recursions.
What remarkably emerged was a stable sub system, which he termed “The Walker”. And, thereafter, one-by-one, he proceeded to create and display behaviours that were supposedly uniquely confined to the sub atomic realm! And, all of them were occurring at the macro level!
Of course, such things would not normally occur at that level, for in normal circumstances much more energetic and dominant macro oscillations would swamp the sort he was purposely creating and promoting. But, clearly, his main purpose was being fulfilled. These were not only confined to the sub atomic level, and the unique theory associated with them, which was also re-writing many tenets of Physics as it did so, and could indeed be profoundly mistaken! Couder even managed to make his “Walkers” perform “quantized “orbits!
Now, of course, many “Supporters of the Faith” dismissed his creations as mere coincidences, but they were most certainly wrong! Couder had produced a worthwhile analogue at a directly observable and analysable level, without the quantum, and in so doing unavoidably put in question the main tenets of Copenhagen. The “Key Things” at the micro level were indeed the quantization of energy levels involved in sub atomic orbits within the atom, encapsulated in the ubiquitous Planck’s Constant, “h”!
Now, if analogous situations could be created at the macro level, the key tenet of the Copenhagen standpoint would most certainly be brought into question, as the quantum could NOT be the cause in any of Couder’s macro set ups. Let us clarify what were being compared.
At the sub atomic level there were the descrete energy levels involved in the electron orbits within atoms, along with the seeming Wave/Particle Duality in many related phenomena.
At the macro level Couder, using oscillations, resonances and recursions, managed to create a stable entity, which he called a Walker that was composed of a bouncing drop, and also included a Standing Wave associated with it in the oil bath substrate.
And this surprising amalgam could be set to perform what appeared to be quantized orbits.
Though, many other analogues of what happened at the micro level were also achieved, it was this quantization that was the clincher. If Couder could explain that solely in terms of oscillations, resonances and recursion in an integrated stable system, the myth of Wave/Particle Duality and probabilistic predictions due to naturally indeterminate features would be scuppered. You could not claim such features in his Walker, and yet it displayed very similar behaviours.
Now, the questions were posed, but how could the theory at the micro level be demolished?
Clearly, a complete explanation of Couder’s Walkers was necessary, and perhaps the data could also be addressed in the very same way, as had been done for the micro situation.
If this were done, we might well end up with equations very similar indeed to those for the micro level. Yet, instead of Planck’s Constant, “h”, there would be another, which could not be explained away as the Copenhageners had done for “h”.
So, the initial task is clear – it must be to display the currently-used equations for a basic case at the sub atomic level – those for the Hydrogen atom, and a single photon (quantum) of electromagnetic energy emitted from the atom, occurring when a promoted electron returned to its base orbit. The required equations are shown below :
Now, before we go any further, we must dispel the myth that these equations direct what happens in Reality. Of course they don’t! They are nothing but purely formal descriptions of what has been extracted from that situation: they are the Forms that occurred there!
And, crucially, they are not unique to that situation alone. But, are in fact Universal General Forms that can occur in many other places too. This being the established case, they cannot be the causes of what occurs, but merely formal representations or descriptions. So, it should be possible, if analogous forms appear elsewhere to fit those same general forms there too.
Hence, ultimately, we would have the same equations representing both the micro level phenomena AND those for Couder’s Walker! The only differences will be in the particular constants necessary. Clearly, if that could be achieved, there would also be possible a physical explanation to accompany the equations for the Walkers, for it would be straightforward at the macro level to explain all the generalised phenomena. Absolutely NO magic Universal Natural Constants would be necessary. Everything will be explicable in terms of physical properties and relations. So, then we don’t just have a similarity of Forms in the two disparate areas: we have sound, physical analogues!
And, an alternative, physical explanation of the micro phenomena may well be possible, using the same sort of reasons, as did the job at the macro level.
So. This is the task!
But, it would be wrong to limit this critique to this pair of situations alone. The victory of the Copenhagenists would not have been so complete, were it not for other major, and long-standing flaws and contentions in the then current standpoint in Physics.
There had always been a continuing case of what is usually called Cognitive Dissonance, ever since the birth of Modern Science many centuries ago.
At the heart of Science were two opposite assumptions, which most certainly contradicted one another, yet both had proved invaluable in certain contexts.They were essentially the Materialist standpoint, involving Matter and both its properties and its inter-relationships, and the Idealist standpoint, which believed that Reality behaved entirely in accordance with eternally-existing, abstract Laws. Now, these are, indeed, opposites, philosophically, but could be “lived with” quite well. For, the materialist view would look to explain Reality in terms of matter and its properties, while the idealist view would concentrate upon revealing the natural quantitative relations in the most concise language of mathematical equations.
Now, clearly these can exist simultaneously in most pragmatic situations, but they were at extreme variance in the Explanatory Theories extracted from Reality. But, the basis for such a continuing subscription to both standpoints was made possible by both sides subscribing to the very same Principle of Plurality. For, this defining rule insisted that Reality was indeed composed of many different factors, which came together in an almost infinite variety of different sums to actually produce very different phenomena. The Principle claimed that these factors were never changed by their associations in the various arrangements: they all remained exactly the same in their pristine eternal states.
All variety was caused merely by different sets of factors and their quantitative differences, and that alone was enough to generate such infinite variety. The individual component factors were always totally separate in their natures: they were completely unchanged by all possible contexts.
Now, this was crucial to BOTH standpoints, for by careful construction of the conditions, under which investigations could be carried out, it would always be possible to so select and control these to make possible a clear revelation of a targeted factor. All other confusing factors could be either eliminated or held constant, so that the selected one would be effectively revealed. Now, something was indeed always revealed by these methods, and could be extracted and fitted up to an appropriate Form, but the assumption of it being exactly as it would be in totally unfettered Reality, was a consequence of this Principle of Plurality. It could not be demonstrated as the actual case in Reality: it could only be used in the exact same conditions under which it was revealed and extracted.
And, of course, these features were enough for both tendencies in Science.
They both accepted the extracted rule as being the actual available-everywhere “truth”. And, this meant that the idea of Analysis was always possible, and hierarchies of such relations could be conceived of as acting in what was termed Reductionism.
An overall general picture of Reality was delivered to both tendencies in Science, which defined an Experimental Method, plus an arrangement for effective use, and a hierarchical system of such explanations. The materialists were quite content with this, but so were the idealists, who by these means built up ever more eternal relations, which were the causes of all phenomena.
NOTE: This was proved when Wiles finally proved Fermat’s Last Theorem, because he was able to bring together many relations from a wide variety of real world investigations, and weave them into his “complete and ideal Proof”.
Now, for those interested in Philosophy, similar Dichotomies had been recognised for several millennia, at least starting with Zeno and his Paradoxes, and occasionally raising it head, throughout subsequent history, until Hegel defined such occurrences as Dichotomous Pairs – the clear emergence of which not only signalled a crisis in our conceptions, but could, nevertheless, still co-exist for remarkably long periods of time, totally unresolved.
Yet, significantly, without a resolution of such contradictions real progress could never be achieved.
NOTE: That doesn’t mean, of course, that NO progress at all could be made, for it certainly could, but it would be, inevitably, an aberrant growth, with some useful content, but lacking significant understanding to allow major gains to be made. These growths would be like etiolated plants, getting ever weaker and thinner until they, finally and unavoidably, perished. Real progress required that these impasses had to be transcended!
Sub Atomic Physics was banging up against this dichotomy constantly, with NO integrating new conception in sight. As long as Plurality was sacrosanct, the problem could never be even realised. Both sides in the crisis never questioned Plurality: it was both common and indeed essential to BOTH – and hence never even questioned!
But, it clearly WAS the problem!
And, its alternative in yet another Dichotomy needed to be addressed.
This opposite to Plurality was Holism! But, with this having the principle of “Everything affecting everything else!”, not to mention, “Change is always occurring!”, no systematic scientific method of investigation, or of Analysis in the formulation of phenomena. seemed even remotely possible.
NOTE: Interestingly, the main exponent of Holism, The Buddha, had lived at about the same time as Zeno – about 2,500 years ago.
So, with that entirely necessary diversion, perhaps we can return to the major crisis facing physicists in the early years of the 20th century? There was no getting away from it, current ideas were foundering upon the rock of Wave/Particle Duality. What had been seen as continuous waves, now sometimes only made sense as descrete particle-like gobbets of pure energy, or quanta, which became known thereafter as Photons. And, to compound the felony, particles like the electron, occasionally acted as if they were waves.
How, on earth could they be integrated into a new all-inclusive set of conceptions? They couldn’t! The real bases for these emerged dichotomies were NOT understood, so the physicists had to have a “revolution”: it seemed that they had to dump one or the other of their two co-existing standpoints! They chose Form, and totally rejected Explanation! They embraced Equations as the real essences of Reality – the actual drivers of all phenomena. They, and they alone could be trusted as being Truth itself! Explanation was demoted to fairy tales, which might give the appearance of truth, but were in fact totally man-made inventions. The Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Theory was precisely this new standpoint!
Now clearly, several things were necessary to retrieve the situation. The most difficult of these to get across, was undoubtedly the philosophic one of explaining and then debunking Plurality, and in its place promoting Holism: no one, at this stage would possibly “but that”, if only because Holism could not compete in supplying a delivering scientific method. So, it would have to be tackled initially experimentally with set-ups that totally torpedoed Copenhagen, and theoretically by showing fully working explanations in the relevant areas without any retreats into the Idealism of the Copenhagen standpoint. Two cases can be shown to have been successful in fulfilling these necessary objectives.
The first was by, this theorist, was the explanation of the seeming Wave/Particle Duality in the famous Double Slit Experiments, without any of the Copenhagen revisions.
And, the second was the Yves Couder, macro level experiments to reveal similar quantization features to what was occurring in the Sub Atomic level, yet existing wholly at the macro level, where the physical causes were clearly evident, and purely physical explanations could be extracted. The former of these two has been published as a SHAPE Journal Special Issue on the Internet, entitles The Theory of The Double Slits, and as a YouTube animation on its SHAPE Channel. While Yves Couder’s revelations are by now well known via his various academic journal publications, and have even featured on Morgan Freeman’s Through the Wormhole on TV.
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