The quantum world is famous for being really, really strange. Now physicists are finding out why. The answer is a fundamental rule of reality called quantum discord and it’s even more important than quantum entanglement, or what Einstein called spooky action at a distance.
Tag Archives | Quantum Entanglement
Think you know about quantum mechanics? Keep reading, via the New Yorker:
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No area of physics causes more confusion, not just among the general public but also among physicists, than quantum mechanics. On the one hand, it’s the source of New Age mythology, and has enabled hucksters to peddle new self-help cures; on the other, for the philosophically inclined, it has provided some illusory hope of free will in an otherwise deterministic universe. Of the aspects of quantum mechanics that confuse and dismay observers, perhaps nothing approaches the property called “entanglement.” Einstein, who never really accepted entanglement’s existence, called it, derisively, “spooky action at a distance.”
Unfortunately for Einstein, entanglement, “spooky” or not, is apparently real, as researchers in the Netherlands demonstrated last week, just in time for Halloween. In doing so, the researchers affirmed once again that quantum mechanics, as strange as it may seem, works in every way we can test it.
The world of quantum mechanics is weird. Objects that are far apart can influence each other in what Albert Einstein called “spooky action at a distance”, and cats can potentially be dead and alive at the same time. For decades, scientists have tried to prove that these effects are not just mathematical quirks, but real properties of the physical world.
And they are getting somewhere. Researchers have finally proven in a new study that the link between particles at a distance reflects how the universe behaves, rather than being an experimental artefact. Meanwhile, another team of researchers have set out to show that a living creature, albeit a bacterium, can be in two different quantum states at the same time – just like the cat in Schrödinger’s thought experiment.
Bell’s inequality test
But let’s begin with the paper, published in Nature, which proves that the world is inherently spooky. All systems described by quantum mechanics can display so-called entanglement.… Read the rest
As top human scientists dream of someday creating a quantum computer, are we lagging far behind plants? io9 reports:
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Biophysicists theorize that plants tap into the eerie world of quantum entanglement during photosynthesis. Evidence to date has been purely circumstantial, but now, scientists have discovered a feature of plants that cannot be explained by classical physics.
In a way, they’re like mini-quantum computers capable of scanning all possible options in order to choose the most efficient paths or solutions. For plants, this means the ability to make the most of the energy they receive and then deliver that energy from leaves with near perfect efficiency.
The going theory is that plants have light-gathering macromolecules in their cells that can transfer energy via molecular vibrations — vibrations that have no equivalents in classical physics.
In the new study, UCL researchers identified a specific feature in biological systems that can only be predicted by quantum physics.
Coming soon! Well maybe not that soon, but I’ll settle for just “coming”! Report from NPR:
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“Quantum entanglement” may sound like an awful sci-fi romance flick, but it’s actually a phenomenon that physicists say may someday lead to the ability to teleport an object all the way across the galaxy instantly.
It’s not exactly the Star Trek version of teleportation, where an object disappears then reappears somewhere else. Rather, it “entangles” two different atoms so that one atom inherits the properties of another.
“According to the quantum theory, everything vibrates,” theoretical physicist Michio Kaku tells NPR’s Guy Raz. Kaku is a frequent guest on the Science and Discovery channels. “When two electrons are placed close together, they vibrate in unison. When you separate them, that’s when all the fireworks start.”
This is where quantum entanglement — sometimes described as “teleportation” — begins.