The Chaos

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“Detective Munshi, when will this butcher be caught?” asked the young journalist from behind.

“We are investigating, we hope there will be no more body on the streets,” he replied.

“We will take no more questions, thank you for coming,” Munshi’s partner Shunya ended the press conference abruptly.

“Well, things are getting of hand,” Shunya told Munshi with a wry smile.

“Of course things are out of hand. What do you expect? No ransom, no demand, no pattern-- people just disappearing from the streets and few days afterwards we are discovering the remnants from different places. Day laborer, teacher, physician, banker, people from all walks of life alike. This is not a typical women-are-all-bad type psycho, we also found 5 grown up males. No visible issues.” “11 bodies so far, that’s quite a body count, wouldn’t you say?” chuckled Shunya. “This is not a joke, you idiot. It is just a chaos,” vented Munshi. “Speaking of chaos, you reminded me of something else. Two days back I came across a guy from the university days. He is bit of a nerd, well, may be more than a bit. He used to poke his nose at thick books even standing in public buses,” Shunya said without paying little attention to the scolding of his partner, “and he told me this killing mystery can be solved by quantum chaos.” “What does this geek do for a living?” asked Munshi. “He is a college physics teacher,” replied Shunya with a sneer. “Enough of your joke, let’s get back to work,” Munshi said with an end-of-conversation tone.

40 days later.

“Detective Munshi, congratulations first of all!! How did you get this guy?” asked the same journalist. “Well,” Munshi replied with flashes of cameras striking his eye, “17 bodies piled up. We were going nowhere. Then I did something as my last effort. I called a physics teacher into the investigation team.” Silence fell over the room. “Yes, a physics teacher, Mr Garid, who is present here with us today. Let’s here the rest of story from him.” Suddenly everybody’s attention moved to the shabby man sitting at the corner of table. “There is a mathematical theory called Chaos theory,” Garid started, “It is like a butterfly in Brazil moving its wings, resulting a storm in Tokyo. It is called chaos because when we look at it at a large scale we can see no relationship between the events. This may result from an initial condition which gives rise to a chaos growing exponentially.”

Most of the journalists present there scratched their heads, some were trying to search the web for chaos theory. They were crime reporters, not science-writers. This did not elude the notice of Shunya. He gently took over from his friend, “What he is saying is that we looked at all the 17 murders at a time. Quantum theory deals with a single variable of math, which in this case although may sound inhuman, is like a single murder. When we are looking at 17 bodies, apparently with no patterns, no motives, we see nothing. This was a crime committed by a crazy person who has vast knowledge about how we, detectives work.” He then turned towards Garid again.

“In classical physics, we deal time evolving phenomenon in large scale with differential equations, which require initial conditions. But quantum physics deals with matrix, where there is little room for an exponentially growing chaos. Instead of looking at all 17 murders and trying to find a link between them, I looked at a single murder, going into every details that have been collected. I did not look for pattern. I tried to find what was there, like finding the property of a single electron zip zapping through a crystal, instead of trying to find how all the electrons interact among them,” he paused, taking a look at the silent room with everyone’s eye fixed on him.

“Well quantum physics can predict that with certain probability, but not absolutely, where and when a particle like an electron can be found. Even if the system is chaotic as it seems, quantum calculations still hold at micro scale. So what I did is that I fed all the data into my college’s quantum computer. It considered the killer’s all the movements, all seemingly chaotic acts and fed them into a simulation as variables. The latest algorithm was able to predict the possible location of next attack with a certain probability. But there was a trade-off. Quantum theory is based on an uncertainty of position and time. As we get closer to knowing the position of a particle, we get further away from knowing the time. Fortunately, in this case, once we knew the probable locations, the police placed their forces and now we got the butcher. This was a gamble, I accept as quantum physics has never been applied to criminal investigation procedure, but it worked”, Garid finished. The whole press room burst out in clapping.

“Well, Mr. Garid”, Munshi said after the press-conference, “You are a celebrity now, with a national prize coming.” With a gentle smile, Garid asked, “So what prompted you to ask for me in the first place?” “17 bodies piled up, my job was on the line, I took whatever effort I could take, even if that meant a gamble,” Munshi replied bluntly.

They bade goodbye, with Munshi contemplating how many persons he might have saved if he would have studied quantum mechanics seriously in his college days.

About the Author: 
I am an electrical engineering sophomore from Bangladesh. In leisure, I love to write, watch science-fiction movies and read novels.

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Quantum Theories

V is for ... Virtual particles

Quantum theory’s uncertainty principle says that since not even empty space can have zero energy, the universe is fizzing with particle-antiparticle pairs that pop in and out of existence. These “virtual” particles are the source of Hawking radiation.

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.

T is for ... Tunnelling

This happens when quantum objects “borrow” energy in order to bypass an obstacle such as a gap in an electrical circuit. It is possible thanks to the uncertainty principle, and enables quantum particles to do things other particles can’t.

A is for ... Atom

This is the basic building block of matter that creates the world of chemical elements – although it is made up of more fundamental particles.

Z is for ... Zero-point energy

Even at absolute zero, the lowest temperature possible, nothing has zero energy. In these conditions, particles and fields are in their lowest energy state, with an energy proportional to Planck’s constant.

R is for ... Radioactivity

The atoms of a radioactive substance break apart, emitting particles. It is impossible to predict when the next particle will be emitted as it happens at random. All we can do is give the probability that any particular atom will have decayed by a given time.

H is for ... Hawking Radiation

In 1975, Stephen Hawking showed that the principles of quantum mechanics would mean that a black hole emits a slow stream of particles and would eventually evaporate.

I is for ... Interferometer

Some of the strangest characteristics of quantum theory can be demonstrated by firing a photon into an interferometer: the device’s output is a pattern that can only be explained by the photon passing simultaneously through two widely-separated slits.

A is for ... Act of observation

Some people believe this changes everything in the quantum world, even bringing things into existence.

C is for ... Cryptography

People have been hiding information in messages for millennia, but the quantum world provides a whole new way to do it.

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

In 1801, Thomas Young proved light was a wave, and overthrew Newton’s idea that light was a “corpuscle”.

R is for ... Reality

Since the predictions of quantum theory have been right in every experiment ever done, many researchers think it is the best guide we have to the nature of reality. Unfortunately, that still leaves room for plenty of ideas about what reality really is!

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.

M is for ... Multiverse

Our most successful theories of cosmology suggest that our universe is one of many universes that bubble off from one another. It’s not clear whether it will ever be possible to detect these other universes.

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.

I is for ... Information

Many researchers working in quantum theory believe that information is the most fundamental building block of reality.

U is for ... Universe

To many researchers, the universe behaves like a gigantic quantum computer that is busy processing all the information it contains.

X is for ... X-ray

In 1923 Arthur Compton shone X-rays onto a block of graphite and found that they bounced off with their energy reduced exactly as would be expected if they were composed of particles colliding with electrons in the graphite. This was the first indication of radiation’s particle-like nature.

J is for ... Josephson Junction

This is a narrow constriction in a ring of superconductor. Current can only move around the ring because of quantum laws; the apparatus provides a neat way to investigate the properties of quantum mechanics.

C is for ... Computing

The rules of the quantum world mean that we can process information much faster than is possible using the computers we use now.

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.

T is for ... Teleportation

Quantum tricks allow a particle to be transported from one location to another without passing through the intervening space – or that’s how it appears. The reality is that the process is more like faxing, where the information held by one particle is written onto a distant particle.

Q is for ... Quantum biology

A new and growing field that explores whether many biological processes depend on uniquely quantum processes to work. Under particular scrutiny at the moment are photosynthesis, smell and the navigation of migratory birds.

L is for ... Light

We used to believe light was a wave, then we discovered it had the properties of a particle that we call a photon. Now we know it, like all elementary quantum objects, is both a wave and a particle!

B is for ... Bell's Theorem

In 1964, John Bell came up with a way of testing whether quantum theory was a true reflection of reality. In 1982, the results came in – and the world has never been the same since!

S is for ... Schrödinger Equation

This is the central equation of quantum theory, and describes how any quantum system will behave, and how its observable qualities are likely to manifest in an experiment.

Q is for ... Qubit

One quantum bit of information is known as a qubit (pronounced Q-bit). The ability of quantum particles to exist in many different states at once means a single quantum object can represent multiple qubits at once, opening up the possibility of extremely fast information processing.

O is for ... Objective reality

Niels Bohr, one of the founding fathers of quantum physics, said there is no such thing as objective reality. All we can talk about, he said, is the results of measurements we make.

P is for ... Planck's Constant

This is one of the universal constants of nature, and relates the energy of a single quantum of radiation to its frequency. It is central to quantum theory and appears in many important formulae, including the Schrödinger Equation.

F is for ... Free Will

Ideas at the heart of quantum theory, to do with randomness and the character of the molecules that make up the physical matter of our brains, lead some researchers to suggest humans can’t have free will.

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.

N is for ... Nonlocality

When two quantum particles are entangled, it can also be said they are “nonlocal”: their physical proximity does not affect the way their quantum states are linked.

G is for ... Gluon

These elementary particles hold together the quarks that lie at the heart of matter.

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.

W is for ... Wave-particle duality

It is possible to describe an atom, an electron, or a photon as either a wave or a particle. In reality, they are both: a wave and a particle.

E is for ... Entanglement

When two quantum objects interact, the information they contain becomes shared. This can result in a kind of link between them, where an action performed on one will affect the outcome of an action performed on the other. This “entanglement” applies even if the two particles are half a universe apart.

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.

K is for ... Kaon

These are particles that carry a quantum property called strangeness. Some fundamental particles have the property known as charm!

A is for ... Alice and Bob

In quantum experiments, these are the names traditionally given to the people transmitting and receiving information. In quantum cryptography, an eavesdropper called Eve tries to intercept the information.

G is for ... Gravity

Our best theory of gravity no longer belongs to Isaac Newton. It’s Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. There’s just one problem: it is incompatible with quantum theory. The effort to tie the two together provides the greatest challenge to physics in the 21st century.

S is for ... Schrödinger’s Cat

A hypothetical experiment in which a cat kept in a closed box can be alive and dead at the same time – as long as nobody lifts the lid to take a look.

P is for ... Probability

Quantum mechanics is a probabilistic theory: it does not give definite answers, but only the probability that an experiment will come up with a particular answer. This was the source of Einstein’s objection that God “does not play dice” with the universe.

R is for ... Randomness

Unpredictability lies at the heart of quantum mechanics. It bothered Einstein, but it also bothers the Dalai Lama.

H is for ... Hidden Variables

One school of thought says that the strangeness of quantum theory can be put down to a lack of information; if we could find the “hidden variables” the mysteries would all go away.

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.