Steinberg’s work stood out because it challenges the widely held notion that quantum mechanics forbids us any knowledge of the paths taken by individual photons as they travel through two closely spaced slits to create an interference pattern.
This interference is exactly what one would expect if we think of light as an electromagnetic wave. But quantum mechanics also allows us to think of the light as photons – although with the weird consequence that if we determine which slit individual photons travel through, then the interference pattern vanishes. By using weak measurements Steinberg and his team have been able to gain some information about the paths taken by the photons without destroying the pattern.
What happened in physics in 2011, beside almost-but-not-quite search for Higg’s boson and possibly faster than light neutrinos.