Can an Oil Bath Solve the Mysteries of the Quantum World?

Interesting way of visually understanding the wave-particle duality, even if it isn’t perfect.


For the past eight years, two French researchers have been bouncing droplets around a vibrating oil bath and observing their unique behaviour. What sounds like a high-school experiment has in fact provided the first ever evidence that the strange features of the quantum world can be reproduced on a macroscopic scale.

Now, many researchers are asking if the oil-bath experiments can provide insights into quantum mechanics and more specifically why particles can behave as waves and waves can behave as particles.
In this month’s issue of Physics World, Jon Cartwright takes a closer look at some of the key experiments performed by the French pair but finds that not all quantum physicists are convinced that they will lead to a deeper understanding.
The French physicist Louis de Broglie was the first to describe wave-particle duality in 1926 but the phenomenon has since been very difficult to understand because no-one has…

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