Start your review of Modern Physics and Vedanta Write a review Shelves: hindu-philosophy , hinduism , philosophy , physical-reality , physics , religion , spirituality The wisdom of Vedic seers reflected in Vedanta Swami Jitatmananda has explained the parallels between the principles of Vedanta Philosophy of Hinduism and physics in the best way possible. This is very concise book dealt with an emphasis on the works of Swami Vivekananda and his efforts to bring the scientific community and Vedanta on par. Vivekananda preached in the language of science and discussed with some of the well-known physicists of his time. Quantum physics had just been discovered The wisdom of Vedic seers reflected in Vedanta Swami Jitatmananda has explained the parallels between the principles of Vedanta Philosophy of Hinduism and physics in the best way possible.
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One is part of the scientific tradition and the other in some ways is philosophy, some may even call it religion. If this is true, both must have the same underlying reality. There cannot be two independent realities for the same universe. Both science and Vedanta are looking for the same underlying reality. The goal is the same, but the approach of science and Vedanta are quite different.
As scientific understanding improved, scientists wanted to learn more about these objects and to understand the building blocks of the universe. They started looking inwards from molecules, and then into atoms, into sub-atomic particles, into quarks, and strings; they are now looking for the unifying force which is the building block of the universe.
What could this be? They understood that this single unifying force is also the underlying reality of the universe. Based on this, they posit that this single reality is then divided into an infinite number of diverse objects and this is the physical universe we see. The ultimate goal for both of them is the same. Physics, which is an important part of science, can be divided into 2 distinct divisions or phases: - Classical Physics - Quantum Physics Classical physics started with Newton, who made many different discoveries and formulated many different laws, which are relevant even today.
Based on these laws, people believed that the universe was a giant machine, where one can easily predict the motion of the planets and the objects therein. This way they knew exactly what was happening in this universe and in some way could even predict all the future movements of celestial bodies.
Physicists thought they knew everything in the universe and there was nothing new to discover. In the early 20th century, things took a dramatic turn. As physicists started exploring atomic level particles, they found none of the classical laws were applicable to these particles. Classical physics became outdated at the atomic and sub-atomic levels. To understand and explain the happenings in the realm of the sub-atomic, quantum physics was born.
As we shall see in the coming section, sub atomic particles behave in unpredictable ways. Quantum physics is trying its best to provide a proper explanation which is rooted in science and supported by experiments. This discovery marked the starting point of quantum physics. Quantum physics has explored this contradiction over the past century. Many questions have been successfully answered, but with every answer new questions come up.
Some of the questions cannot and will not be answered by science, because they are outside the scope of science. We will looking at all these issues in this article. In many ways this is quite similar to Vedanta. I strongly believe both are the same and this may be the common ground between quantum physics and Vedanta. The focus of this article is to show that this is true. This will help quantum physics to apply Vedanta principles, which, it must be said, follow rigorous logic, that any scientific mind will be satisfied.
This will help resolve many of the unanswered questions being faced by quantum physics. Quantum physics is the study of the behavior of matter and energy at the molecular, atomic, nuclear, and even smaller, microscopic levels. He used the famous double slit experiment. There was a light source and in front of it there was barrier and this barrier had two slits. The result on the photographic plate clearly showed that light was not a particle but a wave.
If it was a particle, there would be only 2 bands on the plate, but the plate showed multiple bands, proving that the light was a wave which passed through the two slits and then combined to from all the different bands. Watch the following video in YouTube.
In , Einstein got a Nobel Prize for this discovery. In this experiment, you shine light which is a wave on a photoconductive metal and you get light reflected on the other side. On studying or observing this reflected light, Einstein found that the reflected light was not a wave, but it was made up of packets of energy. Each packet is a unit of fixed energy and this packet is known as a photon and has all the characteristics of a particle.
Max Planck also found the emission of photons or discrete packets of energy when he tried to understand the emission of energy from a black body. Depending on the color of the heated black body, photons with different energy levels were emitted. The hotter the black body, the higher the level of energy in the photons emitted. Also, these higher energy photons had a higher frequency of light as compared to the lower energy photons which had a lower frequency of light.
Light was passed through a single slit and then onto a photographic plate. In the two slit experiment, they found a series of bands on the photographic plate, which suggested that light was a wave. When a single slit was used, they found only a single band on the photographic plate, suggesting that the light was a particle and not a wave.
The curious part of this experiment is, what made light behave as a wave when there were two slits and then behave as a particle when there was only one slit? This experiment was repeated again and again and the result was always the same. There was something which was telling light when to behave as a wave and when to behave as a particle. This dilemma was the birth of quantum physics. Here matter means matter, including, you, me, planets, cars, in fact any living or nonliving object in this universe.
The tree in front of you is a particle, and using the de Broglie formula; you can also calculate the wavelength of the tree based on its energy content. In , the de Broglie hypothesis was proven experimentally - thus, all matter is both a wave and a particle. In , de Broglie was awarded the Nobel Prize for his theory.
He was the only one to ever receive a Nobel Prize based on his doctoral thesis. How can we comprehend that everything that exists is both particle matter and a wave non- matter?
Is this possible? Is the tree even there? You really cannot be sure, because you are not seeing the tree. This type of logic can be applied to all objects in the universe including any living being. For example you are talking to your friend sitting in front of you.
You now move to the next room and you cannot see your friend anymore. All this may sound strange, but this is what happens when you try and understand quantum physics. The friend may want to play the same game with you. He has a valid point. When you moved to the next room, you may think your friend is a wave and your friend would also think you are a wave.
Your presence is necessary for anything to be a particle. This is the implication of the de Broglie theory. Science has no answer to this question. Is the wave also part of this space time framework or does the wave reside in another dimension? Unfortunately, science has not answered them so far.
In the coming sections we will try and understand these questions using the teachings of Vedanta. We see traveling waves when we throw a stone in a pond and see the waves traveling outwards, or when we see waves in the ocean. Electrons, as waves, are standing waves because they are enclosed within an atom. For the observing system to observe a standing wave it must be enclosed in some type of environment. If you input the correct variables for a particular observed system, the Schrodinger wave equation will represent that wave function.
If you input the energy variables of the electron wave, the Schrodinger equation will represent the electron wave function over time.
Understanding the energy structure of electrons, photons, molecules and other micro objects are simpler, therefore it is possible to apply the Schrodinger wave equations to these wave functions. In conclusion, we may say that the Schrodinger wave equation is applicable in every wave function both simple and complex. The only limitation is that science still does not understand the input variables needed for the complex waves representing macro objects like you, me or cars and planets.
The probability wave function contains all the possible outcomes. There could be infinite possibilities. To explain this, the famous Schrodinger cat example is given.
A cat is enclosed in a box which contains a veil of poison attached to an atomic trigger. The atomic trigger can randomly trigger the poison veil. One is never sure if the cat is dead or alive at any given time. It has infinite possibilities, but only a few logical possibilities. Another important aspect of the physical system for the Schrodinger wave equation is the observing system.
When this observing system interacts with the observed system at any given time, the wave function of the observed system collapses to only one of the logical possibilities at that given time. If it is found alive all the other possibilities become zero. In other words, when the observing system interacts with the observed system, the wave collapses to one of the possibilities for that given time and then all the other possibilities have a zero chance of occurring.
In the case of the two slit example described earlier, a light wave passes through the two slits, and it has all the possibilities of striking anywhere on the photographic plate on the either side. When the light wave touches the photographic plate at a particular location, the wave function of the light collapses at that point and that point is no longer a wave but shows the characteristics of a photon particle.
Once the wave function collapses, at that point, the probability is one and the probability at all other points is zero.
In this case the observing system is the photographic plate which collapses the wave function. Here is a direct hint that the wave function only collapses in the presence of an observing system.
If there was no observing system, the observed system would continue to be a wave function.
Quantum Physics and Vedanta - Part 1/4
Universal Temple at Sri Ramakrishna Math Chennai The Math and the Mission are the two key organisations that direct the work of the socio-religious Ramakrishna movement influenced by 19th-century saint Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and founded by his chief disciple Vivekananda. Both the organisations have headquarters at the Belur Math. Its management is vested in a Governing Body. Though the Mission with its branches is a distinct legal entity , it is closely related to the Math. Narendranath Dutta , who later became Vivekananda was one of the chief monastic disciples. According to Vrajaprana, shortly before his death in Ramakrishna gave the ochre cloths to his young disciples, who were planning to become renunciates. Ramakrishna entrusted the care of these young boys to Vivekananda.
Modern Physics and Vedanta