Friday, May 24, 2013

Here's Something I Doubt Would Have Made Paul Kurtz or Martin Gardner Happy

Just a quick link to a story by Adrian Cho in Wired posted yesterday.

Physicists Create Quantum Link Between Photons That Don’t Exist at the Same Time

Having read the article two times, I can report that for me it will take more than that to understand the description of the experiment.   But here's the end of the article.  Especially notice this sentence, "Yet, the phenomenon definitely exists."

The experiment shows that it’s not strictly logical to think of entanglement as a tangible physical property, Eisenberg says. “There is no moment in time in which the two photons coexist,” he says, “so you cannot say that the system is entangled at this or that moment.” Yet, the phenomenon definitely exists. Anton Zeilinger, a physicist at the University of Vienna, agrees that the experiment demonstrates just how slippery the concepts of quantum mechanics are. “It’s really neat because it shows more or less that quantum events are outside our everyday notions of space and time.”

So what’s the advance good for? Physicists hope to create quantum networks in which protocols like entanglement swapping are used to create quantum links among distant users and transmit uncrackable (but slower than light) secret communications. The new result suggests that when sharing entangled pairs of photons on such a network, a user wouldn’t have to wait to see what happens to the photons sent down the line before manipulating the ones kept behind, Eisenberg says. Zeilinger says the result might have other unexpected uses: “This sort of thing opens up people’s minds and suddenly somebody has an idea to use it in quantum computing or something.”

This will more than open people's minds to how to make money in quantum computing.   This and other recent experimental results are likely to open more people to the idea that the scheme of 18th and 19th century materialism, the common culture of materialists today, is in need of extreme alteration.  To the extent that those holding it are quickly on the verge of being science deniers.  Maybe their lagging behind is an example of entanglement with the minds of materialists long dead and the ideas that are no longer valid.   If, as Eizenberg says, "it’s not strictly logical to think of entanglement as a tangible physical property,"  and Zeilinger says, "quantum events are outside our everyday notions of space and time."   That's quite a problem for conventional materialism, physicalism, naturalism... by whatever name it goes.  Just to drive a few of my non-readers up the wall.  Experiments aren't only for scientists to run.

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