48 posts tagged with quantum.
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Pilot-wave theory “seems to me so natural and simple..."

This idea that nature is inherently probabilistic — that particles have no hard properties, only likelihoods, until they are observed — is directly implied by the standard equations of quantum mechanics. But now a set of surprising experiments with fluids has revived old skepticism about that worldview. The bizarre results are fueling interest in an almost forgotten version of quantum mechanics, one that never gave up the idea of a single, concrete reality.

The experiments involve an oil droplet that bounces along the surface of a liquid. The droplet gently sloshes the liquid with every bounce. At the same time, ripples from past bounces affect its course. The droplet’s interaction with its own ripples, which form what’s known as a pilot wave, causes it to exhibit behaviors previously thought to be peculiar to elementary particles — including behaviors seen as evidence that these particles are spread through space like waves, without any specific location, until they are measured.

Particles at the quantum scale seem to do things that human-scale objects do not do. They can tunnel through barriers, spontaneously arise or annihilate, and occupy discrete energy levels. This new body of research reveals that oil droplets, when guided by pilot waves, also exhibit these quantum-like features.

posted by Elementary Penguin on Dec 14, 2014 - 103 comments

3 Quarks Daily Philosophy Prize Finalists 2014

3QD's 2014 finalists for best blog posts on philosophical topics: Should animal products have ethical warning labels? Why is scientific uncertainty a moral responsibility [see last 4 mins.]? Should people choose probabilistically among competing moral theories? What are some bad ways of arguing about free will? Are most of us just not good enough to be utilitarians? Are volunteer soldiers morally responsible for unjust wars? Do P2P networks provide a model for something to do with consciousness, reality, and, yep, quantum mechanics? When are delusions good for us (see also)? What's up with philosophical systems that knock themselves down, e.g. Nāgārjuna's, Nietzsche's, and Rorty's? There's also an archive page for older prizes and other categories (previously).
posted by Monsieur Caution on Dec 1, 2014 - 35 comments

The observer at the end of time: Of immortal watchers and imaginary data

In a Multiverse, What Are the Odds? "Testing the multiverse hypothesis requires measuring whether our universe is statistically typical among the infinite variety of universes. But infinity does a number on statistics." (previously) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Nov 9, 2014 - 47 comments

That’s why it doesn’t matter if God plays dice with the Universe

Discovering Free Will (Part II, Part III) - a nice discussion of the Conway-Kochen "Free Will Theorem". [more inside]
posted by Wolfdog on Mar 4, 2014 - 92 comments

My God, it's full of... everything

Revelations in the field of quantum physics have resulted in the discovery of the Amplituhedron, a jewel-like higher dimensional object whose volume elegantly predicts fundamental physical processes that took the brilliant Dr. Richard Feynman hundreds of pages of abstruse mathematics to describe. The theoretical manifold not only enables simple pen-and-paper calculation of physics that would normally require supercomputers to work out, but also challenges basic assumptions about the nature of reality -- forgoing the core concepts of locality and unitarity and suggesting that space and time are merely emergent properties of a timeless, infinitely-sided "master amplituhedron," whose geometry represents the sum total of all physical interactions. More: The 152-page source paper on arXiv [PDF] - Lead author Nima Arkani-Hamed's hour-long lecture at SUSY 2013 - Scans of Arkani-Hamed's handwritten lecture notes - A far more detailed lecture series "Scattering Without Space Time": one, two, three - Arkani-Hamed previously on MeFi - A hot-off-the-presses Wikipedia page (watch this space)
posted by Rhaomi on Sep 18, 2013 - 128 comments

conservation of information

A Black Hole Mystery Wrapped in a Firewall Paradox - "A paradox around matter leaking from black holes puts into question various scientific axioms: Either information can be lost; Einstein's principle of equivalence is wrong; or quantum field theory needs fixing." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Aug 18, 2013 - 36 comments

Mind is moving

Ron Garret, formerly of JPL and Google and "the most referenced computer science researcher in all of NASA", has an interesting take on quantum mechanics he dubs "zero-worlds", which he presents in an hour-long Google Tech Talk (meat starts around 42 minutes) as well as slightly older paper. He also got into a bit of further debate here. [more inside]
posted by crayz on Mar 23, 2013 - 26 comments

direct realism

The Nature of Computation - Intellects Vast and Warm and Sympathetic: "I hand you a network or graph, and ask whether there is a path through the network that crosses each edge exactly once, returning to its starting point. (That is, I ask whether there is a 'Eulerian' cycle.) Then I hand you another network, and ask whether there is a path which visits each node exactly once. (That is, I ask whether there is a 'Hamiltonian' cycle.) How hard is it to answer me?" (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Dec 1, 2012 - 19 comments

2012 Nobel Prize in Physics

The 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to Serge Haroche (France) and David Wineland (US) for discovering ways to measure and manipulate quantum particles, a discovery which many are suggesting may soon allow us to build computers with virtually limitless capabilities. The Nobel press release provides a layman friendly PDF summary of the research and its potential applications, as well as a less layman friendly PDF with additional scientific background information. The press release cites two older Scientific American articles for further reading, and the magazine has made these articles available to read free online for the next 30 days:
Monroe, C. R. and Wineland, D. J. (2008) Quantum Computing with Ions, Scientific American, August.

Yam, P. (1997) Bringing Schrödinger’s Cat to Life, Scientific American, June.

posted by dgaicun on Oct 15, 2012 - 51 comments

noncommutative balls in boxes

Morton and Vicary on the Categorified Heisenberg Algebra - "In quantum mechanics, position times momentum does not equal momentum times position! This sounds weird, but it's connected to a very simple fact. Suppose you have a box with some balls in it, and you have the magical ability to create and annihilate balls. Then there's one more way to create a ball and then annihilate one, than to annihilate one and then create one. Huh? Yes: if there are, say, 3 balls in the box to start with, there are 4 balls you can choose to annihilate after you've created one but only 3 before you create one..." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jul 21, 2012 - 78 comments

Experimental delayed-choice entanglement swapping.

"Using four photons, we can actively delay the choice of measurement on two of the photons into the time-like future of the registration of the other two photons. This effectively projects the two already registered photons onto one of two mutually exclusive quantum states in which the photons are either entangled (quantum correlations) or separable (classical correlations). This can also be viewed as ‘quantum steering into the past’." (arXiv, Nature Physics, Ars Technica)
posted by jeffburdges on Apr 25, 2012 - 80 comments

The Best Political Snark Award Goes To . . .

A Quantum Theory of Mitt Romney Does what it says on the package. With diagrams. (SLNYT)
posted by bearwife on Apr 2, 2012 - 31 comments

Old video games shape the future.

Controlled Quantum Levitation on a Wipe'Out Track. [more inside]
posted by Burhanistan on Jan 3, 2012 - 93 comments

Quantum realism mounts a charge. Prepare phenomenological defenses.

A mixed (superpositioned?) state of buzz among those working in quantum foundations over a new paper by Matt Pusey asserting that quantum states are real physical objects and not simply statistical probability distributions. Matt Leifer does a balanced contextualization and explication. A giddy article in nature news and David Wallace support and summarize. [more inside]
posted by wjzeng on Dec 5, 2011 - 42 comments

Quantum Levitation

Sapphire + Superconductor + Gold + Saran Wrap + Liquid Nitrogen + Magnets = Quantum Levitation. [more inside]
posted by overeducated_alligator on Oct 17, 2011 - 73 comments

I still don't get it

Physicists have managed to observe light behaving both as a particle and wave in the same double-slit experimental condition, by means of a new method to weakly observe a particle's momentum. This article in Nature summarizes the results in non-mathematical terms. [more inside]
posted by leibniz on Jun 3, 2011 - 49 comments

The solution to quantum gravity is ready.

... and there is no dark matter/energy! Dr. Philip Mannheim has succeeded in developing a cosmological and quantum field theoretic consistent PT symmetric theory that contains no kind of dark matter and dark energy. Space is flat in the absence of matter, and even the largest galactic rotation curves are predicted. Perhaps most interestingly, it also handles the cosmological constant and zero-point energy 'problems' simultaneously! (This is the final paper in a long list of publications, but it makes the case such that it's importance is immediately recognized. I leave it to the experts to recognize it's true beauty.) All hail the internets!
posted by quanta and qualia on Apr 21, 2011 - 210 comments

Position-based quantum cryptography theoretically proved

Our results open a fascinating new direction for position-based security in cryptography where security of protocols is solely based on the laws of physics and proofs of security do not require any pre-existing infrastructure.
posted by Joe Beese on Aug 8, 2010 - 47 comments

Cell (1,1) contains two-thirds of a mine

Quantum Minesweeper. Is regular minesweeper not enough for you? Now you can play on a quantum superposition of multiple boards. Watch the video tutorial or check out the example games. [more inside]
posted by alby on Jul 22, 2010 - 20 comments


Science fiction and quantum mechanics on Rudy Rucker's blog.
posted by Wolfdog on May 10, 2010 - 29 comments

The quantum mechanics of the waggle dance.

Mathematician Barbara Shipman speculates that a honey bee's sense of the quantum world could be as important to their perception of the world as sight, sound or smell: "the mathematics implies that bees are doing something with quarks."
posted by jardinier on May 7, 2010 - 46 comments

spacetime must organise itself in a way that maximises entropy

Gravity from Quantum Information
At the heart of their idea is the tricky question of what happens to information when it enters a black hole. Physicists have puzzled over this for decades with little consensus. But one thing they agree on is Landauer's principle: that erasing a bit of quantum information always increases the entropy of the Universe by a certain small amount and requires a specific amount of energy. (via mr)
posted by kliuless on Apr 1, 2010 - 33 comments

This is a story about information.

Fine Structure: Ching raises one hand ahead of him and delivers a series of complex commands to the fabric of reality. [more inside]
posted by niles on Mar 22, 2010 - 9 comments

Roger Penrose is looking more credible

Quantum processes involved in photosynthesis? "[A]lgae and bacteria may have been performing quantum calculations at life-friendly temperatures for billions of years. The evidence comes from a study of how energy travels across the light-harvesting molecules involved in photosynthesis. The work has culminated this week in the extraordinary announcement that these molecules in a marine alga may exploit quantum processes at room temperature to transfer energy without loss. Physicists had previously ruled out quantum processes, arguing that they could not persist for long enough at such temperatures to achieve anything useful." (via mr)
posted by kliuless on Feb 10, 2010 - 43 comments

[Tiger Woods] is busy, hasn't got a lot of time, but wants to catch up on what's happening in physics...

At least something good for someone has come out of the whole Tiger Woods brouhaha. Photos of Woods' wrecked SUV reveal a copy of Get a Grip on Physics on the floor of the Escalade's back seat. [more inside]
posted by Naberius on Dec 4, 2009 - 60 comments

Wolfgang Pauli was a Gargoyle?

The Bohr-Einstein Debates, With Puppets
posted by lenny70 on Dec 1, 2009 - 7 comments

Quantum Art

Julian Voss-Andreae makes art based on quantum physics.
posted by jefficator on Nov 17, 2009 - 13 comments

Somebody alert Jeff Goldblum

Scientists from the University of Michigan and the University of Maryland have managed to teleport information from one isolated atom to another over a distance of one meter, without it ever crossing space. Here's how they did it. [more inside]
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing on Jan 29, 2009 - 44 comments

"You named your collaboration QAP? Really?"

The DiVincenzo Code [youtube trailer, geekery]. Faced with a strict demand from a funding agency to allocate research funds towards the dissemination of research ideas to the public, an experimental physics group at the University of Oxford produced a feature-length (55 min) action thriller about murder, ancient prophecy, tea breaks, and quantum computation. [more inside]
posted by fatllama on Nov 5, 2008 - 6 comments

How Much

Quantum of culture. Terminology from quantum theory shows up frequently in art, films, poetry and sculpture. Robert P. Crease gauges the impact of quantum mechanics on popular culture. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Oct 27, 2008 - 20 comments

R.I.P. John Wheeler, physicist

R.I.P. John Wheeler, theoretical physicist. Famous for the Wheeler-Feynman equations and the term "black hole," which he coined to describe a singular point mass, he has died at age 96. The NYT usually gives pretty good obituary but they outdid themselves this time. [more inside]
posted by ikkyu2 on Apr 13, 2008 - 64 comments

The Universe is Like a Windows Media Player Visualization

The observable universe just got a bit smaller. Johan Mauritsson and his colleagues at Lund University in Sweden have released what appears to be a video of an electron oscillating on a wave of light.
posted by tehloki on Feb 26, 2008 - 52 comments

Quantum Mechanics: Myths and Facts

Quantum Mechanics: Myths and Facts (pdf), a recently-updated paper on the Cornell arXiv peer-review site. By Hrvoje Nikolić of the Rudjer Bošković Institute in Croatia. [more inside]
posted by XMLicious on Feb 25, 2008 - 47 comments

My name is Legion. You collapsed my probability distribution, prepare to die!

The Crossing is a new FPS game where single-player and multiplayer modes meld in one. At any point, any Non-Player-Character might not be an NPC at all, but another Player. It is likely that, as in a game of tag, players will just take turns to be "it" like Agents in the Matrix, but... wouldn't it be great if we could all be "it" at the same time? Quantum Gaming might just be the way to model such a swarm of gamers. [more inside]
posted by kandinski on Sep 23, 2007 - 30 comments

Does this mean we get to fly?

Physicists have 'solved' mystery of levitation Professor Ulf Leonhardt and Dr Thomas Philbin, from the University of St Andrews in Scotland, have worked out a way of reversing ... the Casimir force, so that it repels instead of attracts. Their discovery could ultimately lead to frictionless micro-machines with moving parts that levitate. But they say that, in principle at least, the same effect could be used to levitate bigger objects too, even a person.
posted by MythMaker on Aug 19, 2007 - 30 comments

Particles and waves in your basement

Demonstrate one of the weirdest quantum effects in your home using a laser pointer, some tinfoil, a piece of wire, and a $7 polarizer. The device, called a quantum eraser, operates in a way very similar to the famously mind-blowing double slit experiment that was voted the most beautiful experiment in physics.
posted by blahblahblah on Apr 30, 2007 - 49 comments

Quantum ain't just for leaping

So.. who's ready for Quantum Computing?

British Colombia-based D-Wave says they've got one and they're going to demo that sucker in Mountain View, CA on Feb 13th and then at the Telus World of Science in Vancouver, Canada on February 15th.

Quoting from TechWorld :
"Multiple quantum states exist at the same time, so every quantum bit or "qubit" in such a machine is simultaneously 0 and 1. D-Wave's prototype has only 16 qubits, but systems with hundreds of qubits would be able to process more inputs than there are atoms in the universe."
Naturally, the tech-savvy blogosphere is skeptical. But what do you think? (previously, previously)
posted by revmitcz on Feb 9, 2007 - 54 comments


John Cramer is going to conduct an experiment in quantum retrocasuality [ppt] - sending a signal backwards through time
posted by MetaMonkey on Nov 29, 2006 - 33 comments

Quantum Encryption

Quantum Encryption Scientists have created an unbreakable cypher through the use of quantum physics, where a photon is observed and used as the basis for an encryption key. "Uncertainty is the principle we exploit. It's impossible to find the key, because the photon can be measured once and only once. An eavesdropper can't measure it, and so can't get the key." Props to Heisenberg!
posted by PreacherTom on Nov 9, 2006 - 49 comments

Teleportation Breakthrough

Teleportation Breakthrough. Until now scientists have teleported similar objects such as light or single atoms over short distances from one spot to another in a split second. But Professor Eugene Polzik and his team at the Niels Bohr Institute at Copenhagen University in Denmark have made a breakthrough by using both light and matter. A more technical explanation.
posted by empath on Oct 5, 2006 - 67 comments

Quantum physics and You.

Enzyme reactions use quantum tunneling. British scientists have apparently solved the question of how enzymes speed up atomic reactions -- through a quantum tunneling effect at the reaction site. Just when you thought biology couldn't get any cooler. [via]
posted by spiderwire on Aug 27, 2006 - 23 comments

maybe the Sarumpaet Rules will be worked out afterall

Before the Big Bang - way, way out of my depth, but I thought this comment was intriguing: "The paper as published, along with a longer follow up paper, looks to my untrained eye a nearly complete quantum gravitation theory, which is an exciting prospect in itself. However, as with all physical theories, we will await for experimental support before popping the cork." Here's some more on loop quantum gravity, spin networks, the big bang and ekpyrosis.
posted by kliuless on Apr 16, 2006 - 18 comments

Who can name the bigger number?

Who can name the bigger number? I guarantee you will lose to the Busy Beavers. (No, infinity is not allowed, the bigger infinity is a different game.) The author also debunks in very simple terms the recent story that quantum computers perform calculations without being turned on. My first post and disclaimer: I know the author from our mutual field of quantum information.
posted by gregv on Mar 16, 2006 - 113 comments

Quantum Leap

Mass Producible Quantum Computer - Christopher Monroe has produced the first quantum computer capable of being scaled to a production model at the Trapped Ion Quantum Computing facility at the University of Michigan. (via)
posted by sourbrew on Dec 16, 2005 - 21 comments

Boundless energy or bad math?

Boundless energy or bad math? Randell Mills thinks he has the solution to our energy problems. In his company's patented process, "energy is released as the electrons of atomic hydrogen are induced to undergo transitions to lower energy levels producing plasma, light, and novel hydrogen compounds." It also implies that quantum mechanics is wrong.
posted by Espoo2 on Nov 5, 2005 - 73 comments

Student Challenges Basic Ideas of Time

A bold paper published in the August issue of Foundations of Physics Letters seems set to change the way we think about the nature of time and its relationship to motion and classical and quantum mechanics. The work also appears to provide solutions to Zeno's paradoxes. (Via More inside...)
posted by Pinwheel on Aug 1, 2003 - 41 comments

Schroedingers's lunchbox

Schroedinger's Lunchbox Quantom physics on an empty stomach is probably a mistake.
posted by konolia on Jan 26, 2003 - 16 comments

Future of computing - Light or Molecules?
posted by tiaka on Jun 23, 2001 - 5 comments

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