Why Everything You Thought You Knew About Quantum Physics is Different – with Philip Ball

Share it with your friends Like

Thanks! Share it with your friends!

Close

Quantum physics has a reputation as one of the most obscure and impenetrable subjects in science.
Subscribe for regular science videos: http://bit.ly/RiSubscRibe

Philip Ball will talk about what quantum theory really means – and what it doesn’t – and how its counterintuitive principles create the world we experience.

Watch the Q&A: https://youtu.be/W1OoVw-M6os

Philip Ball is a freelance science writer. He worked previously at Nature for over 20 years, first as an editor for physical sciences (for which his brief extended from biochemistry to quantum physics and materials science) and then as a Consultant Editor. His writings on science for the popular press have covered topical issues ranging from cosmology to the future of molecular biology.


A very special thank you to our Patreon supporters who help make these videos happen, especially:
Alessandro Mecca, Ashok Bommisetti, Avrahaim Chein, bestape, Elizabeth Greasley, Greg Nagel, Lester Su, Manish Upmanyu, Rebecca Pan, Robert D Finrock and Will Knott.

The Ri is on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/TheRoyalInstitution
and Twitter: http://twitter.com/ri_science
and Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/royalinstitution
and Tumblr: http://ri-science.tumblr.com/
Our editorial policy: http://www.rigb.org/home/editorial-policy
Subscribe for the latest science videos: http://bit.ly/RiNewsletter

Comments

The Royal Institution says:

Shameless plug – we've just launched our 2018 charity auction and one of the prizes is an Arts and Science tour with Philip Ball. Check it out – https://www.givergy.com/listing/the-royal-institution/art-science-tour-of-the-national-gallery

Harry Kirk says:

the alternative to spooky action at a distance is the non-locality of some of the properties of entangleld pairs of objects in different localities, which is not spooky a t'all – you see. Everybody knows this is nowhere. I am the egg man They are the egg men I am the walrus
Goo goo g'joob

Rich H says:

One thing is clear, nothing he said was clear.

Toby W says:

It sounds like we are returning to the proposition that space is filled with ether.

stoneeh says:

Rabbits and dogs and boxes. Right – surely this made me understand the essence of the universe!

Raphael Santore says:

Thank you. r.santore

Mark Fennell says:

I believe that all Particles have real properties, independent of any observation. It is only when we measure them, that we get different results….depending on the equipment.

1. Particle travels in predictable pattern. But to us we only can guess location, with statistics. Does not mean the particle is everywhere at the same time, it is only our best guess of likely locations. Then we measure, and we find it.

2. Uncertainty is only related to equipment, not to the actual object itself. Electron has location, spin, momentum. But to test we have to hit it. Which moves it out of its location, and adds energy to the electron. Then we have to think backwards to see where the electron was, and what the energy was, prior to hitting it.

3. Gloves in the box is the correct answer. The particle exists as it is with or without us. If the particles are a matched set, we know the properties of the other by looking at ours.

4. However…sometimes…our personal energies can influence things. We emit electrical energies. These electrical energies are also inside electrons. Using powerful thought (emitted electrical energy) on a very small scale (a few electrons), it is possible to direct those electrons. (I have read the scientific studies in detail). But this is rare, and works only with certain types of people. (Those who give off more electrical energy than most).

In general: particles exist without us. Their properties exist without us. The math and graphs just gives us possibilities, not that the particle exists everywhere or has all properties at the same time. Then our equipment must add energy to the particle we want to detect, which alters what we actually see, but that is what we must do. We work with the limitations of the experiment, and deduce the details as if we weren't there.

inox1ck says:

9:38" the wave function collapses at a position in space, however I think there is something that makes it even trickier. That position in space cannot be established in reality and cannot be defined using real elements because the real world elements are quantum objects as well with no definite position. The only thing they have is, in practice usually, much greater mass (i.e. a photographic film made of atoms vs photons) than the objects we measure. Not even out consciousness doesn't have a definite location

Tom Noyb says:

There are no "particles." Only waves. Physicists do realize Maxwell's could be equally solved with a probability-distribution-function instead of E and H? Imagine how clumsy? How the discussion would center on "localizing the photonic particle?" Just as there is no particle in Electromagnetics likewise, there are no particles in quantum mechanics. This presenter crosses out all the dumb cliches, but fails to realize they all all stem from the incorrect notion of "particles." deBroglie taught us there are no particles (or at least that should have been his lesson). Schroedinger is a wave equation, because there are only waves.

The TNTsheep says:

This distant action is spooooky

Tabe Sin says:

Don't make waves.

WildAboutWayne says:

The experiment about bringing the answer into being – I'll take it one step further. Think of each question as a measurement. The questions get more specific until the answer appears. i.e the measurements get more precise. but as the questions get more specific it gets harder to see without glasses or a microscope. Then i got an insight – the measurements created the answer.

When you look at the moon, you literally create the physical reality of the moon. By this I mean we add probability to possibility. The moon always exists in a potential state – the art of measuring the moon makes the moon exist kinetically.

Q uantum says:

Well if you have spin up and spin down, does it rotate CW, CCW? 1,and 0 COS(p) or SIN(p) someone should just take the cross-product and reach into the 4th dimension and get on with it. 🙂

Bella1275 says:

Thank You for excellent lecture.

Paul Marostica says:

To Philip Ball et al: Nice try but, among other things, you need to reconsider the assumption that quantum superposition exists. Quantum superposition has never been observed, not because it is unobservable, but because it does not exist. Resultantly, the implication that quantum entanglement exists is incorrect. And the implication that passively observing something changes it is also incorrect. I have invented a unifying physics theory, matter theory, which is simpler, more physically logical, and explains more fundamental physics observables, than any professionally used physics theory. Matter theory is about what most fundamentally exists, and the physical and mathematical relationships between its quantities of motion. After you have learned matter theory, you will not bother wasting your time with prior theories, except for historical purposes. My 2 videos, “Particle 2 Slit Experiments Explained By Paul Marostica”, and “Quantum Mechanics Intervention”, debunk much of the thinking in the Copenhagen type interpretations of quantum theory. I need you and your viewers to view and promote my videos. I am seeking funding before I publish. You can find my videos using the search keywords: matter theory marostica.

Mark Fischer says:

Quantum mechanics isn't weird, physicists are weird. I know, I've met and listened to enough of them to have concluded that you are all as the Brits would say "barking mad." I even roomed with one in college for two years and he was also "barking mad" even back then. I could have been a physicist myself but I felt it would be better to stay somehow connected to the real world instead even if only by a slender threat so I became an electrical engineer instead. Interestingly there is no proof that electricity exists, we can only infer its existence by what we observe as the only plausible explanation for what we can observe.

Do you think it odd that physicists study quantum mechanics by smashing particles together as hard as they can and seeing what falls out of them? From the cyclotrons, bevatrons, linear accelerators I read about when I was ten years old up to CERN, 16 TEV that's what they do. To me it's like watching two airplanes arranged to have a mid air collision and seeing what falls out of the sky to try to figure out what made them fly.

Several years ago at about the same time CERN announced that it had about enough evidence to prove the existence of the Higgs Boson, a particle so massive it couldn't be found for decades and this validated the standard model, at about the same time CERN said that they'd observed particles moving faster than the speed of light which would have invalidated just about everything they thought they knew including everything about quantum mechanics. This dichotomy didn't seem to bother them very much. A few months later they sheepishly admitted very quietly that they made a mistake and that those particles were not traveling faster than light. Einstein can sleep soundly in his grave again…. for the time being.

Physicists use the words how and what interchangeably very glibly. Less than ten years out of school I realized that everything I was taught was about what would happen but none of it explained how it happened. For example, no one can say why and by what mechanism like charged particles repel and unlike particles attract. They cannot explain what magnetism is and how it works or what its relationship to electrical energy is. Or why there can be an electric monopole but only magnetic dipoles (yes I'm aware someone claimed to have contrived a magnetic monopole in a laboratory.) There's a lot more that they can't explain, like everything, and putting a name on something no matter how arcane doesn't explain it. Here's another one. Atomic nucleii are said to be held together by the "strong force" which overcomes the natural tendency for protons to repel with extreme force when they are right next to each other in a nucleus. But when a nucleus fission reaction occurs the resulting energy released comes from the disappearance of mass that was converted to energy. So the strong force is related to mass, not energy???? How does it work? What role do neutrons play. There are not nucleii except for one proton of protium, the simplest form of hydrogen that does not have neutrons.

The physicists' basic problem is that they cannot visualize the universe in more than three physical dimensions. This bothered me until my mid twenties when I invented a couple of tricks to overcome this barrier. The universe looks very different in four space than it does in three space. And you can't solve the problem of acoustics until you can visualize it in six space. In entanglement, the reason two particles are entangled even though they are far apart physically in three space is that in four space they are right next to each other. I'll bet that's the first time you ever heard that explanation. Do you or your colleagues have a better explanation? Any explanation?

When I realized that everything I was taught was what would happen but not how it happened, it was small comfort to me to realize that no one else knew either even if they weren't aware of it.

Write a comment