Quantum pendulum trick explained

Quantum pendulum trick explained

Immersed in a special ultracold liquid, swinging is faster

By Alexandra Witze, 12:21 PM January 28, 2011

Physicists have explained yet another quirk of the quantum world: why, if you swing a pendulum through a quantum fluid, it speeds up rather than slowing down. Tiny “quasiparticles” ricocheting around in the fluid are to blame, Finnish researchers report in an upcoming issue of Physical Review Letters.

The effect is the opposite of that experienced in the ordinary world. Immerse the pendulum of a grandfather clock in water, for instance, and it will slow down.

It takes a special kind of flu...

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