Is This What Quantum Mechanics Looks Like?

  • Added:  6 months ago
  • Silicone oil droplets provide a physical realization of pilot wave theories.
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    The standard theory of quantum mechanics leaves a bit to be desired. As Richard Feynman put it, "I think I can safely say that no one understands quantum mechanics." This is because observations of experiments have led us to a theory that contradicts common sense. The wave function contains all the information that is knowable about a particle, yet it can only be used to calculate probabilities of where a particle will likely turn up. It can't give us an actual account of where the particle went or where it will be at some later time.

    Some have suggested that this theory is incomplete. Maybe something is going on beneath the radar of standard quantum theory and somehow producing the appearance of randomness and uncertainty without actually being random or uncertain. Theories of this sort are called hidden variable theories because they propose entities that aren't observable. One such theory is pilot wave theory, first proposed by de Broglie, but later developed by Bohm. The idea here is that a particle oscillates, creating a wave. It then interacts with the wave and this complex interaction determines its motion.

    Experiments using silicone oil droplets on a vibrating bath provide a remarkable physical realization of pilot wave theories. They give us a physical picture of what the quantum world might look like if this is what's going on - and this theory is still deterministic. The particle is never in two places at once and there is no randomness.

    Edited by Robert Dahlem

    Sound design by A Shell in the Pit
  • Video CategoriesEducation
  • Runtime: 7:41
  • Tags for this video:  veritasium  silicone oil droplets  silicone oil  droplets  quantum mechanics  pilot wave  de broglie  quantum  theory  double slit  tunneling  wave  particle  duality  experiment  speaker  oil  droplet  bohmian mechanics  hidden variable theory  

Comments: 6 356

  • Keith Maskell
    Keith Maskell 24 minutes ago

    Such a walking contradiction,....... this guy is teaching us about quantum mechanics yet he thinks we landed on the moon!!! Scientist is a sad thing!

  • Felix Heald
    Felix Heald 3 hours ago

    I mean, De Broglie just stole Einstein's work and made a comment on it, really...

  • Dr Inchinati
    Dr Inchinati 7 hours ago

    Man, I'm so ignorant.

  • TheCiccio1981
    TheCiccio1981 9 hours ago

    what happens if you move the surface? May that explain constant speed of light (alias the no aether conclusion)? If the parallelism is clear :)

  • Temenoujka Fuller
    Temenoujka Fuller 13 hours ago

    Well, this is a very cute experiment, explained about 400 years ago by Christiaan Huygens' (1629 - 1695). The key to the explanation of your experiment is called Huygens' Principle of Diffraction: However, the beauty of quantum reality is that, in the case of this video, the bubble itself is a wave, and the bubble should behave like a wave even in a totally empty space.

  • Milan Pintar
    Milan Pintar 14 hours ago

    hidden global variables

  • David S
    David S 1 day ago

    I am not for or against either theory (although pilot wave seems more logical) I wonder about quantum computing and qbits? What are you thoughts?

  • Goldsun
    Goldsun 1 day ago

    thats a nice way to understand the wave/particle nature of the fotons!

  • Platinum Dragon Productions

    Being a fan of Occam's Razor, this seems to make more sense to me.

  • Gabriel
    Gabriel 2 days ago

    Hey, French native speaker here 🇫🇷
    This isn't well-known apart from us, but I thought that you should know that "Louis de Broglie" is actually pronounced "de Breuil"

  • kellypaws
    kellypaws 2 days ago

    Well it's the first presentation of an explanation of Quantum behaviour I've seen that actually makes complete sense to me, and does not ask me to abandon what I already accept as true about Physics. So, I vote for the Pilot Wave theory. Utterly beautifully presented.

  • nolanryan1234
    nolanryan1234 2 days ago

    I want to start a band called The Copenhagen Interpretation

  • Coloradicalman
    Coloradicalman 3 days ago

    I studied Physical Chemistry at Penn State for 3 semesters and never learned about this. I'm upset that this was never a part of our discussion. What if the particle isn't bouncing in a 3-d sense but in a 4th dimension. What if they are coming in and out of existence like a 4D object though out 3D space? like how if a sphere (a 3D object) moving though a 2D space would look like a circle growing from nothing and then shrinking back to nothing...

  • Elto Desukane
    Elto Desukane 3 days ago

    This video is well done and interesting, but it has nothing to do with quantum mechanics, despite some superficial analogy.

  • Mark McCoy
    Mark McCoy 3 days ago

    If you were able to theoretically build a computer that knows the position of every particle (and its corresponding momentum) that interacts with earth and earth itself, would it be possible to accurately predict the movements (using the computer) of the particles and their future position relative to each other. Because you are predicting the future position of the particles, would this mean that theoretically you could predict the future position of a larger scale object and therefore predict the future...?

  • Zom Bee
    Zom Bee 3 days ago

    I have seen a lot of (the same) presentations of the double slit experiment, but I have NEVER seen that presentation! That seems very appealing to me, the wave interactions attracting the particle to the interactions...

  • Matthew Isbell
    Matthew Isbell 4 days ago

    Cool explanation... But if the waves are 3d in the world (instead of 2d as in the experiment) and the particle is 3d, then is the standard quantum particle a 4d object bouncing in a 3d volume?

  • damienkurast
    damienkurast 4 days ago

    Wow, this video blew my mind!

  • Ginanjar Putu Wijaya

    This ia interesting.

  • Iris Breda
    Iris Breda 4 days ago

    What about the Wheeler's delayed choice experiment?

  • Luis Ortiz
    Luis Ortiz 4 days ago

    can the pilot wave be replicated NCO gravity

  • sean harrigan
    sean harrigan 5 days ago

    according to pilot wave theory, how would actively changing the state of one entangled particle change the state of the other, a great distance away?

  • Robert K
    Robert K 5 days ago

    Schools should really supplement text books with YouTube videos!

  • David Heggli
    David Heggli 5 days ago

    If you liked this deterministic explanation of quantum reality: check out - a new very promising ToE going viral :-)

  • vaudevillian vicarious

    The only problem with the pilot wave theory from what I understand; is the fact if you try and see what slit the particle goes through before hand. You will get two distinct patterns instead of many.

    Pilot wave theory works well with larger objects that have X amount of mass. Pilot wave theory also works really well on galactic scales.

  • Jimmy Butt
    Jimmy Butt 6 days ago

    I have a growing interest in quantum physics but have no background. Congratulations! Even I can understand and follow what you're talking about! It also makes me wonder if some of the quantum world is not as strange as we think...maybe it just LOOKS strange in our limited ability to perceive.

  • Ross Heintzkill
    Ross Heintzkill 6 days ago

    I know I'm late to the party with this video, but you know which theory I like? That I know about them! I like knowing they exist, and that because of you I understand them!
    You're rad, Derek.

  • IveHearted1
    IveHearted1 6 days ago

    How do we know there is actually a physical particle involved in the double slit experiment? What's to say it couldn't be virtual?

  • Bartosz B
    Bartosz B 7 days ago

    I'm not at all educated in these fields but I am a fan. I like to read and watch about it.

    Somehow I refuse to believe that anything is really random. If an outcome of an experiment seems random I'll say that it's obviously the experiment/measurement that's flawed. Or we just don't see the pattern.

    I have no clue but could the pilot wave mean electrons riding light-waves like that?

  • soijirou seta
    soijirou seta 7 days ago

    How about the phenomena where the measurement eliminates the interference pattern? How does pilot wave theory explain that?

  • James Livingston
    James Livingston 7 days ago

    so... they are particles that move in a wave pattern??

  • Stefania Smanio
    Stefania Smanio 9 days ago

    Absolutely fantastic! Thank you!

  • Fennec Besixdouze
    Fennec Besixdouze 9 days ago

    You haven't mentioned the objections to Bohmian mechanics: it introduces non-locality.

    Interestingly, although Einstein is famous for his "God does not throw dice" objections to the non-determinism of the Copenhagen interpretation, he was far more bothered by non-locality.

    One reason non-local hidden variable theories haven't gotten much attention is because von Neumann published a false proof claiming to show that hidden variable theories are impossible. This argument was simply false, and shown to be false by Grete Hermann. But Hermann's refutation of von Neumann was largely ignored, and so hidden variable theories were ignored despite de Broglie-Bohm being perfectly consistent, only introducing limited non-locality while maintaining realism and determinism.

    Another reason is ESSW, which again has been massively influential despite being 1. completely misunderstanding Bohmian mechanics and 2. completely refuted by experimental observation that confirms the predictions of Bohmian mechanics.

  • arrive szk
    arrive szk 10 days ago

    well done, nice pres

  • love for music
    love for music 10 days ago

    derek looks like like de broglie...doesnt he??

  • Simon Stebbins
    Simon Stebbins 10 days ago

    I don't see how this interpretation makes quantum theory deterministic. It just means that elementary particles have definite, rather than probabilistic location before you measure them. You still can't determine the exact path particles will take when they pass through a double slit.

  • Honey Badger Studio
    Honey Badger Studio 11 days ago

    I think we're in the Matrix. :)

  • H. David Levine
    H. David Levine 11 days ago

    This is helpful.

    Please recommend a video for insights into quantum computing.

  • Amar Gorla
    Amar Gorla 11 days ago

    I prefer the Pilot wave theory over the Copenhagen interpretation.

  • kurčina
    kurčina 12 days ago

    i prefer wet pussies and nice hookers.

  • A Anderson
    A Anderson 12 days ago

    I'm no physicist, but i'm actually pretty stoked about what you mentioned at the end of the video - more precisely, i'm assuming that what is being observed is a simulation of quantum time reversibility on a macroscopic system. I've learnt that in fluid dynamics, which adheres to thermodynamic principles, macroscopic systems are usually time irreversible - and this behavior exhibited by the droplets seems to defy that notion.

    Based on Smarter Everyday's video, it seems like certain key parameters like coalescence are mitigated by reducing the CKE to nearly zero (thanks to the microscopic vibrations on the surface), and a constant gravitational force is applied to perpetuate the droplet's path motion. This seems rugged in intrepretation, but for a macroscopic system with multiple, complex and uncontrolled variables, it does an interesting job of amalgamating quantum determinism into a macroscopic system.

  • Brettvalery Brett
    Brettvalery Brett 12 days ago


  • Sotallytober
    Sotallytober 12 days ago

    So if you controlled the cosmic frequency you could bring anything into existence......

  • Guerra dos Bichos
    Guerra dos Bichos 12 days ago

    maybe quantum mechanics are actually really what is happening and classical phisics is just wahat our senses translate?

  • Silent Pixel
    Silent Pixel 13 days ago

    One question: Can we measure waves? If so, can we measure, not where the electrons would go, but the waves created provided the plane is negatively charged? So in this scenario, we are not detecting where the electrons go but the interference of waves, because the plane is negatively charged. You see what I'm saying? It's just what I'm thinking.

  • Nico Flihan
    Nico Flihan 13 days ago

    pilot wave team all day!!!!

  • tribal673
    tribal673 14 days ago

    It's times like this I wish I understood mathematics better, because the pilot wave almost makes perfect sense. Still though, it doesn't explain the lack of interference upon observation in the double slit experiment.

  • Soner Iftar
    Soner Iftar 14 days ago

    Go further our pilot Derek, we are all following you.

  • Mike Bobby
    Mike Bobby 15 days ago

    The oil thing reminded me of spacetime and the droplets of planets, could this for an allegorical basis for gen rel or maybe even eventually quantum gravity?

  • Chris Biggs
    Chris Biggs 16 days ago

    Too bad the pilot wave theory doesn't account for relativity. That's why I dismiss the theory entirely.

  • Fahim Arif
    Fahim Arif 17 days ago

    I like the concept finding similarity. it at least makes the path not alone to think about microscopic universe puzzle.

  • Etienne 777
    Etienne 777 18 days ago

    Correct, there are no electrons, the theory of relativity is false.
    Study Tesla for real tangible science. He also did not believe st Einstein!!!
    View Stephen Crothers for more.
    Since when does Truth imply one's personal preference?
    Truth is absolute and does not change. Jesus is the Truth!

  • Socrates Alexander
    Socrates Alexander 18 days ago

    One of the most entertaining and enlightening videos made not only by you, but by the whole cyberspace so far!!!!!

  • The Processionist
    The Processionist 19 days ago

    Thanks, btw, for the excellent visual. I can see the subordinate, bosonic phase tails, that look like boat wakes, as described in my model, and I like that you caught the connection to the preservation of information. I made that same connection.

    You'll notice the binary construct. That's due to sine 2 theta = 2 sine theta cosine theta

  • The Processionist
    The Processionist 19 days ago

    You might like the physics model I'm building. :)

  • Sterling Hamilton
    Sterling Hamilton 19 days ago

    God I love Quantum mechanics.

  • MikeM8891
    MikeM8891 20 days ago

    I understand the Copenhagen interpretation is useful as a model for making predictions, but I wish it wasn't taught. Quantum physics is strange enough without interpretation that simply do not make sense. People could come up with more reasonable understandings of quantum physics if they were not lead to believe Copenhagen is the established theory. I love this video, I think Broglie was onto something.

  • arshnoorie
    arshnoorie 20 days ago

    Why do we keep on ignoring pilot wave theory or Bohms theory? This is so beautiful.. After all we know from quantum field theory that fields are the most important reality. We ignore Bohm at our own peril.. Great Video Love it

  • Eric Hopper
    Eric Hopper 20 days ago

    I would like to see a convincing macroscopic version of entaglement with pilot wave theory before I committed to an opinion. And even then, I kind of think neither of them are correct. But, if I could see a convincing demonstration of entaglement, that would push me towards thinking there was more to pilot wave theory than I thought previously.

  • Avi Maru
    Avi Maru 20 days ago


  • you2tooyou2too
    you2tooyou2too 20 days ago

    I agree with MasterDeanarius. What are the probabilities that I would believe the Copenhagen vs Pilot theories (my cat like reflex is to wonder)? Do the theories follow a wave of probability thru humanity, for explaining the true 'nature' of 'particle' movement? Would another planet's people have a different believer pattern? ;-)
    PS: might the pilot-waves be a Higgs phenomenon?
    PPS: Maybe this is a good 'place' to remember the value of a God-of-the-gaps (or perhaps this is just us getting closer to God's thumb print) to mark a place in science for us to grow our understanding of our place in the part of existence we think we occupy.

  • Zvonimir Tosic
    Zvonimir Tosic 22 days ago

    'Pilot wave' is a misnomer. Why use a 'wave'? The 'wave' is already *an interpretation* of a process that is going on. It is a picture of a process, so to speak, and that picture has certain stylistic biases and inadequacies. We don’t have to go that route. The Copenhagen school goes the particle-wave duality route because it wants to convince in a certain interpretation, certain drawing style which it calls the reality, so to speak, and thus confuses the matter to the extent that it calls an alternative view — the 'pilot wave'. That is, it uses the language of its own terminology to describe an alternative view. Then, it finds 'problems in it'.
    In truth, it only repeats own problem. The Copenhagen school view is popularised, reiterated in books and articles like an undeniable truth. It uses certain simplistic language for almost a century now. Copenhagen-school-world-terminology is so confusingly re-iterated now that we think we can’t understand 'all the advances' because we are not clever enough to understand incomprehensible new permutations of same words. But the truth is, if we use the terminology of the Copenhagen school, we use inadequate language.
    Better way would be to talk about processes, talk about concepts, and then slowly find new idioms and build better language to describe them.

  • Leopoldo888
    Leopoldo888 22 days ago

    This is maybe your BEST video...

  • Kevin Thomas
    Kevin Thomas 23 days ago

    Perhaps it is possible that an electron does not behave at all like a particle and a wave simultaneously. The electron behaves only as a particle, while the electromagnetic field that the electron propagates behaves only as a wave. This might hold some merit. Perhaps...,

  • HazardGame
    HazardGame 23 days ago

    Hi guys, can you please say me where i can get that speaker that Derek is using ? Thank you

  • k klages
    k klages 24 days ago

    This makes sense to explain why a person can sense water underground. I can, use this, thanks.

  • PriceDown
    PriceDown 25 days ago

    What happens if you keep on doing that until the water is gone?

  • Tisamenfeu
    Tisamenfeu 25 days ago

    What I think is that those waves are pushing against the barrier, The barrier therefore push against the wave as the 3rd Newton law say. what I that if you send electrons perfectly in the centre of the hole, it would simply go in a straight line.

  • Fabio Ramirez
    Fabio Ramirez 25 days ago

    Amazing demo! Thanks!

  • 8DanielDag8
    8DanielDag8 25 days ago

    Any clue as to what the wave is made of?
    Every book I read on QM (popular stuff for morons like me not scientific) avoids this question of "Ether" like plague.
    Either I'm much more ignorant or authors don't want to admit the same.

  • Lance Cole
    Lance Cole 25 days ago

    The one problem I see with the pilot wave theory being the better choice when thinking of quantum mechanics is that in my opinion the silicon droplets on the surface of the silicon oil cannot really accurately represent the motion of particles of matter. This is because the silicon droplet's motion is determined by where they land on the wave created by the speaker under the oil, thus giving the droplets an external stimuli to, in a sense, randomly determine their paths. whereas actual particles would not have a similar (external) stimuli, rather their oscillation (given to the droplets by the speaker) is determined by their inner frequency and resonance, not an external force. This creates other variables in the droplets experiment, that wouldn't be present in a real particles environment. And this in my opinion gives more credit to the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. Stating these particles have their own internal wave function. Please reply if you agree/disagree and why?

  • Synthenist
    Synthenist 25 days ago

    i think this an awesome methode to explain quantum physics to kids, but yeah its lil bit of lying because it actually does not represent how it really works. but it shows as its both quantum physics and physics of waves show nearly the same results

  • demon39063
    demon39063 26 days ago

    I never noticed your engineering ring before. Didn't know you were a fellow brother of the order ;-)

  • Vishal Farma
    Vishal Farma 26 days ago

    I think the pilot wave theory seems more logical

  • Brian M
    Brian M 26 days ago

    Has anyone made any kind of connection between this video and Dr. Miguel Alcubierre's Metric ? One observation I made about the silicon drop being pushed by the standing wave is very similar to some derivations of Alcubierre's Metric. Anyone have further elucidation?

  • Roddy Strong
    Roddy Strong 26 days ago

    dude, that's a cool t-shirt! I want one!

  • Nick Adamski
    Nick Adamski 26 days ago


  • 559NoFear
    559NoFear 27 days ago

    The water droplets shows u why when u measure it there's 1 particle , but wavelike when u let it be

  • Cyberfreak
    Cyberfreak 27 days ago

    It's stunningly!!!

  • doctormeister
    doctormeister 27 days ago

    What frequenzy did you use?

    • doctormeister
      doctormeister 27 days ago

      Im trying to do the experiment myself and i can make them for about 3 sec to stay

  • Kareem Atef
    Kareem Atef 27 days ago

    I'd take the pilot wave theory

  • Nikunj Agarwal
    Nikunj Agarwal 28 days ago

    Standard quantum

  • DarkKnightCookies
    DarkKnightCookies 28 days ago

    Its a quantum superposition of possibilities!

    -Deepak Chopra

  • Corey Scott
    Corey Scott 29 days ago

    There is Interference between the wave & the walls around the slots as the waves travel through the slits. I believe this happens to light too.

  • Eric Taylor
    Eric Taylor 29 days ago

    Why is it counter to common sense to say that a particle doesn't have a fixed point is space even when it isn't measured. A city doesn't have a fixed point is space, it's spread out over many points. If I want to measure the position of, say Salem, Or I would need to use a scale that makes sense. I wouldn't measure it to the square foot, because Salem isn't that small. It's spread out over many square feet.
    What if the particles we see are not individual parties but parts something we can't see because it exists in higher dimensions?
    If we were two dimensional and lived in a road, we would see these object zipping passed and they would almost always be seen paired up or in groups of four. They aren't independent objects, they are the parts of car tire that touch the road, but that would be all we could detect, because we would be limited in our measurements by the two dimensions.
    If there is a sheet of something "above" the 3 dimensions we can measure, and if you try to make a measurement it pulls a bit of that sheet onto our 3 dimentions, you would measure the location of the electron, but every electron we see is just a bit of this 1 sheet.

  • Heather Toomey
    Heather Toomey 29 days ago

    I think wave pilot theory.
    I have no background in this though.

  • Volumers Gt
    Volumers Gt 1 month ago

    im a 1st grade middleschooler and what i learnt in dis video is that oil can bounce

  • Buildings1772
    Buildings1772 1 month ago

    so its this but in 3 dimensions instead of 2? 3D droplets on the surface of a 4D liquid-like medium?

  • jose fernando mejia tovar

    Hello!! how do I measure the frequency of the sound that it generates?

  • Johnharaldo Andreason

    Just a quick correction -- David Bohm came up with pilot wave theory independently of De Broglie in the 50's after finding the Copenhagen interpretation unsatisfying, only learning of De Broglie's work decades after he gave it up after being ridiculed by other participants at the Solvay conference. Excluding Bohm from this video was a very regrettable omission, about as bad an omission as leaving Leibniz out of a discussion of the origin of calculus or Wallace out of a discussion of the evolution. Maybe worth a re-edit, eh?

  • Joe name
    Joe name 1 month ago

    Looks like a duck, Quacks like a duck, might be a duck, however the degradation interaction might be like a pilot wave.

  • Bianca G
    Bianca G 1 month ago

    It would be cool if you provided a little summary in the end of each theory :)

  • border lands
    border lands 1 month ago

    super cool

  • Kris Sisk
    Kris Sisk 1 month ago

    We know that pilot wave theory is at best incomplete and at worst complete bollocks. That said I hope that it will someday be completed and provide less weird explanations than the sometimes supernatural-seeming mess of Copenhagen. I like pilot wave theory because it doesn't require the rules to change at subatomic scales the way Copenhagen does, but until someone comes along and fills in the many gaps in it I find it hard to support.

    • 0MoTheG
      0MoTheG 28 days ago

      The copenhagen interpretation makes perfect sense. At some point physics has to "end" in randomness.

  • Jarryd Horn
    Jarryd Horn 1 month ago

    What frequency did you use for the speaker? I would love to set this up in the physics student room at my University.

  • john
    john 1 month ago

    in the silicon analogy, the dropllet is the particle and the wave are the soundwave in the water. what would be the wave for the electron in the pilot theory?

  • Jason Sykes
    Jason Sykes 1 month ago

    Dang, I hate when someone makes sense of something interesting. Now, I am not going to be productive in my own personal work. Thanks.

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