Clarity beats accuracy

Quantum Physics for 7 Year Olds
Dominic Walliman
May 24, 2016
In this lighthearted talk Dominic Walliman gives us four guiding principles for easy science communication and unravels the myth that quantum physics is difficult to understand, it’s all in how it’s explained.

1. Start off in the right place. Everyone has a different background, everyone has a different set of knowledge …
2. Don’t go too far down the rabbit hole.
3. Clarity beats accuracy

4. Explain what you think is cool


Dark and difficult times lie ahead. Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.
A. P. W. B. Dumbledore
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire


Quinine is highly fluorescent

Tonic water, in normal light and ultraviolet “black light”.

Quinine occurs naturally in the bark of the cinchona tree, though it has also been synthesized in the laboratory.
The medicinal properties of the cinchona tree were originally discovered by the Quechua, who are indigenous to Peru and Bolivia

Quinine is highly fluorescent (quantum yield ~0.58)

Because of its relatively constant and well-known fluorescence quantum yield, quinine is used in photochemistry as a common fluorescence standard.
The UV absorption peaks around 350 nm (in UVA).
Fluorescent emission peaks at around 460 nm (bright blue/cyan hue).


Schweppes tonic water contains quinine

[Opioids] Street drugs are frequently “cut” (mixed or combined) with other substances, such as caffeine, powdered milk, quinine, and strychnine, to dilute the concentration of the active ingredient.
Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Psychiatry, 3e © 2019 by McGraw-Hill Education


Scientists Take Quantum Steps Toward Teleportation

Scientists Take Quantum Steps Toward Teleportation
August 01, 2010

It’s not exactly the Star Trek version of teleportation, where an object disappears then reappears somewhere else. Rather, it “entangles” two different atoms so that one atom inherits the properties of another.

“According to the quantum theory, everything vibrates,” theoretical physicist Michio Kaku says. “When two electrons are placed close together, they vibrate in unison. When you separate them, that’s when all the fireworks start.”

This is where quantum entanglement — sometimes described as “teleportation” — begins. “An invisible umbilical cord emerges connecting these two electrons.
And you can separate them by as much as a galaxy if you want. Then, if you vibrate one of them, somehow on the other end of the galaxy the other electron knows that its partner is being jiggled.”

This process happens even faster than the speed of light, physicists say.

Quantum entanglement isn’t a new idea — Einstein once famously referred to it as “spooky action at a distance” — but it wasn’t until the past 30 years that scientists were first able to observe this process.

quantum teleportation
Oct. 2006

The Teleportation of Quantum States

Time ‘Emerges’ from Entanglement

Time ‘Emerges’ from Entanglement
Quantum Experiment Shows How Time ‘Emerges’ from Entanglement
October 23, 2013

Time is an emergent phenomenon that is a side effect of quantum entanglement, say physicists. And they have the first experimental results to prove it

Universe is a hologram

At a black hole, Albert Einstein’s theory of gravity apparently clashes with quantum physics, but that conflict could be solved if the Universe were a holographic projection.

Simulations back up theory that Universe is a hologram
A ten-dimensional theory of gravity makes the same predictions as standard quantum physics in fewer dimensions.
10 December 2013

In 1997, theoretical physicist Juan Maldacena proposed that an audacious model of the Universe in which gravity arises from infinitesimally thin, vibrating strings could be reinterpreted in terms of well-established physics. The mathematically intricate world of strings, which exist in nine dimensions of space plus one of time, would be merely a hologram: the real action would play out in a simpler, flatter cosmos where there is no gravity.

Maldacena’s idea thrilled physicists because it offered a way to put the popular but still unproven theory of strings on solid footing — and because it solved apparent inconsistencies between quantum physics and Einstein’s theory of gravity.
[You are a simulation & physics can prove it: George Smoot at TEDxSalford. Nobel.]
It provided physicists with a mathematical Rosetta stone, a ‘duality’, that allowed them to translate back and forth between the two languages, and solve problems in one model that seemed intractable in the other and vice versa (see ‘Collaborative physics: String theory finds a bench mate’).
But although the validity of Maldacena’s ideas has pretty much been taken for granted ever since, a rigorous proof has been elusive.

In two papers posted on the arXiv repository, … now provide, if not an actual proof, at least compelling evidence that Maldacena’s conjecture is true.

In one paper2, Hyakutake computes the internal energy of a black hole, the position of its event horizon (the boundary between the black hole and the rest of the Universe), its entropy and other properties based on the predictions of string theory as well as the effects of so-called virtual particles that continuously pop into and out of existence (see ‘Astrophysics: Fire in the Hole!’).

Do we live in a 2-D hologram?
New Fermilab experiment will test the nature of the universe
August 26, 2014

Physicists Almost Certain The Universe Is Not A Hologram
July 05, 2011

The moon isn’t there when you’re not looking at it

Einstein’s Real Breakthrough? Quantum Theory
November 01, 2013

Einsten went for the Unified Field Theory and beautiful mathematics and he sort of felt less willing to just listen to what nature was telling him. So as I argue in the book, I think it was his philosophical beliefs about why he was doing science and why it was a noble pursuit, you know, sort of the justification of his life’s mission, which was to find these objective truths about the world that were independent of man: Eternal truths.

And because quantum mechanics seem to involve an observer, he really didn’t like that framework and he used to say in this just shorthand, do you really believe that the moon isn’t there when you’re not looking at it?.

see also:
Yale Engineering & Technology
Einstein dismissed quantum mechanics with “God does not play dice”

Princeton University Press

The Evolving Minds Of Humans

The Evolving Minds Of Humans
November 12, 2010

Why do humans have consciousness? In his new book, Self Comes To Mind, neurologist Antonio Damasio argues that consciousness gave humans an evolutionary advantage.
Damasio describes the differences between self and mind, and traces the evolutionary path of the human brain.

it’s not only humans that can have access to consciousness or minds

defining consciousness, figuring out how it evolved, where it resides in the brain makes quantum entanglement seem easy

that plan is in fact our anticipated future.
We have made plans. We have revised plans. And more important than all of that, we have committed those plans to memory, so that we can, in an almost paradoxical way, say that we have memories of the future.


Prof. DAMASIO: I would spend the rest of my life inside the brainstem, not necessarily of humans but even of other species, to look at the very interesting way in which that fusion of body and brain does take place.

the fact that, clearly, violence has been declining. I mean, I just heard yesterday that fewer shots were fired by the New York police this year or this past year than ever before in history. That’s just one little clue. But I think there is this diminution of violence and the fact that we are not tolerating violence as much as we did in the past is a sign that there is this evolution within the culture that is being created by this freedom we have to act on it.

Scientists Seek To Take The Measure of Antimatter

Scientists Seek To Take The Measure of Antimatter 
May 03, 2013

In 2011, researchers at CERN found a way to trap and hold particles of antihydrogen for about 15 minutes at a time.
Jeffrey Hangst, spokesman for the ALPHA project at CERN, describes how scientists are trying to measure basic properties of the particles, such as their mass.

Can we see any evidence of gravity? Our tools don’t have the necessary sensitivity to determine if they go up or down.

I’m an experimentalist

that was to make actually the first measurement on an atom of antimatter
The way you trap antihydrogen is that it’s a little bit magnetic. … It has spin in atomic language, so what we do is shine some microwaves on that atom and flip the spin, turn it around. And when you do that, it jumps out of the trap, … and you can detect that.
So that’s actually the first ever quantum interaction with an antimatter atom.

the antiquarks in the antiproton finds some quarks in a gold nucleus and annihilate with those.
The amount of energy released is about the same.
You’re annihilating the rest mass of the antiproton on the same rest mass of the quarks that make up the nucleus.

practical applications are science fiction. We can’t accumulate enough antimatter to make practical applications.

Now, if you found some antimatter … that would be another story.

Keyword to look for additional content: antimatter

How does antimatter differ from matter?
May 2nd 2013

‘Quantum smell’ idea gains ground

‘Quantum smell’ idea gains ground
BBC News. 27 January 2013

A controversial theory that the way we smell involves a quantum physics effect has received a boost, following experiments with human subjects.

It challenges the notion that our sense of smell depends only on the shapes of molecules we sniff in the air. Instead, it suggests that the molecules’ vibrations are responsible.

A way to test it is with two molecules of the same shape, but with different vibrations. A report in PLOS ONE shows that humans can distinguish the two.

tantalizingly, the idea hints at quantum effects occurring in biological systems – an idea that is itself driving a new field of science, as the BBC feature article Are birds hijacking quantum physics? points out.

But the theory – first put forward by Luca Turin, now of the Fleming Biomedical Research Sciences Centre in Greece – remains contested and divisive.

Of horses and unicorns
“I like to think of the vibration theory of olfaction and its proponents as unicorns. The rest of us studying olfaction are horses,”


Quantum Physics: What is really real?
May 20, 2015