Particle seen in two different places simultaneously

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In summary, the movie What the bleep do we know? says that it is possible to see a particle simultaneously in two different places. However, this is not actually possible.
  • #1
We were watching a video last year called 'What the bleep do we know?' and they said that there had been an experiment where a particle had been seen simultaneously in two separate places. Is that possible and if so, how?
 
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  • #2
No, that is wrong. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.

And btw, that movie is a load of crap.
 
  • #3
resurgance2001 said:
We were watching a video last year called 'What the bleep do we know?' and they said that there had been an experiment where a particle had been seen simultaneously in two separate places. Is that possible and if so, how?

According to how you see QM, you can conceive that the particle *is* in two separate places at once. However, you will never be able to *see* it in two different places at once.
 
  • #4
vanesch:"According to how you see QM, you can conceive that the particle *is* in two separate places at once. However, you will never be able to *see* it in two different places at once."

Mathematically wave function is single valued function of its arguments.
 
  • #5
Anonym said:
vanesch:"According to how you see QM, you can conceive that the particle *is* in two separate places at once. However, you will never be able to *see* it in two different places at once."

Mathematically wave function is single valued function of its arguments.

And mathematically, the wave function's target space is not spacetime. So this is irrelevant.
 
  • #8
New Scientist is the Weekly World News of the science community. Even if the article is an actual science story, they probably word it completely incorrectly.
 
  • #9
Thanks for the responces. I enjoyed the movie but it is hard on a film like that to discern what is genuine science from what is psuedo science, especiallly when many (but not all) of the presenters appear to be genuine respectable physicists
 
  • #10
resurgance2001 said:
Thanks for the responces. I enjoyed the movie but it is hard on a film like that to discern what is genuine science from what is psuedo science, especiallly when many (but not all) of the presenters appear to be genuine respectable physicists

I saw the movie too. Yes, that is why that movie is considered to be "bad"... it mixes fact and fiction and does have a few respected folks in it as well.

Example of pure BS in the movie: the idea that a person can arrange the pattern of molecules in a container of water with their mind. 'Nuff said.
 
  • #12
Maybe we will not "see a particle being in two places at the same time", but enough experiments have been carried out to infer that, in between 2 looks, a particle is certainly in "different places", "different states", "in a superposition of places or states", or whatever you want to call it.
The quantum zeno effect ("the pot that never boils") is a good example.

However in principle it would seem that we should never be able to actually see a particle in 2 places at the same time, since by definition in QM, the very act of "seeing" (or our interacting with the particle) is what destroys its simultaneity.

Probably these experiments refer still to "infering" (maybe in a much more evident or doubtless way that we have done so far, but still infering anyway), rather than actually "seing".
 
  • #13
I don't remember exactly, in the movie they talked about bose-einstein condensate.

Where in a supercooled rubidium gas, you have one atom appearing in 5000 places at the same time.

Could be wrong, haven't seen it in long time.
 
  • #14
I don't remember exactly, in the movie they talked about bose-einstein condensate.

Where in a supercooled rubidium gas, you have one atom appearing in 5000 places at the same time.

In a bec, all particles are in the same state (well, all the condensate particles), and as such the states are indistinguishable. However they never measure the position, only the momentum, which since it is the lowest momentum state (zero momentum), the position is highly delocalised. One never measures properties of particles though (i.e. individual particles), only states.
 

1. What is the phenomenon of a particle being in two places at once?

The phenomenon of a particle being in two places at once is called superposition. It occurs when a particle is in a state of quantum uncertainty, meaning it exists in multiple states or locations simultaneously.

2. How is it possible for a particle to be in two places at once?

According to the principles of quantum mechanics, particles can exist in multiple states or locations until they are observed or measured. This is known as the uncertainty principle and is a fundamental aspect of quantum physics.

3. What are the implications of a particle being in two places at once?

The implications of a particle being in two places at once are still being explored by scientists. Some theories suggest that this phenomenon could have applications in quantum computing and communication, while others propose it may help us better understand the nature of reality and the interconnectedness of particles.

4. Has this phenomenon been observed in real-life experiments?

Yes, the phenomenon of a particle being in two places at once has been observed in numerous experiments, including the famous double-slit experiment. In this experiment, a single particle was shown to behave like a wave, exhibiting superposition and interference patterns.

5. How does superposition relate to the concept of entanglement?

Superposition and entanglement are both fundamental principles of quantum mechanics. While superposition describes a particle existing in multiple states or locations, entanglement refers to the connection between two or more particles that remain connected regardless of the distance between them. Superposition and entanglement are closely related and have important implications for quantum computing and communication.

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