Quantum Field Theory: Reality is Not What You Think It Is | Answers With Joe

this video is supported by brilliant org humans are very distrustful species throughout history and across religions philosophies cultures there’s been this constant inherent what can only be called skepticism that our perceived reality is not actual reality from the belief in heaven and hell which basically means that our world is only one plane of existence amongst many to the belief that we’re only living in a dream of a deity named Vishnu to the belief that we live in a matrix light simulation or the idea that the entire universe is just a hologram or a projection of a parallel universe no other species does this and we can tell anyway we seem to be the only species that looks around and says I think there’s something else going on here of course we’re also the only species that uses a written language and wears clothes and has hair on the top of our head that never stops growing we’re weird it’s like do we even belong here it’s like we weren’t even evolved here we were just seated here by some alien civilization that wanted to know God now I’m doing it the push for knowledge is based on this skepticism the idea that there’s something else behind what we experience in the world something that we can’t see and it’s lettuce just some really bizarre ideas about the nature of reality [Music] ever since Anton Lewin pointed his microscope at a drop of water in the 1600s and saw a little squiggly things floating around in it we’ve been on a quest to find the smallest piece of matter in other words what is everything made of it was the Greek philosopher Democritus that first popularized the views of the atomists who believed that there was a smallest unit of matter called the atom kind of sounds like they nailed it right but their idea of atoms was way different from what we believe now for example they believed that atoms had different shapes according to the type of element that they were a part of for example iron had hooks in it so the atoms could bond together and that’s what made iron so strong but the biggest difference is they thought the atom was the smallest possible unit of matter and was therefore indivisible which in our modern understanding of atoms we know isn’t true they are very divisible in fact you smash them together they just do this all over the place and what comes out of that are fundamental particles 17 of them total electrons quarks neutrinos bosons in various masses and colors catch them all the way this crew of particles combine form all the subatomic particles and the atoms and the fundamental forces of nature that make up the entire universe the Sun every black hole the very dry winter air in this room the crusts of blood inside my nose that keeps bleeding because this winter air is all made up of these 17 particles so there it is the smallest elements of matter we did it we finished science except these particles kind of have a habit of like not making any sense the beautiful elegant rules of relativistic physics that we experience every day just doesn’t seem to apply to these guys they have their own set of rules acting like particles traveling like waves this wave particle duality is the basis of some of the biggest arguments in the history of science so we find ourselves with two completely different types of physics general relativity and quantum mechanics which get together about as well as oil and water the hatfields and the mccoys or kevin and todd you know and they’re friends of mine but they hate each other the search was on to find a way to merge these competing theories enter Paul Dirac in his direct equation Paul Dirac was known in his time as a brilliant but strange man today he’d probably be considered on the spectrum but this quirk in his perception allowed him to perform feats of mathematics that were borderline superhuman so when he tackled the problem of reconciling quantum mechanics and general relativity it’s no surprise that he was able to boil it down to a single elegant equation that incorporated the particle wave function the Planck constant which solves for quantum mechanics and relativity this was the birth of quantum electrodynamics a huge leap forward in our understanding of how electrons and electric fields behave this theory is to this day the most accurate and precise mathematical theory that we have Richard Feynman once called it the jewel of physics but Durex equation ran into a problem according to the equation the electron would constantly be losing energy as it spiraled down toward the nucleus giving off light as it did so and this obviously doesn’t happen there needed to be some kind of support structure of energy that kept the electron from losing its charge in his solution for this was what he called the Dirac sea he proposed an infinitely deep ocean of electrons that exists everywhere in the universe with charges ranging from 0 to infinity electrons with the heaviest charges sink to the bottom and electrons with the lightest charges the ones that were most used to float on top this doesn’t exist but it did perfectly explain the activity of electrons and predicted antimatter years before it was actually observed more and more the predictions of this theory were being proved by observation over time this gave rise to the idea of an electron field instead of an electron floating on top of the sea it was embedded in a 3-dimensional field a field that rests at zero energy or vacuum energy as it was called and the electrons were just spikes and energy or vibrations in the field this way the electron could exist both as a particle a fixed position in space but travel as a wave as a vibration in the field and the idea of a quantum field was born not only was it an elegant solution that provided both for quantum mechanics and general relativity but it’s been proven over and over again through experimentation to be one of the most accurate models mathematical models of reality in existence not just for electrons but for all the fundamental particles for all the 17 of the fundamental particles there is an Associated field there’s electron fields there’s no tree no fields there’s quark fields W and Z bosons fields and most famously the Higgs field 17 fields overlapping intertwining filling every point in space in the entire universe making up everything that exists including you and me and the brain cells that make it possible for us to understand this this is to the current limits of our understanding the true nature of the universe have you ever noticed every time we find a new best idea about the true nature of the universe it’s always weirder than the last one but maybe the weirdest thing about quantum fields is even when they’re at their lowest energy state the vacuum state they’re still full of energy this is a simulation of a quark field it was created by a supercomputer based off of mathematical models the scale of this is incredibly small only a couple of protons could fit in the volume of this cube and it’s running at 1 million billion billion frames per second areas where it turns red or where quarks are popping in and out of existence here’s a quark here’s a quark everywhere a quark quark for the tiniest fraction of a second and then they’re gone these are called virtual particles by constantly bubbling up and dissipating they strangely keep the field in a stable state but you don’t need a supercomputer to see evidence of these quantum fluctuations all you need to do is look up at the night sky because in the earliest moments of the Big Bang trillionth of a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang it’s these quantum fluctuations that caused matter to coalesce out of this raw energy matter that became subatomic particles and then hydrogen atoms which formed eventually into stars and galaxies and everything we know and you can still see this in the cosmic background radiation as the universe expanded the energy in the earliest moments was directed by these incredibly tiny vacuum fluctuations and you can see the imprint of those fluctuations on the CMB kind of like the shadows of people that were found around Hiroshima after the bomb blasts frozen in time the CMB is the shadow of the vacuum fluctuations in the earliest moments of the Big Bang frozen in time across the entire observable universe now this is mind-blowing for many reasons but one of the big ones is that these quantum fields in the quantum fluctuations that they contain existed in the very earliest moments at the Big Bang did they exist before the Big Bang did they cause the Big Bang we don’t know is where our knowledge stops but we’ll find out next is impossible to say but if history is any guide is gonna be weirder than we can even imagine humans are skeptical species throughout history we have always believed in one way or another that reality is not what we think it is and science has kind of proved us right how did we know what clued us in there’s a hypothetical that I’d like to ask so I’m gonna ask it here let’s just say we came in contact with a very advanced alien civilization that actually knows everything there is to know they have no more questions any more and they were able to tell us what the exact nature of reality was how close would that be to our current understanding do you think would even be close the thing would be something that we wouldn’t even be able to conceptualize tell me what you think in the comments whatever answers we come up with in the future is gonna take brilliant people to get us there and for that there’s brilliant org brilliant org is a learning website with a twist it doesn’t just make you memorize facts and figures it teaches you how to learn with games and puzzles and problem-solving that you can use in your everyday life learning things is cool but when you can figure out things on your own that’s the stuff they’ve got fun courses on everything from the physics of the everyday to the physics of black holes from artificial neural 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