FLASH! ENTANGLEMENT APPLIES TO TIME AND NOT JUST SPACE!

February 8, 2018 By Joseph P. Farrell

If you're thinking I've been having far too much fun the past couple of days with my "physics-related" blogs, you'd be correct. I am having fun. Yesterday, I blogged about an article that appeared at phys.org in which scientists were proposing a sophisticated waveguide method of "trapping" or "stopping" light, effectively reducing its speed to zero in that system.  It was, as I proposed yesterday, a "noodle-baker."

Well, today's story was spotted and shared by Mr. V.T., and it's another noodle-baker, with all sorts of ramifications of its own:

You thought quantum mechanics was weird: check out entangled time

Now, most readers here I suspect have some awareness or knowledge of the weird feature within quantum mechanics called entanglement. The idea itself is fairly simple; it's the ramifications of it that become "noodle-baking":

The problem is that entanglement violates how the world ought to work. Information can’t travel faster than the speed of light, for one. But in a 1935 paper, Einstein and his co-authors showed how entanglement leads to what’s now called quantum nonlocality, the eerie link that appears to exist between entangled particles. If two quantum systems meet and then separate, even across a distance of thousands of lightyears, it becomes impossible to measure the features of one system (such as its position, momentum and polarity) without instantly steering the other into a corresponding state.

Up to today, most experiments have tested entanglement over spatial gaps. The assumption is that the ‘nonlocal’ part of quantum nonlocality refers to the entanglement of properties across space.But what if entanglement also occurs across time? Is there such a thing as temporal nonlocality?  (Emphasis added)

For example, could a future in system "X" be entangled with a "past" or "present" in system "Y", and could information therefore pass from one to the other instantaneously? Answer:

The answer, as it turns out, is yes. Just when you thought quantum mechanics couldn’t get any weirder, a team of physicists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem reported in 2013 that they had successfully entangled photons that never coexisted. Previous experiments involving a technique called ‘entanglement swapping’ had already showed quantum correlations across time, by delaying the measurement of one of the coexisting entangled particles; but Eli Megidish and his collaborators were the first to show entanglement between photons whose lifespans did not overlap at all.

Here’s how they did it. First, they created an entangled pair of photons, ‘1-2’ (step I in the diagram below). Soon after, they measured the polarisation of photon 1 (a property describing the direction of light’s oscillation) – thus ‘killing’ it (step II). Photon 2 was sent on a wild goose chase while a new entangled pair, ‘3-4’, was created (step III). Photon 3 was then measured along with the itinerant photon 2 in such a way that the entanglement relation was ‘swapped’ from the old pairs (‘1-2’ and ‘3-4’) onto the new ‘2-3’ combo (step IV). Some time later (step V), the polarisation of the lone survivor, photon 4, is measured, and the results are compared with those of the long-dead photon 1 (back at step II).

Now, given yesterday's little high octane speculation about "stopped light," I cannot resist quoting a few more paragraphs from this article:

What on Earth can this mean? Prima facie, it seems as troubling as saying that the polarity of starlight in the far-distant past – say, greater than twice Earth’s lifetime – nevertheless influenced the polarity of starlight falling through your amateur telescope this winter. Even more bizarrely: maybe it implies that the measurements carried out by your eye upon starlight falling through your telescope this winter somehow dictated the polarity of photons more than 9 billion years old.

Lest this scenario strike you as too outlandish, Megidish and his colleagues can’t resist speculating on possible and rather spooky interpretations of their results. Perhaps the measurement of photon 1’s polarisation at step II somehow steers the future polarisation of 4, or the measurement of photon 4’s polarisation at step V somehow rewrites the past polarisation state of photon 1. In both forward and backward directions, quantum correlations span the causal void between the death of one photon and the birth of the other.

Just a spoonful of relativity helps the spookiness go down, though. In developing his theory of special relativity, Einstein deposed the concept of simultaneity from its Newtonian pedestal. As a consequence, simultaneity went from being an absolute property to being a relative one. There is no single timekeeper for the Universe; precisely when something is occurring depends on your precise location relative to what you are observing, known as your frame of reference. So the key to avoiding strange causal behaviour (steering the future or rewriting the past) in instances of temporal separation is to accept that calling events ‘simultaneous’ carries little metaphysical weight. It is only a frame-specific property, a choice among many alternative but equally viable ones – a matter of convention, or record-keeping.

I cannot help but pause and inject a little more high octane speculation here, for it sounds like what is really being done here is the creation of common surfaces(as it were) between two different timelines that share certain common elements. (And for those into parapsychological research, it is intriguing to note that future influences on the present have been repeatedly demonstrated in pre-cognitive experiments. Perhaps temporal entanglement is the basis of such phenomena. Some have suggested it!). It is as if we're reducing the multi-verse theory to a theory of "one universe, many timelines", because in this case, those timelines can interact with each other.

Let that one soak in for a moment.

Lest I be thought as having crawled out to the end of the speculation twig so far that I've again fallen off it, at least I'm in the company of other falling speculators:

The various frames of reference in the Hebrew University experiment (the lab’s frame, photon 1’s frame, photon 4’s frame, and so on) have their own ‘historians’, so to speak. While these historians will disagree about how things went down, not one of them can claim a corner on truth. A different sequence of events unfolds within each one, according to that spatiotemporal point of view. Clearly, then, any attempt at assigning frame-specific properties generally, or tying general properties to one particular frame, will cause disputes among the historians. But here’s the thing: while there might be legitimate disagreement about which properties should be assigned to which particles and when, there shouldn’t be disagreement about the very existence of these properties, particles, and events.

Of course, all of this relates to the physics of the very small quantum world. It's far from asserting similar effects of a macrocosmic nature. But while I was in high octane speculation mode, I couldn't help but wonder if in fact there might not be macrocosmic effects. After all the article itself suggests that there could be. Consider this paragraph once again:

What on Earth can this mean? Prima facie, it seems as troubling as saying that the polarity of starlight in the far-distant past – say, greater than twice Earth’s lifetime – nevertheless influenced the polarity of starlight falling through your amateur telescope this winter. Even more bizarrely: maybe it implies that the measurements carried out by your eye upon starlight falling through your telescope this winter somehow dictated the polarity of photons more than 9 billion years old.

Indeed, the article takes a giant leap of its own speculation by proposing that such "time-entangled" systems might have ramifications for historiography, and for memory: "The various frames of reference...have their own 'historians' so to speak", and therewith, their own historiographies and memories.  I couldn't help but think that yesterday's "light stopping waveguides" might be directly related to this phenomenon, and perhaps be a way to "scale it up" to a non-quantum level to gain a measure of influence over macrocosmic timelines themselves, via careful manipulations of the Observer effect.

I'll leave it off there, because this is noodle-baking enough. But I'll leave it off with one more question:

Mandela effect, anyone?

See you on the flip side...