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Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

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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

Support Aeon

Ideas can change the world

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.

But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

Become a Friend for $5 a month or Make a one-off donation

Essay/History of Science
Against citizen science

It might style itself as a grassroots movement but citizen science is little more than a cheap land-grab by big business

Philip Mirowski

Essay/History of Science
Science is broken

Perverse incentives and the misuse of quantitative metrics have undermined the integrity of scientific research

Siddhartha Roy & Marc A Edwards