Q for beginners

My recipe for a “first encounter” with quantum physics is: present phenomena. That is, let people contemplate what Nature does. Moreover, I can choose the phenomena that I think more fitting, without having to present black body radiation and photoelectric effect in homage to the founding fathers.

In my approach, the notions to be conveyed are:

  • “Superposition”: the corresponding phenomenon is single-particle interferences. This is a very traditional choice, usually illustrated through Young double-slit interferometry. I rather opt for Mach-Zehnder two-path interferometer.
  • “Entanglement”: introducing entanglement from the very start is a rather innovative choice, and a risky one. But I have plenty of reasons to stick to it (I’ll blog on some of them, sooner or later). I use two-particle interferences in path, as a sort of generalization of Mach-Zehnder, which avoids having to introduce the notions of polarization or spin.

This approach has been presented in my book “Quantum Physics: A First Encounter” (originally written in French and translated into German as well) and in a derived series of talks.

If you work in a school or educational institution and would like to hear one of these talks, just contact me. In Singapore, it’s very simple to arrange. And even if you are abroad, I have money for travels and colleagues to visit in many places… and anyway, there is Skype.

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  1. I always use this strategy facing people who ask me about quantum, showing them odd events in classical physics then let think about it and recently found a new explanation for entanglement i.e. two lovers are entangled… funny and useful !

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