Tag: Quantum physics

Pilot Wave Theory: Classical Physics At The Quantum Level

Since the famed Solvay Conference of 1927, the accepted explanation of quantum physics has revolved around the Copenhagen interpretation, which states that quantum particles exist in probability states until they are measured.

But there is another interpretation of the experimental results. One that doesn’t rely on waveforms or probability states – Pilot Wave Theory.

The Most Accurate Clock Ever Made Runs On Quantum Gas

A completely new kind of atomic clock could change the way we calculate time.

Unlike an atomic clock, which uses independent atoms to measure one second, the new quantum gas squeezes atoms together to measure time more accurately than ever before.

Since 1967, one second has been defined as the time it takes for one caesium electron to oscillate exactly 9,192,631,770 times.

Standard atomic clocks use thousands of ticking caesium atoms, which behave and are measured largely independently.

The new clock packs atoms much closer together. In the new device, strontium atoms are huddled into a tiny three-dimensional cube at 1,000 times the density of previous one-dimensional clocks.

This is what is called a quantum gas, and the atoms in such a gas are much more in sync than otherwise, meaning the clock’s ticks stay pure and stable for an unusually long time.This is the key to achieving increasingly accurate time-measurement.




This is the key to achieving increasingly accurate time-measurement.

The most important potential of the 3D quantum gas clock is the ability to scale up the atom numbers, which will lead to a huge gain in stability,” says Jun Ye of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and co-author of the paper published in the journal Science.

The ability to scale up both the atom number and coherence time will make this new-generation clock qualitatively different from the previous generation.

The experimental data shows the new quantum gas clock achieved a precision of just 3.5 parts error in ten quintillion (the number one with 19 zeros after it) in about two hours.

This makes it the first atomic clock to ever reach that threshold, and 20 times more accurate than its predecessor.

This represents a significant improvement over any previous demonstrations,” Ye says.

While this is all fascinating from a scientific perspective, you might be wondering what the point is.

Why are we striving to reach incrementally better measurements of ‘one second’? Well, it turns out many threads of scientific research depend on the ability to know precisely how much time has passed.

General relativity

Time dilation is one of the effects described by Einstein in his theory of general relativity.Essentially, gravity affects how quickly someone experiences time passing. On Earth, we may not feel this because it is so small, but it is still there.

Essentially, gravity affects how quickly someone experiences time passing. On Earth, we may not feel this because it is so small, but it is still there.

Today’s clocks are so precise that you can actually use them to measure the tiny gravitational effects we experience here on Earth, Poli says.

Now, with the time accuracy we have today, for example, you can measure the difference of ticking rate between two clocks on Earth that are only separated one centimetre in height.”

This opens up a whole new set of possibilities of how to study the Earth itself.

There are groups trying to perform a new kind of geodesy, based on comparisons of optical frequency standards located at different places on Earth.” Geodesy is the principle of using maths to work out the shape of our own planet.

Quantum physics

Poli thinks more accurate clocks could be used to solve one of the biggest mysteries in the Universe so far; why general relativity and quantum mechanics don’t mix.

My view for the future is to implement future accurate clocks to explore gravity itself, in previously unexplored regimes,” Poli says.

I’m referring to the realisation of future quantum devices based on ultra-precise clocks to study the interplay between Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity. This is one of the least explored fields in physics today and any result along this line would be a groundbreaking result.

For those of us who don’t spend our days contemplating why quantum effects are incompatible with theories of gravity, more accurate clocks have more practical, albeit prosaic benefits.

Everything from GPS to mobile phone calls and electronic transactions need a precise time reference. Any development in technology in the past has led to a new application.

A further breakthrough would likely improve such services, or create new ones.

But what is the ultimate limit?

Theoreticians tell us that something will certainly happen at the Planck scale, which is extremely small,” says Poli.

The Planck time scale corresponds to the amount of time it would take light to travel the Planck length, which is 0.00000000000000000001 times the length of a proton.

In essence, it’s an uncomprehensively short amount of time, and we are nowhere near that level of accuracy yet. “It is at least 25 orders of magnitude away from where we are now,” Poli says.

On our way to achieving unprecedented accuracy, maybe we’ll stumble across something new.

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He’s Gambling Obsession Spurred Him To Invent Two Of The Most Important Theories In Math

Girolamo or Hieronimo Cardano‘s name was Hieronymus Cardanus in Latin and he is sometimes known by the English version of his name Jerome Cardan.

Girolamo Cardano was the illegitimate child of Fazio Cardano and Chiara Micheria. His father was a lawyer in Milan but his expertise in mathematics was such that he was consulted by Leonardo da Vinci on questions of geometry.

In addition to his law practice, Fazio lectured on geometry, both at the University of Pavia and, for a longer spell, at the Piatti foundation in Milan.

When he was in his fifties, Fazio met Chiara Micheria, who was a young widow in her thirties, struggling to raise three children.

Chiara became pregnant but, before she was due to give birth, the plague hit Milan and she was persuaded to leave the city for the relative safety of nearby Pavia to stay with wealthy friends of Fazio.

Thus Cardan was born in Pavia but his mother’s joy was short lived when she received news that her first three children had died of the plague in Milan.

Chiara lived apart from Fazio for many years but, later in life, they did marry.




Cardan at first became his father’s assistant but he was a sickly child and Fazio had to get help from two nephews when the work became too much for Cardan.

However, Cardan began to wish for greater things than an assistant to his father. Fazio had taught his son mathematics and Cardan began to think of an academic career.

After an argument, Fazio allowed Cardan to go university and he entered Pavia University, where his father had studied, to read medicine despite his father’s wish that he should study law.

When war broke out, the university was forced to close and Cardan moved to the University of Padua to complete his studies.

Shortly after this move, his father died but by this time Cardan was in the middle of a campaign to become rector of the university. He was a brilliant student but, outspoken and highly critical, Cardan was not well liked.

However, his campaign for rector was successful since he beat his rival by a single vote.

Cardan squandered the small bequest from his father and turned to gambling to boost his finances. Card games, dice and chess were the methods he used to make a living.

Cardan’s understanding of probability meant he had an advantage over his opponents and, in general, he won more than he lost. He had to keep dubious company for his gambling.

Once, when he thought he was being cheated at cards, Cardan, who always carried a knife, slashed the face of his opponent.

Gambling became an addiction that was to last many years and rob Cardan of valuable time, money and reputation.

Cardan was awarded his doctorate in medicine in 1525 and applied to join the College of Physicians in Milan, where his mother still lived.

The College did not wish to admit him for, despite the respect he had gained as an exceptional student, he had a reputation as a difficult man, whose unconventional, uncompromising opinions were aggressively put forward with little tact or thought for the consequences.

The discovery of Cardan’s illegitimate birth gave the College a reason to reject his application.

Cardan, on the advice of a friend, went to Sacco, a small village 15km from Padua. He set up a small, and not very successful, medical practice.

In late 1531 Cardan married Lucia, the daughter of a neighbour Aldobello Bandarini, a captain of the local militia.

ardan’s practice in Sacco did not provide enough income for him to support a wife so, in April 1532, he moved to Gallarate, near Milan.

He applied again to the College of Physicians in Milan but again was not allowed membership.

Unable to practise medicine, Cardan reverted, in 1533, to gambling to pay his way, but things went so badly that he was forced to pawn his wife’s jewellery and even some of his furniture.

Desperately seeking a change of fortune, the Cardans moved to Milan, but here they fared even worse and they had to ignominiously enter the poorhouse.

Cardan was fortunate to obtain Fazio’s former post of lecturer in mathematics at the Piatti Foundation in Milan which gave him plenty of free time and he used some of this to treat a few patients, despite not being a member of the College of Physicians.

Cardan achieved some near miraculous cures and his growing reputation as a doctor led to his being consulted by members of the College.

His grateful patients and their relatives became whole hearted supporters and in this way, Cardan was able to build up a base of influential backers.

Cardan was still furious at his continuing exclusion from the College and, in 1536, he rashly published a book attacking not only the College’s medical ability but their character.

This was not the way to gain entry to the College and not surprisingly Cardan’s application to join in 1537 was again rejected.

However, two years later, after much pressure from his admirers, the College modified the clause regarding legitimate birth and admitted Cardan.

In the same year, Cardan’s first two mathematical books were published, the second The Practice of Arithmetic and Simple Mensuration was a sign of greater things to come.

This was the beginning of Cardan’s prolific literary career writing on a diversity of topics medicine, philosophy, astronomy and theology in addition to mathematics.

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Pass it on: New Scientist