Aaron O'Connell

Physicist
Aaron O'Connell is the first person to experimentally induce and measure quantum effects in the motion of a humanmade object, bridging the quantum and classical worlds.

Why you should listen

Growing up reading philosophy, playing guitar, and generally not thinking about science, Aaron O’Connell never expected to revolutionize the world of physics. But an inspiring stuffed-monkey-shot-from-a-cannon demonstration and a series of positive research experiences as an undergraduate propelled him to graduate school at UCSB.

While there, in an experiment remarkable both for its conceptual simplicity and technical difficulty, O’Connell was the first person to measure quantum effects in an object large enough to see with the naked eye. Named Breakthrough of the year by Science Magazine, the experiment shattered the previous record for the largest quantum object, showing decisively that there is no hard line between the quantum and everyday worlds.

What others say

"Dead silence — and then roaring applause. I still remember that brief moment that revealed the astonishment of everyone in the audience." — Markus Aspelmeyer, Nature

Aaron O'Connell’s TED talks

Quotes from Aaron O'Connell

Imagine if you're in multiple places at the same time. What would that be like? How would your consciousness handle your body being delocalized in space?
Aaron O'Connell
TED2011 • 1M views Jun 2011
Fascinating, Jaw-dropping
If everything is made up of little particles and all the little particles follow quantum mechanics, then shouldn't everything just follow quantum mechanics?
Aaron O'Connell
TED2011 • 1M views Jun 2011
Fascinating, Jaw-dropping