Quantum Tentacles and Flying Saucers: A Rare Look at Quantum Mechanics in Action

In a world where seeing is believing, one of the chief disadvantages of quantum physics is that it’s largely invisible. The wonderfully bizarre rules that allow a vanishingly small particle to exist in two places simultaneously, for instance, usually apply at scales too small to be seen by the naked eye. But not always. Here, physicist Boaz Almog of Israeli’s Tel Aviv University gives audience members of the 5th Annual World Science Festival Gala Celebration a rare macroscopic view of the magical properties of quantum mechanics. Sharing the stage with fellow physicist Brian Greene, Almog conducts the first public demo in the U.S. of an ethereal phenomenon he calls quantum levitation, sending a thin, super-chilled wafer zipping around a circular track like a miniature flying saucer. He also freezes the wafer in mid-air, as though trapped in a vat of invisible glue. How? Watch as Greene explains.

This program is part of The Big Idea Series, made possible with support from the John Templeton Foundation.

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