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“as if”

Occasionally, I act like I can understand more about quantum physics than I do, and I read recaps in Nature like this one. They sometimes contain wonderful explanatory clauses. Like this:

Quantum networks encode information in quantum bits, or qubits, which can occupy multiple states simultaneously as if they were living separate histories in parallel universes at the same time.

That’s a big “as if.” Does it really help anyone actually understand any of the complexities of what goes on at the quantum level? No, likely, not at all. But it does tap into a certain scifi fancifulness about the makeup of reality, and enables readers to lay down a veneer of understanding on top of an opaque process, and walk about as if they had two legs to stand on.

Categories: Asides.

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