Phew! This is a lot of abstract words – so let’s take them step by step. Quantum phenomena are observations made in nature which can only be explained by effects of quantum mechanics. Generally speaking, quantum mechanics gives our nowadays best description of the fundamental processes in nature on very small length scales. This might sound very abstract, but actually a lot of modern technologies rely on quantum mechanical effects. The better and better understanding of quantum mechanics has led to innovations, like for example the satellite positioning (GPS), and it still holds big promises for the future. One prominent technological goal you may have seen in the media is to build a new type of computer which makes use of quantum mechanical effects – the so-called quantum computer. This is currently a very hot topic and already some other of our writings touched upon this. The focus of this text is more directed towards the fundamental aspects because there still exist many interesting open questions as well.
This is the second installment of our “What is…?” series.
During these months of quarantine, a lot of us have probably thought once or twice that we have been putting on some quarantine-weight. And while that is true (or not, for you, athletic reader) what is actually happening, is that you body is acquiring mass. A somewhat trivial difference, you may say, as weight is just the force inflicted by gravity on to some body. And it strikes me as a funny thing that in our everyday physics, everything comes intuitively to us, force, speed, acceleration, rotation stuff. Everything -but mass. It feels intuitive, but the more you think about it, the more you will end up asking yourself… What is mass?
Transporting renewable energy to where it’s needed lies at the heart of the human endeavour to get rid of the need for fossil fuels. Superconductors can do so without loosing any of the precious electricity on the way, seemingly defying physical intuition. Find out in this article why many body physics is needed to understand their counter-intuitive behaviour, what role quantum entanglement plays and how quantum computation might lead to the discovery of materials which may give us the tools for a greener future.
I remember the first time I saw a magnifying glass. I was absolutely fascinated by such an object. It allowed me to see so much more than I could normally (even then, when I could actually see something without glasses or contacts). It was the most amazing thing I had seen until then. Well, what was an amazing discovery for me, had been around for ages in human history. Lenses and objects which resemble magnifying glasses date back four thousand years! But of course, our curiosity is boundless, we humans always need more. I quickly found myself wanting to see even deeper into this weird, amplified creatures. Fortunately, humans didn’t wait a lot to yearn for better resolutions.
How information can be teleported through the two most counter-intuitive properties of quantum mechanics.
We all know the quantum world is weird, but in no place does it become as weird as in the protocol allowing almost instant transportation of information from one place to the other termed “quantum teleportation”. That may sound like its impossible – but what if I tell you that this can even be done without the recipient of the information knowing? And that this technology is about to make communication absolutely eavesdrop-safe?
This post was written during the 27th installment of the Quark Matter conference held in Venice in May, 2018.
Today, in Venice, the sun does not shine, it roars. Yesterday, the city was completely soaked as a storm paraded through it, giving thunderous signals of its arrival. But today golden hues flood the air, contrasting with the shadows of the trees near the Palazzo del Casinó. The wind blows calmly and the smell of sea salt fills the air. Outside, the sea hums, the boats sail, and the tourists roam the streets of the islands in search of a taste of the past. I am sitting outside of the venue of the conference, drinking a coffee, admiring the day, and admiring the excruciatingly white buildings in front of me.
It is an amazing, yet often overlooked, feeling to go out of your house, fully clad in summer clothes, look up to a blue sky and a bright sun and knowing it will be like that all day. That a storm will not suddenly pop up and ruin your grilling and make you walk soaked to your house, right?
Well, we owe that nice feeling to the countless meteorologists that devote their lives to studying the weather and also try to apply that science to everyone’s everyday life. This is a fundamental property of any scientific theory: prediction. Or in weather-like slang, forecast.
But how is this forecast done, and how is it related to many body physics?
Science can be sometimes daunting for the unexperienced. Have you ever seen a scientific talk, or read a paper? There tends to be a lot of jargon flying around, circling the speaker to then buzz aggressively around the audience before it goes out the windows into the oblivion of the coffee break.