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Previous Programs

2016 Physics of the Observer
2016 Awardees

2015 The Physics of What Happens
2015 Awardees

2013 Physics of Information
2013 Awardees

2010 The Nature of Time
2010 Awardees

2008 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
2008 Awardees

2006 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
2006 Awardees

Dr. Keith C. Schwab
Cornell University


Miles Blencowe, Dartmouth College
Anton Zeilinger, University of Vienna
Markus Aspelmeyer, University of Vienna

Project Title

Production & Study of Macroscopic Mechanical Entanglements

Project Summary

The fundamental theory that describes the behavior of the microscopic world of atoms, electrons, and photons is called quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics has shown itself to be correct in laboratory experiments and tests, with no known exceptions. In spite of this, there are problems: quantum mechanics allows particles to exist in two places simultaneously (observations in laboratory experiments show this to be true.) If the small particles are allowed to behave in this strange way, and larger objects are made of these small particles, then why cannot large objects be in two places simultaneously? This behavior is far outside our normal experience of classical reality. We are pursuing experiments to do just this, to produce ever larger objects in two spatial locations at the same time. We are using the most advance tools science gives us to do this: nanofabrication, ultra-low temperature physics, and quantum computing electronic devices. We will either succeed to show quantum mechanics is true at bizarrely large length scales, or we will fail and possibly find new features to quantum mechanics, which are not yet known. Both possibilities would change our understanding of quantum mechanics and our view of the physical world.

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