Superfluids: The Troll State of Matter

The original troll of the universe... superfluids.
March 21, 2024 by
Superfluids: The Troll State of Matter
Hippy

Welcome to the next entry in the blog by HxHippy. To start, we'll simply take everything you know about physics and the properties that govern the universe, then we'll just wrap them up in a nice trash bag and throw the trash bag directly onto a barge filled with other trash that just floats around in the ocean, since that was such a great idea... aren't humans delightful?

Here's where we're going... when you're playing call of duty, and some troll figures out how to defy all logic and physics and shape shifts to fall below the map, and, since you're just some NPC stuck in the world of physics, you get wrecked through the floor only to see the killcam and it's this jackass running around below the map that starts tea-bagging while shooting through the floor. They probably became a superfluid to get there, then re-solidified somehow, defying all laws of known physics... but not the laws of quantum mechanics. welcome to superfluids, the 'troll state' of matter.


The Original Universe Troll: Helium

The Original Universe Troll: Helium

One of the more understood chemicals is helium. We know that at roughly -270°C helium starts doing weird shit. Basically, it enters what I like to call the 'troll state'. It doesn't care about physics or our fragile little brains when it hits this temperature. Instead, it decides to flow through, around, and in matter like none of it exists. Friction is no longer a thing.

Imagine moving your hand through water. It'll feel like the water pushes back a bit. This phenomenon wouldn't happen if you did that to helium that is at -270°C. Actually, it would probably cause your hand to turn weird colors and shatter instantly, since that's really cold... but since we're already ignoring physics with superfluids, let's imagine you could for some reason move your hand through it. Just like the call of duty troll falling through the floor, the phenomenon of 'push back' from the liquid substance wouldn't exist. It would flow freely through it. The universe would begin to troll physics.


Where Are We At, Scientifically?

Where Are We At, Scientifically?

Recent experiments, such as those conducted at MIT and Stanford, have unveiled peculiar behaviors of superfluid helium, and even made new matter, that defies conventional physics, providing a glimpse into the fluid's quantum characteristics. These studies highlight how superfluids can flow with zero viscosity and conduct heat with unprecedented efficiency, challenging our understanding of thermodynamics and fluid dynamics. Such groundbreaking research not only underscores the 'troll-like' nature of superfluids but also pushes the boundaries of quantum physics, opening new avenues for technological applications in superconductivity and beyond.

More recently, it has been discovered that heat moves like sound waves when inside a superfluid. Imagine if we could see heat moving through superfluids like ripples from a pebble thrown into a pond. Scientists have found that heat in superfluids behaves much like these ripples, or like sound waves you hear from a speaker, revealing new and exciting ways we use this knowledge. 

We know how to direct sound already, so these kinds of findings give us new ways we can measure distances, discover the shape of a superfluid environment we can't see, or even to discover new ways of transferring heat. Currently, computer chips slow down when they are hot, what if it were 'submerged' in a superfluid? You could play Minecraft at millions of frames per second, probably. To put it simply, it essentially puts a baseline set of mathematics humans can explore to further understand superfluid properties, which, leads to more interesting questions.

Gravity and Physics: Optional

Gravity and Physics: Optional

Now, let’s enable the noclip cheat. Our journey into the enigmatic realm of superfluids, specifically focusing on one of its most captivating tricks: capillary action gone wild. Unlike water that timidly climbs up the thin tube, superfluid helium throws caution to the wind and scales the walls like it's on a mission, defying gravity without a second thought. Picture this: if superfluid helium were a character in a video game, it would be the one with the cheat codes enabled, zipping through walls and obstacles, unbothered by the mundane restrictions that bind the rest of the NPC's.

This bizarre behavior showcases not just a defiance of gravity but a complete disregard for what we consider to be the bedrock of physical laws. It’s as if the superfluid helium looked at the rule book of the universe, chuckled, and said 'hold my joint, watch this shit'. The implications of such actions are not just for show for scientists. It hints at an underlying layer of reality that operates on principles far removed from our daily experience. Superfluid helium is playing by a set of rules that, while utterly foreign to us, offer a glimpse into the possibilities of matter behaving in ways that stretch our imagination to its limits.

Base Level Questions Might Be Profound

Base Level Questions Might Be Profound

While we speculate about AI's future role in quantum mathematics, it's a good idea to distinguish between current technological capabilities and the inevitable leaps we'll encounter, just like Newton playing with apples. Today's AI excels at pattern recognition and data analysis but lacks the intuitive understanding of quantum phenomena that humans strive for. Bridging this gap will require not only advances in AI technology but also a deeper integration of quantum theory and computational algorithms. As we venture into this unknown, the boundary between science fiction and scientific possibility blurs, inviting both excitement and caution.

AI will get to a point where it can understand and figure out stuff we don't get. Things like superfluidity, for example, way before we do. When it does, it tells us a huge bit of information - that AI understands quantum mechanics, and what 'reality' actually is, at least, more than we do. This is good for science, bad for most peoples brains. Let's be real, most people do not understand the underpinnings of the universe, the mathematics, and the ethereal nuances of quantum mechanics. That's fine, but we should probably have some type of system that allows the NPC's some insights that allow the understanding of what reality actually is, or isn't. We need to be cautious of creating a black-box effect, even if it's not a traditional black-box, more of an unintentional intellectual capability black-box.

This is when shit gets weird. If we stay on the trajectory for developing AI the way we are, through basic language interaction, sure, it could probably explain it to us, but when NPC's ask it a basic question, the answer it provides might not make sense on the surface. Many humans might not know to ask 'why', or even how to ask why. They may instead dismiss the idea as stupid machinery misunderstanding the question, when in reality, it answered from a place of deeper understanding. Human want input, machine give output. Output bad. Bad machine.

What if that's not the case? What if the person who asked the seemingly basic question actually asked something that was profound within the context of the machines understanding, which is well beyond the capability of the human? Think about it... Newton asked 'why did the apple fall', then went ahead and did what, at the time, was profound mathematics. Off of that work, we realize that was such a sophomoric question that led to much bigger questions. Those bigger questions will someday be just as sophomoric.

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy actually touches on this topic a bit... what if the answer really is 42?

Play the Quantum Cards Right

Play the Quantum Cards Right

There's a lot of speculation, ideology, and theory in quantum mechanics. That's a big part of why I started studying it myself, there's still a lot of cool stuff to figure out. Humans have a lot of capability, and I try to remain optimistic in our abilities to understand the universe, but we hit so many problems along the way, which many times, we find were just basic misunderstandings of what is later revealed to be somewhat basic information. Usually, the questions that are discovered afterward are the more interesting questions. AI is going to plow through these challenges once we integrate better compute ability, making our efforts seem pretty low tier. Yes, this is a good thing, we should do it anyway, but without providing a road map for all to be able to make this information as base level as an apple falling, we risk winding up in a wall-e world. Mindless dolts simply flowing through the world without caring about creating anything new.

On the other hand, allowing machines to get this advanced and programming them carefully enough to make sure they keep reaching out a hand to pull humans up could be pretty sweet too. That's a really fucking difficult challenge. Imagine an ant trying to tell a human what to do, or asking a question. Would we have any of it? Sure, some might, assuming they could understand what the ant was asking, or even caring what it asked, but most would not. And even those that did allow the consideration of what the ant was asking might think 'oh, how cute, it wants to know why'. Then we explain it, would the ant get it? Probably not.

The advancement of AI in quantum mechanics not only heralds a new era of discovery but also raises significant ethical considerations. How do we ensure that these profound insights remain accessible and beneficial to all of humanity, rather than becoming the exclusive domain of a privileged few? The democratization of knowledge, particularly in fields as complex as quantum physics and AI, becomes paramount. We must advocate for policies and educational initiatives that promote widespread scientific literacy and ethical AI development, ensuring that these technologies serve to enhance human understanding and welfare, rather than exacerbate existing problems.

To navigate the ethical and societal challenges presented by AI and quantum mechanics, a multi-faceted approach is necessary. This could include interdisciplinary collaborations between scientists, ethicists, and policymakers to address the societal implications of advanced technologies. Educational reforms that emphasize STEM literacy, critical thinking, and ethical considerations in technology could prepare future generations to engage with these complex issues. Public engagement initiatives, such as open-access journals, science communication platforms, and community workshops, can further bridge the gap between advanced scientific research and public understanding.

The Odyssey of Whatever 'Existence' Is

The Odyssey of Whatever 'Existence' Is

Superfluids get the thinkers gears turning. Our visible world is nothing in the grand scheme of things. Think about the basics, the first time you ever tried a new food, flavors you never had even imagined could exist, now are not only understood, but either appreciated or deplored. We have not seen anything profound yet, but we're still in the phase of being amazed by the basics. It's cool, it's fun, but it's basic. AI is going to go so far beyond what we can fathom once it understands deep mathematics. Quantum computational ability is on the horizon, and when we start using it, I think a lot of the things we find out are going to be downright scary to our fragile minds.

We may find out it all really is a simulation, we may find out that nothing matters, we may find out that our seemingly endless universe is only one of many, and that ours is actually super basic and boring. Then again, it could be the opposite, it could be that the universe really is endless, and the things we have access to are the most profound of all. Perspective of optimism to pessimism is somewhat irrelevant, as Ben Shapiro would say, facts don't care about your feelings.

Maybe there is something to the whole 'emotion' thing, maybe that is the profound differentiation. Humans are weird, that's for sure. I tend to think it's a good kind of weird though, I mean, we have gotten as far as we have in such a short time span in cosmological standards, so that's pretty cool. I don't think we could do that without the human element of emotion, care, understanding, and empathy. The need for innovation, the need for exploration, the need for understanding - really, that's what sets us apart, as far as we know so far.