Quantum physics is a branch of science that deals with discrete, indivisible units of energy called quanta as described by the Quantum Theory. There are five main ideas represented in Quantum Theory:
1. Energy is not continuous, but comes in small but discrete units. 1
2. The elementary particles behave both like particles and like waves. 2
3. The movement of these particles is inherently random. 3
4. It is physically impossible to know both the position and the momentum of a particle at the same time. The more precisely one is known, the less precise the measurement of the other is.4
5. The atomic world is nothing like the world we live in. 5
While at a glance this may seem like just another strange theory, it contains many clues as to the fundamental nature of the universe and is more important then even relativity in the grand scheme of things (if any one thing at that level could be said to be more important then anything else). Furthermore, it describes the nature of the universe as being much different then the world we see. As Niels Bohr said, "Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it." 6
Particle/wave duality is perhaps the easiest way to get aquatinted with quantum theory because it shows, in a few simple experiments, how different the atomic world is from our world.
First let's set up a generic situation to avoid repetition. In the center of the experiment is a wall with two slits in it. To the right we have a detector. What exactly the detector is varies from experiment to experiment, but it's purpose stays the same: detect how many of whatever we are sending through the experiment reaches each point. To the left of the wall we have the originating point of whatever it is we are going to send through the experiment. That's the experiment: send something through two slits and see what happens. For simplicity, assume that nothing bounces off of the walls... [continues]
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