Quantum mechanics can be difficult to explain. Especially if, like me, you don’t really understand it no matter how simple it is broken down. Regardless of my lack of understanding of what is going on, I have to say that the quantum garden is utterly beautiful.

 

The sculpture called the Quantum Garden was created by Robin Baumgarten. It may be hard to tell from the video, and even from the detail image above, but the sculpture is constructed from those springy door stops, nestled in neopixel rings. The shiny springs reflect the light to such beautiful effect. They’re being used as input devices as well, you can tweak them, bend them, and slap them to affect the underlying math and evoke a visual display that illustrates the quantum process called “Stirap”

The Quantum Process we’re simulating with Quantum Garden is called Stirap, but introductory texts seem hard to come by, even the wiki page is dense. In essence, it’s simulating a quantum state transfer from one state to another via an intermediary stage (like pouring water from one glass on the left to a glass on the right via a middle glass, but because it’s a quantum process, you need to use a ‘counter intuitive approach’ and swap the empty middle glass with the glass on the right to get optimal results. That’s as far as I understand it from the science team, anyway!). In the installation, the state of the left ‘glass’ is mapped to the middle, and concentric rings moving outwards mean that the quantum state is moving to the right ‘glass’

The project was a team effort, Curated by Dr Annakaisa Kultima, and showing the work of Prof. Sabrina Maniscalco from the Institute of Theoretical Physics in Turku Finland.