A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHUHSXwntfg
Am I referring to this blog entry as "spooky" because it's now October and Hallowe'en is coming up? No. This blog entry is about what Einstein called "spooky action at a distance".
Last blog, in Seeing Time, Feeling Colors, Tasting Light, we touched upon the idea that Albert Einstein had problems with some of the implications of quantum mechanics, and specifically the idea that observing a particle "here" might be able to instantaneously affect the observation of another entangled particle far away, even on the other side of the universe. To show that he thought this sounded more like superstition than science, he called such implications "spooky".
On the same subject, in my book I talked about the entanglement experiments of physicist Nicolas Gisin and his team at the University of Geneva:
Entanglement is easily explained within the dimensional concepts we are now exploring. We can imagine that these atoms are still directly connected or somehow directly adjacent to each other in a higher spatial dimension, even though they may be, for example, 11 kilometres away from each other in the third dimension (as they were in the entanglement experiment conducted by Nicolas Gisin and his team at the University of Geneva in 1997). With entanglement, it seems possible that we are seeing direct evidence of actions in higher-dimensional geometry that show how time is just another spatial dimension rather than a separate concept. And from our new perspective, we have another way to show that Einstein’s concepts regarding “no faster-than-light motion” are not being violated.In 46 - Is the Big Bang an Illusion?, and 47 - Are Pictures More Important in Science?, we returned to an idea from Stephen Hawking that there is an important part of our reality which is at "right angles" to our spacetime. While he used the term "imaginary time" to refer to this, I've tried to show that what he is really talking about is the fifth spatial dimension, and this fits into so many other ways that science is talking about where our reality comes from that I am continually amazed that I appear to be the only one talking about how this concept makes these ideas fit together. With entanglement, two particles can be widely separated, and observing one of those particles causes the other entangled particle to instantly be affected by the first observation. If those particles were ten light years away from each other, we are not talking about how that second particle would be affected ten years from now once the information from the first particle traveled to the second one - we are talking about that information transfer happening right "now" at both positions. What made people like Einstein skeptical about this implication is that it implied that a faster-than-light connection of some kind was occurring. What I want people to understand is that "faster than light" has no meaning once you are in the fifth dimension, because any fourth dimensional point can be connected to any other using the additional degree of freedom that the fifth dimension affords, with no violation of the limits of spacetime.
Nicholas Gisin and has team have continued to refine their experiments since I published my book. Here's a few paragraphs from a recent article in Science Now written by Phil Berardelli which talks about Nicholas Gisin's more recent work. The name of the article is "Quantum Physics Gets 'Spooky' ":
This might be a rare case about which Einstein was wrong. More than 60 years ago, the great physicist scoffed at the idea that anything could travel faster than light, even though quantum mechanics had suggested such a condition. Now four Swiss researchers have brought the possibility closer to reality. Testing a concept called "spooky action at a distance"--a phrase used by Einstein in criticizing the phenomenon--they have shown that two subatomic particles can communicate nearly instantaneously, even if they are separated by cosmic distances.
Physicist Nicolas Gisin and colleagues at the University of Geneva in Switzerland split off pairs of quantum-entangled photons and sent them from the university's campus through two fiber-optic cables to two Swiss villages located 18 kilometers apart. Thinking of the photons like traffic lights, each passed through specially designed detectors that determined what "color" they were when entering the cable and what color they appeared to be when they reached the terminus. The experiments revealed two things: First, the physical properties of the photons changed identically during their journey, just as predicted by quantum theory--when one turned "red," so did the other. Second, there was no detectable time difference between when those changes occurred in the photons, as though an imaginary traffic controller had signaled them both.
The result, the team reports in tomorrow's issue of Nature, is that whatever was affecting the photons seems to have happened nearly instantaneously and that according to their calculations, the phenomenon influencing the particles had to be traveling at least 10,000 times faster than light. Given Einstein's standard speed limit on light traveling within conventional spacetime, the experiments show that entanglement might be controlled by something existing beyond it. Gisin says that once the scientific community "accepts that nature has this ability, we should try to create models that explain it."
Okay, that's heady stuff. But there are some additional sentences in this article that I'd like to take one at a time because they're very important.
Although the research doesn't demonstrate spooky action at a distance directly, it does provide "a lower boundary for the speed" necessary for the phenomenon, says theoretical physicist Martin Bojowald of Pennsylvania State University in State College.
In other words, even though the Nicholas Gisin team's experiment only showed that the connection was at least 10,000 times the speed of light, the limitations of their experiment could not prove that the connection was instantaneous. I feel certain that no matter how this experiment is improved in the future, we are always going to see indications that these connections really are instantaneous, and in fact that it's harder for us to imagine how such effects could be occurring at all if they're not the result of a higher dimensional "folding" of spacetime as per the kinds of concepts we're always talking about with Imagining the Tenth Dimension.
Cosmologist Sean Carroll of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena says that it's "yet another experiment that tells us quantum mechanics is right" and that there "really is an intrinsic connection between entangled particles, not that some signal passes quickly between them when an observation is performed."
I've quoted Dr. Carroll a number of times in blogs like Time in Either Direction, Scrambled Eggs, The Spacetime Tree, Unlikely Events and Timelessness, and What's Before and After?. It seems that the more I read about his viewpoints, the more I would love to sit down and have a coffee with him some time, as there seem to be so many connections between the intuitive leaps I have made with my project and the science that Dr. Carroll is pursuing.
And physicist Lorenza Viola of Dartmouth College says there's much more to be determined. "I am sure we are not finished unveiling what the quantum [effects] due to entanglement really are and how powerful they can be."(EDIT: as a lovely coincidence, Sean Carroll posted a new blog entry a couple of weeks after I posted this entry, his entry is called Spooky Signals From the Future Telling Us to Cancel the LHC.)
For me, this concept relates to the powerful idea of how right "now" we are each navigating through a fifth-dimensional probability space, one planck length at a time, and that Einstein's "spooky" entanglement shows us that each succeeding "now" is actually a point in the fifth dimension rather than the fourth. This makes sense whether you're thinking about the wave function of possible universes as per Everett's Many Worlds Interpretation, or how the fifth dimension and above from our perspective appear to be "curled up at the planck length" even though they're really not, or the idea that our universe is created holographically at the fifth dimension by interference patterns created by this planck length granularity of spacetime. Understanding how much everything within our "now" is connected to things that are outside of our spacetime is the key, and the fact that ancient spirituality and modern science are pointing at the same concept doesn't mean one is right and the other is wrong.
Everything fits together in probability space. Think about that one for a moment, and enjoy the journey!
PS, Here's some other blogs where we've talked about Einstein's "spooky" feelings about quantum mechanics:
The Fifth Dimension Isn't Magic
Wormholes as Dimensional Foldings?
The Long Undulating Snake
Norway's Reverse Deja Vu
Next: Tenth Dimension Audio Book