May 8, 2009 3 Comments
A great article in Scientific American, “A Quantum Threat to Special Relativity,” is well worth the read.
Locality in physics is the idea that things are only influenced by forces that are local or nearby. The water boiling on the stovetop does so because of the energy imparted from the flame beneath. Even the sounds coming out of your radio are decoded from the electromagnetic disturbance in the air next to the antenna, which has been propagating from the radio transmitter at the speed of light. But, think we all, nothing can influence anything remotely without a “chain reaction” disturbance, which according to Einstein can not exceed the speed of light.
However, says Quantum Mechanics, there is something called entanglement. No, not the kind you had with Becky under the bleachers in high school. This kinds of entanglement says that particles that once “interacted” are forever entangled, whereby their properties are reflected in each other’s behavior. For example, take 2 particles that came from the same reaction and separate them by galactic distances. What one does, the other will follow. This has been proven to a distance of at least 18 km and seems to violate Einstein’s theory of Special Relativity.
Einstein, of course, took issue with this whole concept in his famous EPR paper, preferring to believe that “hidden variables” were responsible for the effect. But, in 1964, physicist John Bell developed a mathematical proof that no local theory can account for all of Quantum Mechanics experimental results. In other words, the world is non-local. Period. It is as if, says the SciAm article, “a fist in Des Moines can break a nose in Dallas without affecting any other physical thing anywhere in the heartand. ” Alain Aspect later performed convincing experiments that demonstrated this non-locality. 45 years after John Bell’s proof, scientists are coming to terms with the idea that the world is non-local and special relativity has limitations. Both ideas are mind-blowing.
But, as usual, there are a couple of clever paradigms that get around it all, each of which are equally mind-blowing. In one, our old friend the “Many Worlds” theory, zillions of parallel universes are spawned every second, which account for the seeming non-locality of reality. In the other, “history plays itself out not in the three-dimensional spacetime of special relativity but rather this gigantic and unfamiliar configuration space, out of which the illusion of three-dimensionality somehow emerges.”
I have no problem explaining all of these ideas via programmed reality.
Special Relativity has to do with our senses, not with reality. True simultaneity is possible because our reality is an illusion. And there is no speed limit in the truer underlying construct. So particles have no problem being entangled.
Many Worlds can be implemented by multiple instances of reality processes. Anyone familiar with computing can appreciate how instances of programs can be “forked” (in Unix parlance) or “spawned” (Windows, VMS, etc.). You’ve probably even seen it on your buggy Windows PC, when instances of browsers keep popping up like crazy and you can’t kill the tasks fast enough and end up either doing a hard shutdown or waiting until the little bastard blue-screens. Well, if the universe is just run by a program, why can’t the program fork itself whenever it needs to, explaining all of the mysteries of QM that can’t be explained by wave functions.
And then there is “configuration space.” Nothing more complex than multiple instances of the reality program running, with the conscious entity having the ability to move between them, experiencing reality and all the experimental mysteries of Quantum Mechanics.
Hey physicists – get your heads out of the physics books and start thinking about computer science!
(thanks to Poet1960 for allowing me to use his great artwork)