Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Dark Side of Light

The duality of light as being both wave and particle was first discovered by Thomas Young in his beautiful double slit experiment. Because of this duality, light possesses unique characteristics including:

"...the darkness within light. ... natural light fields are threaded by lines of darkness, which create optical vortices that appear as black points within the light. The group has modeled this phenomenon, and found that the lines of darkness exhibit fractal properties with Brownian (random) characteristics."

Because Fractals are universal and self similar (ferns, nautilus, ocean waves, rivers, trees etc., etc., etc.) and Browinian Motion is a chaotic process (Random Walks etc., etc.), the dark light random vortices/fractals constructs discovered by scientists have unusual properties "(the ratio of vortex lines to loops and their scale invariance) are very similar to the properties of cosmic strings, according to the cosmic string lattice model."

While reading The Dark Side of Light, I realized that Goethe's Theory of Colors details the interaction of light and dark in ways that indirectly relate to the dark side article, not in fractals and randomness (obviously) but in the dynamic behavior of the interaction itself.

"Boundary conditions
When looked at through a prism, the colours seen at a light-dark boundary depend upon the orientation of this light-dark boundary.
When viewed through a prism, the orientation of a light-dark boundary with respect to the prism is significant. With white above a dark boundary, we observe the light extending a blue-violet edge into the dark area; whereas dark above a light boundary results in a red-yellow edge extending into the light area."
In some respects, Goethe's theory indirectly predates chaos because in chaos, all action happens at the edge, not the center. The same precondition applies to Phase transistions and fractal recursions as well as any other chaotic process including that of Brownian Motion. When seen in this perspective, Goethe's prescient research is spot on in discovering that light and dark interactions always occur at boundaries similar to what is seen in the Dark Side of Light.

There is nothing more dreadful than imagination without taste.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
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