Browsing: Quantum Mechanics

Nautilus’ Ingenious this month, Alan Lightman, is a successful writer and physicist, and one of the very rare people to receive an appointment in both science and humanities at MIT*. He did his doctoral research at Caltech while Richard Feynman was a professor there. One day, Lightman was on hand to see the brilliant and […]

An illustration of wave interferenceSybille Yates via Shutterstock Though we can see in remarkably low-light conditions, humans aren’t quite sensitive enough to see individual photons—the particles that make up all types of light. In our day-to-day lives, we are so awash with light that its particle nature is just as masked as the atomic nature […]

A microscopic image of a metamaterial used to test relativity in a lab.Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Like happy families, every free electron is alike: They all have the same mass, the same electric charge, and the same spin. But inside a solid, various interactions can make electrons behave like entirely different particles. They may act […]

Light was thought to travel through aether like waves on a lakeShutterstock You might know the anecdote. In April 1900, Lord Kelvin, one of the most prominent physicists of the 19th century, stands in the speaker’s well of the Royal Society in London. Surveying the state of scientific knowledge at the dawn of a new […]

During a recent conference on cosmic frontiers, University of California, Davis, professor Andreas Albrecht made a provocative statement: “Every Brownian motion is a Schrödinger’s Cat.” Technically, it was part of a broader talk on implications for a multiverse contained in various models of inflation in the early universe—based in turn on a recent technical paper. But Albrecht’s colorful […]