Researchers are harnessing the intricacies of quantum mechanics to develop powerful quantum sensors. These sensors could open up a wide range of applications.
A sleek, oval-like curvature outlined the laboratory, with a shiny, reflective rooftop giving off a metallic sheen. Giant panels of tinted glass enclosed the structure with a somewhat ominous feel. Viewing further, Jace could see a vast field of solar panels, providing energy for the complex experiments inside. Friendly and professional staff welcomed Jace’s family and guided them in, away from the jumble of reporters, cacophony, and vehicles. A long, narrow corridor stretched ahead with doors marked in red “Restricted” on the sides, accompanied by the soft hums of the Cryogenic Systems and other devices.
“In here, we have a fish,” the guide enthusiastically pointed towards a small tank of water, “or more so, a ‘Quantumfied’ fish. That’s right! A fish that scientists specifically modified to exhibit quantum properties, such as the observer effect.” He gestured toward Jace’s mom. “Ladies first! Wanna check this out?” She walked forward and leaned in, staring at the fish that was moving back and forth. “What do you notice?” the guide asked. Jace’s mom bent even closer, nose almost touching the water with her gaze closely following the fish. Magically, the fins undulated slower to a near-snail speed, like video footage in slow motion. She awed and moved back to tell the rest of this phenomenon. As soon as she turned away, the speed dialed up and the fins were back to a rapid flutter. “In terms of this fish-catching game,” the guide explained, “this is like a difficulty setting. The closer you are watching the fish, the slower it moves, making it easier to predict its location.” Jace’s dad raised his hand.
“But isn’t it impossible to predict the location regardless? Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle states one can’t precisely determine simultaneously the position and momentum, both of which are needed for that prediction.”
“And this is where the scientific breakthrough comes in,” replied the guide confidently, “To beat that principle, we need the 4th dimension of time. That is, we measure the current position along with the speed one moment prior both at the same time, and then calculate the quantum object’s current location.” He waved his right hand, and a bundle of screens gradually came down, each displaying the fish at a moment in time with some technical metrics. Turning towards Jace, he explained, “Nobody said this was going to be easy, but we’ve simplified it down to just some basic math. Would the youngster like to try first?” Jace curiously stepped forward. The guide pointed towards the top left monitor, “That shows the current position and the adjacent one shows the speed in the previous instance of time.”
“What if I just grab the fish out of the tank?”
“Ha-ha! Clever solution, but obviously that’s not the point. Also, we aren’t sure why, but a non-quantum object contacting a quantum object will severely disrupt the data collection process.”
Jace nodded and concentrated on the changing numbers. He quickly calculated the fish’s next location and entered that in the control panel in front of him. A flat hook to prevent damaging the fish was automatically deployed, and the fish bit onto it. “Congratulations!” the guide exclaimed with everyone’s clapping, “You get the hang of it!”
Jace’s family took turns and quickly moved up the difficulty. However, not a lot of time was allocated for each visit, and it was soon Jace’s last turn. He stood as far as possible to the tank, making the fish move very fast, and punched in the numbers. The hook deployed, but the fish moved right past it. Jace automatically double-checked his calculations and didn’t find any errors. “Perhaps I was standing too far away?” he asked the guide.
“Nope, you did everything right. It was just the limitation of the Time Manipulator. The ‘instance’ it grabbed wasn’t close enough to the current time, so I’m guessing the fish’s speed changed within that short time frame.”
“But that seems like such a low possibility!”
“Hmm…” the guide paused, then answered briefly, “perhaps you encountered an anomaly.” He quickly concluded, “Regardless, we’re constantly working on pushing the limits and scaling the Time Manipulator and Quantumfication System. We hope to someday ‘Quantumfy’ humans, rockets, and even planets along with accessing the time around them. And each and every one of you has the potential to be that groundbreaking scientist humanity needs.”