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Kangaroo.  Truck.  Explosion.
He sat up in bed, shaking his head vigorously.
Kangaroo.  The kangaroo appeared in a flash in his mind, big, a sharp movement across a rain-blurred windscreen.
Skip back a few milliseconds, and the truck blinked into existence out of the rain, huge, forbidding.  It was blocking the kangaroo.  The truck was huge, wet, moving with the momentum of twenty-two tonnes gross at one hundred kilometres per hour. The kangaroo had no option but to jump away from the truck, but that took it directly into the path of the tiny car. The bang was deafening, the glass exploded into his face.
He shook his head and shuddered his way out of bed.  It was a dream.  Dreams like that…. he sighed and rubbed a hand over his face.  Dreams like that, dreams that were clear and not nice and exploded into his mind even after he awoke, in his experience were dreams that were going to happen.
Images of planes exploded in fireballs above his head, repeated again and again, every time he saw a jet plane overhead.  The fireball ran back along the plane from start to finish.  The television one late night in Australia, attacking his mind, assailing his soul, as people woke to horror in another country.  He shuddered again and walked on cold feet to the kitchen, put on the jug.
He was a businessman, a mathematician as well.  Numbers crowded through his mind in orderly fashion, obedient soldiers marching to the beat of his disciplined mind.  Mistakes were rare.  Calculations were easy.  People were impressed with his command of the complex algorithms which ruled their worlds, unseen by them, patterning his every thought, ordering his world.  He stood above the Sudoku puzzle every morning, silently gazing at it for a minute or two, before picking up the pencil and filling in the numbers from left to right, each row completed in turn.  The first two times, he checked the result the next day.  After that, he didn’t bother.
Yet sometimes, a sudden intrusion would scatter the numbers in his world.  The numbers would disappear and images, movie-like, would push aside the neat algorithms. The images would connect to his mind like a virus in a computer system, and worm their way past all his defences, taking over his mind.  He was reduced to the role of an observer in his own mind.
A few days later, he would find the same images playing themselves out in front of him, on the television or in real life.  He would watch silently, controlling his breathing, in, out, in, out, because that was all he was controlling.  He was reduced to the role of an observer again, but this time he was watching a rerun of the images that had played out in his mind again and again in his dreams.  Sometimes the events were harmless.  Other times they were awful.
This one was the worst of all.  Kangaroo.  Truck. Explosion.
The next day his daughter arrived from the country and walked up to him smiling.  He hugged her, and said hello, then it struck him.  Kangaroo. Truck.  Explosion.
He was a businessman.  A man of science.  He would not allow his actions to be dictated by superstition.
He sat down to think, watching her.  She was clever, like him, and full of life.  She was loving the country life, but not looking forward to the long drive back that evening.  He walked out into his library and checked the weather forecast.  It was supposed to rain that evening.  He stared at the screen and switched it off.
It was not possible.  It was not logical.  It was not scientific.
He walked back into the house, looked at her and said, “Would you mind leaving your car here today?  Take mine.”
She hesitated and saw the look in his eyes, then nodded, “Okay.”  She was clever, like him.  He wondered if she knew.
She left and, decision made, he went back outside and used the phone in the library, “Scorpion Bull Bars?  I need a bull bar put on today, please.  I’ll pay extra.”
He expected an explosion from her when she arrived back that afternoon and saw her tiny hatchback with a bull bar on the front, but she looked at it, stared at him and said quietly, “I’ll call you when I get home.”
He sat down after she left and thought about her response.  She was clever, like him, but she had not been curious.  It was a puzzle.  She was the child who always asked, “Why?” She was the one who always asked him why people behaved in a certain manner.  She pulled his watches apart and opened up all the panels on the piano.
He ate his dinner and paced.  He picked up a Wilbur Smith book and decided after about 200 pages that Wilbur Smith was going senile.  He looked up something on the computer and paced the library.  He drank coffee, which he never did.
The future stretched its fingers out at him and he wanted desperately to believe he could somehow change it.  He saw his dream again and it played out before his face in the present.  Kangaroo.  Truck. Expl- the phone in the library rang and he nearly jumped out of his skin.
Her voice was quiet, “I hit the bloody roo.  You can go to sleep now.”
He felt the tension leave his body and closed his eyes.  Events; future and past, reality and dream.  They were connected somehow, in that marvellous creation that was his mind.  But there was no proof.  Nobody would believe him.  He was a businessman, a scientist.
He said, “Right.  Good,” and hung up the phone.
The next time he saw her, she hugged him tight and said, “Thank you.”
“What for?”
“For not being scientific.”
He gave her a wry smile, “Well, it was repeatable.”
“But not reproducible, not reportable,” she pointed out.
“Not really, no.”

About the Author: 
Sam Taylor is an Australian science fiction author who has written over 98 short stories, the novel Deadly Jewel, and contributed to the new 'Tales from the Perseus Arm' anthology which includes stories from John Gribbin, Rachael Kelly and Matthew Metzger. Sam has a Master's Degree in the sciences.

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Quantum Theories

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.

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.

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”.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

I is for ... Information

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

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.

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.

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.

U is for ... Universe

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

A is for ... Act of observation

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

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.

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.

K is for ... Kaon

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

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.

G is for ... Gluon

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

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

R is for ... Randomness

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

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.