Conversations I Wish I Had

In the quantum world, the future affects the past

After Big Bang

In the quantum world, the future predicts the past. Playing a guessing game with a superconducting circuit called a qubit, a physicist has discovered a way to narrow the odds of correctly guessing the state of a two-state system. By combining information about the qubit’s evolution after a target time with information about its evolution up to that time, the lab was able to narrow the odds from 50-50 to 90-10.

If the last page were ripped out of the book, physicist Kater Murch, PhD, said, would the reader be better off guessing what happened by reading only up to the fatal incident or by reading the entire book?

The answer, so obvious in the case of the murder mystery, is less so in world of quantum mechanics, where indeterminacy is fundamental rather than contrived for our reading pleasure.

Even if you know everything quantum mechanics can tell you about…

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This entry was posted on February 15, 2015 by .
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