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Quantum mechanics

Analysis and Comment (24)

Many different worlds but a finite number. Many different worlds but a finite number. Flickr/fdecomite

When parallel worlds collide … quantum mechanics is born

Parallel universes – worlds where the dinosaur-killing asteroid never hit, or where Australia was colonised by the Portuguese – are a staple of science fiction. But are they real? In a radical paper published…
Darth Vader’s stormtroopers haven’t figured it out. Darth Vader’s stormtroopers haven’t figured it out. rpenalozan

To test the effect of gravity on quantum entanglement, we need to go to space

There is an up-and-coming set of technologies that uses the strange properties of atomic particles predicted by the theory of quantum mechanics, which is the physics of the very small stuff. This technology…
It’s mind-blowing stuff, but Einstein wasn’t completely convinced by quantum mechanics. It’s mind-blowing stuff, but Einstein wasn’t completely convinced by quantum mechanics. Travis Morgan/Flickr

Einstein vs quantum mechanics … and why he’d be a convert today

Albert Einstein may be most famous for his mass-energy equivalence formula E = mc2, but his work also laid down the foundation for modern quantum mechanics. His analysis of the “spookiness” of quantum…
Frustrated by battery drain? A new superfast charger is still a couple of years off … but it’ll be more environmentally friendly than the toxic batteries we use today. Frustrated by battery drain? A new superfast charger is still a couple of years off … but it’ll be more environmentally friendly than the toxic batteries we use today. rpavich/Flickr

Peptide power: the science behind the 30-second phone charger

If you’re one of the thousands of smartphone users experiencing battery drain, you’d have been pleased to read that Tel Aviv-based start-up StoreDot recently unveiled a prototype charger that fully charges…
Bigger inside, says science. Bigger inside, says science. Ian West/PA

Might some of Doctor Who actually be possible?

As Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary looms, time travel is everywhere – on the screen, at least. Famously, the Doctor can whizz through the years using a “dimensionally transcendental” machine, the TARDIS…
Revelations of a quantum world. Revelations of a quantum world. ox4photos

X-ray vision for road diggers: the next quantum leap?

Quantum mechanics has been hailed as the next big thing in technology. And quantum computers are a media favourite. But there is a little-known quantum technology that can peer beneath the earth, which…
We thought we knew the radius of the proton to within 0.8%. Perhaps not. We thought we knew the radius of the proton to within 0.8%. Perhaps not. Ludie Cochrane/Flickr

Updating the textbook: is the radius of a proton wrong?

Striving for agreement between theory and experiment and pushing the boundaries of precision are important parts of the scientific process. With each step in this process we move closer to enlightenment…
Sometimes the juiciest treats come in small packages. Sometimes the juiciest treats come in small packages. Dylan Parker

What my tomatoes taught me about quantum mechanics

Most people outside the esoteric worlds of little-science physics (aka quantum mechanics) and big-science physics (aka cosmology) will at some point realise both worlds fly in the face of intuition. Why…
Transistors have continued shrinking, but how much further can they go? Transistors have continued shrinking, but how much further can they go? Jenn and Tony Bot

Meeting of miniatures: technology is at a critical junction

It’s early morning, you’re preparing for the day ahead and thinking about life’s important conundrums. Is there enough muesli left for the week? Do you have enough time to catch the bus? Are you going…
When you shine a torch into a dusty room, not all the photons reach their destination. When you shine a torch into a dusty room, not all the photons reach their destination. Simon Greig (xrrr)

‘Louder’ light could power a brighter quantum future

All of the light we see around us comes in chunks of energy known as photons. As well as making up light, photons can be used to carry and process information and their quantum properties make possible…
A cat, or the superposition of an inordinate number of wave functions? A cat, or the superposition of an inordinate number of wave functions? Blind Hen ⁑ Blind Höna

Schrödinger’s Qur’an – a 2012 thought experiment

Whenever I see angry mobs reacting to the destruction of religious books it makes me think of Schrödinger, iPads and how we should interpret fundamentalist religious teachings in the digital era. The brilliant…
Can you play a quantum game of tennis with just one court and one ball? Can you play a quantum game of tennis with just one court and one ball? Javmorcas

The 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics, explained

You may have heard that this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to Serge Haroche (from College de France) and David J. Wineland (from the US National Institute of Standards and Technology…
No matter which way you look at it, you can’t find out everything. No matter which way you look at it, you can’t find out everything.

Was Heisenberg too uncertain? In principle … maybe

The Uncertainty Principle, introduced by Heisenberg in 1927, applies to observations of the properties of the quantum world, which is typically microscopic in scale. As I explained a few months ago, it…
“Most people just get used to the concept and get on with their lives.” “Most people just get used to the concept and get on with their lives.” Roger McLassus

Explainer: what is wave-particle duality

Our notion of reality is built on everyday experiences. But wave-particle duality is so strange that we are forced to re-examine our common conceptions. Wave-particle duality refers to the fundamental…
Developments on the atomic scale are set to open a whole new world of problem solving. Developments on the atomic scale are set to open a whole new world of problem solving. ~jjjohn~

Compute this: the quantum future is crystal clear

Supercomputers have enabled breakthroughs in our ability to tackle a huge array of problems, from detailed studies of protein folding, to the dynamics of the Earth’s atmosphere and climate. Current research…
When it comes to being “fortunate”, context is king. When it comes to being “fortunate”, context is king. kaibara87

Explainer: does luck exist?

Some people seem born lucky. Everything they touch turns to gold. Others are dogged by misfortune. It’s not just people who might be lucky or unlucky – it can be single acts. When the ball hits a post…
We know they’re out there, and now we’re closer than ever to finding gravity waves. We know they’re out there, and now we’re closer than ever to finding gravity waves. NASA

Gravity waves, scientists wave back: squeezing light beyond quantum limit

Detecting gravity waves is a major goal for astrophysicists. We know they should be there, but we haven’t found them yet. But today we are one step closer. By literally squeezing light on a quantum level…
Have we reached the limit of how small computer hardware can be? Have we reached the limit of how small computer hardware can be? Mullenkedheim/Flickr

Double or nothing: could quantum computing replace Moore’s Law?

Ever noticed that computers become outdated remarkably quickly? It’s nice to have increasingly powerful computers available, and very profitable for the computer industry to have a new model available…
We’ve got the time, if you’ve got the theory. We’ve got the time, if you’ve got the theory. h.koppdelaney/Flickr

Explainer: the fifth dimension

By now we’re used to the idea that the world has four dimensions: three spatial and one temporal. But what if there were a fifth dimension – what would that dimension look like, and how would it relate…
Could this kitty be both dead and alive? Well, erm, you decide … Could this kitty be both dead and alive? Well, erm, you decide … ihasb33r/Flickr

Teleporting Schrodinger’s cat’s not easy, but it’s all right miaow

Quantum teleportation has been in the news before but last week Japanese and Australian scientists went one better, managing to teleport every physicist’s favourite feline: Schrödinger’s cat. Before you…

Research and News (1)

Research Briefs (5)

A new record for quantum entanglement

In a significant step forward, researchers have created a quantum system entangling eight photons, eclipsing the previous…