The Quantum World

In the early 1900s, puzzles related to the nature of light gave birth to one of the greatest revolutions in describing the physical world – the quantum revolution. Brilliant minds came together in crafting wild ideas and in heated debate, and a completely new outlook emerged. Light comes in little quanta – photons. Matter, at the microscopic level, can act as a wave or a particle, depending on how you look at it. And the act of observing is key. Until you look, an electron can “be” in a “superposition” of here, and there, and there, and there, until you “look” (or your microscopic instrument measures) – and then, you “see” it only in one place.

But what does it even mean to “be”? Even today, we don’t know for sure. However, quantum theory has explained many a puzzle. On the nature of light and on the structure of atoms. On why some elements are reactive and others are inert, why some bond with each other and some don’t, why some conduct and some insulate. And in cold, cold realms, the quantum physics of billions of billions of atoms in concert gives rise to strange states of matter, like superconductors, upon which magnets can levitate. Hidden, strange, and microscopic perhaps, but the quantum world forms the building blocks of who we are and of many a modern day gadget we create, some even capable of imaging the brain.

Please click on the images below to explore each exhibit.

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Exhibit: Pop in quantum
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Exhibit: Quantum cats
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Exhibit: Quantum landscapes