Breaking barriers with quantum physics | Dr. Shohini Ghose | TEDxNickelCity

Translator: Queenie Lee
Reviewer: Rhonda Jacobs Has anyone here
used your quantum devices today? Anyone? Yes, a few of you. Here is one of my favorites,
my cell phone. It’s literally my entire world here, right there. But maybe some of you
have used your TV, or a laptop, or perhaps you have used
your iPad, camera. And maybe some of you are clumsy like me, and you’ve dropped
one of your fancy devices, and it broke. And then you had this powerful urge
to take it apart and look what’s inside. And then when you did that,
you saw there’s a bunch of electronics made up of billions and billions
of tiny transistors – the fundamental building blocks
of these devices. And in order to make
those transistors work, we need to figure out
the science of semiconductors. And to control semiconductors
and build a multi-billion dollar industry, we need to understand structure
and interactions at the atomic level. And that’s quantum physics – the study of the laws
that govern microscopic objects like atoms and electrons; and even photons,
which are particles of light. You may have heard
of another little invention called the laser. Quantum device. So this amazing scientific theory
called quantum mechanics has transformed our lives today. But my fascination in quantum physics
actually started in the stars. So, this image here
may look familiar to you. It’s what we call a solar spectrum. It’s what you see when you
pass sunlight through a prism and it breaks up
into all of its constituent colors. This has been taken
by a powerful telescope, so it’s a very high-resolution image. And what you may notice
is a bunch of dark lines. And that’s not dirt
or scratches or anything, that’s real. Those are places where the light
is actually missing. And before quantum mechanics,
we didn’t really understand why is it that there are these specific
colors that are missing from sunlight. Well, the reason they are missing
is because that light has been absorbed by gases surrounding
the sun, cooler gases. And the specific colors that are absorbed
depends on what that gas is made of. Is it hydrogen? Is it helium? Calcium? And in fact, using quantum mechanics, we can understand the structure
of different types of atoms – hydrogen vs. calcium vs.
any other element in the periodic table. So then, we know
which of those particular atoms will absorb which colors of light. So each of these missing spots
is like a unique bar code which tells us what the atom is. So by studying the bar code, we can figure out what is the gas
surrounding the sun. So for me, this was amazing! Here is a secret message
encoded in sunlight, about the composition of the sun, and we can decode it with quantum physics. But in fact, that secret message is even bigger, it’s an incredible message
about the entire universe, and the person who decoded it was a young woman
named Cecilia Payne, in 1925. So Cecilia Payne was
a Ph.D. student at Harvard. Actually back then in the 20s, you couldn’t actually take classes
at Harvard if you were a woman, so she was enrolled in Radcliffe College, but she did all of her observations
and her studies at Harvard Observatory. And she was studying different spectra
just like the one I showed you, not just for the sun
but also for other stars. And all these different spectra –
they look different, so those bar codes
are at different places. And she was trying to understand
what that difference was. So she used equations from quantum physics
and figured out something amazing. All those differences in the bar code was because all these different stars
had different temperatures. But in fact, by far the most common
element in all those stars was hydrogen and helium. There’s a hundred billion stars
in our galaxy alone, and there’s a hundred billion
galaxies out there. And using these equations
from quantum theory, this young woman
was able to figure out something, a universal property of all these stars. And that is like figuring out
the chemical composition of the universe. This was actually quite surprising
because back in that time, people thought that the composition
of the sun and stars was very much like the earth. So in fact, Cecelia Payne
didn’t even believe her own results, but very soon after her work,
others confirmed this. And in fact, indeed today we know that the universe is basically made
of hydrogen and helium, with everything else
just in very, very small amounts, including all of the elements
we know here on earth. So, this was really an incredible thing. Cecelia Payne, she presented this
as part of her Ph.D. thesis. In fact, it was the first Ph.D.
awarded to any student, male or female, at Harvard Observatory. And what a way to start. She chose to stay on at Harvard
and continued to do amazing research, and she taught courses, but they didn’t quite know what to do
with this new Ph.D. who is a female. They weren’t really sure what to do, so they actually could not even
give her an official title for the next decade or so. And the courses she taught
were not even listed on the books. Finally, in 1938, they gave her the title of Astronomer, and then eventually, in 1956,
she became a Professor at Harvard, and very soon afterwards, she became
the chair of the astronomy department. In fact, the first female chair
of any department at Harvard. That’s Cecelia Payne-Gaposchkin. She’s not a household name. She should be!
But that’s a different talk. But I was lucky. I, in fact, did learn
about her story and her work when I was a graduate
student myself, starting out. And it was of course
very inspiring to me – both her science and her experiences
as a woman scientist. Her work brilliantly illustrated
the power of this incredible theory called quantum physics, but also I learned something else. I learned that, in fact, the fundamental laws of nature
are accessible to everybody: male or female, young or old,
known or unknown. And that was a really
important message for me, back then when I was starting out. So, I followed my passion, and eventually, I earned
my own Ph.D. in physics, not a first at Harvard
or anything like that, but the first woman
in my family to do that. And of course, I chose to focus my research area
in quantum physics. But instead of studying
the largest objects like stars, I decided that I want to investigate
the smallest scales – the worlds of individual atoms. So we cannot actually
directly see an atom; it’s far too small. But we can set up experiments where we can shine a laser beam
at a cloud of atoms. And the atoms will interact
with the laser light, and they will leave a shadow
of that interaction in the light, and we can collect that light
and analyze it and extract that shadow, and from that, we can actually
construct a picture to see this atom. Here’s such a picture from data taken in the lab of my colleague
Poul Jessen, at the University of Arizona. So, as you can see,
the picture shows the world of the atom, which is represented by a sphere. And the laws that govern
this kind of world is the laws of quantum physics. And that’s actually
a very strange set of laws. For example, there’s something called
“the uncertainty principle,” which says that we cannot know exactly
where the atom is located on this surface. So what you’re seeing here
is actually an image of likelihood. Red shows where the atom
is most likely to be, and blue where it’s least likely to be. The other thing that we can do is we can actually engineer
the surface of this sphere, so actually create a world for the atom. And, for example, how do we do that? Well, we use lasers and magnetic fields
to control this world. And one of the things we can do is we can insert barriers
and change the shapes of islands on the surface of this world. So this white line shows a barrier
that’s constructed, so a barrier is essentially like a wall
that you and I could not actually cross. And then, what we can do is we can take many such pictures
of the atom over time, and we can put them together
and make a movie, so, the first such movies
of this kind ever made. Here’s such a movie. Watch what happens. The atom is moving back and forth. It doesn’t seem to be seeing
this so-called “barrier,” and it’s not actually climbing
over the barrier, it’s passing straight through. It’s an incredible quantum effect
called “quantum tunneling.” What you are actually seeing here is literally an atom walking
through a wall. And that was, of course,
an amazing scientific discovery for me, and I was very excited, but I did see another one
of those secret encoded messages sent to us by the universe. The universe is showing us
that barriers are meant to be crossed. And furthermore, quantum tunneling connects
directly back to the stars. If you look deep
in the heart of stars – the core – it’s actually a powerful
nuclear fusion reactor. That’s where all of the sunlight
and energy is produced, and some of that comes to us
as sunlight from our star. And, of course, we know that it’s critical
for life on earth. But how does that nuclear reactor work? Well, thanks to gravity,
the hydrogen nuclei in the core combine, they fuse together to create helium, and that releases
enormous amounts of energy. But here’s the problem: Hydrogen nuclei, they have
positive protons, positive charges. And as you know,
like charges repel each other. So as you try to bring
these hydrogen nuclei close together, they push against each other. There is a barrier, an energy barrier, and the hydrogen atoms
cannot cross that barrier. But yet, they can. And the reason they cross it
is exactly because of quantum tunneling. They tunnel through the barrier and are able to complete
the fusion process from which we get light and energy. So sunlight on earth,
and a reason that we have life on earth, is because quantum particles
can walk through walls. And, now that we understand
the physics of quantum tunneling, we can control it
and build amazing devices like scanning tunneling microscopes,
and tunneling diodes. And these are amazing devices
and cutting edge technologies, but we’re just scratching the surface. Tunneling is just one of many
incredible quantum effects that we are exploring now, to try to build
future quantum technologies. For example, quantum particles
can get connected together in a powerful connection
that we call entanglement. So if you make a change
to one of the quantum particles, it instantly affects
all the other particles, no matter how far away
they are in the universe. And again, we find that in order
to understand quantum theory and what it’s saying about entanglement, we have to question
our very fundamental ideas about the nature of reality
and space and time itself. And that’s amazing,
but there is a nice side effect. By exploring entanglement,
we have found that like tunneling, it’s a resource that we can use
to build technologies. So, it’s the fuel that we must have in order to build future
cutting technologies like quantum computers, or teleportation, or maybe some technology
that we have not even dreamed of as yet. So quantum physics has led us on an amazing journey
of discovery over the last century. We have been able to look
into the hearts of stars; it has to lead us to understand the structure,
the composition of the universe; it has shown us new ways
to think about barriers and connections through space and time. And, it has shown us that by studying fundamental
scientific laws of nature, we get really nice side effects, like cool technologies
and awesome devices. But for me, my fascination
remains those secret messages, those encoded mysteries out there in the universe. The universe very generously
has left us clues all around us, and we humans,
we get to be nature’s detectives. We are constrained to this planet, we have limited resources
and limited knowledge. And yet, thanks to physics
and developing our theories, we can expand our understanding
to the entire universe. What will be that next secret message
that we will decode, that will lead to breakthroughs
in science as well as society? I don’t know. And that is the most exciting part. Thank you. (Applause)

About the author


  1. Before buying on gearbest, know that it's thieves.
    They do not repay,
    on google search for "Thieves Gearbest".

  2. TEDx Talks are given to allow the speaker a public speaking platform to share information that they deem important & that has the potential to inspire an audience & perhaps even move the audience to action. It is about sharing & spreading awesome ideas. I believe that this very successful scientist has accomplished just that. So, Dr. Ghose, thank you for your great contribution to science & the world in which we live. You are: smart, articulate, informative & quite inspiring! Much love, joy & peace to both you & the audience. I also thank God for quantum tunnelling & entanglement.

  3. Shohini where’s you standing up are you standing on circle ⭕️ Matt’s or sphere Mat? Quantum physics is very interesting theory that we all about it 💯💃🚢 can you sell your boat on top of the spherical round circle ⭕️ earth 🌏 too? 🤦🏾‍♀️oh no just imagine before you even open your mind and lips 👈🏾💰🙀🤐

  4. To the likes of Tragen Augusrus and John G, do something usefull like grow up and join the rest of us. Leave your small minded pettiness behind and you may find the world’s a much better place for you.

  5. Another name for uncertainty is bullshit….a imaginary barrier which doesn't act as barrier!!! Then to support their theory they gave new term tunneling!!! ….that's pseudointellectual at work..

  6. Imagine tiny creatures that lived in a 3 dimensional reality, a reality where they are always confined to what is known as the present time. In turn, they do not extend across time, for they are only 3 dimensional. Let us call them, humans. Now when 4 dimensional events occur, these tiny creatures will only see the event from a limited 3 dimensional point of view. Thus to these silly humans, the creation of a 4 dimensional event may best be seen by them as being a case of instantaneous action at a distance, rather than know that their action(s) was simply a component of a 4 dimensional event. This is how their feeble minds would see it since they can not see the entire 4 dimensional structure of a 4D event. Also, as a consequence of them having tiny minds, they will not be able to see exactly how a particle is on one side of a wall/barrier one moment, and a fraction of a second later it is on the other side. To them, it appears as though the particle has passed through or tunneled its way through the wall/barrier, even though this has not occurred at all.

  7. You don't know? I know… What's coming is Motion Codes, which is beyond Quantum Levels, Q-Realities and Q-Dimensions. About technology? Artificial Superintelligence containing consciousness and emotions thanks to Q-Math it will be possible to develop Artif.Consciousness with algorithms of self-knowledge and self-correction. Then comes the Q-Mental Programming of Materials to build our own spaceships, plus thousands of apps. EcoTechs are at the brink yet!

  8. Quantum tunnels are age old concept. Scientists have already made tunnelling diodes , and some scientist got noble prize for this. My question is why this talk. What was your agenda? May be you could have put more light on your phd work.

  9. interesting talk……Celia Payne absolute hero.

    can't help think though that quantum superposition manifests the now which is reconciled to the universe and causality through quantum entanglement.

  10. Didn't explain nonlocal entanglement and local entanglement. Also avoided spin up and spin down motion of atom

  11. Could we have a logic understanding of quantum mechanics if we explained it as an emergent interactive process unfolding photon by photon? This idea is based on: (E=ˠM˳C²)∞ with energy ∆E equals mass ∆M linked to the Lorentz contraction ˠ of space and time. The Lorentz contraction ˠ represents the time dilation of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. We have energy ∆E slowing the rate that time ∆t flows as a universal process of energy exchange or continuous creation. Mass will increase relative to this process with gravity being a secondary force to the electromagnetic force. The c² represents the speed of light c radiating out in a sphere 4π of EMR from its radius forming a square c² of probability. We have to square the probability of the wave-function Ψ because the area of the sphere is equal to the square of the radius of the sphere multiplied by 4π. This simple geometrical process forms the probability and uncertainty of everyday life and at the smallest scale of the process is represented mathematically by Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle ∆×∆pᵪ≥h/4π. In such a theory we have an emergent future unfolding photon by photon with the movement of charge and flow of EM fields. This gives us a geometrical reason for positive and negative charge with a concaved inner surface for negative charge and a convexed outer surface for positive charge. The brackets in the equation (E=ˠM˳C²)∞ represent a dynamic boundary condition of an individual reference frame with an Arrow of Time or time line for each frame of reference. The infinity ∞ symbol represents an infinite number of dynamic interactive reference frames that are continuously coming in and out of existence.

  12. way to go girl!you did an amazing job.I dont understand why people take tiny defects in someone and try to make them large….

  13. terrible discrimination in colonial world. India was founded by a woman, no such discrimination,
    good explanation of what quantum physics is. Enjoyed your lecuture.
    Bhagvaat Gita, Krishna explains all this, and at macro level it sounds silly, but u have shown a proof of what Krishna states how the nature of the universe is.

  14. Wonderful talk and lot of new knowledge to me .Yet am I the only one feel it here that, the all these messages are cracked and used many years ago. Further this whole story of science is another desperate attempt we doing for us to convinced this all to our limited mind. Of course the science and her story both make great sense , neither my mind is ready to settle with some idea which doesn't have scientific back. In the end again as always it all open more doors for us to bigger universe.

  15. I don't think quantum tunneling explains fusion between two hydrogen atoms. The experimental result which shows atom moving across the barrier is possible because there is a space between the atoms comprising the barrier, so the atom of the gas is small enough to pass through the barrier. The barrier does not react or oppose the passage of the atom of the gas, because the barrier is in a steady electronic state. A chemist would know more about this reactivity series.
    To show quantum tunneling in hydrogen fusion, you would have to show different evidence.
    I have enjoyed your lecture though, very clear presentation.

  16. I enjoyed the 1st part of this well presented seminar. But I’m very confused about what the moving colours on the sphere represent. When the sphere is 1st introduced, the varying colour is explained as representing the varying probability of the position of the shadow of an atom in laser light, somehow projected on the surface of a sphere. The probability varies in position and in time, and passes through some barrier. Then the varying colour is re-explained as a moving atom tunnelling through a barrier. It can not be both a time varying probability of position and a moving atom. And a barrier which is no barrier, is no barrier. And, for example, shadows of objects can pass through each other as the objects pass by each other. Dr. Shohini Ghose, what, exactly, is the varying colour?

  17. If the atoms are governed by the laws of quantum physics, then why it be assumed that the Sun governed by gravity?

  18. I got Stroke on 2008 on LMCA dissecting effecting my speech now I still have a lot of disability like( Conductive Aphasia;anomie;missing worlds when I write a letter;lot of spilling errors; can’t read more that 7-9 warld ; getting tired…
    On top of this I got PTSD as a result of bullying harassment victimising me after 29 months of working as anesthetist 60 hour a week,
    I am asking for compensation for their victimising & falsely accused me that I asked Nurses to tell ties that is why Trust refer me to GMC even before interviewing me if this allegation was right or wrong GMC were working with Trust over 7 years on September 2018 while I am suspended from work;Hospital are doing unfair dismissal asking if my disability is permanent or not?

    Trust are probing the doctors to so no not peremant…!
    Can You Adice me what to do ?( stroke happened while I was at
    work;Trust falsely put wrong date wrong diagnosis-heart attack!)

  19. Absolutely brilliant explanation. Thrilling experience swing presentation. Hats off. Keep the good work . Cheers🙏🙏🙏🙏

  20. absorption lines. Brian Cox had a beautiful documentary about this. Very nice to hear about this first acknowledged female astronomer. It's important that we celebrate such people.

    Would quantum entanglement allow for FTL communication and travel?


  22. ســـــــــــــــــــــادة العالم الحقيقيون هم الاذكياء والعباقــــــــــــــــــــــــره

  23. I don't get some of the comments. Firstly some guys say I love her or she has beautiful hair. Other guys criticise her for not making the talk so complicated the ordinary woman or man can understand it. SomeTed talks are just there to pass information to the members of the general public like myself. It doesn't have to be rocket science to be interesting. I have a better understanding of quantum physics than I did before a he spoke. Thank you.

  24. c.mon young lady your a girl  love this stuff this is doing my head in would you please come live next door to me so u can put a chip in my brain this is too much for my male ego I wonder if we go see a brain surgeon we could give part of each others brain you sure you of this planet earth ok joking go get em girl proud you thanx

  25. What she really means is mass genocide using quantum weapons.
    She's not going to explain that part.
    I don't even need to watch the video to know that.

  26. She's got a PhD in quantum physics and she can ramble around with a headset on for 15 minutes, she can pose as the sage expert who knows what we need to know now — in our time. She can compare the microelectronics in a smartphone to the composition of the universe — and no one dares dispute such a wild, rambling, disorganized claim. So we genuflect and declare her a living genius because she shined a laser beam at a cloud of atoms. And we take away . . . nothing even remotely useful . . . and, cue the next TED talk. Next we have Dr. Blah Blah Blah with a PhD in Blah Blah Blah . . . but that's a different talk . . .

  27. I like when people who studied share their knowledge with "common" citizens, merci! I belong to the generation of women who were happy to earn their own money and did not ask for much more, young women nowadays should go for more like sciences! They can do as good as men and will surely make the world more equal on the long run, not only between sexes but also between races: it will be great!!

  28. What you are saying has been said before by many before you. Which is ok. Where you lose me is why you need to make statements about female scientists. Why can't we get beyond that and simply talk science? Scientists are scientists.

  29. I'm unsure whether my comment is going to unveil ignorance on my part or that of the speaker. As far as my knowledge goes, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle applies to electrons and not to entire atoms. It is precisely because photons (massless particles) which are used to try and measure the position and energy of an electron deflects it from its orbital when the frequency of the light wave is short enough to make the measurement and its energy therefore high. Hence the uncertainty principle.
    Could a particle physicist perhaps be kind enough to enlighten us whether the nucleus — and so an entire atom — can tunnel across the barrier? As far as I know that does not happen. Doesn't the speaker mean electron? This would constitute a serious slip on the part of the speaker. But I'm no particle physicist and I am unable to get clarification re the matter on the net.
    Also, please enlighten us as to what the barrier is and how it's imposed.
    I ask these questions since I'm firmly an Einsteinian re the alleged "magic" quantum mechanics suggests, spooky action at a distance.
    Niels Bohr's Copenhagen interpretation is quite firm about that as well. In the final analysis, once the superposition of the wave collapses, quantum mechanics gives firm, dependable, predictable results and there is nothing spooky or supernatural about the phenomenon at all.

  30. According to your educated guess does physics has done any device through which sub atomic particles could be detected

  31. An actual physicist (really astrophysicist) talking about quantum mechanics in a real way at a ted talk. I guess not everyone at ted is fuzzyheaded.

  32. Nice Talk. The great thing is that nothing is really secret, but only needs to be discovered if we look and think carefully

  33. She is absolutely BRILLIANT. She broke down such complex theory in a personable, exciting and very clearly passionate way! Heck I wanna Rudy quantum physics now!! AWESOME!!!

  34. This wonderful scientist has pitched her talk for the purpose of bringing greater understanding of her chosen science field to the masses. Those who are criticising that she's too basic or "heard it all before" just want to show off that they have studied at a graduate level and thus turn their nose up at her lecture. Just jealous that she's made such an eloquent speech that covers in broad terms a vast subject in 15 minutes. If you can do the same point me in the way of your Ted Talk please otherwise ssshhhhh!!

  35. To detecte and decode Secret messages in universes you cannot find it only with the help of quantum physics from acadamic subjects.. You should join the great book BIBLE which dealt and its kindom of God functioning through big quantum physics technology for his multi universes about Trillions of Trillions years..but just we discovered & proved it recently after 1990' s.
    If you come down to me probes through BIBLE
    can deliver lot of secrets which you told that last words in this video.".I dont know "
    (I proud about you from India.
    I am also an Indian dealt with lot of mysterious unknown questions and got answers)

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