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The Nature of Reality

Is Quantum Intuition Possible?

28 Jul 2014, 19:55 UTC
Is Quantum Intuition Possible? Eliza Sankar Gorton. Baby and book by Evil Sivan/Flickr, Calabi-Yau manifold by Lunch/Wikipedia, adapted under a Creative Commons license
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Quantum physics defies our physical intuition about how the world is supposed to work. In the quantum world, objects resist such classical banalities as “position” and “speed,” particles are waves and waves are particles, and the act of observing seems to change the system being observed
But what if we could develop a “quantum intuition” that would make this all seem as natural as an apple falling from a tree?

Credit: Eliza Sankar Gorton. Baby and book by Evil Sivan/Flickr, Calabi-Yau manifold by Lunch/Wikipedia, adapted under a Creative Commons license.
Physical intuition starts developing early, long before we ever encounter Newton’s laws on a blackboard. “Babies have a few skeletal principles that are built in to the brain and help them reason about and predict how objects should act and interact in the world,” says Kristy vanMarle, an infant cognition researcher at the University of Missouri. They understand, for instance, that objects can’t pass through each other, a notion that’s at odds with a quantum effect called tunneling, which allows objects to slip through barriers that, in the classic world, would be impenetrable. Presented with demonstrations in which objects appear to materialize inside closed boxes and pass through solid walls, ...

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