Sunday, August 31, 2008

Quantum Mechanics... and the Farmers Market?


Entanglement.

Schrödinger said it was the defining trait of quantum theory. What is it? It’s that quirky talent discovered by quantum physicists whereby a weird telepathic link allows teeny tiny subatomic particles to mysteriously influence each other’s properties even if they are very far away from one another. These particles are linked together -- or entangled -- so that one can't be sufficiently described without a full mention of its counterpart. In fact, you can instantly influence the properties of a particle on the opposite end of the universe by merely nudging its entangled twin. Some say the power travels at millions of times the speed of light. Even Einstein was baffled. He called it too spooky to be real.

Okay, so I can’t really get my head around it either.

But it gets me thinking…

The overly simplified but deeply poetic explanation of chaos theory told us that a butterfly beating its wings can eventually lead to a storm on the other side of the world. Everything is connected. Everything affects everything else. Some physicists now think quantum entanglement has macro implications, too.

So lets extrapolate ... or perhaps just take huge license with scientific theory. Sometimes it really does feel like little patches of life are oddly harmonious, as if seemingly separate things -- and people -- are somehow connected. For example: here at the Farmer’s Market the other day the people strolling along seemed to just fall into a perfectly aligned formation and simultaneously smile, as if each separate individual was – somehow – inextricably linked. I couldn't have choreographed it any better. Coincidence? Probably. Entanglement? Heck, I'm gonna go with that...

21 comments:

USelaine said...

They also say particles can behave differently just by being observed. OMG, Laurie! What have you done!

ken mac said...

Even in B&W you've captured that fabulous CA light. We dont' get enough light in Manhattan. that is why I hav a vidtamin D deficiency. Now where are my pills? Entangled with other pills I suppose.

Mister Earl said...

It does look like a choreographed movie scene, doesn't it?

Laurie,

Before yesterday, I thought I understood some things about Jung. But the shadow stuff has me perplexed. Now today it's quantum mechanics at a fairly complex level. Soon, I fear, I won't be intellectually equipped to keep up with this blog. Other than to look at the pictures, of course.

Webradio said...

Hello !

Elle rend bien cette photo en noir et blanc...

Yak Pate said...

Quantum theory really does blur the distinction between science and poetry... just knowing that scientists coined the term "Charmed Quark" makes me realize that there are other applications for science than inventing weapons of mass destruction.

Can you please get a good shot of an equally intriguing concept, the parallel universe? Wait... South Pas IS a parallel universe!

Wayne said...

I have to lie down. I think my brain just exploded.

Julie said...

What terrific text! You have taken us on a scientific journey through the 20th century!

The image must have nudged your own subatomic particles. What an engrossing image it is: they look like they are in a slow-motion clip. I see the smiles, but mostly I see the dangling arms and the half turn of the second person. Did you see all this when you took the image or were you mostly attracted by the low afternoon light and the shadows it cast?

Such a good shot, Laurie ...

Double "D" said...

Great photo, the people are perfectly
posed. I know they are posed but still
great photo. Love B&W.

Hendrawan said...

hm.. I'm not interested at exact and theory but, it's a nice photo..

Dixie Jane said...

If Einstein was baffled what is this poor peasant doing here?.....looking at the pictures, which, by the way are far out.

Laurie said...

Hi everyone!

Thanks for the conversation! Elaine, you made me laugh when I saw your comment. I don't know if our particles are entangled or not but we certainly are from the same tribe.

Ken, that's the problem I sometimes have with Manhattan. I grew up in Texas and have spent 20 years in Los Angeles. The lack of direct sunlight in NYC always makes me feel kind of off. But the architecture, museums, cuisine and all around coolness usually make up for it..

Hello again webradio!

Yak, I remember when I read The Elegant Universe. I think that's where I first heard the term charmed quark. THought it would be a great band name.

Don't lose your head, Wayne!

Julie, the shot really happened as I described. I was walking among people in the normal, chaotic way people mingle at a market and suddenly it was like they just fell into a groove. I had my camera out and took a chance that I'd capture it. Lady luck was with me!

Thanks, Double D. I think they look posed, too!

Welcome hedrawan!

Big hug to you, Mom.

I love that all of you take the time to visit and add your contributions. Glad we're all entangled here, so to speak...

bobby said...

Jung called it synchronicity. And I've concluded that it's definitely to do with quantum entanglement, and predict it will considered a scientifically accepted and understood phenomenon before very long.

Haven't you experienced what seem to be extraordiary coincidences, like coming across people you know in quite unexpected places? I have.

Jutilda said...

OH MY GOD. bobby wrote exactly what I had thought of all day yesterday. Some parts of Coehlo's "The Alchemist" came to mind about "nothing is coincidence..."

I had written a long blurb not nearly as succinct, about synchronicity, so I'm glad he was able to say exactly what I wasn't able to put into words.

Mister Earl said...

John Fowles explored synchronicity in The Magus. Very powerful book. The movie, which came out in 1969, finally made it to video. For years it was not released on video. I heard that many of the actors hated it. But I loved it.

Laurie said...

Hi Bobby, welcome! Yes, I agree with you. And synchronicity is one of my favorite concepts. (You guys probably can tell how much I like Jung.)

Judy, I had forgotten about The Alchemist! Yes!

Mister Earl, you mention one of my all time favorite books. Never saw the movie because I was afraid it couldn't possibly do justice to the work. Should I check it out?

Mister Earl said...

That's pretty cool, Laurie, that you love The Magus. And here comes Eliot again, "We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."

Should you see the movie? Don't know. I saw it when it played at a theater in 1969, and haven't again due to lack of video until very recently. Seeing the movie made me go out and get the book, and also read a lot of other Fowles' stuff. At least it would probably be interesting: Anthony Quinn, Michael Caine, and Candace Bergen.

Laurie said...

Now you've gotten me curious. (Next stop... Netflicks!) As long as it doesn't end up like French Lieutenant's Woman -- that film was barely even the same story as the book!

Mister Earl said...

Let me know what you think, Laurie. I haven't seen the movie in 39 years...YIKES...I'm not even that old, am I? Maybe I'd hate the movie this time around. Maybe I'd love it. I have to make a point to rent it.

"We shall not cease from exploration..."

Miss Havisham said...

Now I know why it is that whenever I think of South Pasadena I have to put on loafers with a knee length skirt.

It's science.

pasadenaadjacent.com said...

I thought your post was so beautifully written and informative that I e-mailed it to a friend of mine whose an astro physicist at Cal Tech

her reply,

yes, it's true...

My conclusion: the brainiacs aren't exactly a wordy lot.

Laurie said...

PA-- that's so cool! And you're right about those brainy folks of few words... I married one of them! :-)