Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Explaining quantum coherence to a layman

  1. Apr 19, 2009 #1
    Hey folks. I'm giving a poster at a conference in a month or so and I'm supposed to explain my research (optimal control of quantum systems in dissipative environments) to people from many other disciplines (psychology, biology, etc). I'd like to hear any tips those on this board have on how to explain quantum coherence to people who may have never had more than high school physics, if that.

    There is always the pictorial representation of adding two waves constructively to get a larger amplitude or destructively to get a smaller one, but that's the best I can think of so far. As for wave packet rephasing, there is the analogy of people racing around a track at speeds that are integer multiples of one another and showing that at a certain time later they'll all be at the starting point together.

    Other ideas? Thanks in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 20, 2009 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Adding arrows in a large space ?
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook