It is all about the reference frames

There is something that is very significant in this week’s lecture.  That is the Powers of Ten by Charles & Ray Eames in 1977.  This can be said as a result from everlasting human exploration.  Since ancient times, we are seeking answer in this universe.  This is the reason that we developed sciences and create different field of studies.   The implication of this video is far and deep.  In a sense, it introduces the two major fields of study of the day.  One is relativity and the other one is quantum mechanics.

        Enlargement of pictures resembles the study of relativity.  Relativity is a more general way of describing classical mechanics in physics.  This means that the Newtonian physics is only a special case in relativity in low speed situations.  The most significant change in the theory of relativity is that force is not longer directly proportional to acceleration.  Instead, force is directly proportional to BOTH mass and acceleration.  This means that I can increase an objects mass by applying certain amount of force on to it.  However, the ratio in change in acceleration is much greater than that of the mass.  So generally, we treat mass as constant in low speed case and involve only change in acceleration.  This can be represented by the enlargement of pictures because the galaxies are moving at very high speeds and their mass are enormous.  To portray accurate calculations, the relativistic effect must be taken account of.  In fact, the satellites for our cell phones already require such calculations for us to receive signals.

        On the other hand, the shrink in the pictures depicted the application of quantum mechanics.  As we can see from the picture, it is impossible for us to show the image of an electron accurately.  In classical mechanics electrons are seen as particles and can be found accurately with classical physics equations.  However, physical data does not support such behaviors and there had been no experiments that can depict one single electron accurately.  In quantum mechanics, it introduces the wave-particle duality to explain about the situation in atomic levels.  Basically, it means that wave can exhibit both particle and wave properties and likewise for particles.  With that being said, we can now solve the electrons with wave equations.  The result turns out to be quantized, or can only adopt certain values for the electrons.  This result can be applied to nanotechnology which requires the control in atomic level matters.  It is account for the semi-conductors and our computers today.

This week is a remarkable mile stone for our class.  We had our very last lecture!!!  It ended with quite a dramatic way.  I remember the first day of the lecture; we talked about the possibility in connecting science and art together.  It all ended with a remark from nanotechnology.  The remark is that never to fumble ourselves within the rules of sciences or art.  In order to learn more, we must use our imagination and make the impossible in possibilities.

The key in special theory of relativity.(In the special theory, no acceleration of any kind is involved)


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