Alice in Quantumland: An Allegory of Quantum Physics

Alice in Quantumland: An Allegory of Quantum Physics

Robert Gilmore

Language: English

Pages: 200

ISBN: 0387914951

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In this cleverly conceived book, physicist Robert Gilmore makes accessible some complex concepts in quantum mechanics by sending Alice to Quantumland-a whole new Wonderland, smaller than an atom, where each attraction demonstrates a different aspect of quantum theory. Alice unusual encounters, enhanced by illustrations by Gilmore himself, make the Uncertainty Principle, wave functions, the Pauli Principle, and other elusive concepts easier to grasp.















electrons went as they passed through the slits. Unfortunately the light was poor and the electrons moved by so quickly that she could never quite make out which slit any one had passed through. "This is ridiculous," thought Alice. "I need more light." She had forgotten that she was in the "thinking room" and was startled when an intense spotlight mounted on a stand appeared by her elbow. Quickly she directed the light toward the two slits and was pleased to find that now there was a visible

system can give various values, its amplitude is a sum of states corresponding to each possible value. When the measuring device is itself a quantum system and there are various values which it could measure, it has no right to select just one of them. It ought to be in a state which is a sum of the amplitudes for all the possible results it might measure, and no unique observation could be made. The conclusion you would draw from the above would seem to be either: (a) We never actually observe

bosons are very gregarious. They love to go around in gangs where each one behaves in exactly the same way as the others. As you will see later, it is this behavior and the interaction between you two types of particles which are responsible for the nature of the world. In many ways you are the rulers of the world." At this point the Quantum Mechanic led Alice out of the classroom. "There you are then," he said. "That is the Pauli principle. It rules that no two fermions of the same type can

theory. The theory fitted the observed line frequencies and predicted other line spectra which had not been seen. These where all found in due course and showed that the quantum theory could not readily be dismissed. lice stood gazing up at the dark heights of Castle Rutherford as it loomed overhead. "Where did that come from?" she asked her companion. "How did we get here from the atom's potential well?" "I have to tell you that during no time are we going anywhere. We are remaining

photons move so fast that she had never yet seen one coming before it arrived. This photon collided with Strangeo, exciting him to a quite manic frenzy, and he rushed off, honking loudly on a horn. Behind him his tethering rope stretched out farther and farther. Alice could see that, however far it stretched, the rope was not becoming in any way thinner or weaker. It was obvious that it could go on stretching indefinitely and that the escaping Quark would soon run out of energy, with no chance of

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