Collaboration with MinutePhysics

Henry Reich, who runs the channel MinutePhysics, has been incredibly helpful to me as I've started up the channel. He's offered mentorship and advice when I needed it, he gave some meaningful encouragement early on, and he's just that rare combination of very talented and very kind.

So when my friend Evan Miyazono, a newly minted physics Ph.D. from CalTech, mentioned that he'd be willing to help me out if ever I wanted to cover something in quantum mechanics, I thought it could be a good opportunity to actually work with Henry in creating something together. Fast forward a few months (which involved one particularly fun weekend in Montana when Evan, Henry and I all got together with a few other physics folks), and we have two videos for you.

The one on my channel is meant to lay down some of the fundamental intuitions for the math behind quantum, without giving too much of a "look at how crazy quantum is!" vibe. At its heart, a large portion of quantum mechanics is about wave mechanics. While the field certainly has some strange components, some of the things that people often think of as weird (superposition, uncertainty principle, etc.) are ideas that come up very naturally in the context of waves. It's just that the meaning of these waves in the context of quantum gives these ideas some unusual physical manifestations.

The approach I decided on was to spend most of the video just talking about classical electromagnetic waves, giving a feel for the meaning of superposition and polarity in that context. Once that's laid down, it's more meaningful to talk about what actually becomes different in quantum mechanics. What I love is that the formulas for describing polarization barely change, it's just that the constraint that the energy of light comes in discrete little chunks gives a slight twist to the physical manifestation of this math.

The other video, which we put on MinutePhysics, is about Bell's theorem. This is a really clever experimental result, with very deep implications. The entire collaboration centered around this project, really, since it's a topic that Henry had wanted to do for a while, and one which I found thoroughly captivating when Evan first told me about it. I hope you enjoy!