Schrödinger’s Buses Spotted in Bristol

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Schrödinger’s Buses Spotted in Bristol

The English city of Bristol has strong ties to quantum mechanics as it produced Paul Dirac, who made pioneering contributions to the development of the theory. Now, it seems that the buses that operate in the city are behaving like quantum.

Passengers using a smartphone app that tracks the progress of buses in Bristol found that the presence of an approaching bus depends on the user clicking on it. When the user performs this “measurement” the bus will either stay live in the app or disappear. This is very similar to Schrödinger’s famous thought experiment Cat, which explains the paradox of quantum superposition and the role of measurement in quantum mechanics. Operator First Bus says the app does not show the actual location of the bus, but rather where the vehicle is expected to be according to the timetable. This obviously also applies to individual buses that have failed. When users tap on a particular bus, they see live updates of the service. When the bus is not running, it disappears from the app.

This article from Bristol Live is a great example of Schrödinger’s Bass Quantum Paradox.

illuminated flock

X-rays were discovered by Wilhelm Roentgen in his 1895. Roentgen quickly figured out how to use X-rays to examine optically opaque objects. Since then, increasingly sophisticated X-ray imaging methods have been used in medicine, science and technology.

Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder are now using X-ray computed tomography (CT) to study bee colonies. These swarms consist of thousands of worker bees following a queen bee, usually forming structures that hang from the branches of trees.

Physicist Orit Peleg and his colleagues used queen bees to guide worker bees into swarms in front of a small CT imaging system. They were able to decompose individual bees within the swarm, and the results showed that swarm structure was described by a scaling law, with each bee layer in the swarm carrying an equal proportion of its weight within the structure. . A bee can support up to 35 mates, but the team found that swarm bees need to lift other bees. This allows insects to easily form stable structures with thousands of individuals.

Peleg and his colleagues describe the study in Scientific Reports.


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