Yes Albert, there is spooky action at a distance

March 31, 2013

Philosophy, Physics


Good lay article here on something there’s been a bit of lately: confirmation that when quantum particles are entangled (eg, two photons emitted simultaneously from the same source and shot in different directions at – obviously – the speed of light) changing one immediately causes a corresponding change in the other, meaning that information moved “faster than the speed of light.”

Einstein famously hated this idea, wanting all cause-effect relationships to be “local” (meaning limited in speed to c). He petulantly referred to it as spooky action at a distance. Bell’s theorem gave it credibility, and now a series of experiments are proving it empirically.

From what I can tell, the conceptual way around believing we’ve just disproven the old saw that nothing travels faster than light is to conceive of the two entangled particles as a single system, so that no information is travelling across empty space. It’s just one massively extended system that, when touched one place, moves in another.  Of course that’s a metaphor and we should probably talk to a physicist for the nitty gritty.

PS, check out that Bell’s theorem paper if you have the time to do a little math and head scratching, you’ll come out of it understanding how they got to this:

Screen Shot 2013-03-30 at 4.52.51 PM

PPS: for the snarky reference this title makes, check out the famous original.

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About Peter Freed, M.D.

I am a psychiatrist (psychopharmacology and psychotherapy) specializing in the so-called "personality disorders," particularly narcissistic and borderline personality disorders. I was a Fellow and then an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia from 2004- 2011. I am currently in private practice in NYC.

View all posts by Peter Freed, M.D.

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4 Comments on “Yes Albert, there is spooky action at a distance”

  1. Yoselin Says:

    I enjoy tremendously at your bilnliart detailed research study. Your ambitious experiments on neural dagonal thinking achieve lateral and hierarchical thinking through an understanding of both neuroanatomy and neurochemistry. It happened to me from time to time but i did not have a notion about it until you lay out. Did you coin the pattern of thinking simultaneously and simulspaciously?A little bit side track. What is your opinion on evolution psychology, what are the conditions? (schizophrenia / bipolar is only the effects? Does it embrace sexual preference ? Kindly indicate whether the pineal gland only function is timing circadia for the body? Do you have any more information about pineal gland?

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  2. ChangWook Says:

    I had that, CBT (Cognitive behavioral thearpy) is the thearpy for that particular problem. I’d reasearch all you symtoms before you go though and have a clear idea on what you have because they just take a wild guess and perscribe a medication.Right now i take Zoloft at 1 and 1/2 pills of 50mgs ( made for Anxiety, and doesn’t react to anything really), which has basicaly saved my social life. i used to spend 5 mins in class thinking about wether or not i should go up and sharpen my pencil, because i feared that anxiety rush so much. i rarely spoke and if i did i would most likely slur a few sentences, everybody thought i was some kind of creep because of it, it sucked. but know i basicaly do whatever i want no problem not even the thought about questioning it either. i look at people that i can tell are nervous and just think why are they nervous their isn’t even a crowd. but i know how hard it is so i don’t take anything against them.

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  4. Mohammad Shafi Mahdawi Says:

    Entanglement non-local effect doesn’t mean any sort “information” teleported between two points. Therefore so far everything is consistent with what Einestein taught us (Special relativity). We have several physical phenomena in nature with speeds larger than light’s speed but all of them are in agreement with special relativity. read more here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faster-than-light#Phase_velocities_above_c

    Reply

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