Catching the ghost in the atom

30 July 2012 The quantum world can be a strange place. On small scales, particles can be hard to pin down and can even seem to be in two places at once. At the heart of this weirdness is the mysterious wave…

30 July 2012

The quantum world can be a strange place. On small scales, particles can be hard to pin down and can even seem to be in two places at once.

At the heart of this weirdness is the mysterious wave function, a mathematical formula that calculates quantum probabilities. But is this function just a bit of abstract mathematics, or is it part of the physical world, somehow controlling how particles behave?

In this animation, we show you why some scientists now think it might be real, and what that means for our understanding of physics and reality.

To find out more, read our full-length feature “Ghosts in the atom: Unmasking the quantum phantom”.

For more physics animations, see how to build a time machine, watch how the universe appeared from nothing, or check out our archive of One-Minute Physics videos.

 

New Scientist