Scientists report independent studies in which they were able to track the position not of a single atom, but of a nanosphere containing billions of atoms, with a precision close to the Heisenberg limit (the minimum possible product of the uncertainties of the measured quantities).

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Okay, so I’m super confused by this: > The Heisenberg uncertainty principle…is often taught using a thought experiment for the case involving position and momentum: if the position of an atom is measured with light, the back-action of the scattered photons on the atom invariably disturbs the atom’s momentum. Isn’t what the second half of that describes called the observer effect, something different than the uncertainty principle? I thought the uncertainty principle was not just that we can’t as a practical matter determine the position and the momentum, because the measurement interferes, but that even as a theoretical matter, it does not have a set position and momentum prior to measurement except as a probability wave. Wikipedia puts it: “Historically, the uncertainty principle has been confused with a related effect in physics, called the observer effect, which notes that measurements of certain systems cannot be made without affecting the system, that is, without changing something in a system.” Is this experiment just about the observer effect?

kimya_d

Could someone please ELI5?

7imeout_

Good to know I know nothing about whatever this is doing or not doing somehow.

seriouslybeanbag

What does this potentially mean for real world applications?

Xmas_Squirrel