The Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics

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About The Author. Gary Zukav is the author of four consecutiveNew York Timesbestsellers. In ,The Seat of the Soulled the way to seeing the alignment of the personality and the soul as the Select Parent Grandparent Teacher Kid at heart. Age of the child I gave this to:. Hours of Play:. Tell Us Where You Are:.

Preview Your Review. Thank you. Your review has been submitted and will appear here shortly. Reviews Rated 5 out of 5 by Wing from Very Engaging I am incredibly fascinated by the similarities between ancient spiritual teachings and modern science. The problem is, however, that human nature being what it is, we do not stop trying to picture these abstractions. We keep asking "What are these abstractions of?

Earlier we dismissed Bohr's planetary model of the atom with the promise that we later would see "how physicists currently think of an atom. We gave up our old picture of the atom so easily because we assumed that it would be replaced by one more meaningful, but equally as lucid. Now it develops that our replacement picture is not a picture at all, but an unvisualizable abstraction.

This is uncomfortable because it reminds us that atoms were never "real" things anyway. Atoms are hypothetical entities constructed to make experimental observations intelligible. No one, not one person, has ever seen an atom. As Max Born put it This means, in reference to 'moving particles anyway, that we can never see them the way they "really are," but only the way we choose to see them! As Heisenberg wrote: What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning. It brings into question the very existence of an "objective" reality, as does complementarity and the concept of particles as correlations.

The tables have been turned. Science, at the level of subatomic events, is no longer "exact," the distinction between objective and subjective has vanished, and the portals through which the universe manifests itself are, as we once knew a long time ago, those impotent, passive witnesses to its unfolding, the "I"s, of which we, insignificant we, are examples. The Cogs in the Machine have become the Creators of the Universe. If the new physics has led us anywhere, it is back to our- selves, which, of course, is the only place that we could go. True artists and true physicists know that nonsense is only Ithat which, viewed from our present point of view, is unintel- ligible.

Nonsense is nonsense only when we have not yet found that point of view from which it makes sense. In general, physicists do not deal in nonsense. Most of Ithem spend their professional lives thinking along well- established lines of thought. Those scientists who establish the established lines of thought, however, are those who do not pear to venture boldly into nonsense, into that which any fool could have told them is clearly not so.

This is the mark of the creative mind, in fact, this is the creative process. In physics, as elsewhere, those who most have felt the exhilaration of the creative process are those who best have slipped the bonds of the known to venture far into the unexplored territory which lies beyond the barrier of the ob- Ivious. This type of person has two characteristics. This is the moral of the child's? Th'e child in us is always naive, innocent in the simplistic sense.

A Zen story tells of Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era who received a university professor. The professor came to inquire about Zen. Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor's cup full, and then kept on pouring. The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain him- self.

No more will go in! How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup? In the introduction. Baker Roshi, the American Zen Master, wrote: The mind of the beginner is empty, free of the habits of the expert, ready to accept, to doubt, and open to all the possibilities. That is the subject of this chapter. The second characteristic of true artists and true scientists is the firm confidence which both of them have in themselves. This confidence is an expression of an inner strength which allows them to speak out, secure in the knowledge that, ap- pearances to the contrary, it is the world that is confused and not they.

The first man to see an illusion by which men have flourished for centuries surely stands in a lonely place. This confidence is not the obstinacy of the fool, but the surety of him who knows what he knows, and knows also that he can convey it to others in a meaningful way. The writer, Henry Miller, wrote: 1 obey only my own instincts and intuition. Often I put down things which I do not understand myself, secure in the knowledge that later they will become clear and meaningful to me. I have faith in the man who is writing, who is myself, the writer.

I don't even know what it's going to say , J An example of this kind of faith in the realm of physics was the theory of light quanta. In , the accepted and proven theory of light was that light was a wave phenomenon. In spite of this, Einstein published his famous paper proposing that light was a particle phenomenon page Heisenberg described this fascinating situation this way: [In ] light could either be interpreted as consisting of electromagnetic waves, according to Maxwell's theory, or as consisting of light quanta, energy packets traveling through space with high velocity [according to Einstein].

But could it be both? Einstein knew, of course, that the well-known phenomena of diffraction and interference can be explained only on the basis of the wave picture. He was not able to dispute the complete contradiction be- tween this wave picture and the idea of the light quanta; nor did he even attempt to remove the inconsistency of this interpretation. He simply took the contradiction as something which would probably be understood much later. Einstein's thesis led to the wave-particle duality from which quantum mechanics emerged, and with it, as we know, a way of looking at reality and ourselves that is vastly different from that to which we were accustomed.

Weird George has a problem Not only is he the only person who has this particular perspective, but also this particular perspective is in no way relative to that of any other observer, which brings us to the heart of Einstein's special theory of relativity Einstein created two theones of relativity The first theory is called the special theory of relativity The second theory which came later and is more general, is called the general theory of relativity This chapter and the next are about the first theory the special theory of relativity The special theory of relativity is not so much about what is relative as about what is not It describes in what way the relative aspects of physical reahtv appear to vary depending upon the point of view of different observers actually depending upon their state of motion relative to each other but.

That doesn't make sense. When the photons are emitted, they are traveling at , miles per second. If we also are moving, and moving toward them, their velocity should meas- ure that much faster. In fact, they should appear to be traveling with the speed at which they were emitted plus our speed. Their velocity should measure , miles per second plus , miles per second. It measures , miles per second, just as if we still were standing still.

Suppose that the light bulb still is standing still, and this time we are moving away from it at , miles per second. What will the velocity of the photons meas- ure now? The speed of the photons still measures , miles per second. Do you mean that if a light bulb is at rest and we measure the speed of the photons emitted from it while we also are at rest, and if we then measure the speed of the photons from it while we are mov- ing toward it, and lastly, if we measure the speed of the photons emitted from it while we are moving away from it, we get the same result in all three cases?

Two American physicists, Albert Michelson and Edward Morley, have just completed an experiment which seems to show that the speed of light is constant, regardless of the state of motion of the observer.

THE DANCING WU LI MASTERS

In fact, if light is assumed to be a wave phenomenon governed by a wave equation, it is expected that its measured velocity will be independent of the velocity of its source. The velocity of the sound waves reaching us from a jet plane, for example, does not depend upon the velocity of the aircraft. It just doesn't make sense. The Michelson-Morley experiment was a crucial experiment. A crucial experiment is an experiment which determines the life or death of a scientific theory.

The theory that was tested by the Michelson-Morley experiment was the theory of the ether. The theory of the ether was that the entire universe lies in and is permeated by an invisible, tasteless, odorless substance that has no properties at all, and exists simply because it has to exist so that light waves can have something to propagate in. For light to travel as waves, according to the theory, something has to be waving. That something was the ether. The theory of the ether was the last attempt to explain the universe by explaining something. Interpreting the universe in terms of things like the Great Machine idea was the distinguishing characteristic of the mechanical view, which means all of physics from Newton until the middle s.

The ether, according to the theory, is everywhere and in everything. We live and perform our experiments in a sea of ether. To the ether, the hardest substance is as porous as a sponge to water. There are no doors to the ether. Although we move in the ether sea, the ether sea does not move.

It is absolutely, unequivocally not moving. Therefore, although the primary reason for the existence of the ether was to give light something to propagate through, its existence also solved the old problem of locating the origi- nal inertial co-ordinate system, that frame of reference in which the laws of mechanics are completely valid. If the ether existed and it had to exist , the co-ordinate system attached to it was the co-ordinate system against which all others could be com- pared to see if they were moving or not.

The findings of Michelson and Morley gave a verdict of e. The paradox is that the measured velocity of light has been found the Michelsou-Morley experiment to be independent of the motion of the observer.

Gary Zukav: The Seat of the Soul (excerpt) -- A Thinking Allowed DVD w/ Jeffrey Mishlove

In other words, assuming a light wave propagating through a medium, how can we move through the same medium toward the approaching wave without increasing its measured velocity? It never varies. It can appear differently to observers in different states of motion, but it is, itself, invariant. The special theory of relativity shows how observers in different frames of reference can observe the same two events and calculate the space-time interval between them.

The answer that all of the observers get will be the same. One observer may be in a state of motion such that for him there is a time and a distance involved between the two events, and another observer may be in a state of motion such that his measuring devices indicate a different distance and a differ- ent time between the events, but the space-time interval be- tween the two events does not vary. For example, the space-time interval, the absolute separation, between two exploding stars is the same whether it is viewed from a slow- moving frame of reference like a planet, or from a fast-moving frame of reference, like a speeding rocket.

Let us return to our experiment with the moving glass room. Although we inside the room saw the light strike the rearward and forward walls simultaneously, the outside observer saw the light strike the rearward wall before it reached the for- ward wall. Nevertheless, by using a Pythagorean-like equation, into which we and the outside observer feed our time and t Thanks to Guy Murchie who drew the original version of this drawing in his fine book. Music of the Spheres, New York, Dover, Be Here Now, established the watchwords of the awareness movement, Hermann Mmkowski proved that, in physical reality, no choice exists in the matter pun r ' Unfoi tunatelv for physicists, the realization is not always the experience Nonetheless, after two thousand years of use in the East, being here now, the beginning step in meditation received the validation of western science via Mmkowski s rigorous mathematical confirmation of it inspired bv the special theorv of relativity The last and the most famous aspect of the special theory of relativity is the revelation that mass is a form of energy, and that energy has mass In Einstein's words, "Energy has mass and mass represents energy " 9 Although this sounds shocking in one sense, in the sense that we have believed ever so long that matter, stuff,' is different front energy just as the body is different from the mind another form of the same theory , in another sense, it sounds surprising!

Where there is high, there also is low. Where there is day, there also is night. Where there is death, there also is birth. The concept of yin-yang, which is really a very old law of symmetry, is yet another way of saying that the physical universe is a whole which seeks balance within itself. The irony of the special theory of relativity, as apparent by now, is that it is not about those aspects of reality that are relative, but about those aspects that are not relative.

Like quantum mechanics, its impact on the assumptions of New- tonian physics was shattering. Not because it proved them wrong, but because it proved them to be quite limited. The special theory of relativity and quantum mechanics have propelled us into unimaginably expansive areas ofreality, areas about which we literally had not one previous idea.

The assumptions of Newtonian physics correspond to the clothes we always thought that the Emperor was wearing: a universal time whose uniform passage equally affects every part of the universe, a separate space, independent though empty; and the belief that there exists somewhere in the universe a place which stands absolutely still, quiet and unmoving. Every one of these assumptions has been proven untrue not useful by the special theory of relativity.

The Emperor wasn't wearing them at all. Hie only motion in the physical universe is motion relative to something else. There is no separate space and time. Mass and energy are different names for the same thing. In place of these assumptions, the special theory of relativity provides a new and unified physics. Measurements of distance and duration may vary front one frame of reference to an- other, but the space-time interval between events never changes. For all this, however, the special theory of relativity has one shortcoming. It is based on a rather uncommon situation.

The special theory of relativity applies only to frames of reference that move uniformly, relative to each other. Most movement, unfortunately, is neither constant nor ideally smooth. In other words, the. Einstein's vision was to construct a physics that is valid for all frames of reference, such as those moving with non-uniform motion acceleration and deceleration relative to each other, as well as those moving uniformly relative to each other His idda was to create a physics which could describe events in terms of any frame of reference, no matter how it moves relative to any other frame of reference.

In , Einstein succeeded in achieving the complete generalization of his special theory. He called this achieve- ment the general theory of relativity. CHAPTER 1 General Nonsense The general theor of relativity shows us that our minds follow different rules than the real world does A rational mind, based on the impressions that it receives from its limited perspective, forms structures which thereafter determine what it further will and will not accept freely From that point on, regardless of how the real world actually operates, this rational mind, following its self-imposed rules, tnes to superimpose on the real world its own version of what must be This continues until at long last a beginner s mind cries out.

However, if the elevator were the size of Texas and the baseballs were as far apart when they were dropped as Texas is wide, the baseballs would not fall parallel to each other. They would converge , since each of them would be drawn by gravity to the center of the earth. The observers inside the elevator would notice that the baseballs, and any other floating objects in the elevator, move toward each other with the passage of time, as though there were a mutual attraction between them.

In short, if it is small enough, a co-ordinate system falling in a gravitational field is the equivalent of an inertial co- ordinate system. This is Einstein's principle of equivalence. It is a telling piece of mental dexterity. Anything like an "inertial co-ordinate system" that can be "wiped out " 2 Einstein's words by the assumption of a gravitational field hardly deserves to be called absolute as in "absolute motion," and "absolute non-motion".

While the observers inside the elevator exper- ience a lack of motion and the absence of gravity, the observ- ers outside the elevator see a co-ordinate system the elevator accelerating through a gravitational field Now let us imagine a variation of this situation. Assume that we, the outside observers, are in an inertial co-ordinate system.

We already know what happens in inertial co-ordinate systems; the same things that happened in the falling elevator. There are no forces, including gravity, to affect us. Therefore, let us assume that we are comfortably floating. Objects at rest remain at rest, objects in motion continue in a straight line forever, and every action produces an equal and opposite reaction.

In our inertial co-ordinate system is an elevator. Someone has attached a rope to the elevator and is pulling it in the direction indicated next page. Since this is a thought experi- ment, it does not matter how this is done. The elevator- is being pulled with a constant force, which means that it is in a state of constant acceleration in the direction of the arrow. How will observers outside the elevator and observers inside the elevator appraise this situation?

We see the elevator being pulled with a constant acceleration by the rope, and so we can predict cer- tain things about it. Everything inside the elevator that is not attached quickly collides with the floor of the elevator. If someone in the elevator drops a handkerchief, the elevator floor rushes up to meet it.

If someone in the elevator tries to jump off the floor, the floor, rushing upward, is instantly under his feet again. The floor of the elevator continually crashes into anything in its path as it accelerates upward. Inside the elevator, however, the appraisal of the situation is quite different. To a generation of physicists bom and brought up inside the elevator, talk of acceleration upward is fantasy remember, the elevator has no windows.

To them, their co-ordinate system is quite at rest. Objects fall downward to the floor because of a gravitational field, just as objects on the earth fall downward to the floor because of a gravitational field. Both the observers inside the elevator and the observers outside the elevator have consistent explanations for the phenomena inside the elevator. We observers outside the elevator explain them by the accelerated motion of the elevator. However, since gravity and accel- eration are equivalent, this is the same as saying that the special theory of relativity is applicable whenever gravity is neglected.

If the effects of gravity are to be considered, then we must use the general theory of relativity. In the physical world the effects of gravity can be neglected in 1 remote regions of space which are far from any centers of gravity matter , and 2 in very small regions of space.

Why gravity can be ignored in very small regions of space leads to the most psychedelic aspect of all Einstein's theories. Gravity can be ignored in very small regions of space because, if the region is small enough, the mountainous terrain of space- time is not noticeable.! The nature of the space-time continuum is like that of a hilly countryside. The hills are caused by pieces of matter objects. The larger the piece of matter, the more it curves the space-time continuum.

In remote regions of space far from any matter of significant size, the space-time continuum resembles a flat plain. A piece of matter the size of the earth causes quite a bump in the space-time continuum, and apiece of matter the size of a star causes a relative mountain. As an object travels through the space-time continuum, it takes the easiest path between two points.

The easiest path between two points in the space-time continuum is called a geodesic geo dee' sic. A geodesic is not always a straight line owing to the nature of the terrain in which the object finds itself. Suppose that we are in a balloon looking down on a mountain that has a bright beacon on the top of it. The mountain rises gradually out of the plain, and becomes more and more steep as its elevation increases, until, close to the top, it rises al- most straight up. As the paths approach the mountain, all of them begin to curve in one way or another, to avoid going unnecessarily far up the mountain.

Suppose that it is nighttime and that, looking down, we can see neither the mountain nor the footpaths.

See a Problem?

All that we can see is the beacon and the torches of the travelers below. As we watch, we notice that the torches deflect from a straight path when they approach the vicinity of the beacon. Some of them curve gently around the beacon in a graceful arc some distance away from it. Others approach the beacon more directly, but the closer they get to it, the more sharply they turn away front it. From this, we probably would deduce that some force emanating from the beacon was repelling all attempts to ap- proach it. For example, we might speculate that the beacon is extremely hot and painful to approach.

With the coming of daylight, however, we can see that the beacon is situated on the top of a large mountain and that it has nothing whatever to do with the movement of the torch- bearers. They simply followed the easiest paths available to them over the terrain between their points of origin and des- tination. This masterful analogy was created by Bertrand Russell.

In this case, the mountain is the sun, the travelers are the planets, asteroids, comets and debris from the space program , the footpaths are their orbits, and the coming of daylight is the coming of Einstein's general theory of relativity. The point is that the objects in the solar system move as they do not because of some mysterious force gravity exerted upon them at a distance by the sun, but because of the nature of the neighborhood through which they are traveling.

Arthur Eddington illustrated this same situation in another way. Suppose, he suggested, that we are in a boat looking down into clear water. We can see the sand on the bottom and the fishes swimming beneath us. As we watch, we notice that the fish seem to be repelled from a certain point. As-they approach it, they swim either to the right or to the left of it, but never over it. From this we probably would deduce that there is a repellant force at that point which keeps the fish away. However, if this is the explanation that they choose to adopt, then they must create a "force" responsible for somehow distorting the straight lines like "gravity".

The second possible explanation is that their abstract geometry does not apply to their real world. This is another way of saying that, impossible as it sounds, their universe is not Euclidean. The idea that their physical reality is not Euclidean probably would sound so fantastic to them especially if they had had no reason to question the reality of Euclidean geometry for two thousand years that they probably would choose to look for forces responsible for distorting their straight lines. Eventually the structure of these necessary forces would be- come so complex that it would be much simpler to forget them altogether and admit that their physical world does not follow the logically irrefutable rules of Euclidean geometry.

Our situation is parallel to that of the two-dimensional peo- ple who cannot perceive, but who can deduce that they are living in a three-dimensional world. We are a three-dimensional people who cannot perceive, but who can deduce that we are living in a four-dimensional universe.

For two thousand years we have assumed that the entire physical universe, like the geometry that the ancient Greeks created from their experience with this part of it, was Euclidean. That the geometry of Euclid is universally valid means that it can be verified anywhere in the physical world. That assumption was wrong.

Einstein was the first person to see that the universe is not bound by the rules of Euclidean geometry, even though our minds tenaciously cling to the idea that it is. Although we cannot perceive the four-dimensional space- time continuum directly, we can deduce from what we already know of the special theory of relativity that our universe is not Euclidean. Here is another of Einstein's thought experiments. Cambridge, England, Cambridge University Press. Italics in the original. Both of them revolve around a common center as shown.

Imagine also that we, the observers, are watching these revolving circles from an inertial co-ordinate system. Being in an inertial co-ordinate system simply means that our frame of reference is at rest relative to everything, including the revolving circles.

Drawn over the revolving circles are two identical concentric circles which are in our co-ordinate system. They are not revolving. They are the same size as the revolving circles and have the same common center, but they remain motionless. While we and our non-revolving circles are mo- tionless, we are in communication with an observer who is on the revolving circles. He actually is going around with them. According to Euclidean geometry, the ratio of the radius to the circumference of all circles is the same.

If we measure the radius and the circumference of the small circle, for example, the ratio of these two measurements will be the same as the ratio of the radius to the circumference of the large circle. The object of this thought experiment is to determine whether this is true or not for both the observers on the stationary circles us and the observer on the revolving circles. Both we and the observer on the revolving circles will use the same ruler to do our measuring.

We go first. Using our ruler, we measure the radius of our small circle, and then we measure the circumference of our small circle. Then we note the ratio between them. The next step is to measure the radius of our large circle and then the circumference of our large circle. Yes, it is the same ratio that we found be- tween the radius and the circumference of our small circle. We have proved that Euclidean geometry is valid in our co- ordinate system, which is an inertial co-ordinate system. Now we hand the ruler to the observer on the revolving circles as he passes by us.

Using this ruler he first measures the radius of his small circle and finds that it is the same as ours, since our circles are drawn directly over his circles. Next he measures the circumference of his small circle. Re- member that motion causes rulers to contract in the direction that they are moving.

However, since the radius of the small circle is so short, the velocity of the ruler when it is placed on the circumference of the small circle is not fast enough to make the effect of relativistic contraction noticeable. Therefore, the observer on the revolving circles measures the circumfer- ence of his small circle and finds it to be the same as the circumference of our small circle. Naturally, the ratio between them also is the same. So far so good. The ratios between the radius and the circumference of three circles have been de- termined our small circle, our large circle, and his small circle and they all are identical.

This is exactly what should happen according to high-school geometry books across the country. Only one more circle to go. The observer on the revolving circles measures the radius of his large circle and finds it to be the same length as the radius of our large circle. Now he comes to the last measure- ment, the circumference ofhis large circle. However, as soon as he puts his ruler into position to make a measurement on the circumference of the large revolving circle, his ruler con- tracts!

Since the ruler must be aligned in the direction that the circumference is moving, it becomes shorter.

The Dancing Wu Li Masters - Wikipedia

When the revolving observer uses this ruler to measure the circumfer- ence of the large revolving circle, he finds that it is larger than the circumference of our large circle. This is because his ruler is shorter Contraction also affected his ruler when he measured the radius of his large circle, but since it then was placed perpendicular to the direction of motion, it became skinnier, not shorter. This means that the ratio of the radius to the circumference of the small revolving circle is not the same as the ratio of the radius to the circumference of the large revolving circle.

Ac- cording to Euclidean geometry, this is not possible, but there it is. If we want to be old-fashioned about it before-Einstein we can say that this situation is nothing unusual. By definition, the laws of mechanics and the geometry of Euclid are valid only in inertial systems that is what makes them inertial systems. We simply don't consider co-ordinate systems which are not inertial. This was really the position of physicists before Albert Einstein. This is exactly what seemed wrong to Einstein.

His idea was to create a physics valid for all co-ordinate systems, since the universe abounds with the non-inertial as well as the inertia] kind. If we are to create such a universally valid physics, a gen- eral physics, then we must treat both the observers in the stationary inertial system and the observer on the revolving circles a non-inertial system with equal seriousness. The per- son on the revolving circles has as much right to relate the physical world to his frame of reference as we have to relate it to ours.

True, the laws of mechanics as well as the geometry of Euclid are not valid in his frame of reference, but every de viation front them can be explained in terms of a gravitational field which affects his frame of reference. This is what Einstein's theory allows us to do. It allows us to express the laws of physics in such a way that they are independent of specific space-time co-ordinates.

The general theory of relativity allows us to universalize the laws of physics and to apply them to all frames of reference. The length of a ruler varies from place to place in such a system. The farther we go from the center, the faster the velocity of the ruler, and the more it contracts. This doesn't happen in an inertial co-ordinate system, which, in effect, is a system that is at rest.

Because there is no change of velocity throughout an inerHal co-ordinate system, rulers do not change length.

Since rulers do not change length in inertial systems, all the blocks that are laid out with the same ruler will be the same length. No matter where we travel, we know that ten blocks is twice the distance of five blocks. This means that the length of a ruler varies from place to place. If we used the same ruler to lay out all the city blocks in a non-inertial co-ordinate system, some of them would be larger than others depending upon where they were located. Imagine a sheet of india rubber on which we have drawn a grid so that it looks like a piece of graph paper first drawing, opposite page.

This is a co-ordinate system. Assuming that we are at the lower left comer we can start anywhere let us say that a party Saturday night is being held at the intersec- tion marked 'Party. The only difference is that unless we are familiar with this part of the co-ordinate system, we cannot calculate the distance that we have to travel as easily as we could if all of the squares were the same size. Where the effects of gravity can be neglected, the space-time continuum is like the sheet of rubber before we stretched it. All of the lines are straight lines and all of the clocks are synchronized.

In other words, the undistorted sheet of rubber is analogous to the space-time continuum of an inertial co-ordinate system and the special theory of relativity applies. However, in the universe at large gravity eannot be ne- glected. Wherever there is a piece of matter, it warps the space-time continuum. The larger the piece of matter, the more pronounced the warp. In the example of the revolving circles, the variation of velocity in different parts of the co-ordinate system caused the ruler to change size.

With that in mind, remember that accel- eration change in velocity is the equivalent of gravity. Therefore, changes in the strength of a gravitational field will produce the same contractions of the ruler as changes in velocity. That means that if a ruler is subjected to gravitational fields of different strength, it changes length.

Astronomers consulted their star charts and discovered that May 29 is the ideal day for such an undertaking. This is because the sun, in its apparent journey across a varied stellar background, is in front of an exceptionally rich grouping of bright stars on that date. By incredible coincidence, a total eclipse of the sun occurred on May 29, , only four years after the general theory was published. Preparations were made to use this event to test Einstein's new theory. Light signals from a star are bent in the neighborhood of the sun.

Because we assume that starlight travels in a straight line, we assume that the star is in a position other than it actually is. Although light was supposed to travel in a straight line in a vacuum, a certain amount of bending already was theorized before Einstein's general theory of relativity. Newton's law of gravity was used to calculate this bending, even though it could not explain it. Einstein's theory predicted roughly twice the deflection that Newton's law predicted, and, in addition, it supplied an explanation for it. Physicists and astronomers alike eagerly awaited the outcome of this confrontation be- tween the new theory and the old.

KIRKUS REVIEW

The eclipse was photographed by two different expedi- tions sent to two differentparts of the world. These expeditions also took photographs of the same stellar background at times when the sun was not in the area. The results of both expeditions vindicated Einstein's calculations, not Newton's.

Since , the same verdict has been reached again and again during other eclipses. All of them confirm Einstein's predictions. Score two for the general theory. The third verification of the general theory of relativity is called gravitational redshift. A clock is anything that repeats itself periodically. An atom is a type of clock. It vibrates at a certain frequency. When a substance, like sodium, is made to glow, the wavelength of the light that it emits can be measured accurately. This wavelength tells us exactly the frequency of the vibrations of the atoms that comprise the substance.

Ifthe frequency should vary, the wavelength also will vary. If we want to compare the rhythm of a clock here on the earth with the rhythm of a clock that is influenced by an intense gravitational field, like that of the sun, we do not need to send a clock to the surface of the sun. The clocks already are in place. Einstein predicted that any periodic process that takes place in an atom on the sun, where the gravity is very intense, must take place at a slightly slower rate than it does here on the earth.

To test this prediction, all we need do is compare the wavelength of the radiation of a given element as it is found in sunlight and as it is found here on earth in the laboratory. This has been done many times. In each case, the wavelength measured from the sunlight was found to be longer than its laboratory counterpart.

A longer wavelength means a lower slower frequency. Sodium atoms, for example, vibrate more slowly under the influence of the sun's strong gravitational field than they do on the earth. So do all the atoms. This phenomenon is called gravitational redshift because the wavelengths involved appear to be shifted slightly toward the red end of the visible light spectnim where the wavelengths are the longest. Score three for the general theory. Mercury's moving perihelion, starlight deflection, and gravitational redshift are all observable phenomena.

Now we come to an area where theory is still predominant and obser- vation is minimal. Nonetheless, it is an area that is by far the most exciting and perhaps the most stimulating in the entire history of science. The fourth verification of the general theory of relativity appears to be the phenomenon of the black hole. In , David Finkelstein published a paper in which he theorized, on the basis of Einstein's general theory of relativity, a phenomenon that he called a "one-way membrane.

The idea caught his attention and then his imagination. The young student was Roger Penrose. Expanding on Finkelstein's discovery, he developed it into the modern theory of the "Black Hole. Therefore, the exploration of black holes naturally became a joint venture of physicists and astronomers. The more I studied them, the more strongly I felt that I should share these comments with you. Therefore, in addition to correcting the manuscript with them, I also included in the footnotes those comments which do not duplicate the corrected text.

In particular, I footnoted those comments which would have slowed the flow of the text or made it technical, and those comments which disagreed with the text and also disagreed with the comments of the other physicists. By publishing dissenting opinions in the footnotes, I have been able to include numerous ideas which would have lengthened and complicated the book if they had been presented in the text.

From the beginning of The Dancing Wu Li Masters to the end, no term is used which is not explained immediately before or after its first use. This rule is not followed in the footnotes. This gives the footnotes an unmitigated freedom of expression. However, it also means that the footnotes contain terms that are not explained before, during, or after their use. The text respects your status as newcomer to a vast and exciting realm.

The footnotes do not. However, if you read the footnotes as you read the book, you will have the rare opportunity to see what four of the finest physicists in the world have to say about it as they, in effect, read it along with you. Their footnotes punctuate, illustrate, annotate, and jab at everything in the text.

Better than it can be described, these footnotes reveal the aggressive precision with which men of science seek to remove the flaws from the work of a fellow scientist, even if he is an untrained colleague, like me, and the work is nontechnical, like this book. The "new physics," as it is used in this book, means quantum mechanics, which began with Max Planck's theory of quanta in , and relativity, which began with Albert Einstein's special theory of relativity in The old physics is the physics of Isaac Newton, which he discovered about three hundred years ago.

Therefore, "classical physics" includes the physics of Isaac Newton and relativity, both of which are structured in this one-to-one manner. It does not, however, include quantum mechanics, which, as we shall see, is one of the things that makes quantum mechanics unique. Be gentle with yourself as you read. This book contains many rich and multifaceted stories, all of which are heady pun? You cannot learn them all at once any more than you can learn the stories told in War and Peace, Crime and Punishment , and Les Miserables all at once.

I suggest that you read this book for your pleasure, and not to learn what is in it. There is a complete index at the back of the book and a good table of contents in the front. Between the two of them, you can return to any subject that catches your interest. Moreover, by enjoying yourself, you probably will remember more than if you had set about to learn it all. One last note, this is not a book about physics and eastern philosophies. Although the poetic framework of Wu Li is conducive to such comparisons, this book is about quantum physics and relativity.

In the future I hope to write another book specifically about physics and Buddhism. In view of the eastern flavor of Wu Li , however, I have included in this book those similarities between eastern philosophies and physics that seemed to me so obvious and significant that I felt that I would be doing you a disservice if I did not mention them in passing. Happy reading. Gary Zukav San Francisco July See All Customer Reviews. Shop Books. Read an excerpt of this book! Add to Wishlist.

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