Hard Tweets Explained: Amplituhedron

This is a pretty rich trove of quantum physics references. Hang on.

Amplituhedron theory is a relatively new development in quantum physics. It is a way of computing various properties of the interactions of particles at the quantum level. You represent the things that might bump into each other using a geometric structure, and then measure its volume to find out what would happen. There is a very readable article about the theory here:

Wired: Scientists Discover a Jewel at the Heart of Quantum Physics

The shape of an amplituhedron is like a jewel, so if there was one in your shoe, it would probably hurt. That’s the first joke. Pretty obvious.

The key thing that amplituhedron theory changes are the notions of locality and unitarity. Locality is the notion that interactions happen between particles that are next to each other. This new theory seems to say that isn’t necessarily always the case.

So there is our second joke. It hurt, but it hurt the foot that was in the other shoe. That would be non-locality of particle interaction.

The other thing that amplituhedron theory changes is unitarity. In quantum physics, particles exist in what they call a “superposition” of states. It isn’t in one state or another. It’s probably in one and probably in the other. The cat in Schrodinger’s box is probably both alive and dead. The probability of each of these states has been assumed to add up to 1. But the amplituhedron changes that rule.

So that’s the third joke. It probably hurt. Maybe it didn’t.

Homework: Go read that Wired article, and then blather on to your friends about non-locality and see how long it takes them to get non-local to where you are standing. It probably won’t take long.


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