The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The twilight of quantum mechanics

Quantum mechanics is weird only because we don't learn statistics in high school (well I didn't anyway), and we can't come up with good real-life analogies for quantum interactions.

For example, the twin-slit experiment used to illustrate collapsing the wave function (a single electron fired through 2 slits will show a wave interference pattern on the wall, but the pattern disappears if you find out which slit the electron passed through) is portrayed by physicists as obscure, weird, arcane, or even as indecipherable devil magic which us mere mortals can never strive to intuitively understand beyond pulling out a PDE.

This flat-out isn't true, and here is my analogy for the 2x slit experiment in real life (using trashy fiction):

The electron is an young impressionable female, slit A is the handsome vampire, and slit B is the wild werewolf. Until absolutely forced to pick one of the slits, the electron sort of strings both slits along (and the result is a lot of interference which, in the literary world, we call plot). But, when the reader looks at the end, she (the electron) inevitable picks one of the slits. Summed over all the trashy romance fiction out there, one gets the feeling it's the same damn electron and two slits everywhere, yet she is clearly making different decisions each time.

Quantum mechanics is weird only because we don't learn statistics in high school… | Hacker News

I really have nothing else to add.

Obligatory Picture

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Obligatory Links

Obligatory Miscellaneous

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