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Quantum Duplicity

Thursday April 28, 2011 12:00AM
You might not be surprised, but I have the (bad?) habit of turning the majority of my conversations to the topic of quantum mechanics.

You say: “Aren’t you glad that the weather is finally warming up?”

I reply: “Aren’t you glad that the Large Hadron Collider can smash 3.5 TeV proton beams together at near light speed, revealing a shower of subatomic particles the likes of which have never been observed before?”

The thing that gets to me is that the universe is fundamentally probabilistic—we can’t even say with any surety where a given particle is at any given time, just where it is most likely to be. And, some of the weirder corollaries of quantum and string theory do wonders for the imagination, like the fact that there might feasibly be parallel universes. But the thing that makes my mind race the most is that certain subatomic particles can actually exist in two places at once. Seriously. The same, identical particle, two locations, same time. It’s like a B-level sci-fi flick.

Which raises all sorts of questions that are way more interesting than the weather. My cat Schrödinger agrees.

This is today,
M
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