Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spooky Action at a Distance: The Home Game


I saw this article a couple weeks back in Scientific American. If you have $28,000 lying around, you can buy a "quantum eraser," which will show proof that quantum entanglement is an actual thing (Einstein was leery of the concept, and called it "spooky action at a distance"). According to the article, the device
...produced pairs of particles that acted like magic coins: when flipped in unison on opposite sides of the lab, both coins always came up with the same side, either heads or tails. Aspect's apparatus produced about 100 spooky coincidences per second. The qutools kit, which would fit on a living room end table, sees more than 10 times as many.

What Einstein found spooky is that there's no way for the particles to communicate with each other, as the effect is simultaneous, whereas information can only travel at the speed of light. The only way for it to work is that the particles, even though physically separate, are entangled in some way that science doesn't entirely understand. We can prove quantum entanglement exists - from your living room coffee table, no less, thanks to the folks at Qutools - but don't yet fully understand the mechanism at work.

5 comments:

Gordo said...

That sounds like a lot of fun to play with, but I'm sure the wife would have questions about the cash. ;-)

meno said...

Pulling out my checkbook now!

Clowncar said...

hey, gordo, good to hear from you again. the wife already approved the didgeridoo, so I'm afraid the ship has sailed for the quantum eraser. unless you have 28K you like to fork over.

meno, you're like santa! minus the beard. and the belly that jiggles like jelly.

Margaret said...

"The only way for it to work is that the particles, even though physically separate, are entangled in some way that science doesn't entirely understand."

first I was just like
^_^

but then I was like
O_o

and then I was like
O____O

and now I'm like
*_______*

Gwilym Williams said...

What an amazing thing to have lying about. Beats an IKEA catalogue hands down.

I read years ago somebody's theory that 'twin quantum particles' (my expression - I don't know what they were) even at opposite ends of the universe could react as you describe, also no time lag, in the same instant.

Since 96% of the universe is dark matter we can only 'understand or prove' 4% of what's going on - so I suppose theory is as far we'll ever get. Like the kids in replies section of the Link said "It's just the way it is."

I can live with that.