Quantum weirdness

I’m a little late getting this news, but I’m fascinated by  an experiment at Australian National University showing (once again) in a vivid way  how strange the quantum mechanical world is.

The experiment was a variation on the celebrated  double slit experiment that shows how photons are both particles and waves, at least in some interpretations of the universe. That’s freakish in a not-news kind of way, as is the fact that the same is true of good old atoms, which might seem more as though they should stay particular all the time.

One amusing view of the ANU experiment is that an atom can “decide” to be either particle-like or wave-like based on information from the future. Just like  the restaurant at the end of the universe, that is, of course, impossible.

If I were a better physicist I could explain this to you, but in all honesty it was just the lack of intuitiveness about high energy physics (and maybe the contemporaneous demise of the  Superconducting Super Collider) that turned me off to the subject as an undergraduate. Still, what a universe to live in, eh Horatio?

Professor of Mathematical Sciences

My research interests are in scientific computation, mathematical software, and applications of mathematics in the life sciences.