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Welcome to the sixty second crash course on quantum theory.

The tiny protons and electrons, arranged in probabilisticially defined positions determined by formulas that you hated so dearly during your senior year high school and / or college physics and chemistry courses, were only the beginning of the story. Even smaller particles, called muons and fermions, do even funkier things. Quantum theory basically attempts to define how much we can possibly know about these ridiculously tiny particles, and ends up spelling out a universally applicable law. In simplest terms, it tells us that the more accurately we measure a moving body's speed, the less accurately we can measure its position at that same instant, and vice versa. Anyone who has ever spent some time speeding away on a motorcycle will immediately identify with the general idea governing this theory, although it mainly deals with speeds closer to that of light.

Another important notion is that of measurement itself: Quantum theory suggests that trying to measure things more accurately disrupts the phenomenon under question more and more drastically. You may even, upon deciding on how zany a value you wish to see, impose an appropriate level of accuracy, therefore disrupting the experiment within a predefined range and achieving what would be termed in literary circles as 'fulfilling a prophecy' altough certainly not as 'conforming to the scientific method' and most definitely not as 'hoping to get any more funding from your current sponsor, seeing as how you've blown up your third particle accelerator in less than a month'.

The role of measurements in scientific experiments is usually illustrated by the allegedly clarifying example of the Schroedinger's cat thought experiment, which, more or less, consists of a sadistic scientist stuffing a cat into a box that holds a piece of decaying Uranium 235. At this point, quantum theory regards the cat as both alive and dead at the same time, until such time as when the box is opened and when we know for sure whether the cat is alive or dead. The explanation of this experiment usually confuses people more than its description does, therefore we will prefer not to pursue the subject further.

Of course, certain readers may prefer to read a decidedly more in-depth explanation, or possibly conduct an on-line version of this famous experiment. Those who choose to remain relatively sane, on the other hand, can instead read more on quantum physics as it relates to the structure of time and the prospect of time travel.