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A quantum leap

  1. Jan 15, 2004 #1
    "A quantum leap"

    when some one says theres been a "quantum leap" in technology, are they not acually saying there has been a really tiny leap?

    or am i not understanding the term "quantum" correctly.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 15, 2004 #2


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    The term quantum leap means a discontinous change, as opposed to a gradual change. Physics in the 19th century believed that energy changes were continuous. But the quantum revolution showed that they took discontinous jumps, the original quantum leaps. True, they are tiny, but they are leaps, not smooth changes, and that is the sense the phrase captures.
  4. Jan 16, 2004 #3
    ah i get it now.
  5. Jan 16, 2004 #4
    Hmm. I guess SelfAdjoint's explanation is as good as any. The way I heard it was that back in the 19th century there were a lot of problems with classical physics that nobody had been able to explain. Then within just a few short years you had a whole bunch of young scientists, Planck, Bohr, Einstein, Heisenburg, Pauli, etc. completely revolutionise the science of physics. I.e. a quantum leap is a profound leap forward in a very short time. In addition to it's more literal quantum mechanical definitions.
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