Defying Reality | Quantum Mechanics


Daniel Oh, Journalist

All matter in the universe is made of atoms. All atoms are made up of electrons, protons, and neutrons. However, protons and neutrons are made of subatomic particles called quarks, particles that truly can’t be broken down. Quarks do unnatural things that seem to defy the fundamental rules of life, like time, interaction, and more!


Quantum mechanics are spooky. Even Einstein thought so. Quantum entanglement states that if two quarks are separated in space, they still share properties that cause the two to interact with each other as if they are one. That’s like cutting an apple in half, taking a bite out of one of the halves, and watching a bite being taken out of the half you initially didn’t take a bite out of. This interaction happens no matter how far the quarks are separated in space. You could separate them by one foot, or by 20 billion lightyears, and they would still entangle with each other. Scientists still don’t know why this happens. 


Quantum superposition is another weird thing that quarks do. Superposition allows a single object to be in two or more places at once, which is a consequence of matter existing in both the form of a particle and a wave. Superposition is achieved with smaller particles like electrons. It’s like the blades of a fan spinning around, being everywhere at once. The difference is that the fan’s blades only appear to be everywhere at once, while the particles actually are


Here’s a question: if you were to flip a coin that was superpositioned to both heads or tails, what would it land on? Strangely enough, all particles exist in superposition until they are observed. When they are observed, the particles pick a spot to be in. Does this mean that the baseline of reality differs from perspective?


In general, the world at the quantum level breaks rules. The fact that something can exist in multiple states at once in true reality is tremendously fascinating. We’re used to knowing there is a true reality and there’s a definitive answer to an object’s state or position, but quantum mechanics breaks all of those rules. You may not appreciate it in your normal life, but quantum mechanics lays down the basis of life in the weirdest ways.