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Quantum Objects

When things get small, things get weird.

The principles of quantum mechanics came from investigating microscopic phenomena; the bizarre behavior of quantum objects like atoms and elementary particles that often appear to contradict classical mechanics and probability.

In this course you'll explore experiments of quantum objects and use them to construct new equations of motion, new laws of physics, and a new system of measurement based not on numbers, but on algebras. By the end, you’ll gain a new appreciation for how the physics of the small enables lasers, transistors and other modern technologies that define our world. Then you'll be ready to dive into the ongoing revolution of quantum information and computing.



Concepts and

  1. 1

    Spin Class

    Get to know the rules of quantum objects by exploring the strange behavior of spinning particles.

    1. Why Quantum?

      Tiny objects don't just bounce off walls, and even after you sort them they still end up mixed up.

    2. Classical Expectations

      With a couple magnets and a source of neutrons, you can observe the most quantum property of all: spin.

    3. Quantum Surprises

      The Stern-Gerlach experiment reveals that subatomic particles are spinning like tops — or are they?

    4. Observables

      Observing a quantum object isn't gentle: sometimes change is inevitable.

  2. 2

    Mathematical Foundations

    Build up the mathematical formalism for manipulating quantum states by playing with quantum spin.

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      Color Space

      The best way to learn vector spaces is through color spaces.

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      Bras and Kets

      All the information you'll ever need about a quantum object is contained in a ket.

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      Playing with Basis Sets

      There's more than one way to represent a quantum state.

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      Unavoidable Complexity

      You can simplify quantum calculations by using vectors, but you can't avoid complex numbers.

  3. 3

    Quantum Mechanics

    A journey of discovery through the classical underpinnings of Quantum Mechanics, and where they fail.

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      The Photon Catastrophe

      Explore the quantum nature of light with some help from Einstein and Compton.

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      Particles and Waves

      Maxwell's wave equations are flexible — they can describe light as a wave or a collection of photons.

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      Wide Open Spaces

      Learn how to bridge the gap between bras and kets and continuous functions.

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      Squeezing Measurements

      There's a limit to how accurately you can measure a particle's position and momentum.