Why does observation effect matter at a quantum level?

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by livingin360, Mar 31, 2011.

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  1. livingin360 Registered Senior Member

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  3. kurros Registered Senior Member

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    Well, the short answer is that you can't observe anything without interfering with it in some way. For instance to see an object, photons must be collided with that object and then enter your eyes, and these photons have some influence on the object you are observing. This is especially obvious if the thing you are trying to observe is very tiny:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heisenberg's_microscope

    The double slit experiment is more subtle though. It is really about the method that you choose to make your observations. Different observations affect the system differently and so produce different outcomes.

    All that said, at a fundamental level the question of what consititutes an observation and why the laws of quantum mechanical systems seem to have this odd discontinous change in behaviour when an 'observation' is made is very deep, and is an active area of research.
     
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  5. drumbeat Registered Senior Member

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    To be honest, I'm not sure if I have an opinion at all. I have only just started to look at things like this, and lets just say it makes the mind boggle a bit.

    From what I gather, it basically states that you cannot know the position and the speed at the same time. Once you know one, you cannot know the other.
     
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  7. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    I gave an example on a gross level in a different thread: look here.
     
  8. livingin360 Registered Senior Member

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    Last edited: Mar 31, 2011
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