For the first time, an experiment has confirmed that the laws of thermodynamics hold true even at the quantum level – which means that even in the quantum world, you can’t unspill that glass of milk. The reason time runs the way it does in our everyday lives is because of the second law of thermodynamics, which states that over time all systems become more disordered, or increase in entropy. And that process is irreversible, which is why time only moves forward. But theoretical physicists had predicted that on the quantum level, the process might go both ways.
"Our experiment shows the irreversible nature of quantum dynamics, but does not pinpoint, experimentally, what causes it at the microscopic level, what determines the onset of the arrow of time," one of the researchers, Mauro Paternostro from Queen's University in Ireland, told Phys.org. "Addressing it would clarify the ultimate reason for its emergence."
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