by Dr Gonzo
Strange goings on in labs question our very reality. Entanglement is proven, so now what?
I was inspired to write this story by the first article above. It describes what a virtual world might look like, and reminded me of a strange experience (Part I, below) I had when I was a teenager.
The second is an article celebrating the 25th anniversary of the first proposal that the universe could be a hologram.
The third is a PDF link that supports the body of the story (Part II) on the subject of quantum entanglement, with more detailed information.
The fourth and fifth web links are simply good overall explanations of quantum mechanics for beginners
One night when I was in my late teens, myself and two friends drove to a semi-rural area about ten minutes from our homes the locals called, Dead Horse (for obvious reasons). There were dirt tracks heading in every direction, and because of the crisscross nature of these tracks, it was easy to become confused and lost.
For this reason, we would go there to smoke pot, as there were no houses, no people, no cops and no parents to bug us about the harmful effects the drug we consumed on a daily basis was going to have on our still-developing brains. It was comforting to know no one was around except us, and we could relax and enjoy our high.
On this particular night, I remember looking up at the stars, but instead of seeing the usual twinkling of little white lights, there were blue, red and green lights all across the night sky. They were laid out in perfect unison, adjacent to one another and more in numbers than I could count.
Blue was the dominant colour, with the red and green lights interspersed among those beautifully impressive blues. They appeared to me as being bigger than stars, and I knew at that moment I was seeing something I had never, nor was likely to ever, see again...and it made me smile.
I had to share this beautiful sight with my two friends, who were busy doing something that prevented them from noticing the strange lights high above. But, when I remarked to them about it, they didn't seem at all interested, until one finally quipped, "Blue light syndrome."
And just like that, what I thought was a strange and wonderous event was, with just a few words, turned into just another night stoned at Dead Horse. The only difference was, I had now been diagnosed with some kind of neurological disease that caused me to see blue lights in the night sky.
Their nonchalant attitude convinced me that whatever it was, I was going to need to see a doctor...and soon. As far as my friends were concerned, at that point, I knew all I needed to know. There wasn't a lot I could do at such a late hour anyway, so I accepted my lot from the panel of experts and continued to get high.
It wasn't until we were driving home that they began hysterically laughing and admitted they had made it all up. I was two years younger than them, and in my naivety, insisted that I knew what I saw. And that's when the laughter stopped. Our ring leader then said, in a quieter, more serious voice, "Neil, there were no blue lights and there is no such thing as blue light syndrome." He then finished by explaining in a slow voice, that I was just very stoned.
I had no choice but to agree, especially about the latter and just how altered my state of being was on that particular night. Although, as far as I was concerned, I never believed I was hallucinating (and I still don't). But, what else could I do except get on with life, albeit in the knowledge there were things in this world few others could see, let alone, understand?
As the weeks went by, I couldn't put those lights out of my mind. I wanted to file them away in a place where they were understood and recognised as being not that unusual, but what with all the confusion, the lights had nowhere to go. So, they hovered around my subconscious mind's hallucination out tray, waiting for me to make a final decision about what to do with them.
It's important to remember this all happened a long time ago, and my memory isn't perfect about how much time went by before I came to realise what I had actually seen. The evenly spaced out blue, green and red colours weren't lights at all, but pixels. I didn't even know what pixels were back then, except they existed in the night sky on that evening, all those years ago.
I've recently developed an interest in quantum physics, and more specifically, quantum mechanics. Reading all I can on the subject because the concept, at least for me, is not easy to grasp. If you don't know of it, or some of the most recent findings to do with entanglement theory, it's well worth taking a look.
As a layman, I won't get into the details of quantum physics. I will, however, cover the basics of quantum entanglement. The more I research this unusual phenomenon, the more confused I become.
Quantum mechanics deals with the behaviour of matter and light on an atomic and subatomic scale, including the laws that govern space, time, energy and matter. Atoms are made up of three distinct parts, protons, neutrons and electrons. When atoms clump together, they make up molecules, which are the building blocks for all types of matter.
These tiny particles are subject to experimentation by physicists, in order to gain a better understanding of the universe in which we exist. Physicists do practical experiments in the laboratory and also use complex mathematical formulas to prove or disprove theories in the field of quantum physics.
One of the greatest minds ever known, Albert Einstein, was a theoretical physicist. His theory of relativity, E=mc2, still holds up, even after over one hundred years have passed and remains one of the core principles of physics.
When we look at our surroundings, everything we see is made of matter, but what quantum entanglement is showing us, is the universe doesn't HAVE to be governed by all of the physical laws that we are and that we understand at present.
Physicists are curious by nature, and the subatomic world they seek to understand is at the forefront of scientific discoveries in the modern era. And without a doubt, quantum entanglement will play an important role, particularly in secure communications of the future.
The first item I read on the subject of quantum mechanics/entanglement, piqued my interest in this field and described an experiment using tiny particles (photons) of light, which it claimed existed in two places at once. To say I was apprehensive would be an understatement.
The experiment involves sending two particles which have been split from a special type of crystal, in opposing directions. When they arrive at their destination, the most amazing thing happens. When one of them is observed in order to measure if its position is in the up or down state, whatever that particle's observed state is, for argument's sake, let's say it is in the up position, the other will always be in the down position. A different experiment can change the result from up/down to both up or both down. It appears that random and chaos have no place in the world of quantum entanglement.
One theory states that when particles become entangled, they are forever connected. Entanglement arises from the connection between the particles and is what scientists call an emergent property. This means they act like one single object, even when vast distances apart, where it appears one particle exists in two places at the same time.
There are theories put forth by physicists on the subject of entanglement that are contradictory, and the bottom line is, no one yet knows how these particles are doing what they do. Coming up with theories in an attempt to describe things that are poorly understood, is a pastime for physicists.
Cynicism tells me it (physicists coming up with correct theories) is a cross between fortune-telling and gambling, and the winners, whose theory most accurately predicts the set of circumstances leading to the discovery of the facts involved, receive the accolades of their peers, their name on a theory that is everlasting and for a few very lucky punters/gypsies/physicists, the possibility of receiving a Nobel prize.
Three physicists, Alain Aspect, John F. Clauser and Anton Zeilinger took all of the previous work done by physicists in the field of quantum entanglement to a new level.
The equipment they used was extremely sensitive and more accurate than any previous physicists had available for their experiments. All three, working independently, but in partnership, were determined to prove the particles (photons) they used in their experiments, were not in communication with each other.
They also proved that no wormholes or other space/time/gravity warping phenomena such as black holes were being utilised in order to evade Einstien's theory of relativity, which states that nothing (such as messages sent between the two particles) can travel faster than the speed of light.
Although, Einstein's theory will eventually require some tweaking to compensate for the effect of these cosmic vacuum cleaners, black holes...where once beyond the event horizon, not even light can escape their gravitational pull.
The three physicists were so successful with this, along with the inroads they made through expert experimentation in quantum entanglement, using photons to replicate each other's findings, they were awarded the 2022 Nobel Prize in physics.
To prove the particles had no predetermined position, other than superposition, and no unknown forces were at work in the entangled particles, their experiments cleverly shifted the angle from which they were observed. So, instead of measuring from the front, they went to the back to observe its position, which showed that the particle being observed, was in the opposite position. At this point, the second particle's measurement was observed and matched the first particle's reverse position.
As strange as this phenomenon is, it's now recognised, through the process of peer review, as being accurate. This means quantum entanglement is now no longer just a theory, but a principle of physics.
The entanglement of subatomic particles and the way they act under observation is not a magic trick. Most physicists believe one day we will understand entanglement and how it does what it does. In saying this, I have a feeling (let's call it my theory) that there may be certain things in the universe we are not meant to understand.
Human beings are a very clever species, but it remains to be seen if we are smart enough to avoid causing our own extinction. When comparing our solar system with the rest of the known universe, gives an indication of just how small, and dare I say, insignificant, we truly are.
In my opinion, the self-important outlook we have makes us not just arrogant, but ignorant of what can and will happen to us if we don't change course. We continue to use the planet's finite resources as if they will never run out, and underestimate or simply ignore just how vulnerable to change the ecology of our planet, and so, our own existence, is.
I'm sure most people will dismiss any idea that this universe and our conscious mind, is not what we think it is, and might be an artificial simulation.
I consider this alternate reality a possibility. I'm agnostic and also believe it's possible there may be a higher power of some sort. And, if we are a simulation, that would make the creator of the program we exist in, God.
If it is possible for an object to be in two places at once, then it shouldn't be too hard to accept the idea that we may not exist the way we think we do. And now that entanglement is part of our everyday lives, anything is possible.