Physicists at the University of California, Los Angeles set out to design a better transistor and ended up with a discovery that may lead to a new explanation of electron spin and possibly even the nature of space.
Quantum mechanics is usually associated with weird and counterintuitve phenomena we can't observe in real life. But it turns out that quantum processes can occur in living organisms, too, and with very concrete consequences. Some species of birds use quantum mechanics to navigate. And as Plus found out at a recent conference, studying these little creatures' quantum compass may help us achieve the holy grail of computer science: building a quantum computer.
When it comes to the science of the very small, strange things start happening, and our intuition ceases to be a useful guide. Plus finds out about the crazy quantum world, and spin that a politician would die for.