Schrödinger's Temperatures...

A new uncertainty principle holds that quantum objects can be at two temperatures at once, which is similar to the famous Schrödinger's cat thought experiment, in which a cat in a box with a radioactive element can be both alive and dead. Credit: Shutterstock

Topics: Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, Nanotechnology, Schrödinger's cat, Quantum Mechanics, Thermodynamics

The famous thought experiment known as Schrödinger's cat implies that a cat in a box can be both dead and alive at the same time — a bizarre phenomenon that is a consequence of quantum mechanics.

Now, physicists at the University of Exeter in England have found that a similar state of limbo may exist for temperatures: Objects can be two temperatures at the same time at the quantum level. This weird quantum paradox is the first completely new quantum uncertainty relation to be formulated in decades.

Heisenberg's other principle
In 1927, German physicist Werner Heisenberg postulated that the more precisely you measure a quantum particle's position, the less precisely you can know its momentum, and vice versa — a rule that would become the now-famous Heisenberg uncertainty principle. [Twisted Physics: 7 Mind-Blowing Findings]

The new quantum uncertainty, which states that the more precisely you know temperature, the less you can say about energy, and vice versa, has big implications for nanoscience, which studies incredibly tiny objects smaller than a nanometer. This principle will change how scientists measure the temperature of extremely small things such as quantum dots, small semiconductors or single cells, the researchers said in the new study, which was published in June in the journal Nature Communications.

"I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics." Richard Feynman

Bizarre Physics Phenomenon Suggests Objects Can Be Two Temperatures at Once

Meredith Fore, Live Science

E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of Blacksciencefictionsociety to add comments!

Join Blacksciencefictionsociety