Mar 19, 2013, 10:36 PM EDT
David Hucul and Susan Clark are physicists at Maryland. They have a unique way of picking brackets. Since I’m not a physicist — not even close – I’m not even going to try and understand what is happening here. Instead … BLOCKQUOTE!!!
They use ions of the element ytterbium, a metal that’s smack dab in the middle of the periodic table. Everyday research in the lab is dedicated to making connections between submicroscopic objects, across distances much longer than typical quantum interactions, such as a few yards instead of smaller than an atom.
When used to assist in picking basketball games, the team uses a phenomenon called superposition. They coax the ytterbium ion to act a bit like a coin. In the same way that flipping a fair coin yields a random result of heads or tails, superposition allows the physicists to prepare the ion to have a 50-50 chance of ending up in state A or state B. It’s possible that, based on the way a coin is flipped, the result isn’t always truly random. But by using quantum phenomena, in which the location or state of an object is based on probability, the result is truly random.
So if you have some ytterbium ions lying around and you want to coax them to act like a coin, you can pick brackets that way.
The more you know.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.
- July Live Period Week Two Superlatives 0
- Seven Takeaways from the Under Armour Finals 0
- Iowa State’s Georges Niang carries extra motivation – and less weight – into 2014-15 0
- Emmanuel Mudiay to China makes him even more of a case-study 0
- Four-star Class of 2016 guard Bruce Brown gave up football to focus on basketball 0
- Seven (more) Takeaways from Nike’s Peach Jam 0
- Seven Takeaways from Nike’s Peach Jam 1
- Skipping college makes Emmanuel Mudiay the most important player in 2014 class (5)
- Study says Louisville has the best fanbase for second straight season (4)
- Chris Walker looks like he’s spent some time in the gym (PHOTO) (4)
- Indiana’s summer workouts look intense (VIDEO) (4)
- Mother of elite recruit Josh Jackson: ‘Josh hasn’t been recruited by anyone’ (4)