The Quantum Effect

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Entanglement…rogue waves…and trying to keep my head below water in Bonaire – Photo/MSN

A butterfly in the Amazon Rainforest creates a hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean, a snorkeler in the Caribbean Sea creates a rogue wave off the Canary Islands, and a photon in one crystal transmits information to a photon in another crystal…25 kilometers away…instantaneously. It’s difficult to say which of these claims is more outrageous but the last one has, at least, been proven in a lab.

crystals University of Geneva
Photo/University of Geneva

A research team in the Physics Lab at the University of Geneva published their startling achievement in the September 21, issue of Nature Photonics. But it all really started when Charles Bennett of IBM Research first proposed the theory of “quantum teleportation” in 1993, setting off a race to achieve it. CalTech managed a 3 meter result in 1998 and now we’re up to 25 kilometers. Set the controls for the heart of the Sun. Today, every major university in the world is working on quantum networks. Our kids experiment with quantum effects like we did with nor-epinephrine on dissected frogs. It’s only a matter of time ’til entanglement becomes a feature of everyday life. The implications are strange, e.g., what’s the point of encryption when it can be cracked instantaneously? What’s the point of questions when answers are already known? When information can be discovered, transmitted, and distributed instantaneously, things like security, questions, and answers may actually be moot. Many of us have grown up and grown old all the while experiencing the ever-increasing pace of life. The quantum effect of instantaneous-ness is a whole different ballgame and will give new meaning to the phrase “where did all the time go?”

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