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Watch an Artist's Sublime Visualization of Quantum Collisions

Shaunacy Ferro

Quantum Fluctuations (short version) from Markos Kay on Vimeo.

The quantum world is hard enough to comprehend on a basic level, much less visualize. Scientists can only study quantum interactions indirectly, by studying what happens when particles collide, after all. Artist Markos Kay is making it a little bit easier to imagine quantum mechanics through digital art, as Co.Design reports. His “Quantum Fluctuations” are virtual experiments, as he calls them, designed to simulate the work of particle accelerators through computer visualizations.

Created with input from researchers at CERN in Geneva, his visualizations show millions of virtual particles interacting to create structures and patterns, similar to the way real particles interact.

“The film begins with the underlying quantum fluctuations and interactions that occur in the background of a collision,” he writes in the film’s description. “It shows the intricate structure of the proton beams that collide to create an outflow of particle showers which create composite particles that eventually decay.”

By using the same kind of computer simulations that scientists use in quantum research as art, “this conceptual reimagining of quantum theory aims to challenge our ideas of how scientific observation and knowledge are formed,” he argues. You don't need a physics background to appreciate the amazing visuals, though.

[h/t Co.Design]

Teaser image by Markos Kay, screenshot via Vimeo