Wave Interference In Alice In Quantumland

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A large portion of the book Alice in Quantumland tries to help Alice make sense of wave interference. The Classical Mechanic leads Alice to a place referred to as the gedanken room, meaning the thinking room. In said room, anything that one thinks appears as substance, making it possible to perform quantum experiments. The Classical Mechanical then proceeds to explain interference by a simple definition to Alice. “Interference is something that happens with waves. You can have all kinds of waves in physical systems, but it will be simplest to consider water waves,” he states. (Gilmore, 33) All of a sudden, the ground of the gedanken room changes from solid to liquid by becoming water, and the Classical Mechanic thinks to create plane waves, …show more content…
This is what is called constructive interference. The Classical Mechanic then directed Alice’s attention to the area of the water where the water was practically undisturbed. In this case, the water from one gap created a rise in the water as Alice had previously observed. This time, however, the water from the second gap created a trough in the water’s surface. The Classical Mechanical explained to Alice that, in the case that one wave goes up above the surface of the water and one goes below it, there is no overall effect- they practically cancel each other out. This is referred to as destructive interference. The Mechanic summed up this experiment to Alice by saying, “When two waves overlap and combine with each other, their amplitudes, the amounts by which they go up or down, combine with one another. In some places the contributing waves are all going in the same direction, so the disturbances add up and you get a large effect. At other positions they go in different directions and cancel one another out.” (Gilmore, 36) With that said, Alice and her companion moved on to the next subject on her journey through

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