Quantum Computing and Wave-Particle Duality

First, I salute those who got past the headline and are now reading this.

Sara has requested our comments on an article on how a Quantum computer gives results without running at Science News Online. I am not a physicist, but as I understand it, the author is playing semantic tricks on you, the reader.

Wave-Particle Duality is the quantum mechanical term for saying that any given particle (such as the photons mentioned in the article) is also a probability wave, which can travel in multiple directions at once until it is nailed down by an observer (in this case, the computer itself). This means that a single photon is both going through the computer and around it. While it will never appears to do both (the probability wave collapses on observation), it’s not exactly true to say that if the photon is observed to have gone around the computer, it didn’t also go through it as well.

Fun stuff. Later I’ll post why wave-particle duality will always have a special place in my heart.

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