The 9 Weirdest Implications Of The Many Worlds Interpretation

According to the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum physics, we live in an infinite web of alternate timelines. It's a serious claim that carries some rather serious scientific, philosophical, and existential baggage. And here are the nine weirdest possible implications. » 3/23/15 10:00am 3/23/15 10:00am

This 2000-Year-Old Pigment Can Eliminate The Third Dimension

Han purple is an ancient pigment that wasn't reconstructed by modern chemists until 1992. After the chemists got done with it, it was the physicists' turn. Han purple, they found, eliminates an entire dimension. It makes waves go two-dimensional! » 11/21/14 8:00am 11/21/14 8:00am

Stop Using Quantum Mechanics as Evidence for Magic

Quantum mechanics is a beautiful and still-controversial idea. It is rightly popular. What's not right is the way people use it to justify any reality-bending idea in their novels, their TV shows, or their personal philosophies. "Quantum" does not mean anything you want. » 7/25/14 11:19am 7/25/14 11:19am

New 'Quantum Bounce' Theory Explains How Black Holes Become White

Some cosmologists speculate that black holes end their lives by transforming into their exact opposite — so-called 'white holes' that pour all the material they gobbled up back into space. A new theory based on quantum gravity could explain how this is possible. » 7/21/14 10:30am 7/21/14 10:30am

Why Don't Electrons Just Fall Into the Nucleus of an Atom?

Static electricity works because electrons are strongly attracted to protons, right? But, in atoms, electrons are right there, next to the protons in the nucleus. Why don't the electrons zip directly into the nucleus and stick to the protons? » 6/30/14 11:13am 6/30/14 11:13am

A Simple Experiment Could Change Our Understanding of Quantum Reality

The rules of the quantum world — where everything is probabilistic, until observation fixes it — may be a lot less indefinite than we thought. A new experiment shows that liquids have properties that physicists once thought were confined to the quantum level. And this could be a big breakthrough. » 6/30/14 11:05am 6/30/14 11:05am

Scientists have teleported quantum information between two bits of diamond located 10 feet apart. It's a prime example of "spooky action at a distance" — and an achievement that could lead to quantum networks exponentially more powerful and secure than today's supercomputers. » 6/02/14 3:20pm 6/02/14 3:20pm

Earrings of Uncertainty

Quantum mechanics is strange. Theoretical probabilities absolutely need to exist to match experimental observations: the quantum waveform really does describe particles in the world we live in. Inspired by this week's Friday Physics, I went hunting for the most decorative quantum waveform earrings. » 5/04/14 3:58pm 5/04/14 3:58pm

What Do You See In This Quantum Mechanics Class' Chalkboard?

According to artist Alejandro Guijarro and his Momentum project, what you end up doing is just seeing a graphic of line and color. But some people are definitely going to use what knowledge they have to try to figure out the subject of the lecture that day. » 3/19/14 9:50am 3/19/14 9:50am

An experiment that might let us control events millions of years ago

Most of us have heard of the famous double-slit experiment. Usually it's played out in a lab in seconds. But there's one version, dreamt up by physicist John Archibald Wheeler, that can be played out over much of the galaxy, over millions of years. His thought experiment suggests that we could retroactively… » 2/19/14 12:04pm 2/19/14 12:04pm

New evidence that plants get their energy using quantum entanglement

Biophysicists theorize that plants tap into the eerie world of quantum entanglement during photosynthesis. But the evidence to date has been purely circumstantial. Now, scientists have discovered a feature of plants that cannot be explained by classical physics alone — but which quantum mechanics answers quite nicely. » 1/10/14 4:00pm 1/10/14 4:00pm

Did Wigner's Friend kill Schrödinger's Cat?

Most of us have heard of the famous Schrödinger's Cat thought experiment. As it turns out, there's a variant, and it involves an irresponsible friend, a possibly dead cat, and an even weirder configuration of quantum mechanics. » 12/30/13 12:20pm 12/30/13 12:20pm

Quantum Computing Takes a Gigantic Leap Forward

An international team of scientists have just held a qubit's memory state for 39 minutes. That might not sound like much, but it's 100 times longer than the previous record. It's a groundbreaking achievement that could pave the way to freakishly fast computers. » 11/15/13 1:00pm 11/15/13 1:00pm

Are we about to reconcile gravity with quantum mechanics?

Physics is full of paradoxes, but one of the most famous is the contradiction between quantum mechanics and Einstein's theory of general relativity. At last, a new set of incredible experiments may reconcile the two systems. » 11/07/13 9:20am 11/07/13 9:20am

Teleportation just got easier – but not for you, unfortunately

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Thanks to two studies published in Nature last Thursday, the chance of successful teleportation has considerably increased. Which is a good thing, right? » 8/23/13 2:51pm 8/23/13 2:51pm

Scientists teleport information in an electronic circuit

We’re still a far way’s off from being able to beam people through space, but in a science first, physicists have successfully transported information across a solid state system similar to a computer chip. The breakthrough could lead to more powerful processors and highly sophisticated encryption schemes. » 8/15/13 11:30am 8/15/13 11:30am

Why can't Einstein and Quantum Mechanics get along?

Despite our successes at describing the inner workings of the universe (Higgs, anyone?), there are still some gaping holes in our knowledge. Where's our Grand Unified Theory or our Theory of Everything? And why is Einstein's General Relativity still at odds with Quantum Mechanics? Why should we want to unify them… » 8/09/13 12:24pm 8/09/13 12:24pm

If this theory is correct, we may live in a web of alternate timelines

The Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum physics has been around for nearly 60 years. It’s a highly controversial idea which suggests that our world — and everything in it — is constantly splitting into alternative timelines. If it's correct, here's what your true existence might actually be like. » 7/24/13 10:34am 7/24/13 10:34am

Quantum tunneling allows "impossible" molecules to form in space

The extreme cold of space should make chemical reactions next to impossible, particularly those involving the formation of complex molecules. And yet the rate of one such chemical reaction is 50 times greater in the cold of space that it is in room temperature. What gives? » 6/30/13 3:00pm 6/30/13 3:00pm