Tag Archives: quantum electrodynamics

Waves

-Wasting time thinking about things that a science major should be thinking about- except I don’t do it right.-

Suddenly there’s this big brick wall blocking my view of what‘s ahead. How do I know which way to go? If I go left around it, I may never experience those potentially enchanting escapades I‘d face if I went right. But maybe if I do go right, I’d hit even trickier obstacles than this.

Wait, I’ve got it. I’ll just change my wavelength.

Ya know, ‘cuz of λ=h/mμ. I’m made of matter. I’m just a complex collocation of countless atoms. And all material particles with a definite position simultaneously have a nature about them that can diffract around objects. Think of a beam of light- it’s both a stream of photons and a moving wave. (Personally I wasn’t taken aback when the universe described me as an itinerant disturbance.)

What’s the difference between me and light then? Why is it incredibly difficult to advance in two different directions?

First off, I’m slightly larger, therefore, my wavelength’s a tad smaller. While the oscillation of electric magnetic field remains in the nanometers, I’m probably around 10^-35m. But luckily the equation’s based on momentum. Planck’s constant seems dishearteningly infinitesimal, but I can’t fret yet because there’s still velocity to consider. Wavelength gets smaller when you go faster, thus to be comparable to an electron and go both left and right around this barrier, I just need to move very, very… very slowly. Like the speed it would take to cross the nucleus of an atom in a billion years. Whatever. They’ve always said I was stubborn.

But a couple million years into my dual-journey, I begin to lose interest. I’m missing out on all the fun that the particle people are busy having. So I give up and take a casual stroll to the beach instead.

Unfortunately I forget to wear sunglasses and the fierce brightness of the day forces me to squint hard as I wander past the ashy and littered remains of bonfires along the shore. Soon a shabby white wooden bench near a loading dock beckons me to rest for a little while. I close my eyes to hear squawking gulls and boat bells and laughing children and lots of flip flops flopping on the boardwalk. Sounds. Pressure waves in the atmosphere. Suddenly there’s this deep, blaring horn proclaiming that the native inhabitants have finally returned.

Wait, how did I know that? How can a mere shift in air transform itself into the incredible conscious notion of an immense ship approaching? I tried to recall the last hot date I had with my textbook stack.

The wave of the ferry’s blast traveled into the external acoustic meatus, down into the tympanic membrane and set up a vibratory force that crossed the ossicles to the oval and round windows, generating energy for the endolymph, mechanically distorting microcilia, converting chemical energy into electrical energy, which traveled across the cochlear nerve to the ponto-medullary junction, from there to the superior olivary nucleus, ascending bilaterally up the brain stem through the lateral lemniscuses to the inferior colliculus and the medial geniculate nucleus, across the thalamic radiations to the posterior temporal lobes to begin auditory processing, continuing on to activate the medial hippocampal structures which modified the new memory of the sound being consolidated there by linking its relationship among other environmental elements through efferent connections to the somatosensory cortex. It’s only the basic outline of such an intricate process O.O

.A silver glimmer of something sticking up from the ground catches my eye. Reaching over to pick it up I discover an old wristwatch that had been abandoned in the sand…

So the noise will be remembered with the scent of sea mist mingled with yesterday’s scattered embers on the rocks. For a mindful moment I strike up the kick and thrill in all those days of thunder and can’t decide whether I want to climb the dunes facing the vast open water, or drag heavy feet across scorched pavement to reach the highest ones overlooking the parking lot. For now I’ll only listen to the music of crashing waves. Too bad I can’t diffract.