The resident faculty left a very bizarre photo outside the mail room this morning. The staff are clueless, unless the photo was the clue…. (More)

“Is that one of those Halloween haunted houses?” the Professor of Astrology Janitor asked as he looked at the photo left by the resident faculty as they made their way from the wine cellar library, where they spent the weekend drinking thinking on our motto of Magis vinum, magis verum (“More wine, more truth”), to the hot tub faculty lounge for their weekly game where the underwear goes flying planning conference.

“If so, it’s the weirdest haunted house I’ve ever seen,” Chef said as she brought out the decoder ring.

 photo SquirrelPecanRing.jpeg

The Squirrel tapped at his Blewberry. “Actually it’s a photo from a a recent quantum physics experiment at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. The results gave yet more evidence for quantum entanglement.”

“Oh, I read about that,” Chef said as she scraped stray pecans into the Squirrel’s bowl. “That’s the part of quantum theory that predicts two fundamental particles can become entangled so any change in one is mirrored by an opposite change in the other. And the changes will happen immediately to both particles, even if they’re on opposite sides of the universe.”

The Professor of Astrology Janitor nodded. “Albert Einstein called that ‘spooky action at a distance.’ He didn’t believe it could really happen.”

“Exactly,” Chef agreed. “There have been several experiments before, starting with the Bell Experiment in 1964. They all suggested entanglement was real, but they relied on three basic assumptions. The Delft experiment controlled two of the three assumptions, so its results are the strongest evidence yet.”

“But wait,” the Professor of Astrology Janitor objected. “Einstein’s theory of special relativity says nothing can travel through spacetime faster than light. That means no information, including the states of entangled particles. Does this experiment disprove special relativity?”

“Not according to physicists,” Chef said. “The spin states of the entangled particles were altered randomly, and the researchers separately collected data on each particle. Then they compared the data and found the changes had happened instantaneously, just as quantum theory predicts. But quantum theory also says entanglement is very unstable and the researchers can’t know if those two particles remained entangled until they compare their data. There’s no faster-than-light way to compare the data, so …”

“… so Schrödinger’s Cat can’t know if the litterbox is full of entangled stuff,” the Professor of Astrology Janitor said. “Got it.”

Pootie the Precious pawed her iHazPhone. “Speeking uv litterbox”

The Professor of Astrology Janitor stood. “I’ll get it.”

“kthanx,” Pootie the Precious texted.

“So,” Chef said, sliding the bowl of pecans to the Squirrel, “this week will be about sciency quantum physics stuff?”

The Squirrel nibbled a pecan and tapped at his Blewberry. “Nope. It’s Halloween week, so this week the resident faculty will discuss other spooky actions.”

“Whew!” the Professor of Astrology Janitor said. He looked at Pootie the Precious. “Do clumps count as entanglement?”

“Ai dont unnerstand fizzix,” Pootie the Precious texted. “Ai just skwatz an goez.”

That’s enough physics for most of us….

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Photo Credit: Frank Auperle (Delft University of Technology)

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Happy Monday!