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April 30 2013

Quantum effects get a weirdness scale


SCHRÖDINGER'S cat, both dead and alive at once, was always meant to be a thought experiment, but will ordinary objects or your favourite feline ever enter the quantum world? No one knows, but now there is a way to measure how close physicists are to realising the thought experiment.

The laws of quantum mechanics should apply to everything, from the tiniest particle to the entire universe. However, their effects are usually too small to see on everyday scales. Physicists are continually testing quantum effects at increasing scales, to probe the divide between the classical and quantum realms. But without a ranking system it wasn't clear how far they had got.

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