Originally Posted by Esuohlim
I basically meant negligible with respect to kinematics in the macro world. I'm an engineer first, (shitty) physicist second. It just makes no sense to me that a "quantum particle sea" could be the driving mechanism behind propelling a space craft.
About a hundred years ago, my QM prof gave us a thought experiment to demonstrate the absurdity of certain quantum effects manifesting in the physical world. The concept of tunnelling was one such effect - he talked of taking one of the smaller students in the class and throwing him against a brick wall trillions upon trillions of times. If quantum mechanics applies to this situation, eventually, he said, the student will tunnel through the barrier.
He meant this as an allegorical description of one of the original arguments against
the reality of quantum mechanics (skeptics shouting "How can this be?" at the top of their proverbial lungs) because, of course, students aren't electrons and only at the subatomic level can particles really behave like waves.
This whole propulsion thing makes me think of a similar story about something I believe was called the "gyromagnetic effect" that I heard about long ago. It turned out to be a perpetual motion machine.