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Quantum shape-shifting: neutrino oscillations

3 minutes

How the ‘identity agnostic’ neutrino exists in three states all at once

Most objects in the Universe maintain a single identity regardless of the context. Even at the subatomic level, electrons keep the very same mass and charge whether they’re floating freely through interstellar space or part of an atom on Earth. So how then is it that a neutrino can be found in one of three distinctly different ‘flavours’ depending on when and where it’s observed? This brief animation from MinutePhysics investigates how quantum superposition allows neutrinos to seemingly defy logic by oscillating between three different identities without ever committing to one.

Video by MinutePhysics

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Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.
But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.
But we can’t do it without you.

Support Aeon

Essay/
Physics
Going nowhere fast

After the success of the Standard Model, experiments have stopped answering to grand theories. Is particle physics in crisis?

Ben Allanach

Essay/
Space Exploration
What if ET is an AI?

After centuries searching for extraterrestrial life, we might find that first contact is not with organic creatures at all

Caleb Scharf