I’m doing a bit of work on an idea for physics outreach, which would involve tying a discussion of modern physics to science fiction stories. I have Opinions about this sort of thing, of course, but I also have readers who might think of things I don’t. So, let me throw this out to you all:

What is your favorite example of a science fiction story (here meaning print, movie, or television) making use of ideas from quantum physics? What’s your least favorite?

My favorite stories invoking QM ideas are probably Robert Charles Wilson’s brilliant “Divided by Infinity” (which I will draw heavily on if I ever go nuts and start a cult), and Ted Chiang’s “Story of Your Life,” which I guest lectured on some time ago (by the way, the transition to WordPress a while back broke all internal links, so here’s a working link to the hypothetical scenario).

But I’m curious to know what other people think, if anybody still reads and comments on blogs.

Comments

  1. #1 Chuk
    October 15, 2013

    Would Wil McCarthy’s books featuring “wellstone” count? The books were pretty good and went into lots of detail about the tech.

  2. #2 Larry Lennhoff
    October 15, 2013

    Greg Egan’s Quarantine which discusses the idea that humans are unusual in being able to collapse wave functions.

  3. #3 Absurd! | Middle Pane
    October 15, 2013

    […] Favorite Quantum Physics in Science Fiction? (scienceblogs.com) […]

  4. #4 Bee
    October 16, 2013
  5. #5 Konstantin Krayn
    St. Petersburg
    October 16, 2013

    If Many-worlds Interpretation counts as a Quantum Physics idea (and it apparently does count since “Divided by Infinity” is already on the list), I would suggest Deja Vu (2006) movie as my favorite science fiction thriller that plays with MWI.

  6. #6 Evan Berkowitz
    Berkeley, CA
    October 16, 2013

    Anathem, by Neal Stephenson. Also discusses a modern version of mathematical Platonism.

  7. #7 AJ
    October 17, 2013

    What I’d like to see is a quantum intersection to get rid of stop lights. Get disassembled on the way in and reassembled on the way out. Not sure if this would be more or less challenging than building a teleporter to some far off land. If civilization were this advanced though, driverless transportation would surely have been in existence long before, so intersections probably wouldn’t matter so much in the first place.

  8. #8 nomuse
    October 17, 2013

    I know pretty much no physics, but I get a kick out of Benford’s “Artifact.” He describes it in the afterword as “Quarks on a human scale.” Basically, our heroes spend the book chasing a single particle around (and at the climax, being chased by it!)

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