MOCpages : Share your LEGO® creations
LEGO models my own creation MOCpages toys shop Caleb's 4x4 Contest - Round 5: "Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle"
Welcome to the world's greatest LEGO fan community!
Explore cool creations, share your own, and have lots of fun together.  ~  It's all free!
Caleb's 4x4 Contest - Round 5: "Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle"
My entry for Round 5 (final round) of Caleb's 4x4 Contest. The category is "Paradox"
About this creation
This is my entry to Round 5 of Caleb's 4x4 Contest.

The category for this round is "Paradox". The paradox I have chosen to represent here is Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle.

Quantum mechanics and relativity are two branches of physics that are replete with apparent paradoxes. While the princples and theories are all backed by strong experimental evidence, many seem paradoxical to those of us familiar with the Newtonian mechanics that govern most of our everyday activities.

Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle asserts that it is impossible to simultaneously know position and momentum of an object. In the "normal world" that proposition seems absurd and paradoxical. In fact, under Newtonian mechanics, knowing the position of an object at two distinct nearby points in time would allow one to get a very accurate estimate of the object's velocity (and, coupled with knowledge of the object's mass, its momentum). But in the world of quantum mechanics, where interactions take place at an infintessimally small scale, the wave-particle duality of matter dominates, and the paradoxical becomes the norm.

I'll go into detail about the components of this MOC below, but first let's take a look at the front and back of the entire MOC. You'll notice that at the top of the MOC is a bust of "Heisenberg" from "Breaking Bad", the chemistry-teacher-turned-drug-dealer who borrowed this moniker to describe his elusive nature.





First, my apologies to physics majors out there. Since I am just a lowly electrical engineer, I am probably about to commit all kinds of atrocities on the laws of physics with the following description. Feel free to correct me.

Beginning at the bottom of the front, we have a wave packet composed of a single discrete frequency (in blue). While I have shown only two cycles of this wave, it continues on infinitely. The graph above this wave packet is the frequency plot corresponding to this wave packet (in red) -- an impulse of just a single frequency. Since frequency directly corresponds to momentum in the quantum mechanical world, we have very good knowledge of the momentum. However, since the wave packet has essentially infinite extent, the particle could be anywhere -- we have no certainty about its location.

These two plots could be reversed to describe the opposite situation. If the probability distribution for a particle's position is an impulse, we know exactly where it is, but then the plot of its momentum distribution would be the blue graph, so we would have no certainty at all about its momemtum.





The back side shows a less extreme case, in which neither the position of momentum of the particle are known exactly, but where there is some "confidence range" for each of them. Both the particle packet and the momentum distribution have the shape of a damped sinewave (in digital signal processing terms, we'd call them "wavelets"). These plots do extend infinitely, but they quickly taper off, so that with very high confidence, one can conclude that the particle's position/momentum lies within the middle few lobes of the appropriate plot.



Just below "Heisenberg" in the front is a diagram showing how Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle makes itself manifest in an experimental situation. The electron beam (purple) is hit with a photon emitter (the yellow cone). The incident photon collides with the electon beam and scatters (the green lines), causing the electron to deflect, but it an unknown direction. It is possible to use higher-frequency (i.e. smaller wavelength) light to get a more accurate location of the affected electron, but higher frequency light has higher energy photons, which will disrupt the path of the electron more and create more uncertainty about its momentum. Shorter wavelength, lower energy light will allow for better observation of the electron's momentum, but will make it more difficult to isolate it spatially.



Finally, we have the two pictures to prove that the MOC fits within the limits of a 4x4 stud footprint and a height of 50 stacked bricks.








Comments

 I like it 
  January 19, 2014
Isn't the uncertainty principal the thing with the cat in the box? (this build is awesome anyway though. I hope you win)
 I like it 
  January 17, 2014
I love physics. I love LEGO. THIS IS GREAT!!!!!
 I made it 
  December 22, 2013
Quoting Nick Barrett Beautifully done and highly educational. Good luck!
Thanks, Nick! While it wasn't my original goal to do a lecture on quantum mechanics, I realized that the pictures really needed some explaining, so that they don't appear to be just a bunch of interesting designs.
 I like it 
  December 21, 2013
Beautifully done and highly educational. Good luck!
 I made it 
  December 20, 2013
Quoting Josh Walter Sigma{x}Sigma{p} is greater than or equal to(Planck constant/2) :) Great stuff, good looking build and educational! To those who commented on not reading through the text, you should,, you may learn something of the underpinnings of quantum mechanics.
Thanks. As far as the text goes, I am going to try to draft up a more concise version to make it a little more accessible.
 I like it 
  December 20, 2013
Sigma{x}Sigma{p} is greater than or equal to(Planck constant/2) :) Great stuff, good looking build and educational! To those who commented on not reading through the text, you should,, you may learn something of the underpinnings of quantum mechanics.
 I made it 
  December 19, 2013
Quoting Dead Frog inc. Looks... amazing.... so does the text... bu you are not expecting me to read this, right? Anyways.. good luck!
Thanks. As I said to Caleb, I may try to draft up a summary to make the pictures a little easier to take in.
 I made it 
  December 19, 2013
Quoting Tom Simon Sounds about right. Looks good too.
Thanks. I am glad that someone can confirm that I haven't distorted the laws of physics too much. :)
 I made it 
  December 19, 2013
Quoting Caleb R. I'm not going to read this all until I need to, but it looks good :P
Thanks, Caleb. Maybe I'll try to create a "Reader's Digest" version of the text content and put it at the top.
 I made it 
  December 19, 2013
Quoting clayton Marchetti Matt this is a home run for me! I've always been fascinated by quantum mechanics . I really like the sign waves , great visual . The bust on top is fantastic as well. Good luck Matt!
Thanks, Clayton. The Heisenberg bust was kind of a last minute addition when I came to the realization that doing a hydrogen or helium atom at this scale was a no-go. I like how he turned out, though.
 I made it 
  December 19, 2013
Quoting matt rowntRee Walter would approve. Excellent explanation of the principle, a difficult one to actually fathom without a rather creative aspect initially. Paradox is a fantastic idea to throw this concept at. I hope that my observing the moc doesn't alter the outcome of the contest. ;) Too abstract? sorry. Great one Matt and good luck!
Thanks, matt. I certainly hope I have Walter's approval -- I wouldn't want to end up on his bad side. :) I am also sure that your observation of this MOC will impact the judges' momentum in a positive way.
 I made it 
  December 19, 2013
Quoting Alex Rode Oh my. I absolutely love seeing the amount of thought you put into each of your entries. The details seem simple at first glance, but when I took a look, I realized that the piece usage, as usual, was absolutely fantastic. The build itself is certainly deserving of that top spot, as all of them will be, I'm sure. Well done Matt! Good luck!
Thanks, Alex. This entry definitely did require some more thought -- the category is somewhat difficult to represent in a MOC, especially since I was looking for something that could be done without using the "storyboard format".
 I like it 
  December 18, 2013
Looks... amazing.... so does the text... bu you are not expecting me to read this, right? Anyways.. good luck!
 I like it 
  December 17, 2013
Sounds about right. Looks good too.
 I like it 
  December 17, 2013
I'm not going to read this all until I need to, but it looks good :P
 I like it 
  December 17, 2013
Matt this is a home run for me! I've always been fascinated by quantum mechanics . I really like the sign waves , great visual . The bust on top is fantastic as well. Good luck Matt!
 I like it 
  December 17, 2013
Walter would approve. Excellent explanation of the principle, a difficult one to actually fathom without a rather creative aspect initially. Paradox is a fantastic idea to throw this concept at. I hope that my observing the moc doesn't alter the outcome of the contest. ;) Too abstract? sorry. Great one Matt and good luck!
 I like it 
  December 17, 2013
Oh my. I absolutely love seeing the amount of thought you put into each of your entries. The details seem simple at first glance, but when I took a look, I realized that the piece usage, as usual, was absolutely fantastic. The build itself is certainly deserving of that top spot, as all of them will be, I'm sure. Well done Matt! Good luck!
 
By Matt Bace
Add to my favorite builders

12
people like this. See who.

829 visitors
18 comments
Added December 17, 2013
 


LEGO models my own creation MOCpages toys shop Caleb's 4x4 Contest - Round 5: "Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle"


You Your home page | LEGO creations | Favorite builders
Activity Activity | Comments | Creations
Explore Explore | Recent | Groups
MOCpages is an unofficial, fan-created website. LEGO® and the brick configuration are property of The LEGO Group, which does not sponsor, own, or endorse this site.
©2002-2014 Sean Kenney Design Inc | Privacy policy | Terms of use