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Quantum Weirdness - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Quantum Weirdness
William J. Mullin
Abstract
The predictions of quantum mechanics and their interpretation lead to many surprises, for example, the ability to detect the characteristics of an object without ever probing it in any way, via “interaction-free measurement,” the ability of a particle to tunnel through an energetically forbidden region, or teleportation of an atom. Quantum mechanics often seems downright bizarre, which is why it can be described as having “quantum weirdness.” The book starts with a discussion of the basic physics of waves and then introduces the fundamentals of quantum mechanics, including the wave function, superposition, entanglement, Bell’s theorem, the four forces, matter waves, bosons, fermions, etc., and applications to effects such as Bose–Einstein condensation, quantum computing, and much more. It also discusses the various world views that have been proposed to understand what the mathematics of quantum mechanics means. This includes some very recent advances, for example, quantum Bayesianism and measurements of the reality of the wave function. Quantum mechanics is a subtle subject that involves some complicated mathematics—calculus, partial differential equations, the theory of Hilbert spaces, etc.—for complete understanding. In order to give a deeper grasp of quantum mechanics than most texts for a general audience, this book treats the subject mathematically, but only at the level of high-school algebra and trigonometry. Thus, readers with that level of mathematics can learn much about this fundamental science of all nature. An appendix covers some useful background in classical physics, such as momentum and energy. |