Creating ‘entangled’ photons is usually done by directing laser beams through crystals. Quantum physicists then separate the entangled photons and ‘do stuff’ to one, which is then automatically mirrored by the other, regardless of the distance between the separated photons.
Einstein’s take on quantum entanglement was to call it ‘Spooky action at a distance’ which voiced his ambivalent distrust of quantum mechanics.
In more recent times quantum entanglement has become the focus of the commercial world with the encoding and transmitting of information, ‘quantum cryptology’, practically demonstrated in August this year (2017) by Chinese physicists using a satellite and two ground receivers to transfer information instantaneously over 1,200 km.
Quantum biologists are now theorizing that information, read from a strand of DNA, is directed by a quantum entanglement process.
The philosophical fallout of entanglement suggests the non-existence of space since the automatic exchange of information precludes an objective distance as measured by the time it takes for light to travel from one entangled particle to the other.
Furthermore some quantum physicists believe that everything was entangled at the moment of the Big Bang which necessarily means that everything is still ‘touching’ and the space between just gives the illusion of a Universe made of separate objects.
About 4.6 billion years ago (bya) our solar system formed up due to the gravitational attraction between particles in the giant molecular cloud left over from the Big Bang (13.8 bya).
The Earth was cool then, rather than the molten pile of rock we have come to envisage, and most of our oceans then formed from chemical processes between 4.5 and 4.0 billion years ago; and then sometime after the formation of oceans the first sign of life appeared on Earth in the form of microbes without a cell nucleus (prokaryotes).
Somewhere between 1.7 and 3 bya a number of prokaryotes merged to form eukaryotes which had a cell nucleus as the control centre. These cells contained mitochondria from purple bacteria, plastids from cyanobacteria, nucleocytoplasm from archaebacteria, and a new way of transferring genetic material, called ‘sexual reproduction’.
Prior to sexual reproduction organisms were happy splitting into two and creating new organisms identical to their creators. With sexual reproduction new progeny were not the same as the old and the better adapted ones instinctually imposed themselves in a battle for supremacy grounded on the best chance of furthering the dominance of their particular life form.
The evolutionary time frame is long enough to hide the most complex of evolutionary intricacies, but let’s jump to the current day phenomenon of human procreation.
A single cell - the female egg - traps the one sperm it wants for fertilisation and begins the incredible process of multiplication and differentiation which in eight weeks produces an embryo with all the human physical and sensory organs in place, carrying all the genetic history of its forebears – truly a miracle!
The guiding light of all these ‘life on Earth’ processes must lie in the quantum building blocks, so let’s look at a quantum experiment that may contain the secret of life. This is the famous ‘double slit’ experiment - something that physicists still can't explain.
Since this is an underlying premise of this essay, it’s worth watching a YouTube clip by theoretical physicist, Jim Al-Kahlili, explaining - ‘the central mystery of quantum mechanics’.
Photons of light are fired, one at a time, at a microscopic double slit, and as they pass beyond the slit, a wave interference pattern appears on the wall behind - this being indicative of the wave characteristics of light.
But photons are indivisible so each photon must go through one slit or the other such that only two bands of photons end up on the wall behind. To have a closer look at what is actually happening scientists set up a ‘watcher’ next to the slits to see which slit the particle goes through; and yes half go through one slit and half go through the other.
The strange thing is that when the ‘watcher’ is turned ‘on’ the wave function ‘collapses’ and the image created on the wall changes to the expected two bar ‘particle motion’ image rather than the multiple bars of a wave pattern.
If the ‘watcher’ is turned off the wave pattern reappears! This cannot be explained - other than to implicate an interaction at the quantum level between the photons and the watching apparatus - scientifically termed the ‘the observer effect’.
Scientist, Dean Radin, has extrapolated the ‘observer effect’ beyond the mechanical by including people focussing their attention on the double slit. His results show that the consciousness of observers does have an effect on the wave function (although not collapsing it completely), and those trained in meditation had a greater affect than non meditators.
Importantly, and in the same way of quantum entanglement, distance from the apparatus made no difference – mindfulness was the primary thing.
Recent experiments with ‘walking droplets' have given credence to de Broglie’s ideas. Silicon droplets bounced on a liquid surface, supported by a vibrating base, mimic the behaviour of quantum particles with the wave directing the particle - and retaining a memory of its path.
In the double slit experiment each electron takes a path through one slit but the appearance
of a wave interference pattern indicates a 'pilot wave' passing through both slits. But why does the pilot wave disappear