(impossible beautiful artwork by @omgfitzsimmons)

QUANTUM ENTANGLEMENT (The Science of Us): Chapter III

Jemma knows better than to try to ascribe scientific laws to non-scientific interactions the way that foolish lay people usually do. After all, if “opposites attract” were truly applicable to human relationships, she and Fitz would be doomed.

But in her endless night spent wandering and scrabbling for survival on Maveth, she has an abundance of time to try to put their connection, their friendship, into terms her brain can accept.

In the early days, she clings to the notion that scientific law, though practically her bread and butter and her Bible and her lifeblood and every other metaphor encapsulating how strongly she upholds it, is not fixed and unchangeable. Human understanding of nature and reality is fallible.

So when Newton asserted that “Every particle of matter in the universe attracts every other particle with a force that is directly proportional to the product of the masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them,” he clearly did not expect the strength and determination of the particles of matter which make up Doctor Doctor Agent Jemma Simmons. Her mass may be small, the distance between her and Fitz and home may be great, but the attraction, the pull, the incessant drive to return, is as powerful as ever.

When she notices (with a whole-body ache and a sob) that attraction’s inevitable waning, she analyzes that too. Is it due to the mass she has lost through starvation and exertion? Is it the distance – is this hellplanet drifting orbit-less through space, taking her ever farther away from Fitz? Or has their connection finally been broken? Have they actually always been subject to the same laws governing everyone else, and she is now too far away to draw them back together?

But the particles that make up Leopold Fitz must be made of similarly stubborn, universe-defying stuff, she realizes when their fingers brush and brush and brush and hold in a dust storm.

Isaac Newton can suck it.

(She draws the line at believing that the cosmos itself is directing their relationship. Shoddily translating science to humanity is one thing, but anthropomorphizing inanimate intangibles is too far, Fitz.)

Months later and a lifetime away, she has to smile when Fitz speaks of the singularity. He describes the monumental nature of their having sex as if they are a star tumbling into a black hole and she is reminded again how well they are matched. For she has likewise been analyzing their situation with science, though she has chosen a less terrifying and more hopeful comparison.

Sex, making love, crossing the event horizon – that is nothing if not a chemical reaction, the ultimate collision of their disparate, desperate elements. But a chemical reaction does not obliterate. “Certain combinations of atoms transform into new combinations of atoms.” This change will not be an ending for them, no matter what happens. Their friendship will not be lost because they cannot be destroyed. In colliding, in joining, they will simply become something new.

Who ever said science wasn’t sexy?

(Read all the installments in this drabble series here.)

(∂ + m) ψ = 0 

Il principio alla base dell’equazione di Dirac è che: «Se due sistemi interagiscono tra loro per un certo periodo di tempo e poi vengono separati, non possono più essere descritti come due sistemi distinti, ma in qualche modo, diventano un unico sistema. In altri termini, quello che accade a uno di loro continua ad influenzare l’altro, anche se distanti chilometri o anni luce».

Secondo il ragionamento di Dirac se due persone entrano in relazione e si instaura tra di loro, nel tempo, un rapporto di amicizia o di amore e poi vengono separate, esse non possono essere definite come due soggetti differenti ma, in qualche modo, ne diventano uno solo. Anche dopo la separazione, continueranno nel bene e nel male, a conservare dentro di sé una parte dell’altra. Per sempre.
A prescindere dalle distanze, dalle esperienze e dai vissuti di ogni individuo, nonostante gli allontanamenti o i distacchi, le persone che hanno interagito tra loro si influenzeranno “finché morte non ci separi”.

Lei disse: “Dimmi qualcosa di bello”
Lui rispose: “(∂ + m) ψ = 0”

L’equazione sopra è quella di Dirac ed è la più bella equazione conosciuta della fisica. Grazie a questa si descrive il fenomeno dell’entanglement quantistico, che in pratica afferma che: “Se due sistemi interagiscono tra loro per un certo periodo di tempo e poi vengono separati, non possiamo più descriverli come due sistemi distinti, ma in qualche modo sottile diventano un unico sistema. Quello che accade a uno di loro continua ad influenzare l’altro, anche se distanti chilometri o anni luce”.

Chinese Researchers Achieve Quantum Teleportation at Macro Scale

So by entangling two photons, for instance, physicists have demonstrated the ability to transmit quantum information from one place to another by encoding it in these quantum states–influence one of the pair and a change can be measured in the other without any information actually passing between the two. Researchers have done this before, between photons, between ions, and even between a macroscopic object and a microscopic object.

But now Chinese researchers have, for the first time, achieved quantum teleportation between two macroscopic objects across nearly 500 feet using entangled photons…

The two bundles of rubidium atoms that served as sender and receiver are more or less analogs for what we hope will someday be our “quantum Internet”–a system of routers like the ones we have now that, instead of beaming information around a vast network of fiber optic wires, will send and receive information through entangled photons.

So in a way, this is like a first proof of concept, evidence that the idea works at least in the lab. Now all we have to do is figure out is how to build several of these in series so they can actually pass information from one to the other. To do that, we only have to somehow force these quantum states to exist for longer than the hundred microseconds or so that they last now before degrading. Sounds easy enough.

(via Researchers Achieve Quantum Teleportation Between Two Macroscopic Objects For The First Time | Popular Science)

Wormholes and Quantum Entanglement May Be Linked

This advance is so meta. Theoretical physicists have forged a connection between the concept of entanglement—itself a mysterious quantum mechanical connection between two widely separated particles—and that of a wormhole—a hypothetical connection between black holes that serves as a shortcut through space. The insight could help physicists reconcile quantum mechanics and Einstein’s general theory of relativity, perhaps the grandest goal in theoretical physics. But some experts argue that the connection is merely a mathematical analogy.”

A Brief Introduction to Quantum Physics

“If quantum mechanics hasn’t profoundly shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet,” Niels Bohr once said—and quantum physics might be wacky, but it’s not incomprehensible, so prepare to be shocked. In the early 20th century, scientists realised that the subatomic world can’t be explained by classical physics because microscopic things behave very differently to large things. Quantum theory was developed by scientists such as Bohr, Planck, Einstein, Heisenberg, and Schroedinger, based on observations of matter and radiation at a subatomic level. “Quantum” comes from the idea that the energy that particles emit isn’t a constant flow—instead, it comes in indivisible discrete units called “quanta”, which sometimes take the form of elementary particles (i.e., the quanta of electromagnetic radiation are photons). Elementary particles behave like both particles and waves, and their movement is random so they can actually exist in multiple states and places at the same time. According to the Uncertainty Principle, though, it’s physically impossible to simultaneous know both the position and momentum of a particle, because observation actually influences the particle—measuring the position changes the momentum, and vice versa. Particles can also become entangled through interaction, meaning that wherever they are in the universe, their movements will affect the other. This naturally raises the possibilities of teleportation, and quantum theory’s applications don’t stop there: the theory has successfully explained phenomena like radioactivity and antimatter, and is being used to develop cryptography, instantaneous communication, and lightning-fast computers.

Read More on NewScientist

The Quantum Internet is Born

“Years from now it may be said that the quantum Internet was born today.” Of course, the quantum internet is just in the baby stages now - but when it matures, it will be able to process ridiculous amounts of data at blaring speed, and never be hacked. The system, developed by physicists Stephan Ritter and Gerhard Rempe at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Germany, has two nodes. Although this is small, the internet you’re on right now started in the 1960s in a similar process. 

This first quantum network was built by utilizing two atoms of rubidium which exchange photons. Each atom is placed inside an individual ‘room’ with highly reflective mirrors surrounding it, and at a short distance from its sister atom. These rooms, called optical cavities, are connected by an optical fiber. 

First, scientists aim a laser at the first rubidium atom, which induces an emission of a single photon. That photon travels  along the optical fiber to the other optical cavity, containing the other atom. Thanks to the mirrors, the photon bounces off the mirrors thousands of times, and is absorbed by the atom upon collision. This absorption transmits information about the first atom’s quantum state - and voila, a transfer of information. 

The two rubidium atoms were entangled beforehand, which effectively means that they were linked together. During entanglement (read more about entanglement here), certain properties of the atoms are linked, and measuring one instantaneously produces the same result in the other atom. During this experiment, the atoms were entangled for 100 microseconds - a long time in quantum physicists. Entanglement what renders any form of hacking impossible - as soon as a would-be hacker tapped into the quantum network, the quantum states of the atoms would no longer match up. 

This is the first step towards something great. 

Read the press release


Teleportation in Time

One of the spookiest phenomenon of the quantum world is entanglement, where two particles can become so deeply linked that they share the same fate—the behaviour of one immediately influences the other, even if they’re separated in space. Quantum entanglement has helped create uncrackable codes, build ultrafast computers and transmit huge amounts of information using only a few atoms—and now, Jay Olson and Timothy Ralph at the University of Queensland, Australia, have mathematically described how entanglement could bind particles not only through space, but also through time. It isn’t yes clear how it can be tested, but it’s a strangely intuitive conclusion. The idea originated from a simplified view of the universe, consisting of one dimension of space (x-axis) and one dimension of time (t-axis), where there are points of symmetry in the past and future, and for a quantum “message” to be sent, the particle must be symmetric in time. For this reason, the process is called “teleportation in time.” Olson says that “it’s not time travel as you would ordinarily think of it, where it’s like, poof! you’re in the future—but you get to skip the intervening time.”

Read Olson and Ralph’s original paper

Rescue crews racing to save blue whale tangled off Calif. coast
A desperate effort is underway to free a blue whale that is tangled up in fishing line attached to buoys

From interviews this morning - the video on this on also has NOAA underwater footage

Rescuers were out on Tuesday hoping to untangle an 80-foot blue whale. Fishing lines and gear are wrapped around the animal just a few miles from shore.

Captain Dave Anderson’s crew was the first to spot the whale near Dana Point.

“Every move that whale makes is going to saw into that whale’s flukes. It’s going to be excruciating pain for that whale,” he said.

According to Anderson, if the lines aren’t cut, the whale can’t eat – and might only have about 30 days to live.

Crews used a knife attached to a 30-foot pole to try and save the whale. They made several attempts before he got agitated and took off.

“We were inches away from it, and I can tell you it was gut-wrenching that we couldn’t save it,” Anderson told us.

Justin Viezbicke is coordinating the rescue efforts for NOAA Fisheries. Since the blue whale is an endangered species, this has become a critical mission.

“The fact that we even get to work on it is even more rare, and provides a number of challenges for us. It’s the first time we are working on this species. We don’t have a lot of knowns,” Viezbicke said.

Viezbicke said whales trapped in netting is a growing problem. Last year, there were 49 confirmed reports of entangled whales. This year, there are already 40 sightings.

“There are not a lot of blue whales out there, so we can’t afford to be losing any of them,” said Anderson.

That’s why rescue crews aren’t giving up until this blue whale is freed.


In this episode of Invisibilia, NPR’s new show about human behavior, we wanted to explore entanglements: the invisible ways we’re entangled with each other. So we called a comedian.

I’m a fan of Maria Bamford, who has done impressions of her mother throughout her career. Sometimes the version of her mom she plays is just funny, because the mom can be so charmingly upbeat about the horrors of the world that it’s hilarious. But sometimes it feels like it’s about elements in their relationship that have a darker side. Like in this YouTube bit.

So what happens when you mess in a very public way with an entanglement that’s pretty complicated already: the emotional entanglement between mother and daughter? How does that affect things?

By Impersonating Her Mom, A Comedian Grows Closer To Her

Illustration credit: Daniel Horowitz for NPR
Photo credit: Courtesy of Julie Seabaugh

Stream the debut solo album by Sherlock’s Michael Price!

Entanglement, the debut solo album by Sherlock co-composer Michael price arrives on CD, Vinyl and Digital Download on Monday 13 April 2015.

You can however listen to the whole album now online at Music OMH!

Pre-order a physical or digital copy at the Erased Tapes website.

And check out a range of reviews of the fantastic sounding album on Michael’s website.