Having recently watched an episode of the television show Through the Wormhole, it struck me that at its most basic level, the whole of the universe is binary in origin. We – the greater “we” which comprises everything – are made up of cells, molecules, atoms, protons and neutrons and electrons – and those protons, neutrons and electrons are formed by quarks.
Funny thing is that there are exactly two kinds of quarks: up quarks and down quarks. Don’t believe me? Look it up. It’s an accepted tenet of quantum physics.
When you think about it, that’s a pretty amazing heritage. If we convert up and down to 1 and 0, we are a sequence of 1′s and 0′s, just two basic variables in infinite sequences which somehow determine whether we are human or alligator or a chunk of quartz. The variables decide if you’re the kitchen counter or if you’re the one cooking on that countertop! It’s that binary code which allows us to replicate ourselves by procreation, which determines whether we like pineapple or potatoes, and pretty much everything else you can imagine.
So what are quarks made of? That’s a bit tough to answer because nobody’s ever observed a quark directly. The current thought is that quarks are energy, pure and simple.
By the way, I lied a bit about how many kinds of quarks there are. There are four more besides up and down quarks: strange, charm, top, and bottom. But the “bit” I mentioned is because these atypical quarks only occur under very high-energy crashes. So unless you’ve got a particle accelerator hidden under your bed or you’ve mastered the art of generating cosmic rays, you’ll never encounter one of those exotic types. And as you might guess, those two extreme scenarios are how we are still learning about the tiniest universal building blocks we’ve identified in 2012.
It’s those energy particles that we might just be able to control with our minds; those little impossibly tiny building blocks that make up oh, everything in the universe. Experiments have shown that those darn quarks have the ability to be two places at once – until we observe them, which makes them settle right down into the patterns that our larger-scale physics would predict of them.
Then again, a couple of days I took the elevator at work and said good-bye to our security guard on my way out. Upstairs, that is. I did a double-take to see the same guard downstairs as I exited the elevator. He didn’t share my ride down. We agreed that he was must be a macro quark, since that alone would enable him to be in two places at once. Unless he’s got an evil twin, but that’s another entry altogether.
The next question that comes to my mind is this: if quarks are capable of being two places at once and theoretically that’s breaking every physical law we previously knew, is it possible that the quark doesn’t actually occupy two slots in the universe at the same time at all? Isn’t it just as possible that in the course of the experiment the process intersected time? If the quark question is about a particle of physical reality that only becomes fixed in space-time when observed, we’re only looking at one side of it if we look at the space it occupies. How about the time?
No matter how you slice it, the curious almost-binary quark raises a heck of a lot of questions about the nature of our universe. Maybe it will truly hold the key to time travel – and in that context also provide insights on human history, reincarnation and more. We might find out if Atlantis was myth or reality. We could put to rest once and for all the questions of how the pyramids were built, and so much more.
I can hardly wait.