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Ask Ethan: How Can I See The Quantum Universe At Home?

23 Dec 2017, 15:01 UTC
Ask Ethan: How Can I See The Quantum Universe At Home?
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The wave pattern for electrons passing through a double slit, one-at-a-time. If you measure “which slit” the electron goes through, you destroy the quantum interference pattern shown here. While this experiment requires some sophisticated equipment, there are many ways to see the effects of our quantum Universe right at home. Image credit: Dr. Tonomura and Belsazar of Wikimedia Commons.Do these five experiments right in your own living room, and explore some of the most baffling phenomena in all of nature.It’s a revolutionary idea that the Universe is made out of indivisible, ultra-tiny quantum particles. More than that, these quanta only behave as particles under certain circumstances; in other conditions, they behave as waves. This sounds not only counterintuitive, but far fetched. Yet physicists don’t believe anything without convincing themselves that this is how nature actually behaves, and that requires experiments to verify it. Can you do any of them at home? That’s what our Patreon supporter Ron Lisle wants to know:[It’s] always fun to hear about freaky quantum effects that can be demonstrated at home without big science equipment, for example, using a pair of polarized sun glasses.There are some very easy ways to enjoy both the wave and particle ...

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