DOI: 10.3390/e26030255 ISSN: 1099-4300

Events as Elements of Physical Observation: Experimental Evidence

J. Gerhard Müller
  • General Physics and Astronomy

It is argued that all physical knowledge ultimately stems from observation and that the simplest possible observation is that an event has happened at a certain space–time location X→=x→,t. Considering historic experiments, which have been groundbreaking in the evolution of our modern ideas of matter on the atomic, nuclear, and elementary particle scales, it is shown that such experiments produce as outputs streams of macroscopically observable events which accumulate in the course of time into spatio-temporal patterns of events whose forms allow decisions to be taken concerning conceivable alternatives of explanation. Working towards elucidating the physical and informational characteristics of those elementary observations, we show that these represent hugely amplified images of the initiating micro-events and that the resulting macro-images have a cognitive value of 1 bit and a physical value of Wobs=Eobsτobs≫h. In this latter equation, Eobs stands for the energy spent in turning the initiating micro-events into macroscopically observable events, τobs for the lifetimes during which the generated events remain macroscopically observable, and h for Planck’s constant. The relative value Gobs=Wobs/h finally represents a measure of amplification that was gained in the observation process.

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