As the start of our new series on humans in physics, I would like to give a personal opinion on the lack of (gender) diversity in the natural sciences and its connection to the very human phenomenon of “unconscious bias”. I wrote this article for celebrating “Diversity Day” in the quantum science research cluster in Munich.Continue reading “Gender and unconscious bias in quantum science”
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.Continue reading “How quantum physics may save Earth from global warming”
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.
We really should have started with some fancy quote, spoken in the past, and reverberating into the ages to come. But we didn’t. So let’s start instead with a small experiment. Fill a cup with something. No, not coffee, we know you were thinking about it. Something clear. You need to see through it. You also need to have some little pieces of something floating homogeneously around in your cup, like chia seeds once they are really squishy, or that weird aloe drink they sell at the supermarket. The latter, in fact, proves to be the best for this experiment.