Why bouncing droplets are a pretty good model of quantum mechanics – seminar

Today Robert Brady and I will be giving a seminar in Cambridge where we will explain Yves Couder’s beautiful bouncing droplet experiments. Droplets bouncing on a vibrating fluid bath show many of the weird phenomena of quantum mechanics including tunneling, diffraction and quantized orbits.

We published a paper on this in January and blogged it at the time, but now we have more complete results. The two-dimensional model of electromagnetism that we see in bouncing droplets goes over to three dimensions too, giving us a better model of transverse sound in superfluids and a better explanation of the Bell test results. Here are the slides.

The talk will be at 4pm in the Centre for Mathematical Sciences.

1 thought on “Why bouncing droplets are a pretty good model of quantum mechanics – seminar

  1. Here’s a recording of the talk; it starts off with the Couder video and the lecture proper starts 4m 22s in.

    After presenting the work in our paper, Robert pointed out that when a longitudonal wave propagates into a region of shear flow, it acquires a transverse component. This provides not just a simpler explanation for transverse sound in superfluid helium, but a new explanation for the Bell test results; you don’t need to assume special faster-than-light mechanisms or multiple universes, merely that photons are like polarised waves in a fluid. We learned from the audience that this transverse wave phenomenon is well known to people who study jet engines or magnetohydrodynamics. Perhaps if more engineers would pay attention to the foundations of quantum mechanics, physics would make faster progress.

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