Dec 02

Wall Walkers

Okay for this post I am going to take a vacation from a direct writing themed post and move into the strange world of quantum mechanics. If you are afraid of science and more specifically the strange world of the sub atomic then stop reading now. Turn away quickly and reassure yourself that the world isn’t as strange as quantum mechanics paints it out to be. For those of you who have stayed, let’s take a quirky look at why we can’t walk through walls.

When people ponder about walking through walls they always begin with the premise of all that empty space that exists between atoms and sub atomic particles. Obviously, they argue that a human being which is made up of these atoms and should also be mostly empty space. With that being said, it seems logical that if we could align our mostly empty space with the walls non-empty space (neutrons, protons, and electrons) then we should be able to walk through the wall. Unfortunately, this does not happen and I am going to tell you why. It is still not too late to turn back before the weirdness of the next paragraph.

The reason we cannot walk through the wall is based on probability and quantum mechanics. In a nut shell, an electron is not in just a single spot but rather exists in all space within its frequency (orbital shell) until it is looked at and forced into a single location. Okay if you are scratching your head right now, then you may not be familiar with the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle which states that we cannot know both the momentum and location of a given particle. Okay that is a little weird but now it is going to get weirder.

In quantum mechanics, an object can actually be in multiple places at the exact same time. The particle will actually be in every possible location at the same time until we force it to be in one location by observing it. As long as we do not look, it is in every possible location which if you make the mental jump means that the empty space has just become much less empty. In fact, due to the quantum effect, what we thought of as empty space would actually behave as solid space provided we are not looking at it.

So back to the wall, the same effect is occurring and when we try to walk through the wall it effectively is solid non empty space trying to pass through solid non empty space. There is no magical loophole and no way of phasing through the wall in a trillion to one chance alignment. However, there may be a way to get around this. If you could observe every particle in both your body and the wall simultaneously, then and only then, would there be empty space through which we may phase through the wall. We do not have the technology to do that right now, but who knows maybe we will in a thousand years.


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    1. Kaylin

      Kudos! What a neat way of thinnkig about it.

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    1. Chassidy

      Good point. I hadn’t tohguht about it quite that way. :)

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  6. Jeff Camera

    Glad I noticed this on google .

  7. Shane Locker

    Oh the duality :-P
    How does the saying go? Oh yes, “If you think you know Quantum Mechanics, clearly you don’t.”
    Good read thanks :-)

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