Chugga-lugging along the railway line between Waterloo and St. Jacobs, the Institute for Quantum Computing ushered human “photons” through a pair of “slits” constructed inside a vintage dining carriage. Inspired by the real double-slit experiment — an iconic demonstration of the wave-particle duality of light and other quantum oddities — projections on a screen captured the participants’ likenesses in unique “interference patterns.” A number of guests were heard to holler: “I’m a wave! I’m a particle!”
The installation was one of many eclectic happenings aboard the second annual Steel Rail Sessions, a moving mash-up of arts, culture and science than unfolded during a two-hour choo-choo ride. The brainchild of Hilary Abel, editor of RQ Magazine, the event saw hundreds of people walking the length of the entire train, mingling and drinking and painting and singing and handling snakes (yes, there were Snakes on a Train!) and passing through our life-sized double-slit apparatus.
While we here at the Quantum Factory came up with the idea for the double-slit contraption, it could never, ever have happened without the monumental effort and dedication of Darin and David White — the D.I.Y. impresarios behind MakeBright. When asked what MakeBright is all about, Darin tends to reply: “We make stuff!” And make stuff they did! They spent countless hours cutting, hammering, drilling, sewing, programming, testing, gluing and otherwise making the double-slit experiment from scratch. Perhaps for next year’s Steel Rail Sessions they’ll help us build a human teleportation machine!
Stay tuned to the Quantum Factory for a video of the Steel Rail Sessions and all the quantummy fun we had aboard.