Bouncing droplets on a free surface and the quantum analogy

two_dropletsRobert Brady visited the programme from the University of Cambridge on Tuesday 5 August, to speak on “Why bouncing droplets are a pretty good model for quantum mechanics”.  This talk follows up on the talk of Paul Milewski on Friday 1 August.  He reviewed the experiments of Yves Couder, and then presented an analysis based more on quantum principles rather than fluid dynamic modelling.  The principal equation was a wave equation in the circular dish with a amplitude dependent speed c, emphasizing the role of Lorentz invariance.  He pointed out an interesting analogy between the Bjerknes force on bubbles and the analogue in quantum mechanics, including a Bjerknes analogue of Planck’s constant.  Other quantum phenomena have analogues in this hydrodynamic experiment, such as double-slit diffraction and tunneling.  A preprint on this topic, Brady & Anderson (2014), can be found on the arXiv.  A related paper, finding quantum phenomena, such as the Aharonov-Bohm effect, in water waves is the paper Berry, Chambers, Large, Upstill & Walmsley (1980).  A video of the talk is here.

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