Quantum Droplet © Aleks Labuda

Quantum droplets tops 16 incredible science photos on the Royal Society Publishing Photography Competition 2019

Photo capturing the pilot-wave theory of quantum particles in action awarded prestigious science photography prize.

The pilot-wave theory, first proposed by French physicist Louis de Broglie in 1927 is not something that is easy to wrap your head around. In a very broad sense, it theorises that quantum particles are simultaneously waves and particles, but today is not a day for physics lessons. Instead, it is one for marvelling at the incredible power of photography to capture the scientific world at its best.

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And that is what this picture of silicone oil droplets does, picking up the Royal Society Publishing Photography Competition 2019 in the process.

Quantum Droplet © Aleks Labuda
© Aleks Labuda

“These silicone oil droplets are bouncing indefinitely above a vibrating pool of silicone oil at 15 Hz,” said winning photographer and physicist Dr Aleks Labuda, who used a petri dish on top of a loud speaker to capture the wave-particle effects. “The surface waves generated by the droplets are analogous to quantum mechanical waves that guide the dynamics of quantum particles. While the droplets move like quantum particles, they behave like quantum waves.”

If you want to know more about the weird world of quantum physics, we have a couple of excellent articles explaining the weird world of teleportation, tardigrades and entanglement and why we need to rethink quantum physics, but until then, just admire these beautiful award-winning photos from the Royal Society photography competition.

Astronomy

Winner

Halo © Mikhail Kapychka
Halo © Mikhail Kapychka

Runner-up

Taranaki Stars © James Orr
Taranaki Stars © James Orr

Honourable mention

Equinox Supermoon Over the Coast Range © Loren Merrill
Equinox Supermoon Over the Coast Range © Loren Merrill

See more out of this world astrophotography pictures:

Behaviour

Winner

Behaviour, Winner, Mudskippers (Field)
Mudskipper Turf War © Daniel Field

Runner-up

Jelly-Fish association © Eduardo Sampaio
Jelly-Fish association © Eduardo Sampaio

Honourable mention

Fight Club © Alwin Hardenbol
Fight Club © Alwin Hardenbol

See more amazing wildlife photography:

Earth Science and Climatology

Winner

Twister in the Yukon © Lauren Marchant
Twister in the Yukon © Lauren Marchant

Runner-up

Fizzy Sea © Tom Shlesinger
Fizzy Sea © Tom Shlesinger

Honourable mention

Mammatus on Fire © Cándido R. Vicente Calle
Mammatus on Fire © Cándido R. Vicente Calle

Honourable mention

The Child of Krakatoa Awakes © James DP Moore
The Child of Krakatoa Awakes © James DP Moore

Ecology and Environmental Science

Winner

Fade to White © Morgan Bennett-Smith
Fade to White © Morgan Bennett-Smith

Runner-up

A Vigilant Soldier © Abhijeet Bayani
A Vigilant Soldier © Abhijeet Bayani

Honourable mention

Abstract water gallery © Daniela Rapavá
Abstract water gallery © Daniela Rapavá

See some of the best underwater photography from the last few years:

Micro-imaging

Winner/Overall winner

Quantum Droplet © Aleks Labuda
Quantum Droplet © Aleks Labuda

Runner-up

Magnetostatic Spawn © Aleks Labuda
Magnetostatic Spawn © Aleks Labuda

Honourable mention

Completely stitched up © Anne Weston
Completely stitched up © Anne Weston

Take a deeper look into the macroscopic world:

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