Monday, March 24, 2008

A concise and visually engaging illustration of the famous quantum "double slit" experiment:

6 comments:

W.M. Bear said...

Quantum mechanics verges on metaphysics but you won't get many physicists to admit this....

~V~ said...

That was REALLY COOL & understandable! i added this video to my favorites and plan on watching the others in the series.

Justin said...

Is this from What The Bleep Do We Know? ?

It basically seemed to be on target, though the way they emphasized the observer's role in the later part of the experiment kind of tweaked my nose a bit, if only because that's always been a part of the experiment that confuses me.

Isn't it good enough to just have a detector there, and that causes the change in the pattern? It seems to me that What the Bleep basically spent a lot of its time and energy telling people how awesome and mystical and empowering it was that they could effect things just by looking at them, and kind of extrapolated and suggested a lot from those basic facts about quantum weirdness. But it seems to me that every time I've tried looking into the double slit experiment, the situation is never really explained anywhere in such a cut and dry manner.

That being said, this experiment remains totally awesome.

Mac said...

WMB--

Quantum mechanics verges on metaphysics but you won't get many physicists to admit this....

I think the "mystical" angle is overplayed, personally. Quantum physics compels us to reevaluate Einsteinian cosmology, but doesn't require a remotely mystical paradigm.

Justin--

Isn't it good enough to just have a detector there, and that causes the change in the pattern?

The contentious part is the matter of what constitutes "observation." The person reading the detector? The person observing the person observing the detector?

Justin said...

In all my confusion over the double slit experiment, it occurred to me at one point that there might be a Voight-Kampff-like test hidden within it.

Ie; if you can collapse the wave function, you wont be hunted down and retired.

W.M. Bear said...

I think the "mystical" angle is overplayed, personally. Quantum physics compels us to reevaluate Einsteinian cosmology, but doesn't require a remotely mystical paradigm.

Mac -- I completely disagree with this, as do several notable quantum physicists with an admittedly mystical bent. But that's my whole point. I think just the sheer physics can lead in that direction. And speaking of Einstein, he was also a mystic who believed in a God that sounds an awfully lot like the Platonic Demiurge, the Great Star-Maker....