posted by on 02.26.09 at 7:46 pm


I was reading an xkcd comic last night and I came across an pretty interesting version of Wikipedia. It’s called Simple English Wikipedia where everything is written in simple english, meaning easier words, grammar, and shorter sentences.

Yeah yeah, wikipedia is unreliable blah blah blah. But its convenient and can be pretty helpful sometimes.

So anyway, I looked up Quantum Mechanics on both.

Regular Wikipedia:

Quantum mechanics is a set of principles underlying the most fundamental known description of all physical systems at the microscopic scale (at the atomic level). Notable amongst these principles are both a dual wave-like and particle-like behavior of matter and radiation, and prediction of probabilities in situations where classical physics predicts certainties. Classical physics can be derived as a good approximation to quantum physics, typically in circumstances with large numbers of particles. Thus quantum phenomena are particularly relevant in systems whose dimensions are close to the atomic scale, such as molecules, atoms, electrons, protons and other subatomic particles…

Simple English Wikipedia:

Quantum mechanics ("QM") is a part of physics. It explains how certain very small things behave. These things are called subatomic particles and electromagnetic waves. Quantum mechanics is mathematical. QM is important to physics and chemistry.

Physics says that there are four kinds of forces of nature. With quantum mechanics we can understand three of them: the strong force, the weak force, and electromagnetism. But we cannot understand the fourth force, gravity, with QM.

Quantum in the Latin language means 'how much'. Quantum mechanics says that a thing cannot move at any speed. Instead, QM says that a thing can only move at certain speeds. There are gaps between these speeds. These gaps have different sizes. That is what 'how much' means.

Pretty significant difference, right?

One thing that sucks is that Simple English Wikipedia is missing a lot of articles from the original Wikipedia and the ones that are there seem to be missing a lot of the details. I guess that’s the drawback of writing stuff in simple english.

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