“It is quite surprising that gravity can play any role in quantum mechanics”, says Igor Pikovski, a theoretical physicist working at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics:”Gravity is usually studied on astronomical scales, but it seems that it also alters the quantum nature of the smallest particles on Earth”.
“It remains to be seen what the results imply on cosmological scales, where gravity can be much stronger”, adds Caslav Brukner University Professor at the University of Vienna and Director of the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information.
The molecule is in a quantum superposition of being several places at the same time.
Quantum theory, the other major discovery in physics in the early 20th century, predicts that the fundamental building blocks of nature show fascinating and mind-boggling behavior.
Extrapolated to the scales of our everyday life quantum theory leads to situations such as the famous example of Schroedinger’s cat: the cat is neither dead nor alive, but in a so-called quantum superposition of both.
The research team, headed by ?aslav Brukner from the University of Vienna and the Institute of Quantum Optics and Quantum Information, found that time dilation also plays a major role in the demise of quantum effects.
The results of Pikovski and his co-workers reveal how larger particles lose their quantum behavior due to their own composition, if one takes time dilation into account.