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