|Wayne Roberts © 2003-2015
Time reversibility at the level of the very small (the Quantum level)
The Quantum physicists of the early twentieth century were amazed to find that many of the equations applying at the subatomic level had no obvious 'arrow of time'— they worked equally well in either direction.
Some renowned physicists like Wheeler and Feynman accepted the implications of the new equations of quantum mechanics and imagined a Universe in which an electron might shine both 'forwards and backwards' in time. It pointed towards a Universe of greater interconnectedness than had previously been thought, or even considered, possible .
Time had hitherto been regarded in physics as rather a kind of 'separating principle', a fourth dimension. Yet here it was transformed into a principle of connection.
Gilbert Lewis, who actually coined the term 'photon' for the newly-discovered particles of light, took a daring step in further proposing that photons are not necessarily emitted radially and randomly into space (as had been traditionally thought) but instead transmitted from one discrete atomic or subatomic entity to another. His conception therefore was of light itself as active in the formation of a network of connections (a particular form of 'communication'), rather than as 'blind' particles that were discharged from atoms in a scattergun manner and more or less 'bumped into or bounced off things that were in their way'.
The implications were startling. They pointed to a Universe in which all morphology and phenomenology was in some profound sense interconnected, interdependent, and reflective of the entire cosmos.
Scale structure resonances within a seaside rockpool (Flash™ animation) 180kb
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