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The Quantum Mind: Science Behind the Story

by Ventomology


I had so much fun with The Quantum Mind. But before I start babbling math and science at everyone, I’ll take a moment to thank everyone who reviewed me. You guys really helped out while I was wrangling my brain looking for a smart way to tie up the loose ends.

So now I get to have my fun. I realize that not everyone acts like a fifty-year-old physicist and listens to NPR. And sorry to everyone whose questions were left unanswered. I actually planned on writing this, so I decided to be a jerk and not explain all of my math and science references.

I’ll start with Chapter 1. I set the date using the Lyrid meteor shower, which always in late April. I received a comment about what happens after a meteor after entering earth’s atmosphere, but I was unable to confirm whether a meteor would stop emitting light once it got close enough to earth’s surface. I can, however explain the science behind meteorites and let you decide for yourself. When a meteor enters earth’s atmosphere, it is traveling incredibly fast. After all, the vacuum of space has no friction to slow it down. At these speeds, air is compressed in front of the meteor. In gases, pressure creates heat, so all the heat results in the air, and sometimes the meteor, catching on fire. I suppose that as air friction slowed the meteor down, pressure would lessen and the flame would die, but it all depends on the meteor’s shape and speed.

Now for chapter 2. In this chapter, we see Yvette discussing base eight with Mr. Wills. Now, among all the topics I was asked about, this was actually the one people were most confused about. And I know why: no one ever talks about number systems these days. Unless you write computer code, which I doubt. So instead of talking about base eight, I’ll talk about two number systems we’re all far more familiar with: Base ten and base two.

We normally count in base ten. It has ten digits, zero, one, two, three, and so on until you get to nine. After that, you stick a one in front of the zero and start counting again. We add a new digit every time we max out the number of nines in the number (everything is in powers of ten!). After 99 is 100, and after 999 is 1000. So with base two, which is better known as binary, we count like so: 0, 1, 10, 11, 100, 101… Notice that 2 is 10, and 4 is 100. This correlates to base ten in what way? Well, in base ten, we add a new digit with every power or ten, and with base two, we add a new digit with every power of two. So with base eight, which is the number system Yvettel uses on her home planet, there’ll be eight digits, zero through seven, and every power of 8 gets a new digit. (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11 and so on)

Goodness, that’s always a draining subject. Bet you didn’t expect so much math on a literary website! Next are chapters 4 and 5, during which Noel has had her dopamine production altered by Theo. Now, dopamine is actually a chemical produced by dopamine neurons when they activate. Dopamine neurons activate when something unexpectedly good happens. In our culture, we typically think of the drugs that activate these neurons (part of why some drugs are addictive), but normal things like ice cream can also activate dopamine neurons. When one thing repeatedly activates dopamine neurons, it begins to lose its effect. For example: if I eat some ice cream right now, I’ll get a sort of high from the dopamine being produced. But if I continue eating ice cream everyday, the ‘high’ I get from it is lessened until ice cream is no longer considered ‘unexpectedly good’. In the case of the book though, it was just Theo subconsciously messing with Noel’s dopamine production in order to make sure she stayed happy.

In chapter 6, we have our first encounter with the effects of the quantum device on the bystanders. Carrie and Lillian are both shown to be colder physically than normal because the quantum particles that Theo got into them had to adjust a few things in order to stay around. Quantum particles require temperatures very close to absolute zero, around a point where atoms reach the Bose-Einstein condensate. In this state of matter, atoms are so close together that their electron shells can overlap-something that is normally impossible. And in this strange state of matter, atoms can also be in two places at once.

Quantum physics is a pain though, and not only encompasses weird state phenomena from the uber-cold side of things, but also what happens when we go beyond atoms and look at electrons and other subatomic particles. Electrons specifically, are capable of the immediate transportation that Yvette mentions. Inside an atom, there are multiple electron shells (But not in Hydrogen or Helium). Depending on how much energy an electron has, it will appear in a different shell. It is actually the falling of electrons between shells that makes Neon and the other noble gases glow when an electric current is run through them. This works for other elements as well, but the noble gases are the best example.

Anyway, when electrons jump between shells, they do not cross the empty space between shells, but rather just appear in which ever shell they jumped to. There is no in-between. This is what convinced scientists that such transportation is possible. And scientists have successfully transported special subatomic particles across distances by creating twin particles and using them in a way similar to ‘twin telepathy’. Whatever happens to one particle happens to the other, and this phenomena can be used to recreate a particle that was near the original twin by the other of the twin particles. Afterwards, the particles aside from whatever was recreated are all destroyed and become energy.

And I believe that I have covered all of the weirder sciences in The Quantum Mind. If there are any other questions, please ask. I will be happy to answer them.


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Sun Dec 29, 2013 6:38 pm
lostthought wrote a review...



Hey, here to review. Well, first off, I am unsure how to nitpick this since it isn't an actually story but it is something in the written word describing the math behind your story. Well anyhow I didn't see anything wrong with it. I would say the numbers but I am pretty sure they are essential for this. I have no more nitpickings.

Well, past the nitpickings, I now kinda want to read the rest of Quantum Mind now. I never got around to it earlier along the line. Well I might now. I say you should work up the guts to get this published. Yes, yes, I know. I haven't even read it yet and how would I know if it was good, and all that. Let's just say I have fate that you wrote it brilliantly.

Hello forty-year old nerd. You do realize that you are a tad bit too old for this website? :p I have never heard of a Lyrid meteor shower before. Must be interesting to watch. The base eight thing is quite confusing though. So it ends at 8 and then it gains a new digit? I think I like ours better. Not as confusing.

Why would Theo mess around with Noel's dopamine to make her happy? Happiness is good but being happy all the time isn't exactly I what I would call a good thing. Are those two physically cold because they've been messing around with quantum particles or because of something else? I agree with you when you say Quantum Physics is a pain. Well, keep writing!

~lost




Ventomology says...


Well, I'm not forty, it was just me joking around. (Because really, I don't know any other teenagers who listen to public radio)
And as for the questions you had at the end, they are fairly easy to infer by the end of Quantum Mind, and the coldness is a huge part of the plot.
Thanks for reading!



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Sun Dec 29, 2013 6:18 pm
Gummy wrote a review...



This is... actually very interesting! I actually want to become a physicist when I finish college, and I'm a bit more fond of numbers than most people my age. It's good to know there's always someone who speaks geek too! I was actually studying covalent and ionic bonds in my Chemistry class... You know, before winter break? I understood the topic and why every compound wants to look like a noble gas.

Wow, that was a long intro! Please forgive me for my geek moment. Anyway, onto my review! Gummy's my name, reviewing's my-- wait. Let's try another intro. Hey, Vsauce! Gummy here! Today I'm going to review "The Quantum Mind: Science Behind the Story", by Buggiedude2340.

Now, I haven't read the story this article is based off of, but the topic was clear and understandable enough for me to enjoy it anyway! The grammar is pristine and it was really interesting! I particularly enjoyed the part about the number sequences! Base 2, Base 8, hexadecimal (Base 16)... I find these other ways of organizing the natural numbers very interesting, especially because of their use in areas like computer programming.

You constantly kept the reader engaged and challenged, which is something I really liked about this article. You can expect me to read the story it's based off of and more of your other works very soon! As always, take care, keep writing, and remember that the key is to keep practicing!




Ventomology says...


Ooh! I love chemistry too! (Except for naming compounds because that's boring and we spent pretty much an entire semester on it... Ick.)
Oh, and thanks for reading this! (it's actually the most popular of my works, which was quite a surprise to me.)



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Sun Dec 29, 2013 6:45 am
Sinaryn says...



I haven't read the story, but after reading this I might go back and do so. All of this is a bit over my head, but I found it very interesting! Science has always fascinated me, especially the complicated bits, even if I do have trouble understanding them. Thank you for the enlightenment! :D




Ventomology says...


Oh, thanks so much for reading this!



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Sat Dec 21, 2013 9:07 pm
Aley wrote a review...



Hello. I'm going to attempt to review this to help you create a document that you could include with Quantum Mind if it was published so that this can get some reviews.

First off, I think it is very impressive that you are including so much science in your work. I love it. More people need to understand science to include it in fiction instead of just jumping to 'It's magic.' Even magic has a science. Thank you for putting in such great effort.

I feel like this document could go two ways if it were to be included with Quantum Mind being published. You could include these things as footnotes at the end of the book, with numbers in the text to explain them. This is the set up you have closest right now, however, some people would argue that if a book is going to be published, and it needs footnotes to begin with, it is too complicated and it doesn't need to be included at all. I think that's wrong, personally, but that's how people are sometimes.
To make this better for footnotes, take out some of the wordy places. I'll pull out your explanation for Chapter 2 and use that as an example section. I'll use the second paragraph for that section because the first section would be covered using the note-number. They would know where it is.

Underlined = 'wordy'
[Commentary]

We normally count in base ten[I am not sure of many people who can actually count binary in their head, so I think normally is removable. If they're reading this explanation, they probably won't count in binary without serious thought]. It has ten digits, zero, one, two, three, and so on until you get to nine. After that, you stick a one in front of the zero and start counting again. We add a new digit every time we max out the number of nines in the number (everything is in powers of ten!). After 99 is 100, and after 999 is 1000. So with base two, which is better known as binary, we count like so: 0, 1, 10, 11, 100, 101… Notice that 2 is 10, and 4 is 100. This correlates to base ten in what way? Well, in base ten,[because] we add a new digit with every [']power['] or ten, and with base two, we add a new digit with every power of two. So with base eight, which is the number system Yvettel uses on her home planet, there’ll be eight digits, zero through seven, and every power of 8 gets a new digit. (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11 and so on)

It is good to have the two examples in a document where you can take the time to really explore all of the different ways that these things work, but if this was a footnote, you would want to put a quick explanation of our counting system, powers, and then go into comparing to their system.

For this document you have a very conversational tone. You use words like So, we, etc. which really brings a comradery out in the text, however, if you were to actually publish this as footnotes, you would need to take that out.

The other option, since footnotes is not what this was intended for, would be to publish it as a separate book altogether, or a sort of science appendix. If this was the case, or the direction you wanted to go with it, you would need to beef up quite a bit of these sections. While it is good to have quick sections to explain each thing, you should go into more backed up scientific detail. Include links, or information from outside articles which you would site so that people have the option to look up these things themselves. Also, while you might include them in the order that people would run into them in the book, it would not be necessary to say "In Chapter 2, etc." and you could name each section by what you are covering. This would give an outside reader a chance to look at the upcoming information in the novel and read this before they read Quantum Mind, sort of as a 'sneak peek.'

One of the main sections which I think needs more elaboration is how you set the date according to the shower. I can't say I've read Quantum Mind enough to remember it, [I think I did attempt to read it once to review] so I don't know if you go into that somehow in the story, but I think a very good thing you could point out is that people in Victorian England actually experienced a Meteor which lasted for a long time in the sky. Some painters put it into their paintings to show exactly when it was because it was a once in a lifetime thing.

Anyway, I think I'm rambling now. Really cool idea. I love that you've collected your knowledge of science and applied it. Keep it up! GO SCI FI!




Ventomology says...


Oh... Well I probably should have studied more on the meteor bit... (I tried asking an astrophysicist but...) Anyway, thanks for reading my article! I sort of thought of it as being an author's note sort of thing, which is why I worded it the way I did, but your suggestions are super cool. If I actually bucked up the courage to send Quantum Mind to a publisher, I'd definitely take your advice on the footnotes idea.
Thanks so much!



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Sun Dec 15, 2013 4:03 pm
Maximilia says...



Awesome read: I'm a science geek in secret (though they go hand in hand, I'm not too big on math). It's refreshing to find on here. And it's introduced me to your series!

Yay!




Ventomology says...


Thanks for reading this! I was worried no one would find it.



Maximilia says...


Too welcome, indeed! :)




Adventure is worthwhile.
— Aesop