NBIA Colloquium by John Bush (MIT) – Niels Bohr Institute - University of Copenhagen

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NBIA Colloquium by John Bush (MIT)

Speaker: John Bush (MIT)

Title: Droplets walking on the impossible pilot wave

 

Abstract: Yves Couder, Emmanuel Fort and coworkers have recently reported the results of a startling series of experiments in which droplets walking on a vibrating fluid surface exhibit several dynamical features previously thought to be peculiar to the microscopic realm, including single-particle diffraction and interference, tunneling and quantized orbits. In an attempt to rationalize this macroscopic quantum-like behaviour, we explore Madelung's hydrodynamic formulation of quantum mechanics. Doing so suggests a correspondence between this fluid system and de Broglie's pilot wave theory of quantum mechanics. Specifically, in the shallow water limit of the fluid system, one can infer hydrodynamic analogs of Planck's constant, the speed of light, the Compton and de Broglie wavelengths, and Heisenberg's uncertainty relation. New experiments are presented, and indicate the potential value of this hydrodynamic approach to both visualizing and understanding quantum mechanics.