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Quantum Mechanics Is Immune to the Butterfly Effect

The “butterfly effect” describes the high sensitivity of many systems to tiny changes in their starting conditions. But while it is a feature of classical physics, it has been unclear whether it also applies to quantum mechanics, which governs the interactions of tiny objects like atoms and fundamental particles. Bin Yan and Nikolai Sinitsyn, a pair of physicists at Los Alamos National Laboratory, decided to find out. As they report in Physical Review Letters, quantum-mechanical systems seem to be more resilient than classical ones. Strangely, they seem to have the capacity to repair damage done in the past as time unfolds.

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