IdeaFestival 2014 #8: Wake Up Curious: It Really is a Small World: The Subatomic World of Quantum Mechanics, Black Holes and “Spooky at a Distance” – Ben Malphrus & Roger McNeil

Ben Malphrus, Roger McNeil

Friday, October 3, 2014, 8-8m, Kentucky Center

Start your day with some strong coffee and a lively discussion with physicists Ben Malphrus and Roger McNeil into the subatomic world of quantum weirdness, black holes and a wild phenomenon called “spooky at a distance.” Despite its often bizarre nature, this world forms the foundation of this larger thing we call “reality.”

Key ideas

  • the universe is made of discrete particles, which cannot be divided further
  • we live in a probabilistic universe
  • 1/4 -1/3 of US GDP estimated to be related to quantum mechanics
  • Standard Model of Subatomic Physics
  • 6 types of quarks
  • if you can determine the exact mass of the electron, you will win the Nobel Prize!
  • light as wave / particle
  • double slit experiment
  • Einstein wrote 5 famous papers in 1905
  • our eyes are wonderful photon protectors
  • the same photon takes different paths at the same time
  • the act of observation creates the reality, the act of measurement collapses the wave function, in mathematical vs a physical sense (Copenhagen interpretation vs. multiverse/parallel universe) – systems theory, constructivism
  • superposition of states: Schroedinger’s cat thought experiment
  • you cannot know where something is and where it is going with infinite precision (Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle)
  • quantum entanglement
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