This entry is the result of a double visit during the month of September to the recent exhibition entitled: Quantum which was presented at the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB) between the months of April and September of this year.
Apart from the specific references to the materials on display and to the catalogue, the comments included are personal impressions that are the fruit of a certain knowledge of the quantum world acquired by the author through the dissemination works on this discipline and its applications that he reads regularly.
“I think I can safely say that no one understands quantum mechanics”
Dissemination is a daily activity of our society that means making available to the public any kind of fact, news, information … However, in matters of science, for me and many other practitioners of this activity, has a nuance of its own.
In this case we want the information that is transmitted to be understood, that is to say, that the receiver can explain it for himself once he has received it. In a certain way we want to educate the receiver on the subject of which he is informed and therefore the disseminator acquires a greater commitment to seek, select and shape what we want to transmit.
In search of this objective, divulging implies, first, attracting the interest of the receiver. Faced with an audience unwilling to understand, the disseminator leaves with a great disadvantage. Attracting the attention of the public is not easy, especially in the case of science, which almost always deals with complex subjects, which we could describe as obscure, rare, cryptic and illogical.
A common way to face this difficulty is to make use of analogies between the scientific phenomena to be disseminated with others of the daily reality to which we are all accustomed.
In the case we are dealing with here, which is to disseminate quantum physics, these analogies are very difficult to find. This is not an impossible task, but it requires a lot of ingenuity and ingenuity like those shown by José Ignacio Latorre in his writing in the catalogue of the “Quantum” exhibition when explaining the principle of quantum superposition.
To do so, he uses the doubts that sometimes assail him, on the way to work, about whether he has picked up his wallet and put it in the trunk of his car, as he routinely does every morning. Quantum mechanics treats these doubts (whether or not I kept the wallet) as two equally possible stories or options. In the words of José Ignacio himself, this information about the wallet is in superposition of two possible stories.
He also qualifies that it is not true that the wallet is and is not at the same time in the trunk but that the information we have about the wallet accepts the two possible options that must be taken into account at all times.