December 12

The Quantum Nature of a Knot in Wood

Nature truly is astonishing, as we experience our lives the universe is constantly telling us it’s secrets. The answer to any question we may have is always right in front of our eyes, the driving forces behind the universe truly do bleed via the micro to macro. With that in mind please allow me to introduce you to knot theory.

             Knot theory truly is an original and refreshing look at the binding forces which our universe is held together by. Billions of years ago the universe was filled with knots. Those knots are made up of flexible strings of energy, this flexibility allows for flux called flux tubes, they link particles together and also turns out to be what the knots are made of.

                 This is what makes it possible for light to bend in our space time continuum we call the universe.

Now imagine the flux tubes as a chain, each link is at a different location, however all links of the chain react to and with each other as force is introduced. This is a literal example of how one thing can be in more than one place at a time, this is the very essence of Quantum Theory.

                 Now with your minds eye visualize two guys playing tug of war with a chain, as the end of the chain is pulled the immediate links take the initial force, as the force travels through each link the force weakens relative to its distance from the initial introduction of force. No matter where the force occurs it is distributed in a superpositioned fashion. Force being distributed in this manner is the concept behind Quantum Gravity which in time will replace our classical definition.

                 Now back to the chain, lets imagine that the chain is folded in half with a guy on each end introducing force. Now you have two links laying on top of each other, it’s the interaction between the two links which make up our 3 dimensions. Now let’s repeat and fold the chain again, we now have three links stacked on top of each other. Once again when force is introduced to a single localized link that force is distributed through each link in each layer.

              Therefore the force branches out through the links as it travels, weakening as it travels through the resistance of each link, the force is in superposition as it travels in the fact that it is in more than one place at the same time giving us a quantum force.

              That’s my interpretation and metaphor for knot theory, now for the fun part. Let’s look to nature for an analog which can represent knot theory.    Many natural analogs exist however I find the most beautiful one to be wood grain. The wood grain of a tree and even its branches directly represent the quantum nature of our universe. When you look at a knot in wood it often adds untold beauty to the grain of the wood but what exactly caused that knot to even exist.

                 The knot is an indication of where the base of prior branchs were located, its a literal example of superpositioning except we are talking about the superposition of a tree branch.   The knot within the grain is an impression made through the many layers of wood from a branch which is no longer at that location, resulting in a knot. The knot breaks the flow of the grain and is also more dense, therefore I believe a black hole and a knot on a tree are both behaving in the same quantum manter. Our universe branches out in this fashion, tree limbs do the same and even the branches of our lungs have formed via a quantum force.

            In conclusion I ask to take a moment next time you look at wood grain on a door or maybe your like Newton setting under a tree. Take a moment and look at how the wood grain moves just as an electromagnetic wave does and pay close attention to the knots and assure you that you will be reminded of a black hole. Nature truly does give us every answer to any question, however the biggest question of all is will we even notice.

- M.T. Hubbard-Bright

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