Reply To: A Christmas Photonic Teaser

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Alan Thomas

Thank you very much Paul and Steve for taking the time to tackle my query. That has made a grand start to the Christmas festivities. Are you involved in setting the Christmas Quiz?

We had speculated that the photons, as bundles of energy, must be absorbed by the body, but were unclear about how that takes place. I am somewhat clearer now, although that cat reference almost confused the picture!

I take it then that we do, in a sense (the philosphers’favourite caveat – though I am not a philosopher), ’embody’ every star, galaxy, planet, meteor, etc that we ever observe in that we receive some miniscule parts of them – photons – and incorporate them into ourselves. I think that’s quite an interesting thought.

What happens to the photons that are not absorbed, such as those hitting my hand? Or are they absorbed by a different mechanism?

However, I notice the quotation marks around “absorbed”, Steve, which perhaps indicates that you don’t want this word taken too literally . . .

Am I heading for a singularity?