A Master Class with Brian Greene

Well, you can’t  go wrong with a Master Class with Brian Greene.  Yesterday, Dr. Greene presented a master class called “Spooky Action: The Drama of Quantum Mechanics.”  The primary focus of the workshop was to link quantum mechanics with Greene’s upcoming Spooky Action presentation at the World Science Festival.

BGreene1

 

The discussion turned out to be much more than a mini course on quantum mechanics.  It was a lively discussion that stretched your brain, got you thinking and challenged your preconceived notions about motion and reality.

Two concepts really intrigued me.  The first part of the workshop focused on the famous double slit experiment.  In the experiment, “is a demonstration that matter and energy can display characteristics of both waves and particles, and demonstrates the fundamentally probabilistic nature of quantum mechanical phenomena.”  Often, when calculating the corresponding DeBroglie wavelength of a baseball, for example, the value is on the magnitude of 10 ^ -18 m.  Greene suggests that the “flood waters are rising” as researchers begin to look at wavelengths that are getting more and more significant.  Could you do the double split experiment with baseballs?  Sure, you’d just need a screen large enough to see the pattern.

 

The second concept was entanglement.  This really makes ones head hurt!  According to Wikipedia, “Quantum entanglement occurs when particles such as photons, electrons, molecules as large as buckeyballs and even small diamonds interact physically and then become separated; the type of interaction is such that each resulting member of a pair is properly described by the same quantum mechanical description (state), which is indefinite in terms of important factors such as position, momentum, spin, polarization, etc.”

What’s so weird about this – and I hope I have this right – is the corresponding spin of one object – say up – dictates the corresponding spin of an entangled object – down.  If object A is up, B is down automatically.  I’m not sure I particularly understand why this happens.  More research required!

Entanglement

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