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# Our visual perception depends on the reception of energy

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Intern
Joined: 21 Jul 2008
Posts: 22
Schools: MIT Sloan, BU School of Management
Our visual perception depends on the reception of energy [#permalink]

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20 Mar 2009, 06:35
Our visual perception depends on the reception of energy reflecting or radiating from that which we wish to perceive. If our eyes could receive and measure infinitely delicate sensedata, we could perceive the world with infinite precision. The natural limits of our eyes have, of course, been extended by mechanical instruments; telescopes and microscopes, for example, expand our capabilities greatly. There is, however, an ultimate limit beyond which no instrument can take us; this limit is imposed by our inability to receive sensedata smaller than those conveyed by an individual quantum of energy. Since these quanta are believed to be indivisible packages of energy and so cannot be further refined, we reach a point beyond which further resolution of the world is not possible. It is like a drawing a child might make by sticking indivisible discs of color onto a canvas.

We might think that we could avoid this limitation by using quanta with extremely long wavelengths; such quanta would be sufficiently sensitive to convey extremely delicate sensedata. And these quanta would be useful, as long as we only wanted to measure energy, but a completely accurate perception of the world will depend also on the exact measurement of the lengths and positions of what we wish to perceive. For this, quanta of extremely long wavelengths are useless. To measure a length accurately to within a millionth of an inch, we must have a measure graduate in millionths of an inch; a yardstick graduated in inches is useless. Quanta with a wavelength of one inch would be, in a sense, measures that are graduated in inches. Quanta of extremely long wavelength are useless in measuring anything except extremely large dimensions.

Despite these difficulties, quanta have important theoretical implications for physics. It used to be supposed that, in the observation of nature, the universe could be divided into two distinct parts, a perceiving subject and a perceived object. In physics, subject and object were supposed to be entirely distinct, so that a description of any part of the universe would be independent of the observer. The quantum theory, however, suggests otherwise, for every observation involves the passage of a complete quantum from the object to the subject, and it now appears that this passage constitutes an important coupling between observer and observed. We can no longer make a sharp division between the two in an effort to observe nature objectively. Such an attempt at objectivity would distort the crucial interrelationship of observer and observed as parts of a single whole. But, even for scientists, it is only in the world of atoms that this new development makes any appreciable difference in the explanation of observations.

22. The author's use of the phrase "in a sense" implies which of the following?

(A) Quanta of extremely long wavelength are essentially graduated in inches.

(B) Quanta of one-inch wavelength are not precisely analogous to yardsticks graduated in inches.

(C) Quanta of extremely long wavelength, in at lest one respect, resemble quanta of shorter wavelength.

(D) Quanta of one-inch wavelength and quanta of extremely long wavelength do not differ only in their wavelengths.

(E) Quanta of one-inch wavelength must be measured by different standards than quanta of extremely long wavelength.

Do you agree Answer (B) is the correct one? Why do you think so?

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Manager
Joined: 21 Aug 2008
Posts: 85
Re: Quanta in Our Visual Perception [#permalink]

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21 Mar 2009, 02:44
"in a sense" itself means partly or to say almost but not completely...(I looked this in dictionary)
Hence B is right.
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Intern
Joined: 21 Jul 2008
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Re: Quanta in Our Visual Perception [#permalink]

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21 Mar 2009, 20:45
Thanks jainu. Your explanation does make sense.

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Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. ----Russell

Re: Quanta in Our Visual Perception   [#permalink] 21 Mar 2009, 20:45
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# Our visual perception depends on the reception of energy

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