2 min read
Quantum entanglement is perhaps one of the strangest phenomena in all of science. Here, entanglement refers to a mysterious connection that forms between microscopic particles (e.g., electrons, photons, atoms, and molecules) that come in close proximity of each other.
I find inspiration in the notion that the very building blocks of my being may share millions, if not billions, of invisible connections with particles scattered far across the universe. It doesn’t get much more connected than that.
-Dr. Jason Holland, Lifespark
One of the most astounding aspects of this phenomenon is that information between entangled particles (e.g., the spin of one particle affecting its entangled other) appears to be transmitted instantaneously, even if they are theoretically placed on opposite ends of the universe. Because this communication occurs at a speed faster than light (the presumed speed limit in the universe), scientists have struggled to offer a physical explanation for how it occurs.
Typically, we think of communication as occurring through an intermediary, like a signal that is delivered via radio waves, for instance. But since communication between entangled particles occurs simultaneously, even when separated by great distances, some other mysterious mechanism must be at work. Even one of the greatest minds of all time, Albert Einstein, struggled to fully understand it, having no better explanation for entanglement other than to call it “spooky action at a distance.”
One question that has arisen as part of this discussion pertains to the degree to which everything—all particles in the universe including those that make up you and me—are entangled with other distant particles.
In 2012, the physicists Roman Buniy and Stephen Hsu published a paper showing that it is theoretically and mathematically possible, if not probable, that “a typical particle is entangled with many particles far outside our horizon.”
At a conceptual level, their thinking is based on the Big Bang theory, which assumes that the universe was infinitely small at conception and then violently exploded outward, creating enormous gas clouds that cooled and formed into stars, solar systems, and galaxies .
Extending this theory a bit further, we might then assume that any random particle in the universe is likely to have come in physical contact (and hence, share entanglements) with countless other particles, particularly in the early stages of the universe’s development when all matter and energy was compressed into a much denser space.
It’s, of course, difficult to fathom an experiment that could directly test such a hypothesis. But for me, when I look out across the distant, starry sky and wonder how I am connected to it all, I find inspiration in the notion that the very building blocks of my being may share millions, if not billions, of invisible connections with particles scattered far across the universe. It doesn’t get much more connected than that.
Tell us about your thoughts on entanglement and what it means to you in the comments below!