A brief guide to quantum physics
Also known as matrix mechanics and quantum theory, quantum physics is a branch of scientific study which focusses on nature at the sub-atomic level. As distinct from classical physics, which deals with the behaviour of nature at the human scale, quantum theory centres on why atoms – and the sub-atomic particles that make them up – behave in a different way than such a theory would suggest. Linking quantum physics to classical physics has long been the aim of many scientific researchers. Although quantum physics is an ongoing area of research to this day, it was developed on the papers published by famous twentieth-century physicists, notably Albert Einstein, Erwin Schrödinger, Werner Heisenberg and Max Born.
How does quantum physics work?
In classical physics, things like energy, momentum and angular momentum are scene as measurable quantities that are bound into a restricted and quantifiable system with discrete values. This means that they can be measured objectively and observed even though Einstein's theory of relativity taught the world that the position of the observer is important to factor in, as well. In quantum physics, on the other hand, there are limits to the precision with which these things can be measured, known as uncertainty. In fact, objects can have multiple characteristics at the same time; for example, being both a particle and a wave. Only when an observation is made, according to quantum theory, can a measurement of one or other characteristic be established. This is a paradoxical thought, famously made into a metaphor by Schrödinger who imagined a dead cat placed in a box to explain the idea.
Is quantum physics spiritual?
Because quantum physics raises profound questions about the nature of the universe as well as reality as people can perceive it, some people think that a spiritual dimension can be derived from it. In short, an understanding of quantum mechanics is believed to reveal a more profound truth and even the potential for a designed or planned universe. Such attitudes are normally wrapped up under the umbrella term of quantum mysticism.
Why is quantum physics hard?
The nature of the discoveries made in quantum physics is mind-blowing in many ways. This means they are hard to imagine, just like trying to imagine the scope of the entire universe. In addition, some of the paradoxes revealed in quantum theory mean that it is hard to describe without making contradictions. People who work in this field are usually accomplished mathematicians and students of classical physics before progressing to quantum theories.
What is quantum physics used for?
Quantum physics, despite being hard to grasp, is widely used in many applications. For example, a simple transistor relies on quantum theory, so you will find it being used in a wide array of electronic products. Lasers also make use of similar quantum technologies. This branch of physics is also deployed in certain aspects of cryptography these days, too.