Some of the strangest characteristics of quantum theory can be demonstrated by firing a photon into an interferometer
QUANTUM SHORTS 2015: SHORTLISTED, YOUTH CATEGORY
My near death experience wasn't anything like what they said it would be. There were bright lights and doors but not in the way you'd think.
“Patient #3487 has sustained critical injuries.”
Voices droned in and out, slowly fading out as the music increased. I could hear it clearly now, blocking out all other sounds. I realized I was in a show and slowly began walking into the crowd. People brushed past me and as I tried to focus on their faces, all I could see was a haze.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome once again to another round of Guess the Door! Today’s esteemed guest is Vincent Reese. Let’s have a huge round of applause for our participant. Please welcome him on stage!” The host announced.
It took me a while to realize he was talking about me. The blurry crowd pushed me forward, towards the stage where the whacky host stood. As I made my way up I realized I couldn’t see the audience from where I stood as the lights were directly in my eyes. Squinting hard, I directed my gaze towards the host, making confusion apparent on my face.
Sensing my confusion the host began to explain my ‘predicament’.
“You, my good friend have been given the opportunity of a lifetimeâ€¦ or something. Right now you are in a state between life and death or maybe you could say both dead and alive? I bet you’ve heard of Schrodinger’s cat have you? Well right now you are the cat and this whole place is your box. We’ll be playing a different version of ‘Schrodinger’s Cat’. In this game you’ll be making the observation yourself but there will still be that major element of chance.”
I searched for my voice and summoned it out to ask a question. “What is ‘The Schrodinger’s Cat’, if I may ask.”
I saw a glint of annoyance in the host’s eyes before he started explaining.
“Lo and Behold! We have another ignorant one today, one more round of applause. So sir, basically we’re gonna give you two doors. Behind one door will be the chance to live plus a gift and behind the other will be death. You can continue playing however long you want but once you get death, its game over for you.”
Finally grasping the situation, I turned to face the doors. Beside each door was a female attendant dressed in black. The doors were overall normal, just like the kind one would find at home.
Music began playing and the lights flickered wildly, in my mind I began branching out outcomes of both choices. If I opened the first door I would definitely be greeted by darkness which obviously symbolizes death. The second door however would contain a prize. I didn’t know how I could possibly know which door was which but it felt like I went through both possibilities simultaneously. Once again aware that it was time for me to make a decision I moved forward and opened the second door myself and surely enough there was a prize waiting for me. Moving back in triumph I turned to face the host once again.
“Congratulations Vincent, you just won the prize of life. If you stop the game right here you will be able to return to your old life and live it like you would have. However if you want additional prizes you can continue playing but may I remind you, once you get Death, it’s game over for you.” The host announced.
“I want to move on to the next round!” I told him. I was proud of my abilities to be able to discern between the two choices and found myself feeling quite smart to be able to perform such a feat. Lights flickered wildly and the music rose once again. I spread my consciousness once again and began branching out all the various outcomes. The prize is behind the second door. I pointed out the second door and surely enough there was a prize waiting for me.
The host glanced at me again and asked me, “Would you like to continue?”
The same sequence went on for a couple of rounds. By then, if I would have left, my life would have been a life of luxury, with cars, mansions, a wonderful family and all the things I ever wanted. By now most of my predictions were becoming slightly hazy but I convinced myself to move on to the next round. Lights flickered wildly and the music rose once again. I branched out the various outcomes once again but to my surprise I wasn’t able to discern between the two doors. I couldn’t see what lay behind them.
Noticing my panic-stricken face, the host started explaining once again.
“Ok Dude, I bet you’re wondering why you can’t see which door is which. That thing you were doing before with your consciousness and what not is actually known as superposition. The outcome was clear as long as you were between life and death but as rounds progressed you became more alive than dead and so your ‘powers’ deteriorated and now it’s purely a game of chance.”
I gulped once and turned to the doors. With trembling fingers, I pointed towards the first door. The assistant turned the knob to reveal what was behind the door. It’s just darkness.
“Well then participant Vincent Reese, you know what they say death is always final. It was nice playing with you, now good bye, bye, shoo!”
And then there was darkness.
“Patient #3487’s heart has stopped! 1, 2, 3 Clear!”
Meanwhile in Guess the Door’s studio, the host addresses the audience: “I already knew we had an ignorant one. And anyways, who says you always have to survive near-death experiences?”
The audience’s claps echo as the stage fades into darkness.