During the course of our studies and in our young professional life we have endured the following comments “why physics?” “But it’s so tough!” “How you get the hang of it?” and the list continues. This article is one small attempt by us to make the readers understand especially the young generation, the undisputable resemblances of our lives to the fundamental concepts of Physics and the impacts the laws of physics have on our daily routines. Thus trying to make Physics look a cute cuddly puppy instead of a teeth-baring shark!
The objective of the article is originated from one of the most common philosophical questions we all encountered, which came first, the chicken or the egg? We ponder… the principles of physics are governing our daily life behaviors or it’s the other way around, where certain do’s and don’ts of our daily routines are depicted and discovered as the basic laws of Physics. We would refrain here from going into the depth of this question because it’s just a matter of whom you follow; Aristotle’s (idea chicken came first) or Plato’s (we saw the chicken first than we made up the idea of what a chicken must look like i.e. ideas are a manifestation of our observations). In this article, we will draw some parallels to illustrate the similarities between our lives and the mesmerizing world of Physics including both the classical mechanics (a study of things we can see) and quantum mechanics (a study of small things not observed by naked eye like atom and smaller particles).
Our first example, an electron in an atom; as we learned in elementary level, an electron revolves around the nucleus in certain discreet orbits (imagine a few circles drawn within a circle, and each inner diameter reduces by a certain fixed factor), now placement of electrons in these orbits/circles is governed by certain rules. So, let’s say by magic, one electron exists in the inner most circle, following the set of rules (the intrinsic spin of the electron, it’s energy) the next electron tends to avoid placing itself in the occupied circle/level, if choice of completely empty levels is available or certain requirements are met. We, humans tend to behave in a similar fashion. Imagine yourself in a mini bus or metro or subway, and you are the first person to get on, you will choose your seat in terms of your personal preference, near/far from the windows, near/far from the door, is this area clean and so on and so forth, the next person who comes in automatically decides one thing, he doesn’t want to sit next to you! Is it because of the lack of an inviting smile from you, a rather unpleasant odor or can it be as simple as the behavior of an electron, he or she is ruled by the need to have his/her own space and although we are not repulsed by the person sitting we still don’t treat is as an inviting thought. In case of humans these rules are their comfort, the person already sitting their aura and the list goes on to end at what mood the incoming passenger is in.
Have you noticed that when you open the door to a brightly lit room slowly, the light peaks in from the narrow opening of the door and slowly spreads, with the door opening completely? Homo-sapiens when confined to a small space tend to stay and walk close to the walls but upon an unexpected turn into an open spacious area tend to leave the comfort of the wall and result in walking in the middle as if trying to fill the empty space. It’s the same story with one person or many. It’s even showed in movies! This example will make more sense to our readers if they have seen Will Smiths “I Robot” where the AI (artificial intelligence) based robots were behaving like humans when confined to dark spaces.
As one of my writer’s Bachelor’s students recently asked “Madam, we are quantum entities or classical?” and my answer was in the most abstract sense was, why not both! We are composed of teeny tiny particles that behave quantum mechanically, they move in discrete ways, can tunnel and so on and when they are treated as a collective ensemble the behavior leads to continuity and such are the behaviors we exhibit in our daily lives flipping the switch between the classical and quantum mechanical roles of our behavior in terms of mood swings, quantized bursts of emotions and energy!
So our dear readers, I hope we have succeeded somewhat in making you understand that among the sciences Physics is by far the science we can relate to the most and we have dispelled your fears and you will be now more motivated to embrace this fine branch of science.
We wish you a life of continuous serenity and of quantized smart decisions!