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Garage Quantum Mechanics?

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posted on Feb, 24 2006 @ 02:19 PM
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Is anyone aware of any interesting demonstrations of quantum theory that can be performed with readily-available hardware? I know experiments with interference patterns in light and/or polarization have quantum-mechanical implications, but I'm looking for something a bit more flashy yet still substantive, something that would give folks a good hands-on introduction to the overall subject.

Nothing involving cats and canisters of chlorine gas, please.




posted on Feb, 24 2006 @ 03:24 PM
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Could try testing quantum tunneling and the so called observer's effect...

Place your hand flat out in the air. Next, take a pen and while your head is looking away from your hand (so you can't see it), predict that the pen will pass through your hand without damaging your hand....

Heh, if you really do that I'll point and laugh at you



posted on Feb, 24 2006 @ 04:02 PM
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Who are the people?

This would be a bit hard to do considereing quantum mechanics explains phenomena at a very small scale. What did you have in mind?

Anything pretty much that involves the transfer of electrons: lasers, lights, chemical reactions, etc.



posted on Feb, 24 2006 @ 04:29 PM
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Originally posted by Frosty
Who are the people?

This would be a bit hard to do considereing quantum mechanics explains phenomena at a very small scale. What did you have in mind?

Anything pretty much that involves the transfer of electrons: lasers, lights, chemical reactions, etc.


I'm looking for something to share my own fascination with quantum theory with others, say, mid- or high-school science students, or adults with an interest in science but no real exposure to quantum mechanics. Granted, my own understanding of the theory is "armchair" at best, but there must be some way to bridge the gap between physicists with billion-dollar particle accelerators and your average reasonably-educated guy.

Given that quantum mechanics is rapidly moving from theory to application as we speak (quantum computers, quantum cryptography, etc.) it is a subject that will be drawing the attention of more and more people in the next few years I think. It would be nice to be able to say "here, check this out, I can show you what this stuff is all about". Demystify it a bit for folks.



posted on Feb, 25 2006 @ 12:50 AM
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Originally posted by Saltman


Well, regardless of its engineering capabilities, you have to remember that quantum events take certain equipment to view, and at best are not viewable at all, if any! Quantum theory is based on wave function. Maybe you could show them a few graphs and relate the graphs to something they know like trigonometry. I would recommend you build something up to scale.
You are stuck at best with pictures and abstract thoughts/theories and their explination.

My opinion:
I'm not even sure such a demonstration would succeed in doing much. To understand a theory such a quantum mechanics (and not a single phenomena) takes a fairly good understanding of math, facts derived from certain experiments, etc. I know people that have been hung up on algebra and chemistry for years, at the indtroduction levels, despite having several textbooks, professors, tutoring, etc.

I think you will generate a lot of "ooo's" and "aaaahhh's", but outside of the few minutes after the demonstration, people will wane interest. I think you are, more likely than not, going to 'mystify' people rather than demistify them if you can find an experiment. Most people here on ATS who think they are interested in QT, get hung up on certain semantical and philosophic debates and never seem to move much further. It truely takes the desire and a strong urge to learn QT, as well as years of math instruction.

Hope you find an idea.



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