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Question: Is it true that a photon can be at everywhere at one time?

Asked by 06chrste to James, Marcus, Martin, Rob, Suzanne on 16 Mar 2012.

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0Short link http://ias.im/67.1145 | Comment on this question

  • Photo: Martin Zaltz AustwickMartin Zaltz Austwick answered on 16 Mar 2012:

    Yes, in theory, Quantum physics allows matter and light to behave like a wave (so a particle can be everywhere at once) or a particle (so it’s in one particular place). But it can’t really be both at once – once you’ve observed a particle in a specific place it can’t be everywhere else as well!

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  • Photo: Marcus Gallagher-JonesMarcus Gallagher-Jones answered on 16 Mar 2012:

    I believe this one has something to do with someone putting a cat in a box?

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  • Photo: Robert ThompsonRobert Thompson answered on 16 Mar 2012:

    Well funny you should ask this, I’ve spent all day explaining to people how things can be in two places at once and how things can be in two states at once.

    http://www.thebigbangfair.co.uk/viewitem.cfm?cit_id=384673

    Some experiments show that when you measure it then previously it must have been in two places at exactly the same time.

    Its pretty cool and pretty mind blowing.

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  • Photo: Suzanne McEndooSuzanne McEndoo answered on 18 Mar 2012:

    Sure. There are a few ways that quantum mechanics lets something be everywhere (or at least several places) at once. One way is the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. It basically tells us that the more you know where something is, the less you know about how fast it’s going. Similarly, the more you know it’s speed, the less you know about where it is. So if we know pretty much exactly how fast the photon is going, it will be spread out completely.

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Comments

  • Photo: 06chrste06chrste commented on 18 Mar 2012:

    thanks for the response, can you answer my other question please?

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    • Photo: SuzanneSuzanne commented on 19 Mar 2012:

      Which is your other question? For some reason I can’t search questions by asker. :( Point us in the direction and we’ll give it a go.

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