Monday, August 25, 2014

A Cat's Grin

"Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin," thought Alice; "but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in all my life!"
    Lewis Carroll’s Cheshire Cat, which vanishes to leave only its smile, is a weird notion but it turns out to be a perfect way to describe what physicists have just uncovered in the quantum world. New research performed at the Laue-Langevin Institute in Grenoble has shown that matter can be separated from its properties. The matter in question was a collection of neutrons, particles found at the centre of every atom. The property was their direction of spin in a magnetic field. Physicists once considered these things as inseparable as a cat and its grin. No more....
    Cathal O'Connell is a science writer based in Melbourne.
    He is on Twitter @iCatHalo

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