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Quantum mechanics

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Popular Science

Popular Science reporter Rahul Rao writes that researchers from MIT and Harvard have whipped up quantum tornadoes, “the latest demonstration of quantum mechanics—the strange code of laws that governs the universe at its finest, subatomic scales.”

Smithsonian Magazine

Researchers from MIT and Harvard have directly observed a quantum tornado, reports Elizabeth Gamillo for Smithsonian. “Scientists observed the tornado-like behavior after trapping and spinning a cloud of one million sodium atoms using lasers and electromagnets at 100 rotations per second,” writes Gamillo.

United Press International (UPI)

UPI reporter Brooks Hays writes that LIGO researchers have cooled a human-scale object to a near standstill. "One of the questions that we might be able to answer is: 'Why do large objects not naturally appear in quantum states?' There are various conjectures for why that might be; some say that gravity -- which acts strongly on larger objects -- might be responsible," explains Prof. Vivishek Sudhir. "We now have a system where some of these conjectures can be experimentally tested.”

Gizmodo

LIGO researchers have nearly frozen the motion of atoms across four mirrors used to detect ripples in space-time, reports Isaac Schultz for Gizmodo. “We could actually use the same capability of LIGO to do this other thing, which is to use LIGO to measure the random jiggling motion of these mirrors—use that information which we have about the motion—and apply a counteracting force, so that you know you would stop the atoms from moving,” says Prof. Vivishek Sudhir.

New Scientist

New Scientist reporter Leah Crane writes that a set of mirrors at LIGO have been cooled to near absolute zero, the largest objects to be brought to this frigid temperature. “The goal of this work is to help explain why we don’t generally see macroscopic objects in quantum states, which some physicists have suggested may be due to the effects of gravity,” writes Crane.

Popular Mechanics

MIT researchers have developed a new atomic clock that can keep time more precisely thanks to the use of entangled atoms, reports Leila Stein for Popular Mechanics. “If all atomic clocks worked the way this one does then their timing, over the entire age of the universe, would be less than 100 milliseconds off,” Stein writes.

Gizmodo

Gizmodo reporter Ryan Mandelbaum writes that by studying ancient quasars, MIT scientists have uncovered evidence supporting quantum entanglement, the concept that two particles can become linked despite their distance in space and time. “We’ve outsourced randomness to the furthest quarters of the universe, tens of billions of light years away,” says Prof. David Kaiser.

Motherboard

Writing for Motherboard, Daniel Oberhaus highlights how MIT researchers have used light emitted by quasars billions of years ago to confirm the existence of quantum entanglement. Oberhaus explains that the findings suggest entanglement occurs “because if it didn’t exist the universe would somehow have to have ‘known’ 7.8 billion years ago that these MIT scientists would perform these experiments in 2018.”

CBS News

MIT researchers have used starlight to test Einstein’s “spooky action” theory and have presented a strong demonstration of quantum entanglement, reports Calla Cofield for CBS News. Cofield explains that the researchers “measured about 100,000 pairs of entangled photons…and their results suggested that the particles were truly entangled.”

The Atlantic

The Atlantic’s Natalie Wolchover writes that MIT physicists have presented a demonstration of quantum entanglement, addressing a loophole in quantum theory. Prof. Andrew Friedman says his team will continue testing the loophole, explaining, “either we close the loophole more…or we see something that could point toward new physics.”

Popular Science

MIT researchers have engineered viruses that take advantage of quantum physics, mimicking the process of photosynthesis, to enhance energy transfer, reports Alexandra Ossola for Popular Science. The work could result in “solar panels that transmit energy with unprecedented efficiency,” writes Ossola. 

HuffPost

MIT physicists have cooled molecules to just above absolute zero, reports Macrina Cooper-White for The Huffington Post. “The team hopes to cool molecules to an even lower temperature, study the interactions between them, and learn more about the limits on their lifetime,” Cooper-White explains. 

Live Science

Jesse Emspak of Live Science writes that MIT researchers have successfully cooled molecules to just above absolute zero. The researchers found that when the molecules were cooled to 500 nanokelvins they “were quite stable, and tended not to react with other molecules around them.”

PBS

In a piece for PBS, Jennifer Ouellette writes about Professor John Bush’s work with quantum mechanics, in particular his replication of a quantum corral. “Time will tell whether the quantum-like behavior of the walking [droplets] is mere coincidence,” says Bush. 

Forbes

Bruce Dorminey writes for Forbes about how scientists are looking to close a quantum physics loophole. “We wanted to come up with a potential test that could close one of the last major remaining quantum physics loopholes that could still allow entangled particle experiments to be interpreted according to classical physics,” explains MIT postdoc Andrew Friedman.