Let’s learn about the quantum realm 

The smallest bits of matter in the universe behave in some pretty strange ways

A thin band of energy connects two entangled atoms

When you zoom in far enough (as in this artist’s illustration), the universe starts to look really weird.


In Marvel’s upcoming movie, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, the heroes venture into the quantum realm. That is, the universe on scales smaller than atoms, where the normal laws of physics don’t apply. The technology may not exist for someone to shrink down to this size in real life. But Marvel did get one thing right: The quantum realm is a truly strange place.  

For instance, quantum-sized objects can act like bits of matter or like waves. They can exist in more than one place at once. And specially linked, or entangled, quantum particles can mirror each other perfectly, even when they’re on opposite sides of the universe.   

These rules of quantum physics may sound like magic tricks. But scientists have observed their effects in the lab. So researchers know that this is how matter and energy on the smallest scales actually behave. The question of why, though, remains one of the biggest mysteries in the universe.  

Want to know more? We’ve got some stories to get you started: 

The quantum world is mind-bogglingly weird At the smallest scales, particles are ghostly and ill-behaved. No one understands them, but that doesn’t keep scientists from trying. (9/14/2017) Readability: 7.3 

Birds could get their sense of direction from quantum physics Songbirds could detect north and south using a protein in their eye. It works somewhat like a compass. (7/15/2021) Readability: 6.1 

Black holes might have a temperature Black holes may leak some radiation, due to quantum particles spontaneously blipping into existence at a black hole’s edge. (6/25/2019) Readability: 7.5 

Quantum physics may seem abstract and unrelatable. But it actually affects many things we can observe in the world around us.

Explore more 

Scientists Say: Quantum 

Scientists Say: Atom 

Explainer: Quantum is the world of the super small 

Experiments on ‘entangled’ quantum particles won the physics Nobel Prize 

A new device uses atoms’ quantum weirdness to peer underground 

Famous physics cat now alive, dead and in two boxes at once 

Our eyes can see single specks of light 

Weird physics warps nearby star’s light 

Cool Jobs: Big future for super small science 

Mysteries about the universe abound, from its beginning to its end 


Play around with quantum concepts in online games from the National Q-12 Education Partnership. Use operations like those found inside a quantum computer to serve hungry customers at a bakery. Or play a Connect Four–like game that explores the relationship between superposition, probability and quantum measurement. These games and others are designed to give middle- and high-school students a fun introduction to the wonder and weirdness of quantum physics.  

Maria Temming is the Assistant Managing Editor at Science News Explores. She has bachelor's degrees in physics and English, and a master's in science writing.

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