Interests: Pivotal Concepts in Science, Retired Professor
I obtained a B.S. in chemistry from Duke University in 1961 and entered the Navy. After four years in the Navy (two years with Underwater Demolition Team 21) I returned to school at NCSU and got a Ph. D. in the area of Plant Physiology. As a graduate student at NCSU, I had been trying to understand how enzymes lower the activation energies of reactions. Then what became obsessive questions emerged: What is energy? and Why does matter possess relative movement?
“Snakes In a Box”
As a young kid my Uncles told me that my Grandfather had found two snakes eating each other. Each had the other’s tail in its mouth. He placed them in a secure box and when he opened the box the next day, it was empty. The snakes had eaten each other! Try as hard as I could, I could not visualize how it could have happened. But it had to be true, my trusted Uncles had told me.
I entered college with the same faith in my professors and encountered concepts such as the dual nature of light that I could not reconcile. Later, an acquaintance asked: “Why do you think you are wrong and are just unable to grasp such foundational concepts?” From that point my quest has become to understand: What is the structure of the Universe that makes our laws and theories useful? This approach is different from trying to disprove or support a law or theory.
Laws and theories are not logical necessities but empirical associations derived from observations in the distributions of matter. Thus, the ultimate unit of matter should represent the ultimate reference point. If one had a grasp of the ultimate components of a system, it should be possible, in theory, to envision a structure for the system that accounts for the phenomena as detected at the observational level. This type of rational has been an influence in man’s quest to understand the workings of nature for a long time. However, since the musings of Democritus, storehouses of scientific observations have been accumulated that provide a background of information available for interpretation and reinterpretation. Sometimes a better understanding of a previously conducted experiment is as valuable as a new experiment. (See the Ultimate Components presented under William Blackmon @ http://www.Researchgate.net.)
Listed below are some “Snakes in a Box” for which Pivotal Concepts (See http://www.pivotalconceptsinscience.com ) offers explanations.
1. Matter and energy are inter-convertible, i.e. E0 = m0c2.
2. The speed of light c is independent of the relative motion of the source and observer.
3. Light is both a wave and a particle – the dual nature of light.
4. A light signal traveling in a vacuum at c undergoes a reduction in speed when it enters a transparent medium, but resumes the speed c upon exit back into the vacuum.
5. Regardless of the intensity of a source, the velocity of energy released never exceeds c, and the radiation component from a source only occurs at c.
6. In the area of optics, signal transmission may be represented by rays, which may change directions, be divided, and recombined.
And the snakes in the box? --- They were virtual quantum snakes of course!