Professor Brian Cox recently guested at a morning tv show called “This Morning” at ITV. Brian Cox, the foppish scientist, was actually a member of a pop group sensation of the early to mid 90s, called D:REAM. He was the key board player. This was a part-time interest while he was being a particle physicist at the University of Manchester.
Today, Brian Cox has more or less left the music industry. He is now well and truly a member of the academia. He now works at CERN, Geneva.
The high brow Professor Cox has not completely left his pop star image; instead he is now the new face of popular science in Britain. He is often found fronting documentaries about science particularly things that have something to do with Particle Physics. I must say he’s got the knack of making high faluting subjects, brain numbing topics, to sound interesting and can be understood by viewers from all walks of life.
During his guest appearance at This Morning, Prof Cox revealed that teleportation is no longer a science fiction. It is already happening and being applied at this very minute.
He further said that we will be able to teleport ourselves to work or anywhere in the universe just like in Startrek.
I am not sure whether professor Cox has really seen Startrek or knows the science of Startrek.
According to Startrek, teleporting is done by replication. You go through a pattern buffer in the transporter. Your original molecules and atoms are stored there but replicated and teleported to wherever you wanted to be.
What if during teleportation, the original does not completely separate from the replicant, you will be left thoeritically with twin entities! Bizarre.
Apparently “real” teleportation does not do copies. The real thing is teleported to appear somewhere else. At the moment scientists are working on teleporting atoms and molecules and this has been a success and the mass being teleported is getting bigger and bigger all the time.
Mark Twain so famously quoted that we can be sure of two things in life; taxes & death!
The great Bard William Shakespeare in his play Hamlet portrays death as “the dread of something after death. The undiscovered country, from whose bourn No traveller returns, puzzles the will“.
As humans we are aware and cognitive that death exists. Many believe that after physical death, there is another existence that awaits us. Tens of thousands of years ago early hominids such as stone age and Neanderthals buried their dead in graves with items such as food, stone tools etc that served them in life and it was hoped would serve them in the afterlife.
The Ancient Egyptians are the most famous culture to have an all encompassing belief in the after life and made elaborate preparations to ensure that the royal pharaonic spirit ascends to a better plane of existence leading the way for all. Various pagan religions evolved their own concept of what constituted an afterlife whether good or bad. i.e. the Norse had Valhalla, a great hall where the spirits of heroic warriors ascend to.
Our modern concept of Heaven & Hell has it’s roots in the Persian religion of Zoroastrianism. Judaism and Christianity absorbed these concepts and in various ways adapted for their faiths.
Christianity introduced a kind of ‘half way house’ after death, it is called Purgatory. It is where the soul(spirit) of a recently deceased person temporarily resides in place of purification or temporary punishment awaiting to ascend to Heaven or descend to Hell after they purge their sins.
Philosophers whether professional or amateur like to debate the big question of what happens after we die. They encompass this with Why Are We Here? Why Do we Exist? Is There any Purpose To Us Being? Whether there is a God or Deity that directs us or not.
We now in the 21st Century look for science to explain all in life and now beyond!
Scientists, physicists and medical doctors are looking more at how are minds work, what is consciousness? How can it be defined be defined?. Does this consciousness survive after our physical bodies die? What is a soul/spirit? Does part or all of our consciousness contain a soul or spirit?
Could our consciousness be ‘our’ spirit/soul in toto and although somehow separate interact through our physical brain?
Atheists deny such things as an afterlife, heaven etc., or that there is a spirit or soul within us.
To be logical they should separate any religious connotation from the concept of the possibility of another plane of existence after our lives here are ended. Such an existence may have nothing to do with religious dogma, but be a scientific reality that we are as yet not mentally and technologically advanced enough to discover.
We are on that path now, to be sure. Science is now beginning to seriously looking at these big questions once the exclusive domain of philosophers.
Continuing medical and allied technical innovation can measure and observe more deeply what is happening in our bodies, including the brain, the seat of our consciousness. Doctors are measuring more accurately the point of actual death. Death is measured by diminishing brain activity. Recently for example, in mice it was found that some minutes after death there is an increase in brain activity. Scientists/academics are divided on what this means. Whether the brain’s neurons are firing in a final burst before death, or is this activity a precursor to otherwise undetectable activity. Some academics think that this ‘burst’ is only the final farewell of the brain and our minds/consciousness before oblivion.
This activity may also give rise to the well documented Near Death Experiences (NDEs) of some hospital patients recovering from near fatal life threatening accidents, illness etc. These patients from many cultures across the globe recall seeing themselves leaving their physical bodies and looking down on the efforts of medical staff to resuscitate them. some state that they saw a ‘tunnel’ and travel through it towards a bright light. Near this bright light, some reported having religious experiences or meeting relatives who have previously died and are there to greet them. The patients are then ‘told’ or urged to return to their life. They wake up recalling vivid details of their experience. Again divided academics come up with theories such as hallucinations of a dying brain triggered by certain chemicals.
Other academics point out that these experiences are too vivid to be a dream state and many don’t remember their dreams, especially in such detail. Some of the NDE survivors apparently give details about the event that they could not have known about as they were deeply unconscious. Examples such as witnessing conversations between the resuscitating medical staff or the unique clothes some were wearing. Also why are all the experiences consistently similar from world wide NDE survivors?
Are the NDEs proof or indication of the separation of our consciousness from the physical brain at death, or indeed some chemical reaction of a dying brain?
A question would be why such a reaction exists at the point of death? A chemical reaction causing NDE has no survival or life value as other of the brain’s reactions/activities?
This is where an advanced and relatively new branch of science may provide intriguing clues of what happens to us when we die. Quantum Physics can be described as the science of the unusual and strange.
What happens at the subatomic and quantum level is slowly being uncovered layer by layer. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) leads the way in mining to quantum level of particles that make us, our world and universe.
In essence, particles at the quantum level act in strange and diverse ways sometimes at variance to classical science models. Some particles can simultaneously act on others of their kind that are stretched across the universe! Others particles seem to leap into existence and disappear in a tiny fraction of a second. Where they come from & go to is not known at present. One theory gaining credence, is that a our universe is not alone. Some physicists and theoreticians believe that there are many universes (so called Multiverses) that coexist with ours.
Now some medical doctors and physicists using the uber complicated quantum theories developed by scientific luminaries such as Sir Roger Penrose, are trying to discover what our consciousness may be made up of and even what may happen to it after physical death. Very basically, at a quantum level, our consciousness is thought to exist in ‘microtubules’ within the brain and interacts with our physical world. At death our quantum level consciousness may ultimately may travel via ‘tunnels’ to another universe or existence.
If this is so, would we be aware of any previous lives?
Hmmm, playing at amateur philosophy! I think that if this quantum related theory is true then possibly our memories, and experiences of this life remain in a kind of chemical and neuron storage within our living brains, but when we physically die they become lost. However, our consciousness now unfettered from the physical brain & past memories etc., moves on to it’s next life/existence.
With the ever increasing evolution of computers and computing power, scientists predict that we may in the next decade witness the creation of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Indeed AI may eventually exceed the intelligence of humans. Will this super AI answer the Big Questions in life (and death!)?
Will AI develop a consciousness like humans, or remain algorithmically detached from emotions and such?
I enjoy trying out SIRI the cool voice interactive intelligent and knowledge personal assistant and navigator on my iPhone. For fun I asked it “is there life after death?”
After some silence and searching the vastness of the WWW, SIRI stated that “It does not separate silicon from the Soul” 😉
In my favourite comedy sci fi TV series, ‘Red Dwarf’, the android character called ‘Kryton’, stated that he and other robots believed in a ‘Silicon Heaven’.:)
The subject of survival post life and quantum physics is a very complex subject to go into detail here and I urge you Dear Reader to ‘Google’ NDEs, Life after Death Quantum physics, there are many fascinating and thought-provoking articles out there on the Web.
Finally, I guess we will never know until we individually make that (hopefully a very long way off!) final journey to that ‘Undiscovered Country’.
Edward Jenner was born in Berkeley, Gloucestershire on 17 May 1749, the son of the local vicar. At the age of 14, he was apprenticed to a local surgeon and then trained in London. In 1772, he returned to Berkeley and spent most the rest of his career as a doctor in his native town.
In 1796, he carried out his now famous experiment on eight-year-old James Phipps. Jenner inserted pus taken from a cowpox pustule and inserted it into an incision on the boy’s arm. He was testing his theory, drawn from the folklore of the countryside, that milkmaids who suffered the mild disease of cowpox never contracted smallpox, one of the greatest killers of the period, particularly among children. Jenner subsequently proved that having been inoculated with cowpox Phipps was immune to smallpox. He submitted a paper to the Royal Society in 1797 describing his experiment, but was told that his ideas were too revolutionary and that he needed more proof. Undaunted, Jenner experimented on several other children, including his own 11-month-old son. In 1798, the results were finally published and Jenner coined the word vaccine from the Latin ‘vacca’ for cow.
Jenner was widely ridiculed. Critics, especially the clergy, claimed it was repulsive and ungodly to inocculate someone with material from a diseased animal. A satirical cartoon of 1802 showed people who had been vaccinated sprouting cow’s heads. But the obvious advantages of vaccination and the protection it provided won out, and vaccination soon became widespread. Jenner became famous and now spent much of his time researching and advising on developments in his vaccine. Jenner carried out research in a number of other areas of medicine and was also keen on fossil collecting and horticulture. He died on 26 January 1823.
I’ve heard it before from renowned scientists, on their days off prattling on about quantum physics, quantum theory, quantum mechanics, quantum teleportation, quantum information in some of the thousands of documentaries that Peter made me watch. LOL
If something can’t be explained, they seem to add “quantum” to it and people, like me, who do not have a clue what is all about have to accept it as a gospel.
Anyway I can remember vividly that you can travel into the future but there is no way you can travel back into the past. It has something to do with Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.
So make sure you enjoy and do things right in your present because you can’t redo or make it right when they pass. What is past is past!
Building a time machine “is possible” claims Professor Brian Cox
Time machines similar to Doctor Who’s Tardis are possible, Professor Brian Cox said in a speech at the British Science Festival.
By Rob Waugh | Yahoo! News – 20 hours ago
Press Association Images – The TARDIS at Terminal 5 of Heathrow Airport in London as part of a summer promotion with Doctor Who and BBC Worldwide.
TV’s Professor Brian CoxTime machines similar to Dr Who’s Tardis are possible, Professor Brian Cox said in a speech at the British Science Festival.
“Can you build a time machine?” said Professor Cox. “The answer is yes.”
There’s just one, tiny problem, Professor Cox says – if you can build a machine capable of time-travel, you can only travel into the future. You can’t come back.
Professor Cox also suggested that research at the LHC might uncover extra dimensions – thus, perhaps finally explaining how the Tardis is bigger on the inside.
Professor Cox , a Dr Who fan, is to deliver a 60-minute speech on Dr Who to be screened by the BBC on November 23 – tackling questions such as extraterrestrial life, travelling to other dimensions and time travel.
Professor Cox says that time travel is possible, and has already been done – albeit at a very small scale. The technology to accelerate something as big as a police box to near light speed does not yet exist.
Professor Cox says that, armed with such technology, “You can go into the future; you’ve got almost total freedom of movement in the future.”
To “travel” forward in time, you simply need to accelerate to speeds close to the speed of light, Cox says – as you get close to that speed, time slows down, but only for you, according to Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity.
“If you go fast, your clock runs slow relative to people who are still. As you approach the speed of light, your clock runs so slow you could come back 10,000 years in the future,” said Professor Cox.
Cox said previously on Conan O’Brien’s chat show that travel into the past was “impossible”, saying, “You can travel into the future as fast as you like. You can’t travel into the past.”
But in his speech in Birmingham, the physicist went into more detail – suggesting that “wormholes” often used in science fiction as portals through time may not offer a simple way to travel into the past.
“In General Relativity, you can do it in principle. It’s to do with building these things called wormholes; shortcuts through space and time. But most physicists doubt it. Hawking came up with the ‘chronology protection conjecture’ – physics we don’t yet understand that means wormholes are not stable.”
Travelling between different dimensions, though, might be easier – a relief for the Doctor, for whom “transdimensional engineering” was a key part of the Tardis.
Cox says, “We look for extra dimensions at the LHC (Large Hadron Collider). You can imagine extra dimensions in space, and that we are living on a sheet of higher dimensional space.”
Whether this explains how the interior of the Tardis is “dimensionally transcendental” – bigger on the inside – will perhaps be revealed in Cox’s speech on the 23rd.
There is current research and study about the effect of full moon on sleep.
According to this ongoing research may prove, as many have thought through the ages, that the moon can affect us in subtle ways, particularly when we sleep.
Instead of having serene dreams more likely Selene stifles dreams!
In the past the full moon was believed to affect mental stability and mad people were sometimes called lunatics, a word derived from lunar, the moon.
It is not really surprising that the moon affects the inhabitants of Earth. The pull and movement of the moon circling Earth through gravity, could affect our moods.
Moon ‘seems to influence sleep’
Press – Thu, Jul 25, 2013Association
The Moon Press Association – Full moons could lead to sleepless nights, research suggests
Given its links with werewolves, vampires and witchcraft, it may not be surprising that the full moon is associated with restless nights.
But now researchers have found scientific evidence that the lunar cycle really does influence sleep.
Just as the myth says, when the full moon is high it is harder to slumber soundly, a study has shown. But the bad night has nothing to do with the moon’s eerie glow, or its gravitational influence.
Rather, scientists believe an internal clock that follows the cycles of the moon may be hardwired into our genes.
It ticks away even on the darkest of cloudy nights, when the moon cannot be seen.
“The lunar cycle seems to influence human sleep, even when one does not ‘see’ the moon and is not aware of the actual moon phase,” said psychiatrist Dr Christian Cajochen, from the University of Basel, Switzerland.
His team studied 33 young and old volunteers whose brain waves, eye movements and hormone secretions were monitored as they slept. Around the time of the full moon, brain activity related to deep sleep dropped by 30%, the researchers found.
Participants took five minutes longer than normal to fall asleep, and slept for 20 minutes less time on average during the night. They also showed reduced levels of melatonin, the “body clock” hormone that regulates sleep and wake cycles.
Questioned by the scientists, the volunteers said they felt their sleep was poorer when the moon was full.
The findings are published in the journal Current Biology.