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Free Willy

In Quantum Mechanics by Brian Koberlein3 Comments

There’s a story going around the popular press about using quasars to determine whether free will exists. ┬áThis stems from an MIT press release which talks about using quasars to “close the free will loophole.” ┬áNeedless to say, the actual paper published in Physical Review Letters isn’t really about free will, but rather about an interesting effect of quantum mechanics. …

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The Sun’s Magic

In Quantum Mechanics by Brian Koberlein2 Comments

Atoms and nuclei are not governed by the familiar rules of Newton but rather by the rules of quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics can be a bit hard to wrap your head around, but one of the central principles is that you can never be entirely certain of things. If you want to know where an atom is, or what its energy is, you can never get an exact measurement. This “fuzziness” factor leads to a number of strange effects, of which one is quantum tunneling.