Does the world we live in exist? Scientists say no – at least not until it’s measured anyway, and this would pertain to a small scale.

For Australian scientists, recreating experiments confirmed quantum physics’ predictions. The existence of reality is questionable.

If this sounds complex, not to worry. This experiment poses one simple question: Since some elementary particles act as a particle or a wave, then when is this classification decided? This question pushes us to understand how reality is established.

Most people assume that objects such as electrons or photons either wave-like or particle-like just because that’s the way it is. They think that measurements aren’t necessary to come to either conclusion.

Quantum theory disagrees and suggests that conclusions can only be made by measurements taken at the end of the object’s journey.

Andrew Truscott of the Australian National University said:

“Reality doesn’t exist unless you look at it, and measurements mean everything.”

The experiment in question is John Wheeler’s Delayed Choice experiment, first suggested in 1978. This experiment was ahead of its time, and not until 40 years later, utilized to its full potential. Using helium atoms scattered by laser light, scientists set out to measure the journey of objects in our reality.

Roman Khakimov, a Ph.D. student working on the experiment, said:

“Light is more like a wave, so we use atoms, which are more complex. Atoms have mass and interact with electric fields.”

Scientists placed a number of atoms in a suspended state, known as the Bose-Einstein condensate. After capture, all but one of the atoms were ejected. This atom was then placed within a pair of laser beams, to scatter the path of the object, creating a “grating” pattern.

The process is similar to how light is scattered when falling upon a grating. After the atom passed through the first grating, a second grating was dropped, intersecting the paths, which added destructive or constructive interference.

This result is an action pointed toward a wave, which can travel both paths. If the second grating is not added, the atom travels only one path, which points toward the particle. This suggests that the atom doesn’t know its nature until it passes through a second grating.

Truscott said:

These experiments prove that particle-like or wave-like existence is only possible when measured at the end of the journey. There is no travel from point A to point B. It’s not that simple.”

Using these theories, we are able to develop lasers, LEDs, and computer chips. This may sound strange, but it’s just a part of a quantum theory that governs the small world. Until now, these pure experiments weren’t possible. Now, these demonstrations show us that these ideas work.

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Jan Panhuis

    “This experiment was ahead of its time”

    We’re always ahead of our time, otherwise, you’re not getting older

    The cosmos has always been there

  2. Brian Noble

    Quantum mechanics does not dictate that the universe would exist without a conscious observer. The problem is, there are always conscious observers. Even if humanity disappeared there would still be conscious observers. However, that does not alter the fact that the universe is an artefact of consciousness – meaning that there is a lot more to reality than meets the eye. See THE THIRD EXPLANATION Amazon, for all the answers!

  3. Tyler Dirden

    Quantum mechanics defies our intuitive senses. But despite this experiment after experiment has confirmed the same results the only debate is what it means and what’s the mechanism behind it. Decoherence is from something outside the chain that leads to the observer. Not necessarily conscious as but to claim “OTHER” particles can make this collapse take place is to ignore what quantum mechanics reveals. Other particles don’t exist outside of measurement and if any can tell me how to measure outside of Consciousness and have that measurement known I have only one more question, God, how did you do it?

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