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Saturday, October 12, 2019

On the entanglement between superfluidity, superconductivity, and entanglement.

On the entanglement between superfluidity, superconductivity, and entanglement.
A lot of misconceptions and mistakes is being done simply because people do not know what they are talking about; meaning, they do not know the exact meaning of the words they use, so they use those words very loosely, without employing the specific meaning of them – because they don’t know that, because they don’t know the definition of that, because they did not have a good education on the foundations of science, and they are too confident, or lazy to do it on their own.

When I talk science, I know what I’m talking about, and I want everyone to know that as well, so we would use the same words assuming the same meaning for all of them.

That is why I start this post from some important definitions (that I borrowed from another post: On a Definition Of Science, but since it is also mine, that’s not plagiarism).

An object is something that represents the focus of our attention. This is what we are talking about. An object can be physical (e.g. we can touch or at least see it; often, we also call it a “system”) or abstract (e.g. a symbol, a combination of symbols). A small physical object localized at a specific place in space is called a particle (usually, we say a “system” when we focus on many particles or on a large object - but that is not a requirement). For each particle we can assign a set of parameters, and then a specific set of values of those parameters we call “a state of a particle”. That state may evolve, i.e. change in time; when that happens, we call it a process, or a “behavior”.

Now we can talk about the meaning of another term – a correlation.

In general, a correlation is interdependence between two objects – no matter abstract (i.e. states) or physical (i.e. particles). I will illustrate what “interdependence” means in a couple of paragraphs.

I believe that this definition is better than saying that a correlation is a relationship, and also it goes well beyond statistics.

There are different types of correlations, for example:
1) A temporal correlation – when two states of the same object/system correlate.
2) A procedural, or behavioral, or spatial, or inter-systemic correlation – when states of at least two different objects correlate (most often not at the same time).

We concentrate on the latter correlation.

For a behavioral correlation interdependence means that a change in a state of one object affects the evolution of a state of another one, and can be illustrated using a simple model.

Let's say, we observe a behavior (or an evolution) of a state of object #1. Then we repeat the observation; we observe the evolution of the same object #1 keeping all but one circumstances to be exactly the same as in the previous observation, but this time we either remove, or add another object (#2), or change a state of one of the previously present objects (#2). If that change (a new action) does NOT affect the behavior of object #1 (it is the same as before the change was made), we say, that objects #1 and #2 do not correlate, there is no correlation between the states of those two object, correlation is absent. Otherwise, a correlation exists, it is present, the evolution of the objects correlate.

Just to make things absolutely clear, “otherwise” means, that the action of adding or removing an object or changing the state of an object that is not object #1 affects the evolution of object #1, as compared to the previous observation; and hence a correlation exists, it is present, the evolution of the objects correlate.

There are plenty of well-known examples of correlations.

In an outer space, in the absence of any stars a comet travels straight ahead without speeding up or slowing down. But if a star is present close to its path, the path is getting bent, hence the star affects the comet - there is correlation between those two objects, and that specific correlation has a specific name – interaction, and described by a specific physical quantity – a force; specifically, the force of gravity, that is described by the Newton’s law of gravity (most of the time one does not need to apply The Einstein's General Relativity Theory).

If you take two plastic cups and connect them with a string in a certain manner, then stretch the string and start making sounds on one end, speaking into one cup, a second cup also starts vibrating and making a sound.
In physics there are important laws that describe correlations between different states of different objects; some of the most important of those laws have a name of conservation laws.

For example, if in outer space a grenade blows up and separates in  two parts; those two objects will fly away from each other in a very special manner. If we catch one part of this grenade and measure its velocity, we will be able to predict the exact velocity of another part; and that prediction is governed by the law of consideration of a linear momentum (assuming we know all the masses and the initial velocity of the grenade).

Quantum mechanics also describes many correlations between quantum objects, quantum particles. Some of those correlations are very similar to correlations in the macroscopic world; for example, the law of conservation of linear momentum works for quantum particles as well.

However, the vast majority of physicists believe that quantum objects also exhibit a different type of a correlation - a correlation that is specific only for the quantum world, a correlation that does not exists for macroscopic objects, a correlation that has a name “entanglement”.

Many people have been writing about quantum entanglement, including yours truly.

The discussion about entanglement goes deep to the foundations of quantum mechanics. Albert Einstein didn't like it; he thought that entanglement as it was understood in his time, and how it is still understood, demonstrates that quantum mechanics is either not local theory, or includes “spooky” interactions that happen faster than the speed of light - and, naturally, Einstein could not accept that.

And idea of entanglement can be described by a thought experiment proposed by Albert Einstein (and that has different variations).
In order to conduct this is experiment, first one needs to prepare two entangled particles, so initially those two particles would be a part of one quantum system - that makes their states to be correlated. Then they fly away from each other; and when an observer affects a state of one particle, the second particle should immediately change its state in a specific and predictable (!) way. Since this should happen immediately, no matter how far the two particles are apart from each other, this correlation looks like an interaction that happens faster than the speed of light.

Some physicists argue that the term is wrong; that this is not some kind of new quantum type correlation called “entanglement”, this is just another manifestation of some law of conservation that works on the quantum level in the same way it works in the classical world.

The majority of physicists, though, believe that entanglement is a uniquely quantum phenomenon and cannot be explained by application of laws of conservation.

I’ve been back-and-force on this, but eventually I settled on the idea of uniqueness of quantum entanglement; but not because of to-be-fashionable experiments with a couple of entangled particles (usually photons produced in bulk, which does not make much sense) – those experiments are ideologically trivial, although technologically challenging and advanced.
There are much more interesting demonstrations of quantum entanglement, and those are not related to a couple of particles, those are related to a huge number of particles -  superfluidity and superconductivity.

Let's start from superfluidity.

It was discovered in 1937 in liquid Helium below about 2 K (at the normal pressure). In its superfluid state, quote: “the liquid … behaves as if it consists of two components: a normal component, which behaves like a normal fluid, and a superfluid component with zero viscosity

The two-fluid model is clear and intuitive. At the absolute zero, T = 0 K, all Helium is superfluid, i.e. does not experience friction and can flow without experiencing resistance. Above a certain temperate called critical (at a given pressure), Helium behaves like a regular normal fluid with internal and external viscosity. Above absolute zero, but below a critical temperate Helium is “composed” of two components: one components is “normal” and behaves like a regular liquid as it was above the critical temperature, but the second component is superfluid, like it would be at zero temperature.

The mystery here is what happens to atoms below the critical temperature?

If you would look at the Helium atoms above or below the critical temperature, you would not see any difference! And yet, they behave in a very different way! Why?

There must be some difference on the atomic level, otherwise what would be the source/reason for a superfluid component to exist?

The answer is – quantum entanglement!

When temperature drops below the critical one, quantum correlations between many atoms make those atoms to be entangled and to form one highly/strongly correlated quantum state, also called a coherent state. Atoms in that coherent state form the superfluid component.

At T = 0 K, all atoms belong to this coherent state. Above zero, some atoms belong to the coherent state, and others don’t, and those that do not - form the normal component of Helium. Above the critical temperature coherent state does not exist.

The difference between atoms in a normal state and atoms in a superfluid coherent state is very significant (although, atoms constantly “jump” from one state into another and back, on average, the number of atoms in each state remains constant). That difference is described by how those atoms react to an attempt to be excited (energetically, not emotionally, don't read that BS about emotional intelligence, there is only one intelligence - intelligent intelligence, and that includes our knowledge about our emotions, that's it), ... excited, for example, by a simple hit from another atom.

If we hit (a fancy term is “collide”) an atom in a normal component (state, phase) we can transfer to that atom practical any amount of energy, from very little to very large. When we make the atom that is a part of a normal component collide with a different atom, for example with an atom in a wall of a vessel or a tube holding Helium, this collision results in a transfer of energy from an atom in a wall to the atom in the normal component, or back (under regular circumstances mostly back, the “normal” atom loses some energy). This interaction is responsible for internal friction and for the friction between the normal component and the walls of a pipe, and when the fluid travels through a pipe this interaction is responsible for the existence of resistance/friction/viscosity.

However, if we try to hit/knock/collide an atom in the coherent state, that atom is entangled with all other atoms in that state, with all other atoms that compose a superfluid component. So, when we hit a single atom in that state, in actuality we hit all of them that are in that state. And in order to excite this whole system of correlated entangled atoms, a small energy is not enough anymore to excite it. The energy has to be above a certain threshold; if the energy is below that threshold, the atoms in the entangled coherent stated do not “feel” it, and “ignore” the interaction. And that is why this component of a fluid, that is composed of correlated atoms in a coherent entangled state, can travel through pipes without feeling any resistance. That makes this component superfluid.

When the system goes through the critical temperature in one direction or another, atoms do not disappear, or new atoms do not appear; but when the temperature drops below the critical one, some atoms become entangled, they become strongly correlated in a specific quantum way, and they form a new phase, a superfluid phase.

What is happening when the temperature rises above the critical?

Note, when we said that above critical temperature coherent state does not exist, that statement was not exactly accurate. According to the general theory of critical transitions, a critical transition does not happen instantly. Even above a critical temperature in some parts of a material and for a short periods of time coherent state may exist. But it is very short-living, or metastable, and the regions with the coherent state are small and do not overlap so they cannot cover the whole sample of a material. When temperature is getting closer to the critical value, those short-living short-range pockets of a new phase getting larger and live longer and below the critical temperature finally occupy the whole material space. So, in general, the traces of a new phase may be observed even above the critical temperature.

A superfluid transition is not related to existence or absence of new particles, but related to the absence or presence of strong quantum correlations between large numbers of particles. Those correlations may exist even above the critical temperature in a form of metastable, short-range and short-living pockets.

Superconductivity was discovered in 1911 but explained only in 1957.

To that time, a well-developed model could explain many electrical phenomena based on the idea that electrons in conductors could be treated as a carrying electric charge fluid.

Electric current could be seen as a river, as a stream of electric charges traveling in the same direction. Atoms or ions would present islands that could slow that stream down. If you would give this electric fluid a push, those islands would eventually make it stop - and this is a nature of electric resistance in conductors.

Turns out, however, that under certain circumstances those islands also could help fluid to travel.

We could imagine that when electron fluid flows around an island, sometimes some of those electrons may start traveling together in a common whirl. Of course, this is not an actual motion of the electrons but just a visual representation of a fact that some electrons can move in a correlated manner due to mediation via atoms/ions/islands.

So, the islands (atoms, ions) could not just slow down the motion of the electrons, but also could make them moving in a correlated manner. And then those two correlated electrons can correlate with other correlated electrons all across a conductor, forming one strongly correlated entangled state. When that happens, a macroscopic number of electrons get entangled in a “superfluid electric component”, that can travel with no resistance, and is called a “supercurrent”.

When electrons form one highly correlated fully entangled macroscopic state similar to a superfluid component in Helium, and when electrons in that state interact with atoms, in the event when that interaction is not strong enough, if it doesn't go over a certain threshold of energy, those entangled electrons just ignore that interaction and keep exist in the unchanged entangled state.

Those electrons that get correlated in “a whirl” due their motion around the same island (atom, ion) have a name a Cooper pair. Below a critical temperature electrons in those pairs form a a macroscopic entangled superconductive state.

However, like Helium atoms do not disappear above critical temperature, Cooper pairs also should not completely disappear immediately above critical temperature. Although, the number of Cooper pairs should significantly decrease with even the slightest increase in the temperature, I bet, accurate experiments would demonstrate their existence even in the normal state.

And now it is a natural time to talk about high-temperature superconductivity.

It was discovered in 1986, and to this day there is no commonly accepted explanation of this phenomenon.

In high-temperature superconductors electrons cannot be treated any more as a fluid. A better model would treat electrons rather as a solid, or as a crystal where electrons spend most of the time at certain locations, and from time to time hop from one location to another one. However, since electrons form a superconductive state, it means that under certain circumstances, at least some of the electrons are getting entangled in a macroscopic coherent strongly correlated state that allows them to travel through the material without feeling the existence of other electrons or atoms or ions.

We can try to understand the nature of this phenomenon by building on another very important and common feature that all those highly entangled states have in common.

In a superfluid or in a superconductor, that highly correlated state with entangled particles (atoms or electrons), due to strong correlations represents a state with a very high order, or a very law chaos, as compared with the regular normal state or a component of a material. Hence, the entropy of this state is equal to zero. Entropy is a measure of order v. chaos; more chaos - higher entropy; and when a macroscopic state is strongly correlated and highly entangled, the chaos is so low that the entropy is zero.

In all superfluid or superconductive systems, below a certain temperature macroscopic parts of a system simply stop “generating” an entropy.
At the absolute zero temperature, the entropy of all systems is zero, but in certain systems under certain circumstances when temperature is rising above zero, some parts of this system still remain “feeling” themselves like they are still at zero temperature, forming a highly ordered, strongly correlated entangled state. With the rise in temperature, the portion of the entangled part of a system gradually decreases to zero and becomes zero at a critical temperature (with some short-living short-range pockets above the critical temperature).

This idea may guide us toward better understanding of the nature of high-temperature superconductivity.

It is assumed that in materials exhibiting high-temperature superconductivity, it happens when an original order of electrons is destroyed or disturbed by doping.

In an original material (under ideal circumstances, at zero temperature) electrons form a “crystal”. The simplest model would look like this:
A plus or a minus in the picture represents that fact that electrons have a feature called a “spin”; we can imagine a spin as an arrow attached to an electron that can have only two directions, in or out (or up v. down, or left v. right – but always only TWO). And in an ideal case, two neighboring electrons would prefer having opposite spins (because that makes their “life” easier, or energy lower). In this “crystal”, electrons prefer stay at their places, because they “hate” – meaning, electrically repel – each other. Hence, jumping to a place already occupied by another electron is restricted, almost forbidden (there is a very low probability for that to happen). Hence, in this state the material is not a good conductor, but an insulator. However, doping can change that.

Doping is a procedure that can change the number of electrons, for example, take some electrons out from their locations. This is done by inserting some other atoms that can attract electrons and keep those electrons on those atoms. In that case, the structure of the material is not so ordered anymore, it has some random holes – empty spaces at the locations from where electrons were removed.

For a better visibility, in the picture those holes are noted by black circles (instead of just keeping those places empty). 

Now we have to use the most powerful human ability – imagination. Other animals do not have it. Albert Einstein said that imagination is the true sign of intelligence. No single AI professional has any idea how to model it (e.g. The new stage of the race for AI domination AI).

Imagine that ALL black holes would move one step diagonally down and the electron moved from that place one step diagonally up (to take the place where the hole was). This action is shown by arrows in the next picture. 
As the result, you get this: 
Now, compare the two pictures below, the first one is an excerpt from the ordinal picture (before the jump), and the second on is an excerpt from the final picture (after the jump):
These two pictures are identical!

They show two DIFFERENT but IDENTICAL states of the system. Of course, because our pictures have a finite size, we could see some differences at the edges, but for a very large system (or with periodic boundary conditions) the deference would be negligible.

This simple illustration makes us to make a conclusion that when all electrons would jump simultaneously in the same direction – that is diagonal – this actions does NOT change the state of the system. In a certain sense – this action does not make the state more chaotic, less ordered – as long as all electrons are entangled.

It is naturally to assume, that this is the state we are looking for, the state with zero entropy.

Based on this idea, we could assume that in high-temperature superconductors electrons jump:
(a) in the same direction;
(b) diagonally.

I do not follow specialized literature, but I know that I am not the first one who suggested that in high-temperature superconductors electrons may travel in the same direction (even I wrote on this and published it on arXiv; although in a very primitive way – sorry for the visual picture used to support my model, I like visual pictures, as you may have noticed already). I also heard of a suggestion that electrons jump diagonally (honestly, do not remember where). But to my best knowledge, I am the first one who makes both statements as a model for high-temperature superconductivity.

Due to very the specific geometry of the model, it could be tested using a simple mechanical motion of a sample of a high-temperature superconductor – the movement along diagonals or along the edges would affect supercurrent differently. However, for this experiment one would need a thin, ideally a single, sheet of a high-temperature superconductor. This still maybe a challenging technological obstacle.

Dr. Valentin Voroshilov

P.S. On this page (if you click on this link) you will find some piece on the foundation of quantum mechanics. Recently, it has become fashionable to run actual or thought experiments on quantum entanglement. However, ALL of them are based on ONE specific interpretation of quantum mechanics and completely ignore and do not mention the fact that so far (yeas, even today!) there are several different interpretations of it. In my publications I attacked different aspects of different publications on the matter.

Everyone who claims he/she knows what quantum mechanics is about must read the original EPR paper (so, ask the guy - have you read EPR? that is a litmus test for you should you even listen to the guy).
It has many layers, more than just a thought experiment they use to claim that quantum mechanics is not a complete theory (e.g. click on this link and scroll down to Appendix III).
The fact of the matter is that this experiment does show that quantum mechanics is different from classical mechanics. When this matter is accepted, one has a choice: (a) follow the strategy "shut up and calculate" and do not spend any time on trying to make the theory "complete" or (b) spend some time on trying to make the theory "complete".
In the latter case, one can be inventing different approaches - some are mentioned in the four pieces about a cat:

But the simplest (thank you Occame!) way to resolve all the mysteries of quantum mechanics would be to assume that - yes, faster than light interactions do exist! Tachyons are responsible for that "spooky action at distance". There is a whole world of particles that cannot travel slower than the speed of light! And that world interacts with our world, where particles cannot travel faster than the speed of light. Simple! 
Imagine a sea of tachyons. Every known particle can have its counterpart in that sea - tachyo-electron, tachyo-proton, etc. Due to fluctuations, for a teeny-tiny instant of time, those tachyons may enter our world, become a so called virtual particle, and interact with our particles. But even more interesting process happens when our particles disappear from our world and enter the world of tachyons, spend there a teeny-tiny instant of time and come back again - but at a different location, or with a different speed.
Of course, until tachyons are found, they are just a theory, a mathematical abstract. But so was the Higgs boson.
BTW: tachyons, or in general the world of faster than light particles, can explain such phenomenon as tunneling. A classical particle cannot escape a potential well - when it has not enough energy. But a quantum particle can "tunnel" through. Why? Because due to interactions with tachyons it may "accidentally" (a scientific name - fluctuations) gain energy enough to get "over the well".

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

On A Definition Of Science

On A Definition Of Science

Part I: a general discussion
This is a common description of science:

In simple words, science is the practice of thinking about things and producing new systematized knowledge.
This understanding of science is thousands of years old.
It is long overdue to rethink what science is, what science is for, and how science is done. Nowadays, too many people can claim that they are "thinking about things and producing new systematized knowledge" - for example, any bloger, or even an active Facebook user.

Science, any science, every science proves one point, a point that is common to every science and accepted by every scientist. This point is very clear and simple –
things change.
Our knowledge about the universe changes – it grows.
Today we know much more about the universe outside and inside of us – humans, than thousands years ago, or even a hundred, or even a dozen.
But the fact of the matter is that the knowledge does not just accumulates, grows.

It also evolves.

What was common knowledge some time ago may be replaced with completely new.

Of course, the majority of our new knowledge just covers the areas where in the past knowledge simply did not exist – in those areas the know knowledge replaces the absence of past knowledge. However, some new knowledge may clarify, rectify, or negate and replace some of the past knowledge.

Some elements of science that used be considered “knowledge” have been removed from science. Some of the examples are a philosopher’s stone, perpetuum mobile, the Ptolemaic model, eugenics, and many many more.

This evolution of science should also involve our understanding of science - what science is, how does this practice happen, what does this practice include.

In particular, there are areas that in a past were considered as science, but nowadays is not really treated as such anymore. For example, botany and zoology both eventually became a part of biology. Botany is not really a science anymore, but a field of practice that has some elements of science, starting from classification.

Why is the change?

At the birth of science, the mission of science was developing new knowledge – any kind of knowledge. The main method for that was using language for describing observed events/phenomena, including objects, their properties, processes happening to those objects, and properties of those processes. The result and the product of science was – a description (in form of texts, basically, if you write something off your mind about things you see - your are a scientist, or a poet).

With the development of mathematics, that description could employ some abstract elements, but for a very long time mathematics was evolving on its own and was not considered as a tool to study the nature (despite the fact that the origins of mathematics were deeply rooted in naturalistic observations).

The idea of “predictability” was not really a part of a scientific development until about 18th century (however, it was assumed that a good shaman, oracle, wiser, astrologists could predict important events).

With the advances in physics and chemistry, scientific community slowly adapted a new mission of science – making reliable predictions based on developing new knowledge. However, even now a scientific community does not have a unified view on the mission of science. A simple search demonstrates that; try “mission of science” and you will see missions of science departments, scientific magazines, institutions, but not the mission of science as a human practice.

This fact may have several interpretations, including that scientists do not really know what they do (“What do you do? Science. What is it? I don’t know.”).

The central feature of the human practice called "science" is predictability - that is what separates science from anything/everything else.

From this point forward, I define science as a human practice with the mission of making reliable and testable predictions based on previously collected and/or developed knowledge.

Hence, developing and collecting knowledge, clarifying and rectifying it – is a part of scientific discourse, but not sufficient yet on its own to make that practice to be science.

If not science – then what?


A scientific practice.

By employing this definition of science, we utilize one deeply scientific action – classification, part of which involves different names: science v. scientific field – to giving different objects (physical or abstract).

However, all other scientists, including the NSF still use the old definition of science –as a practice of development new knowledge, omitting the necessity of making reliable predictions. And for them a scientific research is an equivalent of making any type of a description – nowadays, that description has to include some data, but no one checks if that data leads to any testable predictions. The quality (or as says the NSF the merit) of research is assessed via peer review. A peer review process helps to eliminate low quality papers. But is also eliminates papers with un-ordinary ideas because they also do not belong the common views of reviewers. The #1 quality of a good paper is the list of references – if one does not have in the list “important names” why bother reading the paper nothing good can come out from an author who does not know “the establishement” (Einstein would not be published theses days).

Part II: specific scientific fields

Now we can make a statement about a specific scientific area of practice that represents a scientific field but not a science.


The state of a scientific practice in education is similar to botany, or alchemy.

Of course, some predictions can be made, but they are usually trivial, like “practice makes perfect”. We can call that set of rules – heuristics of education (this link list some of those rules: Fundamental Laws of TeachOlogy: a Handbook For a Science Teacher.).

The vast majority of publications in education are not much different from the letters of an explorer sent back to the academy from an unknown frontier – a simple description of objects and events encountered during practice, “spiced” by some speculations on why would those events occurred in the way they did.

The use of some statistical method doesn't make it more scientific. On the contrary, it covers up the fact that - what is done is not science (i.e.

A mere fact of using math does not make practice scientific (e.g. astrology, numerology). If a mathematical analysis of statistical correlations demonstrates a strong correlation between two parameters, that may have some significance - if the number of important parameters influencing a system is small. However, when the number of parameters governing the evolution of a system is large, a strong correlation between two parameters have no significant meaning. Yes, it exists – and that’s that. There are, or at least may be, many other strong correlations that the analysis does not show. Hence, the model cannot be used to make any reliable predictions. Hence, it is not scientific.

This is a case for any social system including educational systems.

Scientific study/research in education may eventually lead to a transition of this field into science; in that sense, this field now is in a pre-science state; it is a pre-science.  To make a reliable prediction, scientific practice needs to collect vast amount of data – i.e. knowledge presented in a numerical form, and then to analyze the data to establish robust correlations. The difficulty is that social systems are much more complicated and diverse than physical (even quantum or astrophysical).

Take, for example, a simple unit of education – a class. There are almost infinitely many combinations of students with different backgrounds, cultural histories, economic circles, etc. But in theory, all possible states of this system – a class – could be described in terms of the values of specific parameters (age, gender, race, and more). And the following observations could let the development of models robust enough for making reliable predictions about the evolution of this system (and its elements - students). Clearly, this type of research would require vast funds and completely new approach/strategy to educational study, and currently is not even being considered by any governmental of private entity. Some publications on the matter are:

More on this page: Strategies For Teaching Science.

Now, let’s discuss a more specific matter – a research, because this is what people do in science.

“I’m a scientist, I research/study this”.

There are two types of a research - a scientific research, and a generic research.

A genetic research happens when one just describes what one encounters; it is a search combined with some verbal description of events. This is what people usually call a “study”. “I study bacteria (or stars)” used to mean (and often still means) “I am looking in a microscope (or a telescope) at those tiny (huge) objects and describe what is happening to them”.

A scientific research includes a generic one, but also involves a search for patterns and strong correlations. Scientific research cannot be done without collecting data. To test if a research is scientific enough, one checks how many predictions can be done based on its results, and how reliable those predictions are. Those tests are often being called – experiments.

There are three types of a scientific research; they are based on originality and technical difficulty of a research.

1.  Standard research - anyone (in the field) can come up with its idea, and then anyone (with resources) can do it. It is just a matter of who comes up with this idea first. This is the type of a research that one finds in 99.99 % of all science publications. Currently, in physics a popular research is to check if quantum mechanics still works for large objects or at high temperatures. Ideologically that does not represent anything new. For example, here authors write, quote: “Our results show excellent agreement with quantum theory”. But the technologies that allow such experiments have become available only fairly recently; such experiments demonstrate more of engineering power than science. BTW: the popular treatment of quantum mechanics in this publication is a good and common example of how a dilettante who does not understand basics makes simply wrong statements (like “interference means an object exists at two places at the same time” – no, it doesn’t). More on quantum entanglement in "Can An electron Travel through Two Slits At The Same Time?" or "On Entanglement Between SuperFluidity, SuperConductivity and Entanglement".

2. Breakthrough research - everyone has an idea of this research, but no one can do it – until finally someone does. An example is the Fermat's Last Theorem (until recently).

3. The original research - not anyone can come up with that idea, but when the idea is out there, anyone could do it as well. An example of this research is Einstein’s explanation of the photoelectric effect. The original research is the one that may lead to a change in a scientific paradigm.

Now a note on the importance of language in science.

Scientists do not talk to each other like: “Hey, Jim, look at that thing with a thing doing this thing”. They develop a specific language to communicate. Some of the words in that language may sound/look like regular words from an every-day vocabulary, but in fact they usually have a very narrow, specific meaning; and there are also words (and even symbols) invented specifically for scientific communication. Everyone who study science must learn that language.

Nowadays there are many pseudo-scientific writers who write about scientific discoveries but are too lazy to learn scientific language. Many do not understand the difference between an actual object and an abstract description of its properties. This happens a lot when people write about physics, especially about quantum mechanics. Without getting into more details (follow to this page for the details: Fundamentals of Quantum Physics), I just want to note that many of those writers do not know the meaning of even such fundamental terms like “an object”, “a field”, “a wave”, “a particle”.

An object is something that represents the focus of our attention. This is what we are talking about. An object can be physical (e.g. we can touch it; often we also call it a system) or abstract (e.g. a symbol). A small physical object localized at a specific place in space is called a particle (usually, we say a system when we focus on many particles or on a large object). Some people believe that this definition should be broaden to: “a particle is a small physical object that can be localized at several specific places in space at the same time”, but so far, this is a matter of a debate. Using a traditional definition of a particle, we can say that it may occupy some location; locations may change with time; and then we can start developing means for describing that change, and then describing possible interaction with other particles. A particle may exhibit a deterministic behavior, or a probabilistic behavior. For each particle to describe what is happening to it, we can assign a set of parameters, and a specific set of values of those parameters we call “a state of a particle”. That state may evolve, i.e. change in time; when that happens, we call it a process, or a behavior.

A field is a mathematical (i.e. abstract) description used to represent properties of matter in large regions of space. A field is used to assign a specific state to many different locations in space. But at each location in space there is (almost) always an actual physical object – usually described as a particle (an atom, a molecule, an elementary cell) – in a specific physical state. This is what we call a physical substance. In reality, a physical substance always has a structure. A physical substance is composed of many interacting and localized objects – a smallest portion of a substance that repeats itself in space; and all of them can have different states, hence, evolve.

Again, a field is an abstract object used to describe properties of many particles existing simultaneously within a large region of space. In other words, a field is an abstract construct used to describe a distribution of possible states in space and time. Every existing field (with one exception, so far) – even quantum ones – can have such an interpretation. One exception is – a gravitational field. So far, we do not know if gravitons (quantum particles associated with a gravitational field) exist. Most probably they do, and in that case even a gravitational field becomes just an abstract construct. But until we know for sure, we can treat a gravitational field as a mathematical description of the actual properties of space and time at different locations and instants within large regions of space and time. We can think of space-time as a substance. At a classical level, an electromagnetic field also looks like a field with no substance that describes a state of each point in space at a given time, but at the quantum level it becomes a description of light-particles, i.e. photons.

When a state of a substance changes, it is reflected in the changes in the field associated with that substance. That change may affect different parts of a substance in a specific – consecutive-like – manner. This process is called a “transfer” or a “propagation” and can be described in terms of regular (in some way) physical and abstract objects called “waves”. A wave is just a specific shape of a substance, and a specific way for a substance to change its state. A mathematical description of a physical wave is an abstract construct that represents a specific state of a field.

When people who write about physics do not know its language, what they write often does not make any sense. It may sound “scientific”, though, for a person who did not have solid science classes.There is a difference between writing about science and being a scientist (as well as there is some difference between doing science and being a scientists).

The best science to teach science - its way of thinking about nature, its language and principles - is physics.

Because physics is the simplest of all natural sciences, and hence, the most developed and most understood one.

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