The Bob Particle

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The last particle was the first. His name was Bob. Bob flitted through the universe for what seemed forever to him. It was lonely and Bob almost worried he was the only one ever until he saw someone in the distance approaching him. Bob looked closely, excited, and realized that the other particle was him, except he was traveling backwards.
It was mostly empty space Bob experienced, but there was one flash of light Bob remembers vividly. It started when Bob became stuck to another particle which, and this Bob found funny, happened to be him. This happened again and again until Bob and himselves formed things. Bob became intimately close with these things. How could Bob not? Bob made them and they were Bob. They, however, had no idea Bob, and themselves by extension, existed, and this made Bob comfortable because some of these things were incredibly destructive, like one mass, Bob remembers, that sailed into a larger mass, forcibly fusing with it in an act that Bob felt was unnatural.
Once, Bob found himself as part of a thing that was a part of a larger thing. The smaller things interacted with each other saying things like hello and good bye, terms completely foreign to Bob. Most of the time, Bob knew, hello was preferable to good bye because good bye meant separation. Bob could relate only in that most of what he’d experienced until that point was loneliness. Suddenly, the fusing of objects didn’t seem so unnatural and Bob discovered a new pleasure in being a part of these things.
Bob’s most memorable thing was a dog named Darmok who lived between a pillar and a slope under a bridge with his owner. Darmok ate trash twice a day from behind a supermarket or from an alley behind a dumpster. They slept beside each other for years. His owner died by the pillar clutching him, sweating even though it was cold out. Darmok wiggled away when the grip loosened, ate, came back to his dead owner, left, ate, came back and slept. This continued after the body was removed even though Darmok had no need for the space.
Bob realized Darmok was trying to maintain the hello aspect of his relationship with his owner, then Bob realized he, too, in the flash of light in which he experienced all of this, was trying to avoid the good byes required between himself and his other selves.
In time Bob left Darmok, he left the pillar, the slope, the freeway, the trees, fire hydrants, and passersby who tossed Darmok change thinking it was a very shaggy old man. Bob left all things on that circling mass, and he left that which it circled, and that which it circled. He saw fewer and fewer particles, fewer Bobs passing by, and fewer instances of happiness. The last one he saw was going backward. Bob thought Darmok would have been better off not trying to maintain the hello because he would have been much happier accepting the good bye. Bob realized he’d be much happier, or less lonely, if he hadn’t learned hello. Hello, he figured, was just as bad as good bye, and he stopped being lonely.

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Quantum Theories

D is for ... Dice

Albert Einstein decided quantum theory couldn’t be right because its reliance on probability means everything is a result of chance. “God doesn’t play dice with the world,” he said.

Q is for ... Qubit

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R is for ... Radioactivity

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L is for ... Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

At CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, this machine is smashing apart particles in order to discover their constituent parts and the quantum laws that govern their behaviour.

U is for ... Universe

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S is for ... Superposition

Quantum objects can exist in two or more states at once: an electron in superposition, for example, can simultaneously move clockwise and anticlockwise around a ring-shaped conductor.

E is for ... Entanglement

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T is for ... Tunnelling

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Y is for ... Young's Double Slit Experiment

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H is for ... Hawking Radiation

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C is for ... Computing

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R is for ... Reality

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A is for ... Alice and Bob

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S is for ... Schrödinger Equation

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P is for ... Planck's Constant

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R is for ... Randomness

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G is for ... Gluon

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H is for ... Hidden Variables

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W is for ... Wavefunction

The mathematics of quantum theory associates each quantum object with a wavefunction that appears in the Schrödinger equation and gives the probability of finding it in any given state.

U is for ... Uncertainty Principle

One of the most famous ideas in science, this declares that it is impossible to know all the physical attributes of a quantum particle or system simultaneously.

Q is for ... Quantum biology

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S is for ... Schrödinger’s Cat

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O is for ... Objective reality

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N is for ... Nonlocality

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A is for ... Atom

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B is for ... Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC)

At extremely low temperatures, quantum rules mean that atoms can come together and behave as if they are one giant super-atom.

D is for ... Decoherence

Unless it is carefully isolated, a quantum system will “leak” information into its surroundings. This can destroy delicate states such as superposition and entanglement.

V is for ... Virtual particles

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K is for ... Kaon

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W is for ... Wave-particle duality

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G is for ... Gravity

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Z is for ... Zero-point energy

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M is for ... Multiverse

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L is for ... Light

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C is for ... Cryptography

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J is for ... Josephson Junction

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P is for ... Probability

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B is for ... Bell's Theorem

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X is for ... X-ray

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M is for ... Many Worlds Theory

Some researchers think the best way to explain the strange characteristics of the quantum world is to allow that each quantum event creates a new universe.

I is for ... Interferometer

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T is for ... Teleportation

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A is for ... Act of observation

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F is for ... Free Will

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I is for ... Information

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