Thought for the month

“It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for its welfare.” Edmund Burke, politician (1729 – 97).

Friday, 4 February 2011

Schrodinger's bird?

Apparently the robin (Erithacus rubecula) is a user of quantum coherence. The conclusion comes from analysing data showing that the magnetic compass used by robins could be disrupted by extremely small levels of magnetic noise. When the noise, a small oscillating magnetic field, was introduced it completely disabled the robins' compass sense which then returned to normal once the noise was removed. According to the Oxford team, only a system with components operating at a quantum level would be this sensitive to such a small amount of noise. No robins were harmed in the writing of this newsletter.

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