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Condensing matters drastically at Imperial College

Martin Archer
Martin Archer (centre) tackles the fundamentals of quantum mechanics.

By James Dacey

Will the universe go on expanding forever? Why should we care about climate change? Can we make objects invisible?

These are Big questions with a capital B, which individually could occupy the mind of a scientist for an entire academic career. In fact I am sure they have.

But yesterday at Imperial College in London we asked a bunch of physicists to tackle questions of this size and stature and to answer them in 100 seconds or less – using nothing more than a white board and a few marker pens. It was a seriously tough challenge in the overlapping arts of brevity and clear communication.

The presentations were filmed as part of our 100 Second Science video series and they will be joining the existing batch of these “mini lectures”. The picture above shows the PhD student and radio DJ Martin Archer preparing for his moment in the spotlight during which he tackled several questions on the fundamentals of quantum mechanics.

One of the questions Martin addressed related to one of the seemingly paradoxical implications of quantum mechanics: “Is Schrödinger’s cat dead or alive?”. I won’t spoil Martin’s 100 Second Science video on this famous thought experiment, but let us know your thoughts on this question by visiting our Facebook page and taking part in our poll where we ask:

Is Schrödinger’s cat dead or alive?

It must be one or the other at any given time
It exists in a superposition of dead and alive
It could be dead and alive in separate universes
Another outcome is possible

We look forward to your responses. Look out for more in this series of films over the coming months.

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