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The Joys of Quantum Mechanics - A Recovering Physicist's Apology

About The Joys of Quantum Mechanics

Previous Entry The Joys of Quantum Mechanics Feb. 23rd, 2006 @ 06:11 pm Next Entry
During my exile from the outside world I have had a lot of time to do stuff on the internet. I came across this article and it made me smile. Essentually, the computer in question relies heavily on the properties of quantum mechanics (and all the craziness that goes along with it). One of the interesting things about QM is that cause and effect are linked in odd ways. Here you have such an example. The computer solved the problem that it was meant to solve without actually running. It would be like sitting down at your computer and just before you open up MS Word your finished book prints itself. Sometimes QM is delightful -- just don't think about it too much.
Mood Data: sick80% sick 20% tired [a.v.]
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Date:February 23rd, 2006 03:22 pm (UTC)
Yeah, saw it over at Nature.com, where they also wrote, "The thread that leads thus far has its origin in the early 1990s, with the introduction of a quantum paradox known as the Elitzur–Vaidman bomb thought-experiment. They showed that by sending a photon into a simple optical interferometer, one can sometimes detect the presence of a light-triggered bomb without setting it off — in other words, without light interacting with it at all. 'Sometimes' — there's the rub."

I found their method particularly interesting -- using the Zeno effect to induce a non-statistical probability of such an event occurring:

"[The Zeno effect] is the quantum-physical equivalent of the saying "a watched pot never boils". If you measure the state of a quantum system often enough and fast enough, the system will remain in that state and never evolve to another state — even if it would evolve if you were not measuring it. Zeilinger and colleagues applied this idea by using a sequence of polarization rotators as 'Zeno boosters' that forced their interferometer system to remain far more often in the state of 'imaging the hair with no photons', and far less often in the states of 'imaging the hair with photons' or 'not imaging the hair at all'"
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