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Quantum Mechanics for Everyone

By Erica W. Carlson

Department of Physics, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

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Does an observer determine reality? Can I use quantum mechanics to create my own reality? Quantum mechanics takes us into the wild and wacky world of the really small where particles are waves, waves are particles, and the physical intuition we have from our everyday life doesn't seem to work. If we lived in Quantumland, we could sit in three chairs at once and even speed without getting a ticket. Using everyday objects like a slinky, some dice, and soda pop cans, we'll uncover how quantum mechanics really works.


objects of chance



Erica W. Carlson Erica W. Carlson is Professor of Physics at Purdue University. Prof. Carlson holds a BS in physics from California Institute of Technology, and completed a PhD in Physics at UCLA in 2000. After pursuing postdoctoral work at Boston University, she joined the faculty at Purdue in 2003. Prof. Carlson's research is in theoretical condened matter physics, focusing on the electronic properties of novel materials. Just as solid, liquid, and gas are different phases of matter, electrons inside of materials have their own phases of matter and phase transitions. Prof. Carlson uses theoretical techniques from statistical mechanics and quantum mechanics to explore new electronic phases of matter.

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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Erica W. Carlson (2015), "Quantum Mechanics for Everyone," https://nanohub.org/resources/22400.

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West Lafayette Public Library, West Lafayette, IN