It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Question about the superposition principle

page: 1

log in


posted on Apr, 17 2008 @ 04:14 PM
Hey. I got one question for all, who are good at quantum mechanics. I understand that a single particle can be in multiple positions cause of the wave function, but how can you "translate" this to an object?? Like they said that it could be possible that there exists multiverses regarding the superposition.

posted on Apr, 17 2008 @ 09:43 PM
I’m not quite sure what you mean in the first part of your post. Yes it is true that a particle can be in a superposition of positions, and also momentum, angular momentum, spin and energy, though whenever we try to measure one of those observables, we get a specific value, not a mixture of states. As for the second part, your probably thinking of the many worlds interpretation, where each possible outcome of a quantum event happens in its own universe. But keep in mind that this is just an interpretation, there are many other interpretation which as far as we can tell, make the same predictions. So there is really no way of knowing which one, if any, are correct.

posted on Apr, 18 2008 @ 04:20 AM
Sorry for the one liner!

AHH OK Quantum mechanics is complicated!!

posted on Apr, 18 2008 @ 05:43 AM
Don’t worry, quantum mechanics isn’t something that is easy to understand. Even the famous physicist Feynman said “I think it is safe to say that no one understands Quantum Mechanics.” And that guy won a Nobel prize! But it is still possible to get a sort of picture without diving into the “stay up all night doing quantum homework” mathematical aspects of quantum mechanics.

Basically try to think of it this way. The value of some observable, say the position of the particle, is essentially undefined, sort of spread out over a larger area, until we try to measure it. At that moment, the particle now exists in smaller region, depending on how precisely it was measured. Where that smaller area is is random. As I said before, this is true for other values such as momentum, energy, angular momentum, and spin. If you want to go any further then this, you would have to go into different interpretations of quantum mechanics, some easier to understand then others.

If you or anyone else have any other questions, just ask, I’ll try to explain it if I can.

posted on Apr, 18 2008 @ 08:52 AM
Lethys explanation is pretty good I think. I would just add, if you meant by wondering about the superpositioning of objects, you mean "large" everyday objects, like a cup, and how the quantum principles might apply to this, then we need to look at the wave function again.

As Lethys explained, when a quantum particle is said to exist in multiple "places" at once, all that means is that it has a statistical probability of being in a particular place until an actual measurement is taken. Once that measurement is taken, the wave function "collapses", and the indetermination of the particle resolved.

For an object like a cup, yes in theory, it would be possible for all the quantum particles in a cup to all of a sudden resolve their wave function in a completely different space, effectively "teleporting" as it were. The reason why we don't see this is because the actual probability of a macro-sized object doing this is so great, that we would need more time than the universe has actually existed in order to even entertain the probability of such an event actually happening.

In other words, on a scale of a trillion years (I have no idea if that is the actual probability), we may witness a cup spontaneously appear out of place because its constituent quantum particles all happened to manifest in the same exact place, thus collapsing the wave function. Because macro sized objects have so many trillions of quanta particles, their wave function "averages" out to the stability we see around us everyday.

posted on Apr, 18 2008 @ 02:44 PM
Ah I think I understand now! (I hope?!)
SO does that mean that all quantum particles in an object ( or of an object) know that there are part of this object?

I understand that a single particle can be in superposition, cause of the wave function. But if you look at a cup, for example, there are trillions of quantum particles in it ( can I say this like that, are there even in something?). So all the particles must have the same wave "direction" to show a cup ??
Or is every particle in his superposition a cup in a different dimension??

posted on Apr, 18 2008 @ 03:56 PM
Current electronic circuits can only read 0 or 1.

A quantum electronic circuit could read any value between [ 0 - 1 ]. Which would mean that it could be 20% 0 and 80% 1.

Because of its inhernet ability to perform fractional math without actually performming any computations, it reduces all n2 problems into n1 state ( meaning that the answer is immediately known ).

In lamen's terms it would reduce the complexity of solving things like chess and checkers to the level of tic-tac-toe.

posted on Apr, 18 2008 @ 06:32 PM
I don’t think “know” is the right word to use when referring to quantum objects. The quantum particles interact together and form the macroscopic object. Electrons and nuclei form atoms, the atoms form molecules, the molecules together form the cup. It is the collective structure of those far far far more then trillions of quantum particles that form the cup. Also the “blurring” due to superposition and the uncertainty principle is far smaller then anything you can detect with your own senses, so any effects from it would escape your notice. The individual particles in their superposition do not make the cup, and the other dimensions or universes don’t factor in unless you believe in the many worlds interpretations, in which case, each quantum event of each particle in the cup leads to a different universe where each possible outcome occurs. But for the most part, these different outcomes would be completely indistinguishable to us, and in all of them, the cup would still be composed of the collective structure of every quantum object.

posted on Apr, 18 2008 @ 06:59 PM
Hi Devil,

Think of quantum mechanics as pure statistical probability. That fact that all the particles in a cup are not going the same "direction", so to speak, is just the statistical average of all their individual movements. In fact, the stability of our macro level world requires that the quantum level all exist at different and random positions, spins, momentums, etc. If they all "acted" the same, than we would have bizarre phenomena such as cups popping in and out of existence.

Let's think of it this way. Let's say a cup has 10 trillion particles, and each particle can be in a state numbered 1 to 8. In order for the cup to do anything other than be a static, macro level cup, all the particles have to have the same numbered state, 1, 2, 6, whatever. However, since all the particles have an equally random chance to be in any particular state 1 through 8, the cup will never manifest these bizarre behaviors. The chance of trillions particles randomly generating the same numbered state is, from a probability perspective, impossible.

posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 03:56 AM
Thank you guys! Damn you are smart!

I got it know.

top topics


log in