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No. 114: Nov-Dec 1997

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Quantum mechanics is definitely spooky

"I cannot seriously believe in [the quantum theory] because it cannot be reconciled with the idea that physics should represent a reality in time and space, free from spooky actions at a distance." (Ref. 1)

So Einstein wrote Max Born in March 1947. Well, even Einstein could have been wrong!

"It's getting even spookier out there. Particles can be strangely connected over at least ten kilometres, according to results from physicists in Geneva. Using pairs of "entangled" photons, Nicolas Gisin and his colleagues from the University of Geneva have shown that the measurement of one particle will instantaneously determine the state of the other." (Ref. 2)

This particular spooky aspect of quantum mechanics was demonstrated 15 years ago over a distance of just a few meters. Many physicists had expected (probably "hoped") that this "mysterious link" between separated particles would weaken with distance. But this quantum-mechanics effect does not conform to "common-sense" expectations! Now it seems that one particle of an "entangled pair" knows instantaneously what its mate is doing, possibly even if it is located on the other side of the universe.

More quantum-mechanics spookiness is seen in "tunneling" phenomena, such as that mentioned in AR#3, where a Mozart symphony zipped through a barrier at 4.7 times the speed of light.

Physicists do acknowledge these counter-intuitive quantummechanics effects, but they are not comfortable with them. Some, on the other hand, embrace them. The late physicist H. Pagels maintained that quantum mechanics is a sort of "code" that ties together everything in the cosmos. He explained all this in his book The Cosmic Code. (Ref. 3)


Ref. 1. Watson, Andrew; "Quantum Spookiness Wins, Einstein Loses in Photon Test," Science, 277:481, 1997.

Ref. 2. Buchanan, Mark; "Light's Spooky Connections Set Distance Record," New Scientist, p. 16, June 28, 1997.

Ref. 3. Browne, Malcolm W.; "Far Apart, 2 Particles Respond Faster Than Light," New York Times, July 22, 1997. Cr. M. Colpitts.)

Comments. "Spookiness" is in the mind of the percipient. We don't usually think of gravity as spooky, but just what does draw two masses together? All action-ata-distance forces are spooky. Everybody is into "codes" these days, as if Nature herself (or God) is not speaking out directly and plainly. We have, for example: The Message of the Sphinx (G. Hancock and R. Bauval); The Bible Code (M. Drosin); and The Biotic Message ( W.J. ReMine).

From Science Frontiers #114, NOV-DEC 1997. 1997-2000 William R. Corliss