The Real Point of Zero Point

While Kenneth Ford’s 101 Quantum Questions was generally good, there was one really regrettable bit, in Question 23: What is a “state of motion?” When giving examples of states, Ford defines the ground state as the lowest-energy state of a nucleus, then notes that its energy is not zero. He then writes: An object brought […]

Waves: Moving Without Going Anywhere

At the tail end of Tuesday’s post about wind and temperature, I asked a “vaguely related fun bonus question:” If the air molecules that surround us are moving at 500 m/s anyway, why isn’t the speed of sound more like 500 m/s than 300 m/s? This is another one that people are sometimes surprised by. […]