# B Is this a good way of "dumbing down" superposition?

#### Bianca Meske

Summary
I have a project in which I need to "dumb down" a complicated scientific concept and I chose to do so with superposition. That said, somebody should probably read this script to be sure nothing's "wrong" because the chances of that are very high,(and every time I say "this" or "here" it will be accompanied by a visual I don't have yet but I can imagine what I'm talking about it self explanatory...)
Let go of what you know about reality, okay? Okay. Now pay attention. Say the world is divided into two realms. There’s our realm, which is where particles act like particles and all questions we can ask about that particle have a definite answer. But don’t get too comfortable, because there’s another realm that’s not as easy to understand. Its the microscopic realm, and when the particles are in that realm they don’t interact with the environment around them. In this realm, particles act, well different, but we’ll get to that in a second. Now the bridge between the two realms is any form of observation. So when scientists try to observe the microscopic realm, the particle jumps back into our realm and we can only see it as a particle. It’s sort of like the microscopic realm is the secret particle club that people can’t get into.

Now I know what you’re thinking. If we can’t get into the realm, how do we know what the particles are up to when we aren’t looking? Well Thomas Young’s double slit experiment revealed that they act like waves. Yes, you heard me correctly. When we aren’t watching, particles act like waves. Scientists sill aren’t sure about the why behind the coexistence of wave-particle behavior but we don’t need to know that to know it exists.

Erwin Schrodinger created his equation to show this wave-like behavior. Schrodinger’s equation represents what the particle is most likely doing when we aren’t watching. It looks complicated, so I’m just going to tell you we can use the equation to find a wave function that looks something like this.

So just to recap, particles act like this in our realm and this in the microscopic realm, which, again, human’s aren’t allowed into.

Now to find the location of the particle in the microscopic realm, we just square that wave function to find a probability distribution. This tells us we are more likely to find the particle here than here when we observe it, because remember, when we observe them, particles can only act like particles and therefore have to have a single location.

But wait. The particle is likely to be in more than one location. In fact, it’s possible that the particle is in all locations within this wave function until it is measured, and if you measured a lot of particles with identical wave functions, they would all appear in different locations, with more where the probability distribution is high and less where it’s close to zero. Before any of the particles are measured, however, they’re in several positions at once. In other words, the particle is superposed, meaning it’s in several states at once.

We can narrow down a particle’s possible positions by adding wave functions with different momentums, but as the particle’s position becomes more concrete, the momentum grows more uncertain, and we can never know the two with certainty. A particle with a concrete position will have a superposed momentum, and a concrete momentum will result in a superposed position.

(I'm still working on an ending but this is what I've got...)

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#### PeroK

Homework Helper
Gold Member
2018 Award
Well it's certainly dumbed down. Most of it is inaccurate or phrased in such a way as to be scientifically meaningless.

This, for example, is better:

Although it's still fundamentally imprecise.

#### DarMM

Gold Member
To give a "neutral" account of superposition, it's simply a form of statistics.

Probabilities for events combine differently in Quantum Mechanics than they do normally. Looking at the double slit experiment you can have a point on the screen that is have some chance to be struck if you leave either slit $A$ open or slit $B$ open on their own, however with both slits open it is never struck. Which is quite odd because you'd think if it can be hit when one is open, then it can be hit when both are open. So probabilities don't combine as you think.

It's a difficult to say more at the B-level.

"Is this a good way of "dumbing down" superposition?"

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