An Introduction to the Quantum World
Posted on Jan 2 2012 at 05:56:54 AM in Science
If successful scientific theories can be thought of as cures for stubborn problems, quantum physics was the wonder drug of the 20th century. It successfully explained phenomena such as radioactivity and antimatter, and no other theory can match its description of how light and particles behave on small scales.
But it can also be mind-bending. Quantum objects can exist in multiple statesand places at the same time, requiring a mastery of statistics to describe them. Rife with uncertainty and riddled with paradoxes, the theory has been criticised for casting doubt on the notion of an objective reality – a concept many physicists, including Albert Einstein, have found hard to swallow.
Today, scientists are grappling with these philosophical conundrums, trying to harness quantum’s bizarre properties to advance technology, and struggling to weave quantum physics and general relativity into a seamless theory ofquantum gravity.
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