The quantum mechanical evidence that we live in a world of choice - Superposition

The quantum mechanical evidence that we live in a world of choice - Superposition
Photo by Joel Filipe / Unsplash

👋 Hey Friends,

Welcome back to a new episode of the Sunday Night Sky, the newsletter where we explore and learn about new scientific achievements, astrophysical, mathematical, and physical theories to understand the world around us a little better.

In past episodes, we have already learned a bit about quantum mechanics and its weirdness compared to other physical theories like classical mechanics. We have learned why the world is not so deterministic as we have proposed and how everything is made up of something we call quantum fields, which give the observed particle a certain probability distribution for its position and velocity.

Today, we want to learn more about quantum mechanics and dive deeper into the phenomenon of SUPERPOSITION.

🐈 Schrödingers Cat

The general idea of superposition is a fundamental concept in quantum mechanics. It states that any physical system, like subatomic particles, exists in multiple states simultaneously. We often illustrate this concept using the famous thought experiment of Schrödinger's cat, which actually exists in a superposition of being both alive and dead until some observer opens the box in which the cat sits and the wavefunction, the state of superposition, collapses.

With this thought experiment, Erwin Schrödinger actually didn't want to show the weirdness of quantum mechanics but its misformulation instead. As shown, the thought experiment states that the hidden cat is actually dead and alive within the same reality. Because this neither sounds real nor reasonable, Schrödinger criticized the old formulation of quantum mechanics, the Copenhagen Theory, and supported a new quantum mechanical theory known as the "Many Worlds Theory". This theory postulates that the act of superposition divides reality into two separate realities which exist at the same time but with different outcomes of the superpositional particle.

🌊 Wave-particle duality

Before we can understand the reality division stated by the many-worlds theory, we firstly have to understand how a physical system can even exist in a superposition. The general idea of superposition is based upon the fact of something known as wave-particle duality, which means that particles can exist as both waves and particles simultaneously. This idea was first supported back in 1923 by the French physicist Louis de Broglie, who hypothesized that light needed to be both a particle, a photon, and an electromagnetic wave in order to follow its weird behavior. Moreover, this concept gained general support since it was supported and evidently proved by the double-slit experiment. Today, we know that this wave-like behavior allows for superposition, as particles can exist in multiple locations or states at once.

🏘 Quanta vs. Reality

The concept of superpostion seems to be a pretty odd and mysterious phenomena but it actually has profoudn implications and has led us to the development of quantum computers and other technologies, which take advantage of the properties of superposition. However, the concept still challenges us and our understanding of the classical world, where every object exists in definite states and locations and does not behave under the odd rules of quantum mechanics. Still, superposition shows that at the quantum level, reality is much more complex and mysterious than we ever imagined.

We can finally see that superposition is indeed a crucial concept of quantum mechanics, which describes the ability of some quantum mechanical systems, whether they are particles or waves, to exist in multiple states simultaneously. This concept has profound implications for our understanding of the physical world and has led to the development of new technologies that take advantage of quantum properties.

I wish you all the best and see you on sunday with episode two of this new series where we talk about paradoxes of calculus and a little about geometry...👋


Victor Thierling (@observethecosmos)

🎥 Youtube Video

The world of complex analysis: Complex Numbers

Embark on a fascinating journey through the depths of Complex Analysis. Get ready to uncover the hidden secrets of complex functions, understand the power of holomorphic functions, and broaden your mathematical knowledge. Join me and explore the beauty, elegance, and utility of Complex Analysis, and gain new insights into mathematics and its applications. This first episode covers most of the basics but be ready to dive into the details very soon...

✍️ Quote of the week

“There are many, many, many worlds branching out at each moment you become aware of your environment and then make a choice.”

-Kevin Michel

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