Is This What Quantum Mechanics Looks Like?

  • Published on Nov 2, 2016
  • Silicone oil droplets provide a physical realization of pilot wave theories.
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    The standard theory of quantum mechanics leaves a bit to be desired. As Richard Feynman put it, "I think I can safely say that no one understands quantum mechanics." This is because observations of experiments have led us to a theory that contradicts common sense. The wave function contains all the information that is knowable about a particle, yet it can only be used to calculate probabilities of where a particle will likely turn up. It can't give us an actual account of where the particle went or where it will be at some later time.
    Some have suggested that this theory is incomplete. Maybe something is going on beneath the radar of standard quantum theory and somehow producing the appearance of randomness and uncertainty without actually being random or uncertain. Theories of this sort are called hidden variable theories because they propose entities that aren't observable. One such theory is pilot wave theory, first proposed by de Broglie, but later developed by Bohm. The idea here is that a particle oscillates, creating a wave. It then interacts with the wave and this complex interaction determines its motion.
    Experiments using silicone oil droplets on a vibrating bath provide a remarkable physical realization of pilot wave theories. They give us a physical picture of what the quantum world might look like if this is what's going on - and this theory is still deterministic. The particle is never in two places at once and there is no randomness.
    Edited by Robert Dahlem
    Sound design by A Shell in the Pit

Comments • 7 779

  • DeSilentio
    DeSilentio Hour ago

    These are note theories but interpretations of the same phenomena. Just like the Newtonian picture and the Einsteinian picture.

  • YK Chan
    YK Chan 5 hours ago

    Quantum mechanic is a misunderstood science without electric force involved. It isn’t mechanic or follow any mechanical law. Quantum mechanic should be electric mechanic and minuscule gravity sitting in the background.
    Gravity pulls the oil sphere towards earth and the oil pond. Atomic associate electric charge in both oil bodies are like charge begins to repel (pull) them apart as they gotten too close, that prevented a physical merge. If received mechanical vibration the oil ball just bounce, and remain electrically separated but merged.
    Atom is electric dominant science. Surface tension is gravity-electric force combined. The tiny oil sphere is a result or surface tension. Molecules and atoms pull together by gravity at the same time repel by like charge associate with each atom and molecule. That is how matter in our universe structured. By the way, Electric force is = 4.1566^42 times g.
    Such e force is strong enough to disintegrate an electric charged atom into sub-atom particles when stressed by another charged particle high speed in a collision course, that a physical contact isn’t necessary in the disintegration process. Remember that astroid electrically disintegrated in mid air over Tunguska Russia? It disintegrated short to a physical contact due to astroid internal electric stress triggered by earth’s electric charge. That is to say astroid and planet didn’t touch one another due to like charge repulsion and when a collision is inevitable it just self destruct under electrical stress (Coulomb force) but never merged. As in planets so do atoms.
    All phenomena in our aether universe can be explain by electric universe model. Contrary, gravity and gravity only universe have holes to be plugged from time to time because it is fictional or religious science. Each time a hole is plugged also create new holes. Are we tired of that ?
    Once upon a time far far away there was a giant sun powered by hydrogen bomb without exploded being compressed by gravity. When hydrogen fuel used up gravity takes over collapsing it into a tiny dense sphere, so dense that light can’t escape (misunderstood that light has kinetic energy). That tiny sphere for the Black Hole. Force Kepler’s orbit law aside in favor to flaw#2 .. that black hole will continue eat up planets in our universe and eventually the entire universe. That have gotten Einstein’s administration and the church’s worried. An order was placed to fix this theoretical thread#2. Then out of nowhere here comes Hubble’s expanding universe fix#2 as it may seems. He misunderstood red shift for Doppler shift on planets and galaxies. Actually visual spectrum blue/red shift is associate with the ambient cosmic energy to a galaxy or planet. Energy in the form of cosmic plasma. In other words all planets are/were electrically lighted up by cosmic plasma. Their emission, visual spectrum, color temperature, varies according what model of plasma that planet is subject to and not any Doppler shift. Mean time the unanswered flaws keep growing.

  • Nothing\
    Nothing\ 7 hours ago

    I've seen this effect with regular droplets of water under normal conditions, but the droplet gets absorbed much faster. incidentally if you're a guy who loves physics, going to the bathroom is perfect for thinking about fluid dynamics.

  • Chris Indermuehle
    Chris Indermuehle 12 hours ago

    So weird. I just came to this conclusion on my own within the last few months and now I find that people already had this idea AND someone did a video on it. Thank you so much for providing evidence that I'm not completely without rational thought, just a traditional physics education.
    The questions which occur to me next are, what is the wave in? Also, does this indeed mean that light is a particle, not a wave...but it acts like a wave because it is interacting with one?

  • DLM
    DLM Day ago

    Had no idea Baker Mayfield was a quantum guru

  • Limara64
    Limara64 Day ago

    Hi, can you help me find the term for the ‘Similarities’ we find all over the natural world.
    I.e. Nebulae resembling a womb or Plankton under a scope and a Petri dish of germs....etc.
    Have I explained it properly?
    I just found you via Destin and I couldn’t be happier or my hungry mind couldn’t be happier. So 👀look out for more of my minds’ strange questions.
    Great vid, really explains the tiny worlds’ laws.
    Lim 👋🏻

  • Mr Spellgamer
    Mr Spellgamer 2 days ago


  • Trueantitheist
    Trueantitheist 3 days ago

    I've learned far more from watching videos like this then I ever did at school, awesome job man.

  • Slava
    Slava 3 days ago +1

    Finally, the start of end of this uncertainty and multiverse madness. I was almost about to become a physisist to burst that bubble.

    • Chris Indermuehle
      Chris Indermuehle 11 hours ago

      Einsteins idea that the universe was rational and observable always made the most sense to me. I hate all the la la land theories too.

  • Mike Price
    Mike Price 4 days ago

    If David Bohm and Richard Fineman had known about fractals and the mandelbrot set function our knowledge of physics may have been greatly advanced

  • Devasia Thomas
    Devasia Thomas 4 days ago +1

    Dude just made me understand why electrons end up where they do in the double slit experiment. I never really understood why the path changes before this.! Thank you :)

  • Salam Salam
    Salam Salam 5 days ago

    Pilot wave.. Helps explain the phenomenon

  • Luke Visinoni
    Luke Visinoni 5 days ago +1

    This absolutely blew my mind. Wow.

  • Raul D Durand
    Raul D Durand 5 days ago

    Does this mean that Albert Einstein could be right and the universe is deterministic?

  • Wu Li
    Wu Li 5 days ago

    E coli bacteria also display superfluidity, while physicists have demonstrated the existence of unpredicted forms of matter such as "photonic-matter". The implication is that quantum mechanics can be viewed as expressing self-organizing behavior, like living organisms. If so, then researchers first encountered phenomena such as superfluidity at close to absolute zero temperatures, merely because it was easier to replicate the effect at those temperatures. The question of what do quantum mechanics look like, can therefore be broken down to particle-wave duality, and if anyone wants an example of what that looks like you can easily provide one.

    • Wu Li
      Wu Li 5 days ago

      Google as a sponsor, means you might as well have the Pentagon as a sponsor, and they support spreading archaic ideas in physics.

    • Wu Li
      Wu Li 5 days ago

      Academics are stuck in the last century for the most part, and most of what I'm talking about is heavily censored online, because it is related to corporate and government research into AI, fuzzy logic, and quantum mechanics.

    • Wu Li
      Wu Li 5 days ago

      This is related to dimension squeezing and nonlinear dynamics. It means everything looks random, until it doesn't, and we already have evidence that three eigenstates are enough to produce causality as we know it, meaning causality is ultimately random, space-time is hyperuniform, and 42 is as good as it gets.

  • 87agomes
    87agomes 5 days ago

    I wish I was smart enough to understand all this jargon... it trully is a concept hard to grasp

  • Ishmam Masud - Cuz I Can

    It looks like that electron neutrino you have as your picture.
    Just saying.
    I think it's a ELECTRON NEUTRINO!!!!!!

  • Marik Zilberman
    Marik Zilberman 6 days ago


  • Travis Stone
    Travis Stone 6 days ago

    Team pilot waves!

  • Makr Berg
    Makr Berg 6 days ago

    This makes more sense. But didn't Einstein think of this? He lost the argument right? And how can you explain a photon when it is excited, it doesn't go through the space between but instantly goes to the next.

    • Sean Vogel
      Sean Vogel 6 days ago

      Maybe it just goes faster than the speed of light

  • George Gilmore
    George Gilmore 7 days ago

    This has been explained as fluid dynamics and has been "debunked" by Thomas Bohr (Niels Bohr's grandson)

    • MegaCake1234
      MegaCake1234 6 days ago

      Hasn't its non-relativistic version been the only type of Pilot Wave that's been disproven? iirc the debunking only accounted for the oldest versions of the theory, which kinda makes sense given its sparsely worked on and is fairly immature compared to the Copenhagen interpretation

  • paul barnett
    paul barnett 7 days ago

    Matter is just space cause by waves and waves are cause by will. I can and have been effecting Schumann resonance by my will and can demonstrate this.

  • Patrik S.
    Patrik S. 7 days ago

    So the electrons are also directed by their wave?

  • Rose Fisher
    Rose Fisher 8 days ago

    Copenhagen: I don't know WHAT the F$%K is going on so I'm gonna call it mystical unicorn magic "randomness". The universe is a random magic mess. ** looks for the unicorn rainbow poop emoji **

  • Pooja Raj
    Pooja Raj 8 days ago

    Wow dude this was the best explanation i will ever know

  • IceCreamPiez
    IceCreamPiez 8 days ago

    you can do that with water

  • Scientific Humanist
    Scientific Humanist 8 days ago

    Pilot whales are fine with me 😑

  • SpeedRider
    SpeedRider 9 days ago

    This is my theory that light has a small bit of gravity. So that's why it can go to a random spot when going past a mass. Because it would be nearly impossible to have a photon be perfectly straight because you would have gravity of all the different mass around us. And the closer you are to a mass the more it effects us.
    The reason light must have mass because solar sail gains speed because of light and light does not need a lot of mass because it is moving so fast that it would gain higher mass if I remember that correctly.
    Like I have no way to test this but if anyone has equipment that can please do or if you know someone.

  • Yewbdar Petros
    Yewbdar Petros 9 days ago

    I have no quantum theory background,
    Yet anything that I learned from you advanced human beings, I trie, to apply it my every day challenges. After all everything is open to interpretation. Correct?

  • Bacterial Overlords
    Bacterial Overlords 9 days ago

    I know I’m late to the party, great video. The pilot wave theory seems to make a lot of sense, especially over the strange behaviours of the Copenhagen theory. Just one question, how does the pilot wave theory deal with the quantum eraser double slit experiment. In my mind this shows there is some “spooky action at a distance” that seems to collapse the wave functions retroactively based on the observation after the particle has passed through the slits. Not sure how pilot wave theory would be able to deal with this. Happy to be told though.

  • Jordan Marashlian
    Jordan Marashlian 9 days ago

    Pilot wave theory seems very interesting to me. Is this theory testable? In my opinion, theories are more reliable if they can be tested. Because what’s the point of looking into something if it can never be tested then confirmed?

  • Diana Westrup
    Diana Westrup 9 days ago

    Hard to fully grasp for us mortals, but I just want to give testimony of one scientific observation: Derek is such a handsome scientist. Lucky wife...

    • Diana Westrup
      Diana Westrup 7 days ago +1

      @steve davies You don't have to remind me... (tear drops...)...

    • steve davies
      steve davies 7 days ago

      Given that you have recorded your observation I hope your hubby doesn't ever get to view it because according to quantum theory the state of it must now forever remain unchanged... thus blowing all hope of any super positions with Derek...

  • Andreas Maier
    Andreas Maier 10 days ago

    Sorry, this is just wrong:

  • Nima Nassersharif
    Nima Nassersharif 10 days ago

    They’re all wrong, we’re still too stupid.

  • Photosounder
    Photosounder 10 days ago +1

    This is the best and most illuminating video I've seen on the topic. I never liked the usual "the particle magically goes through both until you look at it" voodoo nonsense, this visual demonstration of the pilot wave theory makes the problem seem so clear that it just seems like the Copenhagen voodoo proponents are just confused.

  • Duke Skookum
    Duke Skookum 11 days ago

    The droplet experiment is missing a crucial part of the double-slit experiment: When one measures which slit was used, the interference pattern dissapears in favor of the two-band (particle) pattern. Droplets don't do that. Is as if the wave part would dissapear when observed, leaving the droplet alone.

  • MegaHard0n
    MegaHard0n 12 days ago

    can the reflection of the drop be consider as the two state existing at the same time?

  • tenstairs
    tenstairs 12 days ago +2

    Check out Collective Electrodynamics by Carver A. Mead, a very thorough and modern exploration of this topic!

  • Kourosh Salahshoor
    Kourosh Salahshoor 13 days ago

    Pilot wave theory

  • Deutsche Ritter
    Deutsche Ritter 16 days ago +2

    What if the oil surface is curved or could you stack one drop over another?

  • 2Langdon
    2Langdon 17 days ago +6

    De Broglie, pilot waves, definitely.

  • BlueBeam Musiq
    BlueBeam Musiq 18 days ago +1

    Totally understand now how the wave works, but why then when a camera is put in front does the photon change from wave back to particle, unplug the camera goes back from particle to wave

  • Audio Maverick
    Audio Maverick 18 days ago

    Better than inventing trillions of new universes to explain the same thing.

  • Evan Sokolson
    Evan Sokolson 18 days ago

    Pilot waves

  • Quốc Đạt Trần
    Quốc Đạt Trần 18 days ago +2

    2:22 who else wanted the droplet to hit the corner lol

  • Sergio de Regules
    Sergio de Regules 19 days ago

    There is still a thriving (though aging) community of physicists trying to explain quantum weirdness in terms of electromagnetic interactions of very classical particles with the zero-point field. The field... er, the discipline... is called stochastic electrodynamics (SED).

  • Sergio de Regules
    Sergio de Regules 19 days ago

    Oh, sorry. You did mention De Broglie.

  • Sergio de Regules
    Sergio de Regules 19 days ago

    That's basically Bohm's theory of quantum potential... which looks very much like De Broglie's theory of pilot waves... Which means it probably doesn't work ("too simple", said Einstein; "too classical", said the Copenhagen interpretation).

  • Steve C
    Steve C 19 days ago

    Until I saw this video, I always considered the pilot-wave interpretation of QM to be absurd. Now I'm not so sure. Well done! My favorite of your videos.

  • Matta's Account
    Matta's Account 19 days ago

    maybe we can only look at the wave not the particle

  • Optillian
    Optillian 19 days ago +1

    Ask Ant-Man.

  • Erez Shidlov
    Erez Shidlov 20 days ago

    Pilot waves allegedly refuted:
    There is this paper where a gedanken (thought) experiment is presented by Thomas Bohr (grandson of THE Bohr),
    which allegedly refutes pilot waves for the double slit experiment quite nicely, (at least pilot waves which are created and maintained by the particle).
    The paper is not free:,
    but here's an article describing it:
    As a matter of fact interference of the double slit experiment using that marvelous droplet phenomenon couldn't be reproduced so far - according to this latter source.
    Discussion and corrections are more than welcome ! :-)
    Much science love to Veritasium for all those great videos !

  • Kolyo Dan
    Kolyo Dan 20 days ago

    Congratulations for this presentation! I know this for about 3 years and this is the most beautiful explanation of many quantum phenomena. Check Bohmian mechanics, it is quite well developed, although not yet relativistic. I believe problem with relativistic Bohmian mechanics is not with it, but with Special Relativity itself, but it is a long talk. I am a big fan of this examples, although they don't explain everything, especially entanglement and also this is bouncing from two dimentional surface. What will be a bounce from a 3-D space look like I don't know. Now Copenhagen interpretation is a fossil relic from early days of quantum mechanics. Many scientist believe in many world interpretation. I personally in kind of combination between many world and Bohm. There is a possibility that the particles which exist in our world can interfere with field or vacuum waves from the other worlds that resides in the same place in space, but different universe, totally weird but maybe true!

  • Martin Novák
    Martin Novák 21 day ago

    You really made my day!

  • PengWei Lin
    PengWei Lin 22 days ago

    maybe the wave surface is aether.

  • onehit pick
    onehit pick 23 days ago

    I appreciate this video very much. I have previously disregarded your channel due to some blind big bang propaganda, but this content is scientific, open-minded, and relevant.

  • David Dennis
    David Dennis 24 days ago

    I want the behind the scenes video of how these droplet videos were recorded.

  • Henrique Gomes
    Henrique Gomes 24 days ago

    The problems start when you try to apply this analogy to more than one particle (a fact often obscured by Bohmians). The de Broglie wavefunction then explores a higher dimensional space (for 2 particles, twice the dimension of space, and so on). It is not possible to emulate that with the droplets.

  • sp277
    sp277 24 days ago

    I like the Pilot Wave.-

  • Mark Embacher
    Mark Embacher 24 days ago

    Does this mean for this to be true that there would have to be an energy source for the entire universe (speaker) and a medium that the particles sit in (oil)? Or would a massless particle not need a new infusion of energy to keep the system going?

  • Flavius Aspra
    Flavius Aspra 25 days ago +1

    So the pilot wave theory would be correct if we can observe causation between the width of the wall of the double-slit experiment and the interference pattern.
    Or at least a correlation.

  • Jerry Sedlacek
    Jerry Sedlacek 25 days ago

    Look at anything, quantum mechanics, Duh. The problem with models is they always breakdown in application.

  • Ade Isaac
    Ade Isaac 25 days ago

    Dude, I am not a nerd physicist but when it comes to this stuff, I am go heywire. Thanks for the presentation

  • Sean Kelly
    Sean Kelly 25 days ago

    Man, that was one of the best videos ever. Thank you very much for clarifying a visual representation of something so mystifying. And at the very end there, no it should absolutely not depend on what any one person prefers. Thanks man.

  • Omar Faruk
    Omar Faruk 25 days ago

    If the droplet is driven by the wave, what drives the wave?

    • Omar Faruk
      Omar Faruk 24 days ago

      @mdiem I heard that. This is an instance he artifically created. I talked about the actual reality.

    • mdiem
      mdiem 24 days ago

      In the first 2 seconds of the video, he says he is vibrating the oil with a spreaker.

  • Kirti Varsani
    Kirti Varsani 25 days ago

    Whats the explanation for the behaviour of electrons when you see them and when you don't see them?

  • Bobby Beretta
    Bobby Beretta 26 days ago

    Ah the classic Copenhagen interpretation

  • andres moreno
    andres moreno 26 days ago +1

    i think you are one step to finding out out something big, maybe as you said the wave stores information thats why the second path is different

  • Sklawz
    Sklawz 26 days ago

    The pre-dymastic people who built the pyramids and various other structures used a similar technology to build pyramids and other things.

  • Norton Gartino
    Norton Gartino 26 days ago


  • Fernando Spinelli
    Fernando Spinelli 26 days ago

    Is it valid or even meaningful for somebody to say “this is how the universe works”.
    One of my teachers said “scientists shouldn’t attempt to understand the universe. We can only capture a fraction of what is going on. We are in search for good enough models so our limited capabilities can represent the reality in a way that make sense”

  • Fernando Spinelli
    Fernando Spinelli 26 days ago

    Absolutely brilliant!!! It blow my mind. Never heard before of this. I am not even a quantum mechanics beginner. This is a great model.

  • Erebus1860
    Erebus1860 27 days ago

    I dont even know any of these but im interested

  • Swapnil Chitriv
    Swapnil Chitriv 27 days ago

    I'm your big fan love from india

  • Satwik Bansal
    Satwik Bansal 27 days ago

    As always thanks for watching...

  • Johnny Young
    Johnny Young 27 days ago

    Why is the universe so strange...

  • Isaac DeFrain
    Isaac DeFrain 27 days ago

    It would be incredible to see this analogy extended to entanglement. Wonderful presentation and visualization of a fundamental concept! Makes me wonder how one could major in physics in undergrad and walk away having never seen this...

  • Paul TheSkeptic
    Paul TheSkeptic 27 days ago

    Why would you not want to accept that the universe was deterministic? Isn't indeterminacy more appealing? I mean, we should go with what's true of course, it just seems like an odd thing to say.

  • Kazperian
    Kazperian 27 days ago +4

    I know a Quantum Law. Every time there is a video on youtube on Quantum mechanics the youtuber will explain the double slit experiment. Seen this a million times.

    • Kazperian
      Kazperian 20 days ago

      @John Becker Lol true, with over 3,100 likes right?

    • John Becker
      John Becker 20 days ago

      I know a second Quantum Law. In the comments of said video people will argue about Quantum interpretations and take things on faith and what feels comfortable. Then they will try to make an appeal to authority argument saying "I have a PhD in Quantum Physics" sadly the amount of people claiming that is more then the amount of people who actually do.

  • pecfree
    pecfree 27 days ago

    This seem to be the accurate answer to the double slit experiment

  • Laird Whitehill's Astronomy

    Great explanation. I’m gonna use it in my classes if you don’t mind. With attribution of course.

  • Kojak
    Kojak 27 days ago +1

    *Famous Experiment Dooms Alternative to Quantum Weirdness*
    _Oil droplets guided by “pilot waves” have failed to reproduce the results of the quantum double-slit experiment, crushing a century-old dream that there exists a single, concrete reality._

  • Finlay Copley
    Finlay Copley 27 days ago

    This is a very one sided argument


    Pilot waves for sure!

  • Eric Co
    Eric Co 27 days ago

    Im no Scientist, but i think Quantum particles should be studied base on wavelength, interactions,.

  • Sam Hands
    Sam Hands 27 days ago

    How does the pilot wave interpretation attempt to explain the phenomenon of the pattern on the screen returning to two bands when the particle is observed as travelling through one slit or the other?

  • Dr. Weird
    Dr. Weird 27 days ago


  • Ward Out
    Ward Out 28 days ago

    What came first, the particle or the pilot wave? The chicken or the egg?

  • Milan Trcka
    Milan Trcka 28 days ago

    Now we need a rotating frame of reference - and see what happens. Perhaps spinning the speaker on a turntable?

  • Darren Grundy
    Darren Grundy 28 days ago

    As above, so below.

  • Billy Haskett
    Billy Haskett 28 days ago

    I think we should do more research on how we see. We are atoms looking at atoms so tell me what you think about this. How would this work and why would other atoms (eyes) interfere with other atoms waves collapsing.

  • The More You Know
    The More You Know 28 days ago

    Idk, what medium are you suggesting particles form the wave in; cause we experience some of these phenomenons in space where there’s nothing for them to create standing waves in to affect/determine their path

  • Mason Stuart
    Mason Stuart 28 days ago

    Another interesting and possible way of describing quantum mechanics is the resonance of sand in accordance to frequency

  • ShoMontage
    ShoMontage 28 days ago +3

    "The layer never shrinks to about 100 nm which is required for the drop to recombine with the oil" *Drop recombines with oil* 0:30

    • Dr. Weird
      Dr. Weird 27 days ago

      The speaker was probably turned off?

  • kellen liame
    kellen liame 28 days ago

    I tried to understand what you said. I can’t tell if it’s because I just woke up, or a lack of general understanding of necessary mechanics, but you lost me.

  • Meta Patriot
    Meta Patriot 28 days ago +1

    "it all comes down to what you're comfortable with "? That's not science,,I like the theory though.

  • New Clear
    New Clear 28 days ago +3

    i always wondered how it works while i was sitting in the toilet and see water droplets hovering bouncing above water

  • Thomas Krocker
    Thomas Krocker 28 days ago

    This example does better to show the motion space-time exhibits but the granularity of this example is too small. Non-newtonian fluids do more in the way of decreasing the granularity and do a better job at showing the frothing or bubbling effect. While I haven't seen an example large enough to show this same effect with a Non-newtonian fluid I believe with enough surface area "larger speaker" an inflated ball would be able to suspend across the fluid along the peaks and valleys .

  • Rajeev rajeev
    Rajeev rajeev 29 days ago

    what is silicon oil?

  • Brother-Z 1010
    Brother-Z 1010 29 days ago +7

    Hank Pym: Am I a Joke to you?