Get ready for a quantum leap

by Volker Weber

Did you feel it? No? Well, you can't. Some people think that a quantum leap is a particularly large leap. The opposite it true.

Ironically, when laymen use the term colloquially, they use it to describe large jumps in progress, when in reality a quantum leap is a very small change of state.

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Physik bei Volker ;)

Interessanterweise benutzt das auch unsere Kanzlerin, eine promovierte Physikerin, falsch....

Frank Köhntopp, 2010-11-27

I always took the colloquial use of quantum leap to be playing on the discreetness, that there was nothing in-between, rather than the size.

Kerr Rainey, 2010-11-27

But when the electron falls back to its former orbit, which it ordinarily does after a short time, the energy needed for the leap is emitted again. Therefore, for some political issues the term is very appropriate. Think of Atomkonsens (limiting the lifetime of German nuclear plants) as a quantum leap and of the "Atomkompromiss" (lifting said limit) by the current government as the fall back.

Andreas Schödl, 2010-11-27

I'm with Kerr on this one — that's my understanding of the usage of the term as well.

It is discontinuous; electrons jump from one energy level to another instantaneously, with no intervening or intermediary condition. The phenomenon contradicts classical theories, which expect energy levels to be continuous.

So I would interpret it more like "our progress was huge without any (smaller) intermediate steps". Sales people of course may sometimes not be very reluctant to call progress a quantum leap ... :-)

Michael Sedlaczek, 2010-11-27

Size not always matters ;-)

Arnd Layer, 2010-11-27

@Frank: Ein Schelm, wer Böses dabei denkt, aber diese Dame hat ja auch ihre Unterschrift unter ein Papier zum Thema Nuklearabfall gesetzt, wo sie eigentlich besser gewusst haben müsste, was das bedeutet. Sie kann also nicht wirklich als Maßstab gelten.

Armin Roth, 2010-11-27

It's all quite relative, as always. For the systems involved a quantum leap is a complete change of state in a very short amount of time which may lead to a whole set of new behaviours.

Additionally there is the dimension of making the leap from analog, continuous models to quantized ones, apparently capturing much better our physical reality - a total change of mind was required.

Hence, discarding limiting antophocentric views, a quantum leap is pure awesomeness.

Frank Quednau, 2010-11-27

@Vowe.We could better demonstrate how the colloquial is diametrically opposite to the literal by using a practical example.

This seems to be the best one I can come up with and would be best understood by the yellowverse.

IBM's marketing efforts has produced a quantum leap in sales....

Giulio Campobassi, 2010-11-28

Ich habe es immer so verstanden, dass der "Quantensprung" nicht die schiere Größe der Veränderung aufzeigt, sondern schlicht, dass man etwas sehr schwieriges, lange Zeit nicht reproduzierbares nachgewiesen hat (ich kann es kaum in Deutsch ausdrücken, deshalb erspare ich uns hier mein Engisch).

Sven Richert, 2010-11-28

Das Problem hat "Vince Ebert" schon in seinem Buch und Bühnenprogramm behandelt. Nicht nur das es eine sehr kleine Veränderung ist, sonder auch eine Veränderung zum Negativen (Ladung). :-)

Torben Volkmann, 2010-11-30

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I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


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