Through Two Doors At Once: the experiment that changed our perception of reality
In the early 1800s, Thomas Young performed a homespun experiment with a sunbeam split into two, and challenged our understanding of the nature of light. He had done the first ever double-slit experiment. With the birth of quantum mechanics, starting in the early 1900s, this experiment — now done with individual photons, electrons, atoms, and even molecules — started challenging our ideas about the nature of reality itself. How can a single particle behave both like a particle and a wave? Does a particle, or indeed reality, exist before we look at it, or does looking create reality? Is there a boundary between the quantum and classical worlds, and if so can we find it? If there's no such place, then does the universe split into two each time a particle goes through the double-slit?In this talk, award-winning science journalist Anil Ananthaswamy will discuss how the story of the double-slit experiment is also the story of the mysteries and paradoxes of quantum mechanics. In the 1960s, Richard Feynman said that it contains the "central mystery" of the quantum world. Listen and be amazed at just how far physicists have pushed this experiment, and how it still continues to confound and challenge our intuitions about the nature of reality.
About this speaker
Anil Ananthaswamy is an award-winning journalist and former staff writer and deputy news editor for New Scientist magazine. He is currently a Knight Science Journalism research fellow at MIT. He organizes and teaches an annual science journalism workshop at the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bengaluru, India. He writes for regularly for New Scientist, Quanta, Scientific American, PNAS Front Matter and Nature. His first book, The Edge of Physics, was voted book of the year in 2010 by UK’s Physics World, and his second book, The Man Who Wasn’t There, was long-listed for the 2016 Pen/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award. His most recent book, Through Two Doors at Once was named one of Smithsonian's Favorite Books of 2018 and one of Forbes's 2018 Best Books About Astronomy, Physics and Mathematics.