In this paper, an attempt has been made to understand and compile the journey of fundamental theories and discoveries of Modern physics and it’s similarities with the related concepts of Vedic sciences in ancient India. The understandings of Modern physics about the universe is in parallel to the Vedas and ultimately converges at the fundamental truth.
Physics is the study of understanding the real existence of a physical universe. The ‘physics’ word came from the Greek physis which means ‘nature’ and hence the definition is derived. In Sanskrit the physics is called as aadhiboutika vidya which means ‘objective knowledge’ in opposite to adhyaatmika vidya, meaning ‘self-knowledge’. In Indian way of understandings knowledge is considered as a primary and as the object is secondary, a thing or a material is only considered as an object of knowledge.
What is matter?
The fundamental question, what is the reality of a matter? Was considered to be unnecessary for the physicists of early nineteenth century. The Newtonian physics predominantly dealt with properties or behaviour of the matter only, not with the nature of matter. But the quest for understanding the nature of matter began from the end of the nineteenth century physicists. The discovery of electron took place in 1897 by J. J. Thomson and Rutherford discovered proton in 1919. In 1900 Max plank made a breakthrough findings about quantum theory, he proposed heat is emitted or absorbed in discrete packets of energy called quanta. Another physicists Philip Lenard in 1905 discovered that when a light strikes the metal surface, emission of electron occurs. The genius physicists Einstein combined the findings of Lenard and Planck and proposed the photo electric effect that functionalised the quantum theories to all sorts of electromagnetic concepts.
The planetary prototype of the atom was proposed by Rutherford in 1911, with nucleus in its centre consist of protons (later neutrons) and electrons revolve around it, and neutrons were discovered by James Chadwick in later years. The application of quantum theory to the atomic model was made by Niels Bohr in 1913, he demonstrated that the electrons revolve around a nucleus in a fixed quantum energy levels called shells or orbits. Later, Wolfgang Pauli provided evidently visualizable atomic model with his “exclusion principle” in which he gave definite place to the electrons in the shells or orbits. And after all these understandings the physicist in that contemporary era believed that the modern physics has settled down, and they thought they have cracked the ultimate fundamentals of the nature with the success of Bohr’s model of atomic structure, like the Dalton and Democritus believed their atomic models previously. For any new physics theory, it is necessary to give a valid interpretations of the preceding explanations and also able to predict following happenings that can be authenticated by the experiments. As soon as both conditioned were satisfied, the newly developed atomic model eminently came out as successful.
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Nevertheless, later physicist found a glitch in Bohr’s atomic structure, in accordance with the electrodynamic laws the electron which is revolving in an orbit against the pulling force of nucleus, should gradually lose its energy. But Bohr’s model did not hold accountability for this laws. Another big objection arrived when Louis de Broglie found for the first time that particles also behaves as wave, as before it was known that waves behaves as particles (as photoelectric effect of Einstein showed) the equation given by de Broglie determined wavelengths for all sorts of matter ranging from electrons, atoms and molecules to even soccer ball and automobiles. It is observed that the lower the mass, higher the wavelength of the particle and higher the mass, lower the wavelength of the particle. Hence the wavelength associated with soccer ball and automobiles are not noticeable. The experimental verification of wavelength of electron conducted by Lester Germer and Clinton Davisson in 1927. Since electron has got very negligible mass, beam of electron is made to pass through very tiny hole, and the result is diffraction of electron took place as that of the light beam, and it is known that diffraction is the property of light as a wave. De Broglie’s atomic model raised a contradictions, in his atomic model it was believed that electron is a particle. But now it is confirmed that, non-particle wave is revolving around the nucleus. Scientists were again in dilemma. What actually is electron then? This development shaked understanding of fundamentals of the atom, but gave rise to the most creative era in the history of the physics. Werner Heisenberg called it as a chessboard riddle with his logics of matrices. He claimed that it is impossible to simultaneously determine the exact position and momentum of the electron with an arbitrary high accuracy. Since electron exhibits very tiny amounts of energy, it is impossible for measuring instruments to determine these values without affecting the motion of electron. This was mathematically articulated in 1927, popularly known as “Heisenberg uncertainty principle”.
Another major studies carried out by Erwin Schrodinger showed that the electron waves can be quantized in 1925. His findings came as a bridge between wave-particle duality, but still continued to worry physicist. In this mean time abstract representation of electron-wave was produced by German physicist Max Born, he proposed that these are the ‘probability waves’ and electrons aren’t real things. In accordance with Max Born whole electron representation is a mathematical concept (abstract) into which humans cannot come in (Zukav, 1979). Yet again the journey to reveal the secrets of the sub-atomic particle and electron continued, which led to the birth of new branch of physics called Particle Physics and the another one is the application of relativity theory to the quantum phenomenon tried by Paul Dirac and framed the quantum field theory of electron. In regards to the particle physics, physicists came to know that mass of electron changes with its velocity. The rest mass of the electron was determined hypothetically, and they observed that as increase in the velocity of the electron, its mass also increased from 100 times to 11800 times of its rest mass, as took place in accelerator.
The sub-atomic particles
Sub-atomic particles are divided into three categories according to their masses from lowest to highest. namely, lightweight particles or leptons, medium weight particles or mesons and heavy-weight particles baryons. Some particles are only theorized (like gravitons) and some particles do not fit into any of these categories (like photons). A massless particle is only possible hypothetically, but in reality it’s impossible. It’s just a mathematical calculation, a massless particle means which has a zero rest mass. The sub-atomic particles are moving incredibly fast and hence none of the physicist able to prove the mass of the particles accurately, the known mass of the particles are always relativistic mass not the real mass. For example a particle which has the 99% of speed of the light has a weight of seven times more than that of its rest mass. Scientists discovered two hundred sub atomic particles today and the numbers are still raising, the characteristics of particles are such that these are negligibly small in size and have incredibly short life span. A life span of positive electron and pion (neutral pi-meson) is only about
and seconds respectively. (Capek, 1961) In later years scientists discovered the sub-atomic particles that only live for a few particle-second (a particle-second means second) in a high energy particle experiments. These particles have the tendency to change into another particle. Fritijof Capra calls these short lived particles as a happening, as an occurrence or an event rather than an object. When the identified particles strike with each other at a high velocity that is almost near to the speed of light a new sub-atomic particles are created. A very illustrious Feynman’s diagrams shows the creation of new particles, which are comprised of obliteration of the original sub-atomic particle. This infinite process of creation and destruction, the energy dance of sub-atomic particles, is continuously occurring at the outer space.
The dance of Siva
Logically and ingeniously cosmic dance very much resembles the dance of God Siva (Nataraja) which is virile and very energetic. The dance of Siva not only signifies the destruction and creation process of cosmic sequence but also implies the eternal rhythm of birth and death that occurs in an infinite loop. The numerous meanings of our existences are displayed in a complex illustrative allegory of Siva’s Dance, The drum or “damru” in the upper right hand of Siva represents the primal sound of creation of the universe, the upper left hand has the tongue of flame that shows the destruction of harmful elements of the universe. The front right hand (Pataka) has the pose of Abhaya Mudra, denotes maintenance, content and peace. The Gajahasta is in front left hand which points towards downside demonstrates the liberation of oneself from the Maya. The bent and uplifted foot represents energetic dance and dynamic balance of four arms surrounded by the circle symbolises the balance between destruction and creation of the universe. (Capra, 1991)
Schools of physics and its discoveries
The two schools of physics have been formed later all these studies, one school is aiming at finding the building blocks in materialistic nature of the universe, and guiding its exploration towards the finding of a ‘quark’ a hypothetical entity. Scientists from this school tends to believe that all identified sub-atomic particles are made of few types of common particles called quarks. The quarks are expected to have 1/3 of electrical charge unit. But still nobody knows what these quarks are and constitutes of. The large hadron collider experiment aiming for the collision between two protons (that is quarks to quarks) and the results are yet to be evaluated but the theoretical studies interprets about the standard models, which was successful at the lower energy levels. These sub-atomic particles interactions can be well defined by renormalisation of QFT (quantum field theory) and if these particles are not elementary in nature, then the string theory will have the promising enquiries.
In recent years, a unique particle is observed that forms the drag on other particles with the sticky energy field known as Higgs particle or Higgs Boson, this Higgs particle acts as a universal molasses that acquires all of the empty spaces. When a particle travels through the empty space it has to paddle across these Boson particles which sticks on them and causes the drag force, that is nothing but a mass. This is the reason for mass accumulation of weak forces. This particles also known as “God Particle” in a popular way.
Another school of scientists stopped the discovery of building blocks of universe in the search of particles instead they started to work on Heisenberg’s “scattering Matrix” theory and the prominent scholar of this school Geoffrey Chew came up with the new theory called “bootstrap theory”. Their study proposes that no subatomic particle is an independent unit, these are interconnected events or happenings (Jitatmananda, 2006). In reality these subatomic particles are neither an object nor a particle but “dynamic patterns of interconnected-energy” says the Fritjof Capra (Capra, 1991). Another scholar Sir James jeans concludes as particles do not forms the reality of object but the events does.
The bootstrap theory of Geoffrey Chew starts to gain wide acceptance from number of prominent physicists. The main reason for its acceptance is consideration of consciousness while defining the universal reality which was an essential compulsion. The subatomic particle ‘Holon’ was named by Arthur Koestler, he articulates that the sub-atomic particles are intricately associated with the rest of the cosmos, the ‘whole’ is reflected in the each of the particles. Another physicists David Bohm derived the concept of “Implicate Order” from the Holon concept in which he states that each of the particle movement is associated with the movement of the entire cosmos, hence it is not just the movement of each specific particle but the whole “holo movement” takes place. Bohm essentially considered the factor of consciousness in his holo-movement theory that brings the gist to his theory of undivided wholeness.
The concept of “Quantum foam” which means whole materialistic universe, named from the Physicist John Wheeler, he expresses the ideas about ‘quantum Interconnectedness’ that implies, each and every particle is connected with another particle in a ’Super-Space’ he extends his ideas and tell that the universe is only of empty-curved-space. Electromagnetism, charge, matter and other entities are only expressions of empty-curved-spaces.
Now with the development of quantum field theory, the understanding about the matter is changing rapidly. According to QFT, matter is nothing but a manifestation of energy in action. These units of energy (particles) continues to rotate with the incredibly high velocity in space time, according to the total number of these units and its structure in an single atom gives form to the different type of elements. The appearance and disappearance of these particles during proliferation and collision is because of action of these field, in which the particles emerge from the field and again disappear into the field during the process. Hence the concept states that physical entities are not self-contained by itself, instead they are the happenings, events, occurrences, but in reality these are moving in a continuous path as a different transient appearances of basic fundamental entity.
The particles absorption and release leads to the interaction between each particle which is very much similar to the split and recombination of vibrations or strings. Hence the string theory suggest that the entire universe is a manifestation of a limitless vibrating strings. Which means that, various subatomic entities are just made up of one fundamental ‘string’. The difference in resonance and harmonic vibrations governs the change in subatomic particles. But there is a necessity of multi-dimensional space (10 dimensional space) for the strings to exist, and therefore the physicists still trying to understand and researching about the concept.
Vedic concepts and its parallelism to Modern physics
These new findings of physics were experienced by Vedic scholars many years ago. From the Vedas and Upanishads it is understood and recognised that the ultimate truth is whole creation is one, unified and interpenetrated by the vital truth and they called it as a “Brahman” the very reality of Brahman is eternal and everlasting existence, energy, and the consciousness. Therefore Brahman is inter penetrating, pervading and the whole universe including the human consciousness is a part and parcel of Brahman. These concepts are well defined in the ‘Manduka Upanishad’ as well. The “Jiva” which is distinct Consciousness is not very different from Brahman, (universal consciousness) the only difference is that individual self in conditioned by restrictive manifestation (Upadhi) of the body and so everything emerges from Brahman and eventually dissolves in Brahman.
The ancient Indian Philosophy “Samkhya” was said to be founded by ‘Kapila Muni’, which means that analysis and study of entire Universe with the enumerations. The Samkhya philosophy aims to consider the various necessary parameters of the entire universe including the conditions of human as well while finding the truth. The Samkhya philosophy explains that, the universe what we observe is the ‘effect’ of its basic ‘causes’, but only through the appropriate understanding of combination of both the effect and causation, the clarity of truth is known. The Samkhya stresses on “Sat-Karya-Vada” which means the study of causation behind the effect. This philosophy is very much similar to the ‘determinism’ theory that is generally described as the ‘effect’ is previously existed in its ‘cause’ before it’s happening. To understand the reasons for the causes behind its effects, the provision of intuitive wisdom is considered by ancient sages. The practice of meditational yoga is used as a tool to achieve the intuitive wisdom. The very essence of Samkhya says that “navastuno vastusiddhi” and “aavastunobhavath vastusiddhi bhavotpatiranava sambhavati” -an object cannot be made out of nothing, and it is impossible for an object to arise of out of nothing (Sinha, n.d.). That essentially means matter and energy (Brahman) co-existent with each other eternally, it was never in the static state but changing constantly.
The Vedic thoughts believes in the concept of ‘Samsara’, a continuous happenings of events or perpetual flow of existences, is in align with the concepts of modern physics. The Vedas also demonstrates the ideas of ‘Maya’ that means, what we understand as the forms and manifestations in the universe are not real but temporary illusion (Mithya) of ultimate reality and permanence – the Brahman.
Particle physics validated that non-existence of a theories of individual, separate and isolated entities of matter. Relativity theory shown the relative existence of all matter in the cosmos and quantum physics heading towards the point of disbelieving in the objective reality of matter, what we understand as a matter is inherently and profoundly interconnected with the entire cosmos. Though the goals of Science and Vedas are very common about discovering the truth, the difference is in way of achieving the truth. Science requires a methodical exploration and study of reality that establishes and builds the knowledge through the predictions and experiments about the reality, whereas Vedas- the truth has been experienced by the creative insistence of intuition that exists in external dimensions of intellect. Thus the knowledge based intuitive wisdom of the eastern mysticism proposes the parallel to the scientific familiarity of the west.
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