Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Macro Quantem Phenomena

Cerinthus is preparing topics for his thesis. One of the things that he is considering working on is a strange set of experiments with silicone droplets that show certain properties of quantum mechanics on a macro level. Although, I have to admit, I was skeptical at first, it's pretty cool.


  1. This is awesome!

    One of the things people always say about QM is that there's no intuitive physical "picture" for what's going on. The math works out, but unlike the math in classical physics, it can't be captured by any simple mental image (of things moving around, bumping into each other, etc.) Yet this set of experiments seems to provide a visualizable, classical physical system with the same dynamics. Maybe this will put an end to the "QM is not like anything we can visualize" trope once and for one.

    One of the main reasons (in fact, maybe the only reason) QM is taken to be un-visualizable is that complex numbers are involved, and complex number arithmetic is hard to visualize. (We can visualize the multiplication of two complex numbers by imagining the two sweeping out angles on a 2D plane and adding the angles together, but it's hard to visualize multiplication of complex functions, because to do so we'd have to imagine such a 2D plane attached to every point in time and space.) I wonder what the analogue of the complex number arithmetic is in the math that describes this system, if there is such an analogue.


  2. This does look pretty excellent. Also, beautiful. If Max does this, he should post videos to the interwebs.

  3. I have no idea about the math that describes the system. Maybe if the physics department accepts the thesis proposal, I will find out! I'll keep you posted.

  4. At the moment there is no complete physical theory that describes this phenomenon. I talked to David Lattimer about possibly pursuing that for my thesis, but it sounds like that would be well beyond what I would likely be able to accomplish in a year. However, if I get this topic, I'll let you know if I am able to develop any theory in that regard.