(Warning: Somehow Facebook doesn’t recognize superscripts. Therefore formulae below are not correct, but you get the idea)

The social media is full of political acrimony. Our social life is full of friends who only enjoy talking about their half-cooked theories in politics, economics, finance and international affairs. I consider that a total waste of time. In the same breath, I consider discussion on religion rancorous and dividing.

No one seems to be interested in pursuing real knowledge. I am no better than others. The other day, a friend of mine posted a topic on Quantum computing on Facebook (he is an exception). It was very basic and was supposed to familiarize laymen with Quantum banking which may be in our future. I must confess that I couldn’t grasp the concept completely. I studied physics and higher math for nine years (starting in eighth grade until the final year of engineering). Since I have been indulging myself with my friends in trifle, superficial and passionate discussion on politics and pseudo economics, I have lost it all. Yes, What a loss!

I have decided now, at the age of 72, to reacquaint myself with math and physics. I think that a string of numbers and letters in mathematical formulae can evoke a greater excitement in my life than indulging in harsh and scathing discussion on politics, economics or religion

. A large number of areas of the brain are involved when viewing equations, but when one looks at a formula, it activates the emotional brain. I am going to reacquaint myself with Euler’s formula. It comprises the five most important mathematical constants – zero (additive identity), one (multiplicative identity), e and pi (the two most common transcendental numbers) and i (fundamental imaginary number).

Do you know how GPS is used in pinpointing locations? It is done with the help of Pythagorean Theorem: a square+b square=c square. The equation is at the core of much of geometry, links it with algebra, and is the foundation of trigonometry. Without it, accurate surveying, mapmaking, and navigation would be impossible.

I remember solving problems with imaginary number used to be such a thrill: i(square)= -1. How can that be? Think and also remember, most modern technology, from electric lighting to digital cameras could not have been invented without them.

The list goes on and on. Let’s not forget the most recognized and popular formula of all time: e=m*(c square) . E

instein followed up on this insight with his famous concept of relativity in 1915.

I want to understand the joy of Quantum Theory. Few scientific concepts are as weird as the quantum theory. It predicts that future events could influence the past. And, it states that particles that might be found anywhere have a zero probability of existing in one particular place! Is this not mind boggling?

I want to learn more about speed of light. Why is it always stuck at approximately 186,282 miles/second, no matter who’s observing it. Why can’t anything move faster than light? How time dilation can be possible which states that the faster you go, the slower time passes for you? Is this not entertaining?

I am excited. While I am going to discover math and science again, you can refresh yourself with history, psychology, arts, general knowledge, world geography, fine cuisine, fashion, language, sports or any subject of your choice instead of wasting your time arguing about politics and religion. Believe me, it will not only give you pleasure, it will make you and people around you better human beings. Make use of time while enjoying life. We are not here forever.

# Commentary: ‘Quantum Theory and Other Pleasures of Life” by Musafir

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