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One of my favourite expressions is the phrase ‘quantum leap’. In the conventional parlance, it means, ‘a very large leap forward.

It stems from the Latin word, quantum, which means ‘how much?’; quantum theory answered this question by saying ‘very little’. A quantum, I believe, is the smallest possible unit of energy.

So what then is a ‘quantum leap’? Quantum jumping is a bizarre phenomenon whereby an atom, whose probability state is erratic whilst it remains unobserved, may jump from location A to location B because the probability of it being in location B is non-zero. If atoms were ping-pong balls, it would be like a ball being inside a jug magically reappearing outside the jug. Just because.

So a quantum leap might have originally meant a highly improbable leap forward. Instead, it means a huge leap forward – the exact opposite of what quantum leap should mean. Isn’t that a quantum leap in logic?
Edit: Damnit, I just re-read this post and realised how precise my language was. I’m writing an assignment, so my brain has switched to legal writing mode.

Also, the half-pun in the last sentence just failed. It was meant to be witty – its both a large leap and a highly improbable leap.


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