Seven wonders of the quantum world

Seven wonders of the quantum world

From undead cats to particles popping up out of nowhere, from watched pots not boiling – sometimes – to ghostly influences at a distance, quantum physics delights in demolishing our intuitions about how the world works.



Michael Brooks tours the quantum effects that are guaranteed to boggle our minds.
WAVE-PARTICLE DUALITY

Corpuscles and buckyballs

Wave-particle duality (Image: Sarah Barth / stock.xchng) Light is both a particle and a wave – and we're starting to prove that everything else is too. Read more
OFF THE BOIL

The Hamlet effect

Boiling, maybe (Image: OJO Images / Rex Features) To be decayed or not decayed, that is the analytically unsolvable question. Read more
THE CASIMIR EFFECT

Something for nothing

The Casimir effect can move metal plates slightly (Image: Fiona Schweers / stock.xchng) They might not stick around for long, but particles that pop in and out of existence could gum up nano-machines. Read more
LOVE THE QUANTUM BOMB

The Elitzur-Vaidman bomb-tester

Could a single photon of light trigger a bomb? (Image: Henning Buchholz / stock.xchng) You can use quantum trickery to shine light on a light-triggered bomb – and stay safe a guaranteed 25 per cent of the time. Read more
ENTANGLEMENT

Spooky action at a distance

Entanglement poses a serious challenge to our view of the world (Image: Allan Baxter / The Image Bank / Getty) Reality, free will or the speed of light? One's got to give, because quantum mechanics says you can't have them all. Read more
THE AHARONOV-BOHM EFFECT

The field that isn't there

It starts with a doughnut-shaped magnet... You have to think about where an electromagnetic field isn't, as well as where it is, as far as particles are concerned. Read more
MIRACLE MATTER

Superfluids and supersolids

Particle collisions at the LHC's CMS experiment (Image: CMS Collaboration/CERN) Forget radioactive spider bites and exposure to gamma rays, it's quantum theory that gives you superpowers. Read more
PARADOXES?

Nobody understands

So what does it all tell us? (Image: Paul Cooklin / Brand X Pictures / Getty) Paradoxes are only conflicts between reality and your feelings of what reality ought to be. Read more
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