Physicists are used to the idea that subatomic particles behave according to the bizarre rules of quantum mechanics, completely different to human-scale objects. In a breakthrough experiment, Aaron O’Connell has blurred that distinction by creating an object that is visible to the unaided eye, but provably in two places at the same time. In this talk he suggests an intriguing way of thinking about the result.
About Aaron O’Connell
Aaron O’Connell is the first person to experimentally induce and measure quantum effects in the motion of a humanmade object, bridging the quantum and classical worlds.
Why you should listen to him
Growing up reading philosophy, playing guitar, and generally not thinking about science, Aaron O’Connell never expected to revolutionize the world of physics. But an inspiring stuffed-monkey-shot-from-a-cannon demonstration and a series of positive research experiences as an undergraduate propelled him to graduate school at UCSB.
While there, in an experiment remarkable both for it’s conceptual simplicity and technical difficulty, O’Connell was the first person to measure quantum effects in an object large enough to see with the naked eye. Named Breakthrough of the year by Science Magazine, the experiment shattered the previous record for the largest quantum object, showing decisively that there is no hard line between the quantum and everyday worlds. http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/aaron_o_connell_making_sense_of_a_visible_quantum_object.html
“Dead silence – and then roaring applause. I still remember that brief moment that revealed the astonishment of everyone in the audience.” – Markus Aspelmeyer, Naturehttp://www.itsnotmagicitsscience.com/seeing.asp?newsid=282