You shouldn’t try to pigeonhole quantum physics
Subatomic particles violate a basic principle underlying the concept of numbers and counting
by Tom Siegfried
Just when you thought quantum physics couldn’t get any weirder, it violates the pigeonhole principle.
No, it’s not about a pigeon in a hole that is simultaneously alive and dead. The pigeonhole principle is a basic tenet of mathematics. It illustrates what the very idea of numbers is all about. And it’s easy to state: If you put three pigeons in two pigeonholes, at least two of the pigeons end up in the same hole.
How can anybody, even a quantum physicist, argue with that? All you have to do is be able to count. Guess again, say quantum physicist Yakir Aharonov and collaborators in a new paper about the pigeonhole principle. “It seems … to be an abstract and immutable truth, beyond any doubt,” they write. “Yet … for quantum particles the principle does not hold.”…
(read more: Science News)