Lone Guest

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Clara woke up from a nightmare. She tried to move her arms, but she realized that she was chained to the posts of a research test bed. She was about to scream for help when she saw two strange men in front of her.
"You're finally awake, robot." Liam, an astrophysicist, said in excitement.
“There must be a misunderstanding here,” she said. “I'm human!"
“Wait,” Ellie interrupted. "As a robotics scientist, I propose you hand it to me for a complete inspection. If you damage it with a chainsaw, I'm afraid we'll lose a significant reference for study."
Liam stared at him for several seconds. Ellie returned his look as calmly as he could. Finally, Liam replied in a serious tone. “Fine, take it.”
A soon as Liam left the room, Ellie moved closer and said, “You’re lucky I’m interested in high-end robots.”
Clara frowned in disbelief. Her mind was flooded with confusion. She missed her family. Things used to be so simple back at her place. They mistook her as a robot spy that infiltrated the research institute to steal confidential information for Maron planet.
"I’m not! I'm Clara, a Filipino geologist. I just got my license in 2019."
He chuckled while playing with her black hair. “Are you saying that you’re an ancient robot that experienced time distortions?”
“What year is it now?”
“It’s 3019.”
Ellie received a phone call saying that the true robot spy was already captured. He laughed and shook his head. He felt disappointed. She wasn’t a high-end robot but a human who was framed-up by the real one all along.
“Why are you laughing?” Clara sat on the couch as soon as he unlocked the chains.
“Your identity is finally cleared.”
 “So tell me, what is it like in 3019?”
Ellie grinned. He sat her down in front of the plasma wall. He tapped on the screen keyboard, and a series of video files stored on the holographic drive were accessed in less than 0.2 seconds. Clara’s eyes widened as they played one by one. She found herself trapped in Paraiso, a man-made island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.
Meanwhile, institute director Mason Garcia was holding a jellyfish-inspired wristwatch in the safety of his locked office. He finally found the long-lost invention of his deceased father. He believed in the powers of quantum mechanics to place entities into a state of superposition. This allowed Clara to arrive in the future without having aged.
Clara managed to blend in perfectly with the people on the island while finding clues about her time travel. Several weeks later, the island experienced a serious power shortage. In his office, Director Garcia ran a hand through his thick gray hair showing a nervous mannerism. He invited Ellie, Liam, and Clara for a closed-door meeting. They discussed this problem.
Garcia showed the wrist watch to them. “This watch is the key to the space-time vortex,” he said, “and the extremely rare indigo quartz crystal regulates its movement.” “The crystal supplies extraordinary amount of energy and longevity to Paraiso as well. Because of its rarity on Earth, the institute continues its research in producing synthetic crystals for Earth’s next-generation energy technology.”
The watch reminded Clara of a tragic incident. She was strolling in the mall when a magnitude-8 earthquake had occurred. She was trapped inside the collapsed building. Her breathing had quickened, trying to appease her need for oxygen. She had noticed a glowing watch, and then her eyes blurred with tears.
Liam came up with the solution to their problem immediately. He would take part on a space mission to mine crystals in planet Proxima. Ellie suggested Clara to join the mission as Liam’s assistance. Garcia and Liam were reluctant to include her on a dangerous mission; but Ellie insisted and in the end they consented. Her intense preparation went smoothly. Ellie’s adult-size pod served as a knowledge signal input device. It converted necessary information from a supercomputer into memory signals, sending them to her brain.
And so they embarked on a space mission. As their oxygenated spaceship got rid of gravity, they saw Earth slowly becoming a blue planet in the universe. They successfully passed through the magnetic field around planet Proxima, thanks to their talisman— a black card with a magnetism manipulation power. They walked freely on the uninhabited planet. Clara released robots from the ship to help them with the mining operation. The prospecting robots provided a three-dimensional map of quartz-bearing areas, and then mining robots absorbed a seam of crystals that emerged on the surface after a big blast in the area.
“Mission complete,” they said with smiles on their faces.
They managed to survive an encounter with a meteor storm on their way home. The ship was off the course and all instructions were ineffective after it was hit by meteoroids. If the recovery system had failed, it would have turned into a cold meteoric iron floating in the lonely outer space forever.
Months later, they arrived at the island safe and sound. Clara visited Director Garcia in his office. She made up her mind. She wanted to go back home. When Garcia activated the wrist watch, it eventually lit up and opened a space-time vortex. The dust whipped up into the air, semi-blinding them. They stood and leaned into the wind.
“Wait!” Ellie and Liam walked into the room. “Don’t you have anything you want to say before leaving us?” Ellie asked.
“I have already built up some kind of connection with this world,” Clara said. “I came from a world where people have a pessimistic outlook in the future, thinking that Earth will become a wasteland sooner or later. Meeting everyone who’s a thousand years apart from me, I realize that there’s still hope in humanity.” She smiled, feeling relieved. The heavens and earth will be renewed, and they will exist in harmony, she thought, recalling the biblical narrative.  She bid farewell to them and eagerly jumped into the vortex.

About the Author: 
Caryl Sapepe is a licensed geologist and freelance writer based in the Philippines. She had long exemplified a level of commitment for serving the student publication in her college years. She rejects mainstream opinions, and she likes to come up with theories of her own.
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Quantum Theories: A to Z

N is for ...

When two quantum particles are entangled, it can also be said they are “nonlocal”: their physical proximity does not affect the way their quantum states are linked.

D is for ...

Albert Einstein decided quantum theory couldn’t be right because its reliance on probability means everything is a result of chance. “God doesn’t play dice with the world,” he said.

L is for ...
Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

At CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, this machine is smashing apart particles in order to discover their constituent parts and the quantum laws that govern their behaviour.

I is for ...

Some of the strangest characteristics of quantum theory can be demonstrated by firing a photon into an interferometer: the device’s output is a pattern that can only be explained by the photon passing simultaneously through two widely-separated slits.

R is for ...

Unpredictability lies at the heart of quantum mechanics. It bothered Einstein, but it also bothers the Dalai Lama.

E is for ...

When two quantum objects interact, the information they contain becomes shared. This can result in a kind of link between them, where an action performed on one will affect the outcome of an action performed on the other. This “entanglement” applies even if the two particles are half a universe apart.

Z is for ...
Zero-point energy

Even at absolute zero, the lowest temperature possible, nothing has zero energy. In these conditions, particles and fields are in their lowest energy state, with an energy proportional to Planck’s constant.

Q is for ...
Quantum biology

A new and growing field that explores whether many biological processes depend on uniquely quantum processes to work. Under particular scrutiny at the moment are photosynthesis, smell and the navigation of migratory birds.

T is for ...

This happens when quantum objects “borrow” energy in order to bypass an obstacle such as a gap in an electrical circuit. It is possible thanks to the uncertainty principle, and enables quantum particles to do things other particles can’t.

B is for ...
Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC)

At extremely low temperatures, quantum rules mean that atoms can come together and behave as if they are one giant super-atom.

C is for ...

People have been hiding information in messages for millennia, but the quantum world provides a whole new way to do it.

O is for ...
Objective reality

Niels Bohr, one of the founding fathers of quantum physics, said there is no such thing as objective reality. All we can talk about, he said, is the results of measurements we make.

Y is for ...
Young's Double Slit Experiment

In 1801, Thomas Young proved light was a wave, and overthrew Newton’s idea that light was a “corpuscle”.

W is for ...

The mathematics of quantum theory associates each quantum object with a wavefunction that appears in the Schrödinger equation and gives the probability of finding it in any given state.

Q is for ...

One quantum bit of information is known as a qubit (pronounced Q-bit). The ability of quantum particles to exist in many different states at once means a single quantum object can represent multiple qubits at once, opening up the possibility of extremely fast information processing.

U is for ...

To many researchers, the universe behaves like a gigantic quantum computer that is busy processing all the information it contains.

P is for ...

Quantum mechanics is a probabilistic theory: it does not give definite answers, but only the probability that an experiment will come up with a particular answer. This was the source of Einstein’s objection that God “does not play dice” with the universe.

H is for ...
Hidden Variables

One school of thought says that the strangeness of quantum theory can be put down to a lack of information; if we could find the “hidden variables” the mysteries would all go away.

D is for ...

Unless it is carefully isolated, a quantum system will “leak” information into its surroundings. This can destroy delicate states such as superposition and entanglement.

G is for ...

Our best theory of gravity no longer belongs to Isaac Newton. It’s Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. There’s just one problem: it is incompatible with quantum theory. The effort to tie the two together provides the greatest challenge to physics in the 21st century.

S is for ...
Schrödinger’s Cat

A hypothetical experiment in which a cat kept in a closed box can be alive and dead at the same time – as long as nobody lifts the lid to take a look.

G is for ...

These elementary particles hold together the quarks that lie at the heart of matter.

A is for ...

This is the basic building block of matter that creates the world of chemical elements – although it is made up of more fundamental particles.

C is for ...

The most precise clocks we have are atomic clocks which are powered by quantum mechanics. Besides keeping time, they can also let your smartphone know where you are.

X is for ...

In 1923 Arthur Compton shone X-rays onto a block of graphite and found that they bounced off with their energy reduced exactly as would be expected if they were composed of particles colliding with electrons in the graphite. This was the first indication of radiation’s particle-like nature.

S is for ...
Schrödinger Equation

This is the central equation of quantum theory, and describes how any quantum system will behave, and how its observable qualities are likely to manifest in an experiment.

A is for ...
Alice and Bob

In quantum experiments, these are the names traditionally given to the people transmitting and receiving information. In quantum cryptography, an eavesdropper called Eve tries to intercept the information.

R is for ...

Since the predictions of quantum theory have been right in every experiment ever done, many researchers think it is the best guide we have to the nature of reality. Unfortunately, that still leaves room for plenty of ideas about what reality really is!

F is for ...
Free Will

Ideas at the heart of quantum theory, to do with randomness and the character of the molecules that make up the physical matter of our brains, lead some researchers to suggest humans can’t have free will.

J is for ...
Josephson Junction

This is a narrow constriction in a ring of superconductor. Current can only move around the ring because of quantum laws; the apparatus provides a neat way to investigate the properties of quantum mechanics and is a technology to build qubits for quantum computers.

I is for ...

Many researchers working in quantum theory believe that information is the most fundamental building block of reality.

T is for ...

Quantum tricks allow a particle to be transported from one location to another without passing through the intervening space – or that’s how it appears. The reality is that the process is more like faxing, where the information held by one particle is written onto a distant particle.

M is for ...

Our most successful theories of cosmology suggest that our universe is one of many universes that bubble off from one another. It’s not clear whether it will ever be possible to detect these other universes.

B is for ...
Bell's Theorem

In 1964, John Bell came up with a way of testing whether quantum theory was a true reflection of reality. In 1982, the results came in – and the world has never been the same since!

W is for ...
Wave-particle duality

It is possible to describe an atom, an electron, or a photon as either a wave or a particle. In reality, they are both: a wave and a particle.

H is for ...
Hawking Radiation

In 1975, Stephen Hawking showed that the principles of quantum mechanics would mean that a black hole emits a slow stream of particles and would eventually evaporate.

M is for ...
Many Worlds Theory

Some researchers think the best way to explain the strange characteristics of the quantum world is to allow that each quantum event creates a new universe.

V is for ...
Virtual particles

Quantum theory’s uncertainty principle says that since not even empty space can have zero energy, the universe is fizzing with particle-antiparticle pairs that pop in and out of existence. These “virtual” particles are the source of Hawking radiation.

K is for ...

These are particles that carry a quantum property called strangeness. Some fundamental particles have the property known as charm!

S is for ...

Researchers are harnessing the intricacies of quantum mechanics to develop powerful quantum sensors. These sensors could open up a wide range of applications.

P is for ...
Planck's Constant

This is one of the universal constants of nature, and relates the energy of a single quantum of radiation to its frequency. It is central to quantum theory and appears in many important formulae, including the Schrödinger Equation.

K is for ...

Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) is a way to create secure cryptographic keys, allowing for more secure communication.

M is for ...

Quantum physics is the study of nature at the very small. Mathematics is one language used to formalise or describe quantum phenomena.

T is for ...

The arrow of time is “irreversible”—time goes forward. This doesn’t seem to follow the laws of physics which work the same going forward or backward in time. Some physicists argue that there is a more fundamental quantum source for the arrow of time.

U is for ...
Uncertainty Principle

One of the most famous ideas in science, this declares that it is impossible to know all the physical attributes of a quantum particle or system simultaneously.

C is for ...

The rules of the quantum world mean that we can process information much faster than is possible using the computers we use now.

L is for ...

We used to believe light was a wave, then we discovered it had the properties of a particle that we call a photon. Now we know it, like all elementary quantum objects, is both a wave and a particle!

A is for ...
Act of observation

Some people believe this changes everything in the quantum world, even bringing things into existence.

S is for ...

Quantum objects can exist in two or more states at once: an electron in superposition, for example, can simultaneously move clockwise and anticlockwise around a ring-shaped conductor.

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