Re: Conversion of Energy into Matter

Posted by Pasti on Mar 07, 2004 at 23:11

Re: Conversion of Energy into Matter (Whitestar)

"I recently read an article on the net about the conversion of energy into matter. Michael Pidwirny, the guy who wrote it claimed that it might one day be a useful means of teleportation like in Star Trek. Here is a direct quote from him:
And here is the website:"

You must be joking, surely.Since when does a geology professor have any detailed knowledge/expertise of quantum mechanics and quantum field theory?
If I were you, I would look for articles written by someone more closely related to these fields, a physicist maybe...

The pair production mechanism described by your geologist has its own importance in termes of elementary particle physics,but to make the leap from pair production to Star Trek's food replicators and teleportation gizmos is a very, VERY far cry.
Let me put it this way,it is the geologist's view of teleportation, so don't raise your hopes.

For the time being, the best "teleportation" achieved(and we can dwell on the issue of whether the term "teleportation" is appropriate)is the teleportation of the spin of one electron to another electron.It is a long way from this to having your favorite burger delivered by a food replicator of sorts.

"If the mass of a person is converted into energy in an uncontrolled way (eg, collision with a very large amount of antimatter, destroying every proton, neutron and electron in your body) then the information that is encoded on the gamma rays (usually) released will be lost."

Not necessarily.The major question is whether this process indeed captures the entire information about that human being. See below.

"In a controlled conversion, you could in principle convert the entire body to energy one particle at a time, and then read off the whole state and transmit it. But there are two problems with this:
1) A tremendous amount of data needs to be sent. In "The Physics of Star Trek" author Lawerence Krauss calculates the approximate amount, about 10,000 light-years to the center of the galaxy!
2) The amount of time this takes."

Just for the sake of it, light-years is a measure of distance, not of amount of information.Information is still measured in bits,or, to use the dedicated lingo of quantum information,q-bits.

And yes, you are right.It is a lot of info, and it takes a lot of time to transmit it, using today's technology.However,the quantum information people are still investigating if this thing is possible, even in theory.

"However, current thought in neuroscience is that the "personailty/consciousness" is not at all QM, and thus there is no need to break someone down to a subatomic level and read their Quantum State. Instead, it is simply enough to know there chemical structure - and copy it at that resolution."

This is who's oppinion about quantum mechanics?Chemistry is the classical counterpart (read approximation)of quantum chemistry, which is, guess what?Only quantum mechanics.
So you don't want to perform an approximate teleportation of a human being,whatever that means.In the end,you will need the same amount of information.

So this "conciousness/personality" approach that you mention is bogus, and it stems out of the ignorance of someone in chemistry,let alone quantum mechanics.

"This means there are no "no cloning" problems, much less data to handle, and no need to destroy the original (given sufficient technology to do the scanning)."

This is bogus.And just for the record,even if teleportation as you describe it were possible,the "scanning" problem that you mention is not even at the conceptual level, let alone technological implementation.

"This would allow you to create "clones" - you could send copies of yourself "over the radio", while you stay safe at home. (Greg Egan's Diaspora talks about this at an AI level - the AI programs clone themselves and send themselves all over the place)"

This tends to become like football.Everyone has an oppinion, but very few actually play it.And no offense to the "AI people", but they are not exactly the beacons of science when it comes to quantum mechanics.Before being amazed by their wisodm, try to inform yourself better.

"Now if you turn each person into energy, you get a cloud of gamma rays expanding outwards. There is nothing that would make them spontaneously reform the person - even if you reflected them backwards, they would not neccessarily create the original particles."

Huh?You are confusing light propagation with what is called the "direction" of a process at quantum level(see what Feynman diagrams mean).
And your reasoning is too simplistic to stand.How you "scan" a person is a process that must not necessarily yield a cloud of gamma rays.As a matter of fact,it'd better not yield rays, but individual photons of definite spin orientation (photons are bosons, they have spin 1), and correlated between them according to certain patterns, etc.
But the process necessarily has to be different from something like snapping your fingers and poof, a human being readily transforms in a bunch of crazy photons moving randomly.

"It is much more likely that teleportation would involve sending the information that can be gleaned from the gamma rays, and then having the information used by a base station to construct the person, more mechanically."

That is pretty much the ideea.

"In my view, when your body is destroy, you die. End of story. What comes out of the teleporter is an exact copy, with all your memories etc, and no knowledge that it isn't you, but it isn't. No one would ever notice the problem, so it only affects you when it happens. Unless, if you believe in souls, there are "conservation of souls" problems to deal with - does the same soul follow the body around?"

Let's stick to physics, and forget about the more esoteric ideeas like "soul consevation", whatever that might be.For the time being no one knows what soul is and whether it exists, let alone its conservation.
Before even considering such an ideea,think about this issue:for this teleportation thing to work, you need to beam a living being into another living being.And even the most advanced theorists in the field cannot say if teleportation, as they study it today,can do that.

Heck, we are not yet able to build a living cell from "parts", so to speak (to my knowledge, and if Thermus Aquaticus will read this,he could confirm or infirm if this knoledge of mine is up to date or not), but we already make plans of polluting the universe with clones.
Ain't human mind is a strange thing!

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