Sunday, January 3, 2010


One of the most gorgeous physics theories out there. For some reason, listening to "I'm Goin' Down" by Bruce on youtube I thought of this equation.

I can't tell you how much I love the idea of entanglement, of entangled particles. The very basics of it are this; suppose there are two particles. If particle A is spinning right, particle B is also spinning right. Now, suppose you force particle A to start spinning left (with a magnetic field change - awesome). What happens now is this: instantaneously, no matter what conditions are placed on particle B (distance, environment, etc.), it will also start to spin left. This communication is instantaneous. The information sent from particle A is not confined by the speed of light. This 'information' sent is delivered, processed and executed as if they were one particle, all happening at the same time. This obviously has many theoretically great applications. For example, say you want to turn on a light 30 light years away. Simply change the spin of one particle, and 30 light years away the sister particle will change spin as well. There is no need to wait 30 years for communication through the speed of light. Communication with these two particles is instantaneous.

This lead to the EPR paradox, and contributed to Einstein's disbelief in quantum mechanics.

It is the only known situation that breaks the law of the speed of light. Things are connected, the same, on a different level; a different layer of existence. So. fucking. cool. This is reality.

Beyond the applications, this is a very romantic notion, in my mind. (Yes, it does occasionally happen in science ;) On the occasion of a friends' wedding I (and my girlfriend at the time) framed the top equation with the following from Justin Mullins' website written underneath:

"The connections between ordinary objects are fleeting and superficial. Two atoms may collide and separate, never to meet again. Others can stick together by virtue of the chemical bonds they form, until the day that bond is broken.

But there is another type of connection that is far more powerful and romantic. Certain objects can become linked by a mysterious process called entanglement. Particles that become entangled are deeply connected regardless of the distance between them. If they become separated by the width of the Universe, the bond between them remains intact. These particles are so deeply linked that it’s as if they somehow share the same existence.

Physicists do not yet fully understand the nature of entanglement but there is growing evidence that it is a fundamental property of the universe. Unfettered by the restrictions of space, entanglement may be the ghostly bedrock upon which reality is built."

Also, as Justin Mullins suggests, An End to Uncertainty (New Scientist), is certainly worth the read. I'm now off to drape my walls in the beauty and universality of mathematical equations.

Incidentally, entanglement can be created between any two particles. Also, light can be frozen in space and time, even if just for a second or two. There is soo much...

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