Follow by Email

Friday, July 29, 2016

Life on the Edge: Coming of Age of Quantum Biology by Jim Al-Khalili and Johnjoe McFadden #Review

#Review 

Life_on_the_Edge: Coming of Age of Quantum BiologyJim Al-Khalili and Johnjoe McFadden






       The book is pillared on Erwin Schrödinger’s "What is Life?", written in 1943, based on a series of public lectures given at Trinity College Dublin and spoken of with almost reverence by the authors. The concept of life and consciousness is quintessentially the most thought-provoking question ever posed by humankind. The suggestion that quantum mechanics may lie at the defining edge between ‘live’ and ‘not-alive’ should invoke interest in the modern day scientist. This way "Life on the Edge" proposes "at least one of the missing pieces in the puzzle of life found within the world of quantum mechanics.”


In this book the authors, introduce two of the fascinating quantum physics phenomena, quantum tunneling and quantum superposition, via a number of seemingly commonplace biological topics: the homing precision of a migrating Robin, enzyme reactions at ‘normal’ temperatures, photosynthesis, and the anatomy of smelling. Most of us are familiar with quantum phenomena thanks to the advent of technologies such as electron microscopes, fast processors and MRI scanners. The weirdness of particles (or rather dual nature) in quantum systems is superposition of states until an observation is made goes well with 'gadenken' experiments like “Schrodinger's cat”. The act of observing the cat - alive or dead - forces the quantum states to become only one. This 'de-coherence’ of states is what separates the quantum world from the classical physics of our everyday world.


The macro world of biology, and everyday other occurrences, is shielded from the weird quantum stuff via thermodynamics - an aspect that has remained the debate between Einstein and Bohr (with Heisenberg). Many animals employ the Earth’s magnetic field to navigate by. It has been proposed that magnetite, found in the tissues of some migrating species such as bees and some birds, may provide the ability to sense weak magnetic fields with the aid of magneto-receptors.  An eye pigment, cryptochrome, acts as a chemical compass depending on free radical pairs being in a superposition of singlet and triplet states. This quantum entanglement is familiar to physicists from esoteric experiments involving particles in isolated systems. This ‘de-coherence’ of quantum reactions comes about because of the ‘noise’ of large thermodynamic systems. Nonetheless, the evidence is compelling, even if the mechanisms are not fully understood, some properties of living systems depend on quantum mechanical phenomena such as tunneling, coherence and entanglement (with ample and nice evidence of spooky effect narration).


When an incoming photon (light particle) hits a specialised photo-receptor in the robin’s eye, it creates two electrons that are “entangled” in a quantum sense. Entanglement is one of the most mysterious quantum properties, allowing particles to remain instantaneously connected however far apart they are – which Albert Einstein called “spooky action at a distance”. Experiments show that entangled electron pairs can be extraordinarily sensitive to the orientation of magnetic fields, and the behaviour of the spinning electrons as they move apart in the robin’s eye giving the bird a quantum compass.


In addition to this ability of birds, other systems, photosynthesis and enzyme reactions, are given a compelling discussion in Life on the edge. The evidence of these diverse findings strongly suggests that biological systems employ quantum phenomena at the heart of their macro behaviour. This has huge implications for the study of large-scale quantum systems and their possible technological innovations. 


The book is aimed at a lay audience, and in this it should succeed admirably as is delivered from Al-Khalili, accurately and suitably referenced, sufficing further reading and backing up the scientific claims. "Life on the Edge" is a well-written introduction to one of the most fascinating areas of modern science – quantum biology. With about eighty percent of the book, the reader is buoyed with enough references like Extremophiles, Life out of Mud volcano, Miller's experiment on creating Amino Acids rolling drastic methods, Butterfly effect, probability with Tinba virus (with just 20 Kb in size) etc., but in the end there is a philosophical termination to these subjects with "consciousness" taking the theme. The proposed conclusion is that quantum theory can account for human consciousness, put forward by the Oxford mathematician Roger Penrose in 1989 and adopted by a few others. 


Their idea is that quantum effects modulate the fluctuating electromagnetic fields in the brain that some scientists associate with consciousness, though there is no convincing evidence for this.  Here the authors take a sensibly cautious tone, warning against the argument that, just because consciousness is a mystery, something as mysterious as quantum theory will help to explain it. But they cannot resist asking: “Is it likely that the strange features of quantum mechanics we discovered to be involved in so many crucial phenomena of life are excluded from its most mysterious product, consciousness? We will leave the reader to decide.”

Good Read!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Parallel Worlds: A Journey Through Creation, Higher Dimensions, and the Future of the Cosmos - ‪‎Michio Kaku - Review


Looking at night you are actually looking into your past!
The book falls into three parts: the first reviews our discovery of modern cosmology, the second describes some of the more intellectually challenging and counter-intuitive aspects of modern physics, astrophysics and cosmology theories, the third considers possible long-term futures for existence, knowledge and the universe. Along the way the usual suspects are rounded up, with black holes, time travel, quantum entanglement, string theory, 11-dimensional M-branes, and the anthropic principle all getting a mention.
Filled with informational punches one can glide through the time from Classical physics to the present spooky baffle. That the first image Hubble could capture was that of the Universe 13 billion light years ago (With about 300 million black holes in our night sky!). Whether the universe expands forever into a deep freeze or eventually contracts back into a hellish dot containing all energy, the future looks grim. Nearly all cosmologists agree that our universe isn’t static. It’s apparently expanding at an accelerating rate.
This we deduce from many years research with ET telescopes, and very fast computers. Step by step with the observations are the mathematical reasonings. The uncertainty principle, quantum mechanics, relativity, string theory all try to correlate the forces, fields and particles that constitute our existence. But, once entering into the realm of mathematics, the equations can lead to places that aren’t observable. Therefore, the concept that a parallel world might exist given the way Physicists vouch to evaluate the 11 dimensions, comes to the fore.
A beginner can get a glimpse of the how the Universe might have formed starting from dense stars to nebulae to pulsars to dwarfs. Along the way, the author mentions the works of Newton, Halley, Darwin, Einstein, Gamow and other luminaries along with Godel's Universe, Kerr black hole, Casimir effect and Schwarzschild values. These references, however, don’t obscure the main thrust which is to enable understanding of our universe, but are rather significant. Kaku explains why the night is black (read Olber's paradox), how the uncertainty principle links to consciousness (what a jump), and where quantum theory can lead to infinite realities. And with these spectral information he vouches for Strings Theory. Why not? Everything not forbidden is compulsory.
The heart of the book is the exotic physics. The path along proves to be an intellectually challenging one, starting with black holes, and especially their much-debated possible implications for time-travel. At places there is no clear yes-no answer, since there is no agreed one. The continuing fascination of quantum mechanics is well-discussed. Uncertainty and certainty are discussed at the same vigour, but when you look into certainty, questions like "Can a tornado striking a junkyard build up a Boeing 747?", appear and put the entire onus on probability and thus the ultimate Schrodinger's thought experiment emerges significant.
The pace with which he describes the events is very fast so that one need to have learnt already a few basic things about the Universe. Some catchy references, from what I have liked, include:
# How would you suspend 50000 pounds of water in the air with no visible means of support? - Answer - Build a cloud
# Vacuum is already empty and there is discussion about false vacuum
# A donkey falling into a pit has negative energy an bringing it up to the surface you bring it to neutral state (I am reminded of the medico in Chennai, who dropped an innocent dog from a third floor as if he was evaluating Guinea-feather experiment on Energetics!)
# Why is Gravity stronger than the electromagnetic forces? Because it is only a monopole unlike magnetism or charge which has positive and negative sides.
# The secret of nature is about losing the symmetry. A single homogenous drop develops into a heterogeneous human being!
# Butterfly effect: At critical time even the fluttering of the wings of the butterfly sends ripples that can tip the balance of forces and set off powerful storms.
# Objects exist because humans are there! : If a tree falls in a forest no one is there to see it and it does not really fall then. something related to collapse of the wave.
# What is the smallest distance one can travel? For moving from point A to point B in a room, quoting Feynmann, you move through the Milky way and other stars!!
# The Universe is behaving like a driver who slows down.
The vast range of topics discussed embraces modern cosmology, a subject increasingly replacing quantum mechanics and elementary particle physics at the head of the great race for knowledge and a theory of everything. The universe will prove itself to be more interesting than we have yet imagined.
Here is the circle of anthropic principle which has no end: The Weak - Constants of nature must be tuned on to allow for intelligence. The Strong - An intelligence of some sort was required to tune Physical constants to allow for intelligence.
The book does add weight to your knowledge of the things that have been Created.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Three Roads to Quantum Gravity - Lee Smolin - Review

One of the boldest books read in recent times Lee Smolin takes the courage to disagree with Heisenberg's Uncertainty principle, for a brief though, and takes a surge up to breathe back suggesting that there are more reasons to agree with this principle than not to - albeit with a suggestion that determination of a position would require at least one dimension out of three and the calculations thus.  It made quite a thrilling reading because we matured unto the post graduate status gulping this principle along with relativity and Quantum doses.

Smolin gathers these theoretical activities into three categories: studies of black holes, string theories and his own specialty, loop quantum gravity. In black holes, as espoused by John Wheeler of Princeton and Stephen Hawking at Cambridge, he finds ''microscopes of infinite power which make it possible for us to see the physics that operates on the Planck scale.'' String theories, recently popularized by Brian Greene of Columbia, reduce matter not to elementary point-like particles but to one-dimensional threadlike entities that flutter and vibrate with differing beats corresponding to the observed spectrum of particles.

Loop quantum gravity will prove difficult to grasp unless readers have followed the recent history of particle physics, the LHC and LIGO. According to this approach, ''space is made of discrete atoms each of which carries a very tiny unit of volume.'' This may sound like a simple idea, but Smolin manages to make it exceedingly complex - perhaps because he does his own theoretical research in this arena. What appears obvious to him is nearly opaque for the rest of us.

All three approaches seem to require that space and time be fragmentary at the Planck scale. But they have extremely fine-grained structures, which helps explain why they appear so smooth to us: ''A blink of an eye has more fundamental moments than there are atoms in Mount Everest.''

There are some unusual frank expressions by the author too.  That he would count on 'tales' to prove his points beginning with superimposibility of the quantum states of a dead or alive mouse proves funny. He gives room for all other tales connected with more such proposals. It is a generous thing on his part that he would find at least one reason to agree with other's theories. Like, for instance, he imagines Galileo and Kepler working in the same building (different floors though) over different theories and claiming each one is true, because Galileo talked about motion of the planets while Kepler stuck to the shape of the orbits.

These kind of lucid narration asks us to rethink the epistemological roots of the mental pictures we make about nature and space. It is one of the most difficult intellectual challenges humanity has ever faced. Quantum mechanics accurately describes realms of the very small, while Einstein's general theory of relativity applies to vast, cosmological distances spanning galaxies or groups of galaxies and to enormously massive objects, such as the billions of stars in them. The goal of combining these two disparate theories into one eluded physicists for most of the 20th century, but progress has occurred during the last few decades.

Faster than light concept of wave, quantum fluctuations of vacuum, zero point motion and energy, zeroth law of thermodynamics, large number of event and information flow, black holes and their horizons (along with Hawking Radiation), the illusion of continuous space, Feynman's diagrams, vibration and heat association of system with lower temperatures, empty space with non-zero density, 'cosmological constant' dilemma and 'information becoming geometry' are brilliantly discussed to the pleasure of the intelligent layman.

That Mathematical consistency in itself follows one theory of nature is a stark reality and the author merges all his open discussions with this solid liner. Some questions on M Theory and the beautiful point that science will become religion if it is proved makes interesting reading.


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Is God a Mathematician - by Mario Livio - Review

As the title suggests, the main theme of the book represents the existence of various factors that describe how we should approach mathematics. The conclusion drawn has two things: formalism (claiming that Maths is invented by the human mind) and Platonism (regarding mathematics as an a priori universal language whose truths are merely discovered).
Being a senior astrophysicist at the Hubble Space Telescope Science Institute and author of a few other math books aimed at the general public, Mario Livio has written a short, accessible, and in many ways profound exploration of the nature of mathematics. He centers his book around two questions:
1. "Is mathematics ultimately invented or discovered?" and
2. "Why is mathematics so effective and productive in explaining the world around us that it even yields new knowledge?"
He frames his inquiry with what physicist Roger Penrose describes as the triple mystery. The idea is that there are three worlds that people experience: the world of physical reality, the world of our minds, and the abstract world of mathematics. Then the mysteries are as follows:
1. why would world of physical reality give rise to our minds that perceive the reality?
2. why would our minds give rise to abstract mathematics? and
3. why does mathematics so effectively describe the physical reality in which we exist?
There are several occasions whereby the author proves the existence of maths that has been 'discovered' - just like Shakespeare did not 'invent' Hamlet. There is stress on the statistical part of the Mathematics and syllogism at the beginning. Aristotle, Archimedis, Dante, Descartes, Galileo, Copernicus, Kepler, Tesla, Bernoulli's, Mendle, Gauss,....everyone's contribution has been dealt with suitably in a lucid manner.
Each chapter discusses important topics like geometry, logic, topology, statistics and probability theory, as well as major breakthroughs in adjacent fields – such as physics or astronomy. The narrations are easy to follow and the overall tone is objective. Unlike many popular science books that tend to get tedious or uninteresting after the first few chapters, it has a good structure and can keep the reader engaged.
Talking about the Natural Selection (of Darwin fame), the author argues that if there was no society and everyone was mere re-producer (of the next generation), then there would be no selection at all!
That would mean that a marriage in a society allows the genes to 'sense' the order and promote genes that is not defective for the next generation.
The next beautiful thing I liked about was the 'golden ratio' concept. There are many examples, including the human hand and the face where one part is longer than the other (in a single entity) and a mere mathematical division gives the value of 1.6xx which is abundant in nature (just like the pi).
Discussing about the relationship between Mathematics and Logic, there is good mention about the "barber paradox" by Bertrand Russel. The most excellent example is one around De Morgan, a Mathematician. When asked about his age, his reply was "I was x years old in the year x^2". It turns out that his age was 43 and 43x43 gave 1849. 1849 - 43 thus gave 1806, the year in which he was born!
George Boole, on whose adjectives we have based our Computer Science Syllabus gets his due with a brief mention about his logic using mathematics. The famous 'Gordian Knot' is used to describe the logic and perturbation of various knots. I had to explore a new science behind the knots. (Haven't we come across various knots undone by magicians? But then we never thought there is Mathematics behind it).
A mathematical model of the atom that turned out to be wrong turned into the pure mathematics of knot theory, which then yielded the key to understanding the structure of DNA. As Livio surveys the field, he exhibits a charming sense of surprise at each unexpected turn in the problems he’s describing.
Slowly, the impact of language is brought in to suggest how language is useful in making one understand the logic behind every action. "You cannot repair a Hoover Dam, using a chewing gum" - a blistering example of how easy it is for us to understand the sentence and the 'logic' behind it. Einstein thus insisted that mathematics is a creation of the human mind, abstracting from messy reality to invent a language whose implications can be unspooled in an imaginary realm of perfection.
He ends with the following quote from Bertrand Russell's "The Problems of Philosophy":
"Thus to sum up our discussion of the value of philosophy; Philosophy is to be studied, not for the sake of any definite answers to its questions, since no definite answers can, as a rule, be known to be true, but rather for the sake of the questions themselves; because these questions enlarge our conception of what is possible, enrich our intellectual imagination and diminish the dogmatic assurance which closes the mind against speculation; but above all because, through the greatness of the universe which philosophy
contemplates, the mind is also rendered great, and becomes capable of that union with the universe which constitutes its highest good."

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Anti-matter by Frank Close - Review

After reading his book "Void", I was tempted to know how he would fit "Anti-matter" to it. And it turned out to be a sequel (or rather answer) to the non-fiction writers from whom some film makers got the clue that America was developing "antimatter" weapons and made movies and documentaries that were nearly taken as true. The Antimatter is one of the strangest discoveries in physics - an opposite to the 'normal' matter which makes up the world in which we live our everyday lives, and which annihilates anything it touches in a blinding flash of energy.
Comprising Nine chapters, most of them start with questions or hypothesis or rumour. And it is too good that the answers come out explaining many things about Physics even for the lay man. The Tunguska event, where there was a blast in the sky in 1908 without any debris or crater to its credit is thought to be a fusion of matter with antimatter. Though this is the Close's view, there is no solid proof of this, I found.
Then there is this 'philosophical' approach towards the lives on Earth. Describing humans as "Nuclear Waste", the author writes "Oxygen you breath, Carbon in your skin, ink on this page etc. was made of stars about 5 billion years ago. To an extent this is a fact that one atom in our right hand might have a different parentage than those in the left. There is mention about the Nobel prize for the discovery of positron. The diagrams on waves and loops are interesting. There is also mention about LHC, but here in this book I came to know that it was earlier called as LEP (Large Electron Positron Collidor).
Dirac's famous equation "i*gamma*dow sigh= m sigh" is discussed with slight hinting that this might have been the foundation for Schrodinger's solution to the energy of the particle. The most interesting part in this is the description that a^2=1; b^2=1 and aXb is not zero, that is their sum axb+bxa =0, is dealt with solution in matrices. The matrices and determinents form the basic parts of quantum mechanics.
Anderson's experiment on positron trapping and Millikan's one on charge determination are described well with illustration. Blackett's study of about 20,000 photos of the 'waves' from 1921-24 suggests how hard work one has to do come up with one small discovery - the identification of Positron!
Annihilation is dealt with at large in one of the chapters where the author writes "We breath in oxygen , exhale carbon di oxide, grow and die, but the atoms will continue" delivers the fact of our existance on earth. There is brief description into other particles like gluon, W, Z etc.
I found Feynmann in a slightly poor light when there is mention about his reason for not publishing the famous eponymous diagrams in some leading journal. He says that it was war time when drawing experts were not available. The easy diagrams, the author claims, could have been drawn by himself easily, but for 'stealing' work he did from Stueckelberg's idea. There are many such instances in science where ideas have been stolen.
The last two chapters describe particle Physics/Chemistry, call it the way you like about these ubitquitous fermions. The Tunguska event is again brought back to prove that anti-matter weapons would be impossible on paper given the fact that 1g of antimatter can be produced per year by present set up of the advanced lab elsewhere. Close explores many of the theories surrounding the symmetries between normal matter and antimatter, as well as offering some thoughts on why we might see a universe which appears to be largely devoid of antimatter. While a small handful of antimatter particles have been created in labs around the world, as well as a few dozen antihydrogen atoms, the mysterious lack of antimatter in the universe remains one of the questions needing a great deal of further research to explain.
The appendix is very informative, especially the Dirac code and the poser to arrive at a^2=1; b^2=1 and aXb+bXa=0, whose solution can be found using Matrices. The book is good if you like particle physics and are a layperson with regard to science.
”If you want to use antimatter you must first make every antiparticle" - which is a very inefficient process.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Molecules of Emotion - The Science behind Mind-body Medicine - C B Pert - Review


Initially, with the start of the book, one would feel the socio-political pinch he/she would undergo on the pathway to a Ph.D work followed by publication of a paper in reputed journals. There are lots of places in this book that describe the ordeal of a Ph.D student in science and does not sound interesting. A few chapters, thus, could be ‘fast-read’.  However, there are a few enough new facts, metaphors and speculations in this book to astonish many readers. The field of psychoneuroimmunology, although based on exacting research, has had a hard birth. Its core idea is that the surfaces of cells are lined with many specific "receptors" to which only specific molecules can attach themselves. These molecules, in turn, are messengers through which the body and mind, as well as our neurons, glands and immune cells, are all constantly sharing information.  It is so good to read about “information flow”, that is also a severe subject among the cosmologist and quantum physicists alike.

At its best, Molecules of Emotion is a lucid explanation of new research on the way peptides work to connect all aspects of body and mind in a network of shared information. To cite only an example, Pert explains: "For decades, most people thought of the brain and its extension the central nervous system as an electrical communication system . . . resembling a telephone system with trillions of miles of intricately crisscrossing wires." But new research techniques for studying peptides and receptors show that only 2 percent of neuronal communications are electrical, across a synapse. In fact, she writes, "the brain is a bag of hormones." And those hormones affect not only the brain, but every aspect of body and mind; many memories are stored throughout the body, as changes in the structure of receptors at the cellular level. "The body," Pert concludes, "is the unconscious mind!"

A major part of the book is about publication and persuasion of the work with the top scholars. That a peptide can block the proliferation of HIV was not reproducible at many drug labs leading to rejection of the AIDS drug which actually took the toll of the author.  The last part of the book thus deals with Meditation, Energy flow, positive thoughts and Right food, which is in a sense very much essential to all the learners given the stressful life everyone is facing each day. From political lessons to science of the brain and its training for a stress-free life, this book would prove very useful to science students in particular and all learners in general.  The days can always start with positive notes instead of chorus on chalant issues such as hell, devil, jealousy, prejudice, etc.

Here is what the chapters have to say:
Cell receptors are the interface between emotions and tissue. The cell’s brain is the receptors that float on its membrane. A neuron (nerve cell) may have millions of receptors. Candace Pert has spent her life as a scientist researching the receptors that sit on the cells. She explains how they work in the first chapter of her book. A receptor is a single molecule made up of strings of amino acids, like beads on a necklace, perhaps the most complicated molecule there is. (The 20 known amino acids make up protein and are manufactured in the ribosomes found in every cell.) A receptor vibrates and hums as it changes shape, waiting to pick up messages that diffuse through the fluids surrounding the cells. A ligand is the chemical key that fits in the receptor, in a process called binding, “sex on a molecular level.” About 95 percent of ligands are peptides, smaller strings of amino acids. Examples of peptides are insulin and hormones— excluding the steroid sex hormones. The second type are neurotransmitters such as serotonin, usually made in the brain to carry information across the gap (synapse) between neurons. The third type are steroids including testosterone, progesterone, and estrogen. The chemical exchange of information molecules is a second nervous system, and the most ancient. It allows the different systems to communicate with each other (i.e., the endocrine, neurological, and immune).

Paul MacLean first described the brain as having three layers which represent evolution; first, the brainstem or reptilian brain (responsible for autonomic functions such as breathing and body
temperature). The limbic system encircles the top of the brainstem, the source of emotions and where trauma gets stuck. The cerebral cortex in the forebrain is the place we think and reason. Chimps have 99 percent of the same DNA as we do, but they don’t have a developed frontal cortex. It doesn’t fully develop in humans until the early twenties, useful to know when relating to teenagers. The brain’s food is glucose, carried in the blood, which fuels the neurons to secrete messenger chemicals neurotransmitters and neuropeptides) and the glial cells to work on the nerve endings in an “ongoing sculpting of connections.”199 Pert coined the phrase “molecules of emotion” in response to her finding that 85 to 95 percent of the neuropeptide receptors are found in the emotion centers (limbic structures). They include the amygdala (almond-shaped structures on either side of the forebrain, about an inch into your brain from your earlobes), hippocampus, and limbic cortex. Since the 1920s, researchers were able to stimulate strong emotions by electrically stimulating the limbic cortex over the amygdala. Pert’s group of scientists discovered that high concentrations of neuropeptides exist in most locations (“nodal points”) where information from the five senses enters the nervous system. 

Receptors are also found on immune cells for almost every peptide found in the brain. Thus the immune system can send and receive information from the brain via the peptides, and the brain is another nodal point in the network. “Using neuropeptides as the cue, our body-mind retrieves or represses emotions and behaviors,” since change at the receptor level is the molecular basis of memory.200 Memories are stored in the body, as well as the brain, especially in the receptors between nerves and cell bodies called ganglia. We pay attention to some information and ignore the rest, as otherwise we would be overwhelmed. Pert deduces this means memory processes are emotion-driven and that emotions are peptide ligands. “Peptides are the sheet music containing the notes, phrases, and rhythms that allow the orchestra—your body—to play as an integrated entity.” 

Memory and performance are, therefore, influenced by mood. “Emotional states or moods are produced by the various neuropeptide ligands, and what we experience as an emotion or a feeling is also a mechanism for activating a particular neuronal circuit— simultaneously throughout the brain and body—which generates a behavior.”201 Pert believes there is one kind of peptide for each emotion, just as endorphins are the mechanisms for bliss and bonding. We can consciously influence what goes on in the body, as by visualizing increased blood flow into a body part to increase oxygen and nutrients to nourish the cells. Pert believes “repressed emotions are stored in the body—the unconscious mind—via the release of neuropeptide ligands, and that memories are held in their receptors.”202 Emotions, then, “are at the nexus between matter and mind, going back and forth between the two and influencing both.”203 The immune system is composed of the spleen (the brain of the immune system), the bone marrow, the lymph nodes, and various white blood cells. Pert speculates that meridians may be the pathways followed by immune cells. Some of the immune system cells create antibody molecules to engulf bacteria, virus or tumor cells. Scavenger cells (macrophages which begin in the bone marrow as monocytes) clean up the debris after invaders are killed.

Macrophages also repair and heal tissue. Interferons, similar to antibodies, fight invaders, but they’re peptides made by white blood cells called lymphocytes. (Some are B cells, others are T cells). Ed Blalock found they sometimes secrete endorphin (a mood-altering brain peptide) and a stress hormone, which means the immune system acts like tiny pituitary glands.204 Pert and her team found receptors on immune cells for almost every peptide or drug found in the brain. Immune cells make and secrete neuropeptides, the same brain chemicals that control mood. The immune system can send information to the brain with immunopeptides and receive it through neuropeptides which hook up on receptors, the basis for the new study of psychoneuroimmunology. The brain, glands, and immune system are linked in an intelligent information network of neuropeptides and receptors which create emotions. This means “emotion-affecting peptides, then, actually appear to control routing and migration of monocytes, which are very pivotal to the overall health of the organism.”205 For example, in cancer, neuropeptides (which affect mood and behavior) signal the cancer cell receptors and cause them to grow and travel. Thus, cancer can be fought with peptides to block receptors, as when taxofilen is used against estrogen-dependent breast cancers. Viruses use the same receptors as neuropeptides to enter a cell.

Even if we don’t understand the details of the interaction between emotions and cell receptors, it’s important for healers to know the connection exists and that it can be influenced consciously. Here’s the quantum physics perspective from Deepok Chopra, MD, based on a talk he gave on November 4, 2006 in Chico. Further information is available in his recent books Book of Secrets and Life After Death, his website chopra.com, and his blog choprablog.com. He started an organization to global peace called Alliance for a New Humanity, ANHglobal.org. Chopra contrasts the new science, based on quantum physics, with the old mechanistic, reductionist, deterministic science which believes the development of life and its evolution over eight billion years was an accident, a product of matter. The new science believes there are no accidents because a consciousness pervades the universe which is not basically matter. Sub-atomic particles are fluctuations of energy, not matter. Our senses fool us into thinking what we experience is solid, predictable, and unchanging. What we perceive as matter is mostly empty with fluctuations of energy, information and intelligence.

In fact, we continually rebuild our bodies as atoms flow in and out, including atoms right now that used to be in the body of Jesus, Buddha, Hitler, etc. We make new skin every month, a new skeleton every three months, new DNA every six weeks, so that by the end of next year we will have replaced 98% of the atoms in our bodies. Everything changes although consciousness or soul outlives the death of molecules. Just as a movie or TV picture and reality itself appears to be continuous, it’s actually flashes of off and on at the speed of light. Without the off we wouldn’t perceive. In the quantum world of the off, there is no energy, information, or space and time, no objects. This is called quantum non-locality, as theorized by Bell’s Theorem and proved to be true in 1998. What exists is waves of infinite possibility where everything is connected and synchronized. This explains how events can happen simultaneously, as in the communication between the 100 trillion cells in the body which perform hundreds of thousands of activities each second. However, in this world of probability nothing is certain (Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle). Einstein rejected this notion when Heisenberg presented it to him, saying God doesn’t play dice with the universe. Stephen Hawkins recently said that God does throws dice and, furthermore, places them where we won’t find them. 

Quantum leaps without going through linear space and time provides the basis for creativity in evolution, as when reptiles evolved into birds and chimp ancestors into humans. Einstein’s student John Wheeler said the universe doesn’t exist unless there’s an observer; quantum physics studies the “observer effect” on whether a potential state becomes a wave or a particle. It’s like electricity needs a positive and negative pole to activate. As the observers, we’re thus co-creators with God the creator. The world functions according to these five principles and so does our consciousness or soul, which is non-local or material. We create through uncertainties in a field of infinite possibilities where the space between thoughts is reality, not the sensations. We create our own reality with our thoughts, intention, awareness, what we focus on, and meditative exploration of the inner world.






Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Hidden Reality - Brian Greene - Review


In his earlier book "The Elegant Universe" he was after the multi-dimensions of the Universe, stressing upon the unseen factors responsible for several unaccounted observations, including speed of light. A staunch approver of strings theory, he starts with the Theory of Relativity and the Quantum aspects of the observations a Physicist would do to make the educated understand the Universe.
He suggests proof for Multiverse, both Mathematically and logically. For instance using Planck's units he estimates about 10^124 Universes!!! Suggesting, therefore, that we are not alone in the Universe. By the same measurements he estimates the amount of information contained in a region of space stored in any object of any design as always less than the area of the surface that surrounds the region. An example quoted is a hard disk with about 10^70 bits equivalent to about a billion, Trillion, Trillion, Trillion, Trillion Tera bytes!
There is also a similar calculation on the number of operations a brain can (out)perform - 10^14 to 10^17 operations/second, while the fastest Super computer presently can do about 10^12 of them.
Occasional mention about Schrodinger, Bohr, Einstein and Heisenberg adds to the credibility of the book. Bohr, always over Schrodinger, would talk about wave collapse the moment you see it (making it disappear), only to be counter viewed by the famous thought experiment of Schrodinger.
Spread over 11 chapters he describes about Nine type of Universes errr...Multiverse viz:
1. Quilted Multiverse: Conditions in an infinite universe necessarily repeat across space, yielding parallel worlds.
2. Inflationary Multiverse: Eternal cosmological inflation yields an enormous network of bubble universes, of which our universe would be one.
3. Brane Multiverse: In string/M-theory's braneworld scenario, our universe exists on one 3D-brane, which floats in a higher-dimensional expanse potentially populated by other branes - other parallel universes.
4. Cyclic Multiverse: Collisions between braneworlds can manifest as big bang-like beginnings, yielding universes that are parallel in time.
5. Landscape Multiverse: By combing inflationary cosmology and string theory, the many different shapes for string theory's extra dimensions give rise to many different bubble universes.
6. Quantum Multiverse: Quantum mechanics suggests that every possibility embodied in its probability waves is realized in one of a vast ensemble of parallel universes.
7. Holographic Multiverse: The holographic principle asserts that our universe is exactly mirrored by phenomena taking place on a distant bounding surface, a physically equivalent parallel universe.
8. Simulated Multiverse: Technological leaps suggest that simulated universes may one day be possible.
9. Ultimate Multiverse: The principle of fecundity asserts that every possible universe is a real universe, thereby obviating the question of why one possibility - ours - is special. These universes instantiate all possible mathematical equations.
With lots of theoretical information from books and a few movies on science (fiction), this book would make an interesting reading with flying thoughts around the 'Multiverse'.