Nova: Season 39, Episode 7

The Fabric of the Cosmos: Quantum Leap (16 Nov. 2011)

TV Episode  -   -  Documentary | Biography
8.7
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This program explains some of the weirdest aspects of quantum mechanics; uncertainty and entanglement. Despite the absurdity of these behaviors they have been confirmed time and again and ... See full summary »

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Title: The Fabric of the Cosmos: Quantum Leap (16 Nov 2011)

The Fabric of the Cosmos: Quantum Leap (16 Nov 2011) on IMDb 8.7/10

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Episode credited cast:
Allan Adams ...
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Christopher Mark Chan
Palaiseau John Clauser ...
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Frank Cuervo
Edward Farhi ...
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Peter Galison ...
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S. James Gates ...
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Brian Greene ...
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Husna Hasan
Walter Lewin ...
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Sean Martin
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This program explains some of the weirdest aspects of quantum mechanics; uncertainty and entanglement. Despite the absurdity of these behaviors they have been confirmed time and again and have never been refuted. Lastly the theory that suggests the possibility that teleportation and quantum computers may be possible are examined. Written by David Foss

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16 November 2011 (USA)  »

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"After you learn quantum mechanics, you're never really the same again"
25 December 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Imagine stepping into a standing MRI-type box in New York and being "teleported" to Paris. No plane or boat would be necessary.

Sounds pretty good, right? But you'd have to consider a couple of tricky caveats. First, the you in Paris would be a "reconstituted" version and the you in New York would be totally destroyed.

Would you still step into the box? This sticky dilemma is one of the practical implications of the quantum-mechanics theory explained relatively simply in this show.

This branch of physics, promoted by early 20th-century physicist Neils Bohr and called "incomplete" by Einstein, is said to underlie all of our modern technology. "If quantum mechanics went on strike, every machine that we have in the United States would stop working," says MIT physicist Max Tegmark.

Yet there's a lot about quantum mechanics that scientists still can't explain.

This program tries to elucidate one of the theory's underlying principals -- that of entanglement, which is when the properties of two particles interact though they may be separated by great distances. Measuring one particle affects its entangled partner through a force dubbed "spooky action." Einstein didn't believe in this, but experiments have shown that it is real.

Though teleportation sounds like something from an episode of Star Trek, experiments involving entanglement, now taking place on the Canary Islands, suggest it may one day be possible.

The program ends by addressing a big question at the heart of quantum theory: Given the properties that have been observed at the tiny level of protons and electrons, "Why do we (humans) seem to be stuck in a definite state?...Why does the weirdness of the quantum world seem to vanish as things increase in size?" Bohr couldn't answer these questions and today's scientists are still scratching their heads.

This isn't an easy program to grasp entirely but its subject is important enough that you may well wish to make the effort.


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