Archive for photons

Newsflash: The Universe Exists

Posted in science with tags , , on March 14, 2009 by absurddelight

Scientists have just made a major breakthrough: reality is real! (For you geeks and overachievers, this has to do with Hardy’s Paradox.)

Mildly Relevant CC licensed graphic called Scheme of Two-photon excitation microscopy by

Mildly Relevant CC licensed graphic called "Scheme of Two-photon excitation microscopy" by

Here’s the baffling excerpt that made me want to post this:

The stunning result, though, was that in some places the number of photons was actually less than zero. … The weird things [Hardy’s Paradox] predicted are real and they can, indeed, only be seen by people who are not looking. Dr Yokota and his colleagues went so far as to call their results “preposterous”.” – Source: The Economist

From what I can tell, this discovery can be summed up as follows for Boeotians like me: we now know that if a quantum-mechanical tree (a photon) falls in the quantum-mechanical forest (um, a lab?) it makes a sound (poof) even if no scientist is around to hear it.

BONUS: Check out the abstract of the scientific study that “discovered” reality is real. In four sentences I got confused six times by phrases like: “entangled meter state in polarization degrees of freedom.” The fun part is that the words “spooky” and “preposterous” are also in there.

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