Tidbits of Inspiration: Quantum Entanglement
I read this today.
Don’t worry if you don’t get it. I’m no physicist. I don’t really get it either. My highest education in the field of physics came in my Undergrad career when I took the slightly-more-difficult and rigorous Calc-based Physics as my required Science class instead of the mushy, cake-walk Physics for Dummies class. (I did well, by the way, getting As in both semesters. But that was somewhere in the vicinity of a decade ago, or more, now.)
Anyway, Quantum Entanglement was one of those high-class physics concepts that was mostly beyond the scope of the classes I took. But it’s a pretty important concept for the development of future technology. Basically, it means this: two particles can be “entangled”, which means that the state of one effects the state of the other, even if the two are separated by a great distance. In effect, this can theoretically allow for faster-than-light transfer of information, because changing the state of one instantaneously changes the state of the other. Or something like that. I may be misstating this, so if this piques your interest, I suggest you educate yourself from someone who’s actually knowledgeable and an expert.
But what I read today? It blows that idea out of the water and takes it further than I thought possible. Basically… in this experiment, there were two pairs of entangled photons: Pair A and Pair B. One of each of these pairs (one from Pair A and one from Pair B) was sent to separate machines (Machine A and Machine B) that measured the state of the photons. Machine A and Machine B are independent and do not share information with each other. The second photon from each entangled pair was at a later time sent to a third machine, Machine C, which decided either to entangle the the two or not to entangle them, and then measures them. Of critical interest here: the decision made by Machine C to either entangle or not entangle is made after the measurements at each of Machine A and Machine B were made. Also to note: if Machine C decides not to entangle then you have two independent pairs of entangled photons. If Machine C instead decides to entangle the second photon of each pair, then you have a chain of four entangled photons: the first photon of pair A is entangled with the second of pair A which is entangled with the second of pair B which is entangled with the first of pair B.
And the result? When Machine C decides not to entangle, then there is no measurable correlation between the states of Pair A and Pair B. But when C decides to entangle, the state of Pair A and Pair B are correlated.
In layman’s terms: the entanglement performed by Machine C extends backwards in time to affect the states of the first photon of each of the newly entangled pairs. Or in other words: Machine C sent information into the past! I am probably overstating things somewhat. But still. Into the past!
This is truly mind-boggling.
Back to the Future, anyone?