S+ Stimulant: Spooky Action at a Distance
In physics, Action at a Distance (Quantum Entanglement) is the nonlocal interaction of objects that are separated in space. Currently, it is widely accepted that the ‘space’ between them is what typically distinguishes one object from the other and in order for one object to influence another, it must in some way bridge the space that separates them.
For instance, in order for a person to get another’s attention they must do so by physically bridging the space gap between them…perhaps by tossing a shoe at them or by calling out their name, which causes a ripple in molecules and energy that culminates in some of them pounding into the other person’s eardrum. Physicists call this feature of the universe locality, emphasizing the point that you can directly affect only things that are next to you.
But a class of experiments performed during the last couple of decades has shown that something we do over here (such as measuring certain properties of a particle) can be subtly entwined with something that happens over there (such as the outcome of measuring certain properties of another distant particle), without anything being sent from here to there.*
Such phenomena were initially the subject of a 1935 paper by Albert Einstein, Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen, describing what came to be known as the EPR paradox. Erwin Schrödinger also famously explored this paradox shortly thereafter. Einstein and the others considered such behavior to be impossible, as it violated the local realist view of causality. Einstein was most dissatisfied with the concept of entanglement, because it seemed to violate the transmission of information implicit in the theory of relativity. Einstein later famously derided entanglement as “spukhafte Fernwirkung” or “spooky action at a distance.”
But recent Spooky Action at a Distance experiments on the Quantum level have shown that it is indeed possible to do something ‘over here’ and affect something ‘over there’ without the need for anything to travel from here to there.
While at Seymour, we can’t even begin to understand all the variables of Quantum Entanglement, we’re fascinated by it. The idea that information can flow between two seemingly independent objects is astounding and a great reminder to always keep questioning widely accepted beliefs and even the very fabric of reality.
[*sources: wikipedia, pbs.org]
Published: April 8th, 2014