The Secret of Creation

When a piece of art is created, a painting for example, something is created from nothing. Yet it’s not really from nothing. The canvas already existed, as did the paint and the tools to paint it. The same is true for making a new life form, as miraculous as it is. But what if we took a step back and asked the question: What brings a particle into existence out of nothingness?

      Creation. 2017, Private Collection. Image copyright Ainsley Walters.

The infamous double slit experiment in quantum physics tells the story of genesis at its very best; a story of waves, particles and a mysterious creator.

An electron is a subatomic particle and is considered to be the first generation in the matter family. It is classified as a charged lepton which can combine to other particles to form a larger composite particle such as an atom, which make up everything in the universe. The double-slit experiment demonstrates that these tiny bits of matter can also turn into waves of pure potential, exhibiting wave-particle duality. A wave is an oscillation of information and energy that travels through space-time. But what determines whether the particle will behave like a wave or blink into existence as a particle of matter? In a word: Awareness.

The double-slit experiment

Imagine you have a large panel that has a slit down the middle and you fire a series of small marbles through the slit. There is a screen behind the panel which records the pattern that the marbles make after being fired through the slit. As you would expect, the pattern is a band shape similar to the slit. If you add a second slit to the panel and fire marbles through, you would expect to see two bands. Alternatively, if the experiment was set up in a pool of water, and you sent waves through the two slits instead of marbles, what kind of pattern would you expect to see on the screen? When there are two slits, the bottom of one wave interacts with the top of the other wave, causing an interference pattern of many bands on the screen.

Conducting the experiment again, this time in the quantum world, electrons are fired through one slit. Just like the marbles, a band appears on the screen corresponding to the slit. When you add a second slit, you would expect to see two band patterns on the screen. But something else incredible happens. The electrons are fired through the slits one at a time as particles, become a wave of pure potential and interacts with itself to create an interference pattern on the screen just like waves.

In an attempt to find out which slit the electron went through, physicists put a measuring device next to one of the slits. But mysteriously the electron went back to behaving like a particle, showing two bands on the screen.

The electron was aware it was being watched and acted differently. The presence of the measuring device, or an observer collapses the wave of potential into a particle, just by the act of observation. Perhaps a bigger question comes to mind; who or what is the observer; the one that creates matter out of a field of pure potential? It is a question that may need more than science to answer, but one thing is for sure, this is creation at its very best, and at its very core.