Physicists have observed atoms, electrons, and other minutiae transitioning between wave-like and particle-like states for decades.It’s an extremely difficult experiment to pull off, he says, because quantum objects are delicate, transitioning suddenly from their wavelike state to their particle-like one via interactions with their environment.
One of the most remarkable ideas in this theoretical framework is that the definite properties of objects that we associate with classical physics—position and speed, say—are selected from a menu of quantum possibilities in a process loosely analogous to natural selection in evolution: The properties that survive are in some sense the “fittest.” As in natural selection, the survivors are those that make the most copies of themselves.
Related Stories To detect it, the Dutch National Institute for Subatomic Physics developed a 17-inch glass ball, which physicist Paul de Jong calls an "insect eye." It contains 31 photomultiplier tubes that amplify the signals of electrons released by photons, helping scientists reconstruct the direction of the original particle that produced the light—illuminating not only neutrinos, but also black holes, supernova, and other mysteries of space.
The Peculiar Math That Could Underlie the Laws of Nature Cohl Furey, a mathematical physicist at the University of Cambridge, is finding links between the Standard Model of particle physics and the octonions, numbers whose multiplication rules are encoded in a triangular diagram called the Fano plane.