Shooting humans through a giant double slit experiment

In summary, the conversation discusses the possibility of conducting a double slit experiment with human subjects instead of carbon blocks, as the aliens in the scenario have done. The experts agree that in theory, the experiment could work with humans, but from a practical standpoint, the issue of decoherence and the difficulty in preparing identical human subjects pose challenges. The conversation also touches on the concept of "observers" in quantum mechanics and the idea that nature does not care about consciousness. It is also mentioned that the experiment would not work with either carbon or human subjects due to the issue of coupling with the environment. The conversation ends with the idea that significant advances in cloning would be necessary to conduct the experiment with identical human subjects.
  • #1
tj8888
12
0
Lets say some aliens scaled up the two slit experiment to an enormous size. It is so large that shooting 100kg masses of carbon through the slits creates a diffraction pattern. The aliens then decide to replace the carbon with some captive humans and shoot them through the slits to see what happens. Do you believe the aliens would still see a diffraction pattern?
 
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  • #2
If the aliens can successfully get a diffraction experiment to work with 100kg blocks of carbon at room temperature, then they should be able to do it with humans too under the same conditions.

For it to work, they'd have to turn the lights off, and evacuate the chamber, so the human would have to be in some capsule so that he can still breathe. You'd hope he isn't emitting too much thermal radiation, but you'd have the same problem with the carbon block.
 
  • #3
No reason why it shouldn't work in principle.
However, from a practical point of view decoherence would -as far as we know- prevent you from performing the experiment with anything that big; a human would couple too strongly to the environment.

I guess it MIGHT be possible to repeat the double slit experiment with e.g. a small virus (it has been done with C60 which is a very big molecule). although EM coupling (essentially thermal radiation) is a big problem for something even of that size.
 
  • #4
Do you think it makes a difference to use humans, because humans are "observers" ? If it works for carbon, it works for humans. Nature doesn't care about our consciousness.
 
  • #5
You can't get any visible diffraction patterns with macroscopic bodies. If anything, you shouldn't go "really big", you should go really small and really slow. Distance between peaks and troughs in the diffraction pattern is inversely proportional to the mass, to the velocity, and to the distance between the slits.
 
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  • #6
daudaudaudau said:
Do you think it makes a difference to use humans, because humans are "observers" ? If it works for carbon, it works for humans. Nature doesn't care about our consciousness.

Quantum Mechanical textbooks are often very unclear on what defines an observer. But if you where to carry out a diffraction experiment using humans, then they would have to be prepared in a state where they cannot be considered to be observers. You could ask the same question you are pondering, by considering if it's possible to carry out diffraction questions using photon detectors. If you carried out the math I would assume you come to the conclusion that it's possible, but only when the detectors become incapable of detecting.
I think you could do this by considering the outcome of a traditional double slit experiment, but then adding a photon collision midway (the observation).
 
  • #7
Larger mass means shorter wavelength, so in the human diffraction experiment (if the humans are to be treated as "particles") the slits would have to be much narrower than the ones in an electron diffraction experiment. When you shoot a human through such a slit, what comes out on the other side won't be human. It will be radiation, consisting of many different species of particles. These particles will have a wide range of momenta, and some of them might decay to lighter particles on the way to the detector. This will make it very hard to find anything that looks like a diffraction pattern in the dectector results. But I suppose there will be a peak in the velocity distribution of each species of stable particles, so the detector results should at least contain such patterns, but they will be very difficult or impossible to see due to the "noise" from all the other particles.
 
  • #8
daudaudaudau said:
Do you think it makes a difference to use humans, because humans are "observers" ?
No difference at all.

daudaudaudau said:
If it works for carbon, it works for humans. Nature doesn't care about our consciousness.
It's not going to work for carbon either, for the same reason. (See my previous post).
 
  • #9
You would need some serious advances in cloning too, in order to prepare a suitable ensemble of identical humans. :smile:
 

Related to Shooting humans through a giant double slit experiment

1. How does a giant double slit experiment work?

A giant double slit experiment involves shooting particles or objects, in this case humans, through two narrow slits and observing their interference pattern on a screen placed behind the slits. This helps to demonstrate the wave-like nature of matter and the phenomenon of interference.

2. What is the purpose of shooting humans through a giant double slit experiment?

The purpose of this experiment is to demonstrate the wave-like nature of matter and the concept of interference. It also helps to understand the behavior of particles at a quantum level and can have implications for fields such as quantum mechanics and particle physics.

3. Can this experiment be dangerous for the humans involved?

No, this experiment poses no danger to the humans involved as the particles or objects being used are on a microscopic level and do not have any harmful effects on humans. Safety precautions are also taken to ensure the well-being of the participants.

4. What are the potential applications of this experiment?

This experiment has potential applications in fields such as quantum computing, particle physics, and understanding the behavior of matter at a quantum level. It can also have implications for technology and the development of new materials.

5. Are there any ethical concerns surrounding this experiment?

As with any experiment involving human subjects, ethical considerations must be taken into account. It is important to ensure the well-being and safety of the participants and obtain their informed consent. Additionally, proper protocols must be followed to ensure the accuracy and validity of the results.

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